FBI’s BLACKCAT CRACKDOWN
We keep boasting of our preparedness for anything and everything and in most of cases we are taken by surprise to finally come with lame excuses. Leaving aside our claims in software / product development to the newest tech marvel called artificial intelligence, does our tryst with cyber-crime investigation enthuse any confidence. That too at a time when there is cyber-crime everywhere, with a large proportion going not getting registered for a variety of reasons, leave aside being detected. The recent news of FBI taking down BlackCat ransomware enthuses the cyber-crime investigation world as nothing else in recent times.
FBI’s tryst with cyber crime and that too of the worst types and the technical investigation it performs is a beckon of hope: that investigative agencies might gain an upper hand at some point of time, if the grind continues in the right direction. The world needs this capability for its sane existence, otherwise we can only become a bystander to our own digital nemesis. Most of agencies across the world are not even sure of what it takes to investigate a ransomware case that too successfully. Though not spoken but it can be safely presumed that FBI could not do much in Colonial Pipelines case, where the ransom was paid.
Colonial Pipelines case notwithstanding, the reality is that FBI has been in the thick of things at least since the time of Silk Road investigation in 2013. They have kept on sharpening their skills, infra and reach while the cyber criminals of various types kept throwing up formidable challenges, ransomware being the toughest in recent times and still raging like a wildfire. FBI releasing free decryption tool for BlackCat ransomware victims is heart-warming. The released tool will help more than 500 victims to regain access to files locked by the concerned malware.
Hacking the hackers is the best to define this investigation or operation, whatever you call it. It has certainly gone beyond investigation, but that is the only to proceed in cases of this nature, otherwise the impact is limited. An all-pervasive feeling of a protective cover based on super investigative and other complementary / supplementary capabilities is what the world is in dire need of. FBI could hack the web panel used for managing victims of this ransomware gang, this is truly hacking the hackers. This was critical to developing the decryption tool. FBI worked with dozens of victims to implement the decryptor saving them of ransom totaling about $68 million. It also gained insight into the ransomware’s computer network, “allowing it to collect 946 public / private key pairs used to host the TOR sites operated by the group and dismantle them.”
THE SKILL GAP, LACK OF ORGANIC LEARNING AND NON-AVAILABILITY OF CUTTING-EDGE INVESTIGATIVE TECH RESOURCE NEEDS TO SURMOUNTED BY US.
Have a nice evening.