First it was Samsung and Nvidia, then Mercado Libre and now Microsoft . All four companies have been attacked by the LAPSUUS$ hacker group, in some cases exposing sensitive user data. Last Sunday, the group of hackers published a file with part of the source code of Bing and Cortana on its Telegram channel. On March 22, Microsoft hacked through a company blog in which it explained that the attack occurred through the account of a company user:
“The activity we have observed is attributed to a group of threats tracked by Microsoft as DEV-0537 , also known as LAPSUS$. DEV-0537 is known for using a pure extortion and destruction model without deploying ransomware payloads. DEV-0537 began attacking organizations in the United Kingdom and South America, but expanded to global targets, including organizations in the government, technology, telecommunications, media, retail, and healthcare sectors. DEV-0537 has also been known to hijack individual user accounts on marketplaces to loot accounts.”
The statement clarifies that the data of the users of the various Microsoft services was not violated in the attack and that the company’s security team has already taken measures to prevent future attacks.
WHO IS LAPSUS$? WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THEM?
This group of hackers operates in a peculiar way: they publish their attacks on a Telegram profile and do not worry about erasing the traces of their activity. Although it is a relatively new group (it started activity in mid-2020), it has gained notoriety for having penetrated, among others, the security systems of four large companies linked to the digital world (Nvidia, Samsung, Mercado Libre, Microsoft). In some of its attacks, LAPSUS$ has used ransomware (data hijacking), harmful programs injected into the codes of the pages to disable them and subsequently ask for a ransom in exchange for releasing them. In the most notorious heist to date, hackers took over the Twitter account of the Independent Communication Society (SIC), Portugal’s largest television station, to announce that a person named LAPSUS$ was the nation’s new president.
Microsoft’s press release explains that the group operates in an unusual way: “Unlike most activity groups that go unnoticed, DEV-0537 doesn’t seem to cover its tracks. They even announce their attacks on social networks or publicize their intention to buy access to the employees of the organizations they are targeting.”
Cyber attacks are a reality and as technology and access to digital media advances, they become more and more frequent. In the report The State of Ransomware 2021 , the SOPHOS cybersecurity company ensures that last year 37% of the companies that participated in its study were victims of ransomware .