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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Who’s Behind the 8Base Ransomware Web site? – Krebs on Safety

The sufferer shaming web site operated by the cybercriminals behind 8Base — at the moment one of many extra lively ransomware teams — was till earlier at the moment leaking fairly a bit of knowledge that the crime group most likely didn’t intend to be made public. The leaked knowledge means that at the least a few of web site’s code was written by a 36-year-old programmer residing within the capital metropolis of Moldova.

The 8Base ransomware group’s sufferer shaming web site on the darknet.

8Base maintains a darknet web site that’s solely reachable by way of Tor, a freely accessible world anonymity community. The location lists a whole lot of sufferer organizations and firms — all allegedly hacking victims that refused to pay a ransom to maintain their stolen knowledge from being revealed.

The 8Base darknet website additionally has a built-in chat characteristic, presumably in order that 8Base victims can talk and negotiate with their extortionists. This chat characteristic, which runs on the Laravel net utility framework, works positive so long as you’re *sending* info to the location (i.e., by making a “POST” request).

Nonetheless, if one have been to attempt to fetch knowledge from the identical chat service (i.e., by making a “GET” request), the web site till fairly not too long ago generated a particularly verbose error message:

The verbose error message when one tries to drag knowledge from 8Base’s darknet website. Discover the hyperlink on the backside of this picture, which is generated when one hovers over the “View commit” message underneath the “Git” heading.

That error web page revealed the true Web tackle of the Tor hidden service that homes the 8Base web site: 95.216.51[.]74, which based on DomainTools.com is a server in Finland that’s tied to the Germany-based internet hosting big Hetzner.

However that’s not the attention-grabbing half: Scrolling down the prolonged error message, we will see a hyperlink to a personal Gitlab server referred to as Jcube-group: gitlab[.]com/jcube-group/shoppers/apex/8base-v2. Digging additional into this Gitlab account, we will discover some curious knowledge factors accessible within the JCube Group’s public code repository.

For instance, this “standing.php” web page, which was dedicated to JCube Group’s Gitlab repository roughly one month in the past, consists of code that makes a number of mentions of the time period “KYC” (e.g. KYC_UNVERIFIED, KYC_VERIFIED, and KYC_PENDING).

That is curious as a result of a FAQ on the 8Base darknet website features a part on “particular affords for journalists and reporters,” which says the crime group is open to interviews however that journalists might want to show their identification earlier than any interview can happen. The 8base FAQ refers to this vetting course of as “KYC,” which usually stands for “Know Your Buyer.”

“We extremely respect the work of journalists and think about info to be our precedence,” the 8Base FAQ reads. “Now we have a particular program for journalists which incorporates sharing info a couple of hours and even days earlier than it’s formally revealed on our information web site and Telegram channel: you would want to undergo a KYC process to use. Journalists and reporters can contact us by way of our PR Telegram channel with any questions.”

The 8Base FAQ (left) and the KYC code in Kolev’s Gitlab account (proper)

The 8Base darknet website additionally has a publicly accessible “admin” login web page, which options a picture of a industrial passenger airplane parked at what seems to be an airport. Subsequent to the airplane picture is a message that reads, “Welcome to 8Base. Admin Login to 8Base dashboard.”

The login web page on the 8Base ransomware group’s darknet web site.

Proper-clicking on the 8Base admin web page and deciding on “View Supply” produces the web page’s HTML code. That code is nearly similar to a “login.blade.php” web page that was authored and dedicated to JCube Group’s Gitlab repository roughly three weeks in the past.

It seems the particular person liable for the JCube Group’s code is a 36-year-old developer from Chisinau, Moldova named Andrei Kolev. Mr. Kolev’s LinkedIn web page says he’s a full-stack developer at JCube Group, and that he’s at the moment on the lookout for work. The homepage for Jcubegroup[.]com lists an tackle and cellphone quantity that Moldovan enterprise data affirm is tied to Mr. Kolev.

The posts on the Twitter account for Mr. Kolev (@andrewkolev) are all written in Russian, and reference a number of now-defunct on-line companies, together with pluginspro[.]ru.

Reached for remark by way of LinkedIn, Mr. Kolev stated he had no concept why the 8Base darknet website was pulling code from the “shoppers” listing of his personal JCube Group Gitlab repository, or how the 8Base identify was even included.

“I [don’t have] a clue, I don’t have that challenge in my repo,” Kolev defined. “They [aren’t] my shoppers. Truly we at the moment have simply our personal initiatives.”

Mr. Kolev shared a screenshot of his present initiatives, however in a short time after that deleted it. Nonetheless, KrebsOnSecurity captured a duplicate of the picture earlier than it was eliminated:

A screenshot of Mr. Kolev’s present initiatives that he shortly deleted.

Inside minutes of explaining why I used to be reaching out to Mr. Kolev and strolling him by the method of discovering this connection, the 8Base web site was modified, and the error message that linked to the JCube Group personal Gitlab repository not appeared. As an alternative, making an attempt the identical “GET” methodology described above induced the 8Base web site to return a “405 Methodology Not Allowed” error web page:

Mr. Kolev claimed he didn’t know something concerning the now-removed error web page on 8Base’s website that referenced his personal Gitlab repo, and stated he deleted the screenshot from our LinkedIn chat as a result of it contained personal info.

Ransomware teams are recognized to remotely rent builders for particular initiatives with out disclosing precisely who they’re or how the brand new rent’s code is meant for use, and it’s potential that certainly one of Mr. Kolev’s shoppers is merely a entrance for 8Base. However regardless of 8Base’s assertion that they’re blissful to correspond with journalists, KrebsOnSecurity continues to be ready for a reply from the group by way of their Telegram channel.

The tip concerning the leaky 8Base web site was supplied by a reader who requested to stay nameless. That reader, a professional safety skilled and researcher who goes by the deal with @htmalgae on Twitter, stated it’s possible that whoever developed the 8Base web site inadvertently left it in “improvement mode,” which is what induced the location to be so verbose with its error messages.

“If 8Base was working the app in manufacturing mode as an alternative of improvement mode, this Tor de-anonymization would have by no means been potential,” @htmalgae stated.

A latest weblog put up from VMware referred to as the 8Base ransomware group “a heavy hitter” that has remained comparatively unknown regardless of the huge spike in exercise in Summer season of 2023.

“8Base is a Ransomware group that has been lively since March 2022 with a big spike in exercise in June of 2023,” VMware researchers wrote. “Describing themselves as ‘easy pen testers,’ their leak website supplied sufferer particulars by Often Requested Questions and Guidelines sections in addition to a number of methods to contact them. ”

In line with VMware, what’s significantly attention-grabbing about 8Base’s communication model is the usage of verbiage that’s strikingly acquainted to a different recognized cybercriminal group: RansomHouse.

“The group makes use of encryption paired with ‘name-and-shame’ methods to compel their victims to pay their ransoms,” VMware researchers wrote. “8Base has an opportunistic sample of compromise with latest victims spanning throughout diverse industries. Regardless of the excessive quantity of compromises, the data relating to identities, methodology, and underlying motivation behind these incidents nonetheless stays a thriller.”

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