A British IT employee who exploited a ransomware assault in opposition to the corporate he labored for, in an try and extort cash from them for himself, has been sentenced to jail for 3 years and 7 months.
As I beforehand described on the “Smashing Safety” podcast, gene and cell remedy agency Oxford Biomedica suffered a ransomware assault in February 2018.
A hacker accessed Oxford Biomedica’s techniques, stole info, and senior members of the corporate obtained a ransom demand from the hacker.
Nothing uncommon about that.
Oxford Biomedica tasked its IT crew to work alongside the police in investigating the assault, decide the way it had occurred, and attempt to plug any remaining safety holes to stop future breaches.
Once more, to this point so regular.
However what was decidedly uncommon was that one in every of its workers assigned to research the ransomware assault determined to really exploit the state of affairs, and trick his employer into giving him the ransom cash as a substitute of the real hackers.
Liles accessed the e-mail account of an Oxford Biomedica board member, and altered the unique ransom demand to direct that the cash needs to be paid to a Bitcoin pockets beneath his personal management, reasonably than that of the hackers.
This meant that if the corporate did finally determine to pay the ransom, it will find yourself with Liles reasonably than the (presumably lower than pleased) hackers who had initiated the assault.
Liles additionally created an nearly an identical electronic mail tackle to that utilized by the unique hacker, and started emailing his employer to pressurise them to pay a ransom price £300,000.
As a part of their investigation, specialist officers from the UK’s SEROCU (the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit’s Cyber Crime Unit) recognized that somebody had been accessing the board member’s electronic mail, after which traced the entry again to Liles’ dwelling tackle.
Yup, it appears that evidently this specific IT safety analyst didn’t correctly cowl his tracks.
A subsequent search of Liles’s dwelling uncovered laptop gear, a cellphone, and USB stick. Regardless of Liles’s makes an attempt to wipe incriminating information from his gadgets, digital forensic analysts have been capable of get better sufficient proof to show his involvement within the extortion.
Ashley Liles of Fleetwood, Letchworth Backyard Metropolis, Hertfordshire, was sentenced yesterday at Studying Crown Courtroom for blackmail and unauthorised entry to a pc with intent to commit different offences.
It’s a fairly outstanding story. Liles wasn’t related to the preliminary ransomware assault, it merely occurred on his watch. After which – some would say exhibiting competing quantities of initiative and recklessness – he tried to hijack the ransomware assault in opposition to his personal employer to his personal profit.
What a dumb factor to do.