Delaware County, Pennsylvania, opted to pay 500K ransom to DoppelPaymer gang

Pierluigi Paganini November 30, 2020

Delaware County, Pennsylvania opted to pay a $500,000 ransom after it was the victim of a DoppelPaymer ransomware attack last weekend.

During the last weekend Delaware County, Pennsylvania, was the victim of a DoppelPaymer ransomware attack that brought down part of its network.

According to local media, the ransomware operators have compromised systems containing sensitive information, including police reports and payroll.

“Sources told Action News, the cybercriminals gained control of the network on Saturday encrypting files, including police reports, payroll, purchasing, and other databases. Prosecution evidence, however, has not been affected.” reads the post published by Philadelphia’s 6abc’s Action News.

“Sources said the county is in the process of paying the $500,000 ransom as it’s insured for such attacks.”

The infection did not impact the Bureau of Elections and the County’s Emergency Services Department.

The incident was disclosed on Monday and now Delaware County has paid a $500,000 ransom.

“The County of Delaware recently discovered a disruption to portions of its computer network. We commenced an immediate investigation that included taking certain systems offline and working with computer forensic specialists to determine the nature and scope of the event. We are working diligently to restore the functionality of our systems,” states the incident notice published by Delaware County. “The investigation is ongoing and we are working with computer forensic specialists to understand the full nature and scope of the event and confirm accurate information before sharing the details.”

The notice also confirmed that County employees have been already notified, the FBI is also investigating the attack.

BleepingComputer was informed that the Delaware County was hit by the DoppelPaymer ransomware gang.

“BleepingComputer was also told that the ransomware gang advised Delaware County to change all of their passwords and modify their Windows domain configuration to include safeguards from the Mimikatz program.” reported BleepingComputer.

A few days ago, the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC) warned customers of the DoppelPaymer ransomware, the tech giant provided useful information on the threat and how it spreads.

In November, the Mexican state-owned oil company Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) was infected with the DoppelPaymer ransomware.

Early November, the DoppelPaymer ransomware disrupted IT operations in the territory of Nunavut (Canada), all government services requiring access to electronic data were impacted.

The TA505 cybercrime group that is known for the distribution of the Dridex Trojan and the Locky ransomware, in mid-2017 released the BitPaymer ransomware (aka FriedEx) that was used in attacks against high profile targets and organizations. The ransomware was being distributed through Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) brute force attacks.

In July, CrowdStrike experts found a new variant of the ransomware tracked as DoppelPaymer. The discovery suggests that some members of TA505 gang left the group and forked the source code of both Dridex and BitPaymer to develop new malware. Some of the crooks behind the Dridex Trojan have split from the gang and released a forked version of the BitPaymer ransomware dubbed DoppelPaymer.

Both BitPaymer and DoppelPaymer continue to operate in parallel since then.

Other victims of the DoppelPaymer are the City of Torrance in California, the Hall County, Georgia, Newcastle University, Banijay Group SAS, Bretagne Télécom, Compal, and Visser Precision.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, DoppelPaymer)

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