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Kaseya denies ransomware payment as it hails ‘100% effective’decryption tool

Kaseya has denied rumors so it paid a ransom to the REvil cybercrime gang because it continues to roll out a decryptor to victims of a recent ransomware attack.

The software supply chain attack, which began on July 2, is believed to possess affected up to 1,500 organizations via the hack of IT management platform Kaseya VSA.

Kaseya revealed on July 22 so it had obtained a decryption tool from a “third party” and was trying to restore the environments of impacted organizations with the aid of anti-malware experts Emsisoft.

Speculation

The update sparked speculation regarding identity of the unnamed third party, with Allan Liska of Recorded Future’s CSIRT team positing a disgruntled REvil affiliate, the Russian government, or that Kaseya themselves had paid the ransom.

The idea that the universal decryptor key became available because of law enforcement action was strengthened on July 13 once the dark web domains associated with REvil abruptly went offline.

However, some experts also said it absolutely was likely that this is a prelude to REvil, whose other notable scalps include Travelex and meat supplier JBS, world market onion rebranding itself in a bid to dodge law enforcement.

Non-disclosure agreement

The cybercrime outfit was believed to own initially demanded a payment of $70 million from Kaseya, before lowering the selling price to $50 million.

Kaseya, which has reportedly granted organizations use of the decryptor contingent on signing a non-disclosure agreement, addressed rumors that it had paid a ransom in a statement yesterday (July 26):

Recent reports have suggested which our continued silence on whether Kaseya paid the ransom may encourage additional ransomware attacks, but nothing could possibly be further from our goal. While each company must make its own decision on whether to pay for the ransom, Kaseya decided after consultation with experts not to negotiate with the criminals who perpetrated this attack and we’ve not wavered from that commitment. As a result, we’re confirming in no uncertain terms that Kaseya didn’t pay a ransom – either directly or indirectly through an alternative party – to obtain the decryptor.

Kaseya stated that “the decryption tool has proven 100% able to decrypting files which were fully encrypted in the attack&rdquo ;.

It added: “We continue to offer the decryptor to customers that request it, and we encourage all our customers whose data could have been encrypted throughout the attack to reach out to your contacts at Kaseya&rdquo ;.

More zero-days

The other day, meanwhile, security researchers from the business that unearthed the zero-day Kaseya vulnerabilities exploited by REvil disclosed a trio of additional zero-day flaws in another Kaseya product.

The Dutch Institute for Vulnerability Disclosure (DIVD) advised users of cloud-based Kaseya Unitrends, which is available as an add-on for Kaseya VSA, to not expose the service to the internet until a patch was released.

Also last week, Huntress Labs released a post speculating on why the compromise of 60 upstream, managed service provider customers using a fake software update hadn’t had a lot more calamitous consequences.

Dismissing the idea that Kaseya’s system shutdown was the primary reason, security researcher John Hammond pondered, among other potential reasons, whether threat actors had learned “from previous incidents (like Colonial Pipeline) that a bigger impact might invite government intervention?”

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