Ransomware Group LockBit Threatens Federal Reserve, Alleges Theft of Banking Secrets

The notorious ransomware group LockBit has claimed responsibility for hacking the Federal Reserve Bank and alleges it has stolen 33 terabytes of sensitive data. The group announced this in a post on the dark web, stating it would release the data on Tuesday if a ransom is not paid.

Background on LockBit

Just last month, the U.K.’s National Crime Agency revealed the alleged identity of LockBit’s leader, Dmitry Khoroshev, a Russian national. Following this revelation, Khoroshev has been sanctioned by the U.S., U.K., and Australia. The U.S. government has offered a $10 million reward for information leading to his arrest or conviction.

LockBit, despite facing significant law enforcement actions, continues to pose a threat in the cybersecurity landscape. The group’s latest claims, whether true or false, highlight the persistent danger ransomware organizations present to global financial institutions.

Details of the Alleged Breach

LockBit, which rose to prominence in 2019 by amassing millions of dollars in ransom payments, stated that it had been in negotiations with the bank. The group demanded a higher ransom and disparaged the current negotiator, describing him as a “clinical idiot” who valued Americans’ banking secrets at a mere $50,000.

Despite these claims, cybersecurity experts remain skeptical. Dominic Alvieri, a cybersecurity analyst, and researcher who frequently reports on ransomware groups, expressed doubts about the authenticity of LockBit’s allegations. Similarly, the malware sample hosting service vx_underground remarked humorously that if the Federal Reserve had indeed been compromised, it would warrant an extreme response, suggesting the claims might be exaggerated.

Expert Opinions

Brett Callow, a threat analyst at cybersecurity firm Emsisoft, also dismissed the claims as likely nonsense. He suggested that LockBit’s announcement might be a tactic to regain attention and reinvigorate its Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) operations, which had suffered setbacks after their infrastructure was shut down by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies in February.

The situation remains uncertain, with answers expected soon as LockBit has threatened to release the data if the ransom is not paid by Tuesday.

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