Earlier this month, the administrator of the cybercrime discussion board Breached acquired a cease-and-desist letter from a cybersecurity agency. The missive alleged that an public sale on the positioning for knowledge stolen from 10 million prospects of Mexico’s second-largest financial institution was faux information and harming the financial institution’s status. The administrator responded to this empty menace by buying the stolen banking knowledge and leaking it on the discussion board for everybody to obtain.
On August 3, 2022, somebody utilizing the alias “Holistic-K1ller” posted on Breached a thread promoting knowledge allegedly stolen from Grupo Financiero Banorte, Mexico’s second-biggest monetary establishment. Holistic-K1ller stated the database included the total names, addresses, telephone numbers, Mexican tax IDs (RFC), electronic mail addresses and balances on greater than 10 million residents.
There was no cause to imagine Holistic-K1ller had fabricated their breach declare. This id has been extremely lively on Breached andfor greater than two years, largely promoting databases from hacked Mexican entities. Final month, they offered buyer info on 36 million prospects of the Mexican telephone firm Telcel; in March, they offered 33,000 photographs of Mexican IDs — with the entrance image and a selfie of every citizen. That very same month, additionally they offered knowledge on 1.4 million prospects of Mexican lending platform Yotepresto.
However this historical past was both neglected or ignored by Group-IB, the Singapore-based cybersecurity agency apparently employed by Banorte to assist reply to the information breach.
“The Group-IB crew has found a useful resource containing a fraudulent submit providing to purchase Grupo Financiero Banorte’s leaked databases,” reads a letter the Breach administrator stated they acquired from Group-IB. “We ask you to take away this submit containing Banorte knowledge. Thanks to your cooperation and immediate consideration to this pressing matter.”
The administrator of Breached is “Pompompurin,” the identical particular person who alerted this writer in November 2021 to a obtrusive safety gap in a U.S. Justice Division web site that was. In a submit to Breached on Aug. 8, Pompompurin stated they purchased the Banorte database from Holistic-K1ller’s gross sales thread as a result of Group-IB was sending emails complaining about it.
“Additionally they tried to submit DMCA’s towards the web site,” Pompompurin wrote, referring to authorized takedown requests underneath the. “Make certain to inform Banorte that now they should fear in regards to the knowledge being leaked as an alternative of simply being offered.”
Group-IB CEO Dmitriy Volkov stated the corporate has seen some success prior to now asking hackers to take away or take down sure info, however that making such requests shouldn’t be a typical response for the safety agency.
“It isn’t a standard observe to ship takedown notifications to such boards demanding that such content material be eliminated,” Volkov stated. “However these abuse letters are legally binding, which helps construct a basis for additional steps taken by legislation enforcement businesses. Actions opposite to worldwide guidelines within the regulated house of the Web solely result in extra extreme crimes, which — as we all know from the case of Raidforums — are efficiently investigated and stopped by legislation enforcement.”
Banorte didn’t reply to requests for remark. However in a short written assertion, Banorte stated there was no breach involving their infrastructure, and the information being offered is previous.
“There was no violation of our platforms and technological infrastructure,” Banorte stated. “The set of knowledge referred to is inaccurate and outdated, and doesn’t put our customers and prospects in danger.”
That assertion could also be 100% true. Nonetheless, it’s tough to think about a greater instance of how not to do breach response. Banorte shrugging off this incident as a nothingburger is baffling: Whereas it’s virtually actually true that the financial institution steadiness info within the Banorte leak is now outdated, the remainder of the data (tax IDs, telephone numbers, electronic mail addresses) is more durable to alter.
“Is there one individual from our neighborhood that assume sending stop and desist letter to a hackers discussion board operator is a good suggestion?,”, founding father of CTI League, a volunteer emergency response neighborhood that . “Who does it? As a substitute of serving to, they pushed the group from the hill.”
Kurt Seifried, director of IT for the CloudSecurityAlliance, was equally perplexed by the response to the Banorte breach.
“If the information wasn’t actual….did the financial institution assume a stop and desist would end result within the itemizing being eliminated?” Seifriedon Twitter. “I imply, isn’t promoting breach knowledge a worse crime normally than slander or libel? What was their thought course of?”
A extra typical response when a big financial institution suspects a breach is to strategy the vendor privately by an middleman to determine if the data is legitimate and what it may cost to take it off the market. Whereas it might appear odd to anticipate cybercriminals to make good on their claims to promote stolen knowledge to just one celebration, eradicating offered stolen gadgets from stock is a reasonably primary operate of just about all cybercriminal markets at the moment (aside from maybe websites that site visitors in stolen id knowledge).
At a minimal, negotiating or just partaking with an information vendor can purchase the sufferer group further time and clues with which to research the declare and ideally notify affected events of a breach earlier than the stolen knowledge winds up on-line.
It’s true that a lot of hacked databases put up on the market on the cybercrime underground are offered solely after a small subset of in-the-know thieves— e.g., entry to cryptocurrency accounts or person credentials which can be recycled throughout a number of web sites. And it’s actually not extraordinary for cybercriminals to return on their phrase and re-sell or leak info that they’ve offered beforehand.
However corporations within the throes of responding to an information safety incident do themselves and prospects no favors once they underestimate their adversaries, or attempt to intimidate cybercrooks with authorized threats. Such responses typically accomplish nothing, besides unnecessarily upping the stakes for everybody concerned whereas displaying a harmful naiveté about how the cybercrime underground works.
Replace, Aug. 17, 10:32 a.m.: Due to a typo by this writer, a request for remark despatched to Group-IB was not delivered upfront of this story. The copy above has been up to date to incorporate a remark from Group-IB’s CEO.