HHS Alerts on Cl0p Ransomware Following GoAnywhere MFT Exploits


February 27, 2023

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The Department of Health and Human Services has issued an alert warning that organizations in the healthcare sector need to pay particular attention to attacks by the ransomware gang known as Cl0p.  

The threat actors behind Cl0p have been particularly focused on the healthcare sector, hence the latest guidance issued by the HHS’s HC3 (Health Sector Cybersecurity Coordination Center) following the recent exploitation of a GoAnywhere MFT vulnerability.

Takeaway: Cl0p displays advanced anti-analysis capabilities and anti-virtual machine analysis to prevent further investigations in an emulated environment – such as sandboxing – and it is interesting to note that the threat actors recently developed a Linux version of the ransomware. While Linux has a small footprint in desktop computing, it runs ~80% of all web servers, the majority of smartphones, all supercomputers, and a good portion of all embedded devices – including those being widely used in healthcare settings.  

While there are comparatively few Linux targets, the targets are potentially extremely lucrative. The "always on" nature of Linux systems provides a strategic beachhead for moving laterally throughout the network. Targeting Linux systems would allow the threat actors to disrupt the most critical parts of a network to demand high ransom amounts, and this is especially true in the healthcare sector.

Ransomware attacks are the biggest threat facing organizations today, and healthcare providers have been hit particularly hard. Attackers have significantly advanced their ability to quietly infiltrate large portions of a target's network in order to demand a higher ransom payout and exfiltrate sensitive data to be used as additional leverage to get the victims to pay. This is a big-money game, and we continue to see healthcare and other critical infrastructure providers be a favorite target given they typically have the least amount of resources to dedicate to securing these sensitive systems.

Organizations of every size need to implement a strong prevention and resilience strategy to defend against ransomware attacks, including:

  • Keeping all software and operating systems up to date and patched
  • Assuring critical data is backed up offsite and protected from corruption in the case of a ransomware attack
  • Assure all endpoints are protected with an EPP solution like next-generation anti-virus (NGAV) software and an anti-ransomware solution
  • Implement network segmentation and Zero Trust policies
  • Implement an employee awareness program to educate against risky behaviors, phishing techniques, etc.
  • Plan and prepare for failure by running regular tabletop exercises and ensuring all stakeholders are ready and available to respond to an attack at all times

Halcyon.ai is the industry’s first dedicated, adaptive security platform that combines multiple advanced proprietary prevention engines along with AI models focused specifically on stopping ransomware – talk to a Halcyon expert today to find out more.