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Collaborative Cybersecurity Advisory to Mitigate Ransomware Threat

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Combatting the threat posed by LockBit and similar ransomware strains, organisations and individuals are advised to implement robust security measures, including regular data backups, software patching, strong access controls, and employee training to prevent social engineering attacks.

Against this backdrop, The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has partnered with Computer Emergency Response Team New Zealand (CERT-NZ) and a coalition of international organisations, including the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC), and cyber security authorities from Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, and France. Together, they have released a collaborative Cybersecurity Advisory titled “Understanding Ransomware Threat Actors: LockBit.”

This comprehensive advisory is a valuable resource, providing insights into the tools, exploits, tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) employed by LockBit affiliates. Additionally, it offers recommended strategies for organisations to mitigate the risk and impact of future ransomware incidents.

LockBit, the highly prevalent Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) utilised extensively by threat actors worldwide throughout 2022 and 2023, has targeted organisations of varying sizes across critical infrastructure sectors. This advisory encompasses five essential components to empower organisations to comprehend and counter this widespread threat and its vast network of disparate LockBit affiliates.

Firstly, the advisory includes a compilation of around 30 commonly used freeware and open-source tools by LockBit actors. It gives organisations valuable insights to strengthen their defence against these threat actors.

Secondly, the advisory sheds light on the prevalent vulnerabilities and exposures (CVEs) frequently exploited by LockBit attackers. It equips organisations with crucial information to enhance their defences against potential breaches.

Thirdly, identify prevalent CVEs exploited by LockBit attackers. This thorough examination of CVEs affords organisations a comprehensive understanding of the inherent weaknesses and potential entry points these malicious actors target, enabling them to prioritise and fortify their defence mechanisms accordingly.

Fourthly, the advisory offers a detailed analysis of the evolution of LockBit RaaS, global trends, and statistics. This comprehensive assessment enhances organisations’ understanding of the malicious ecosystem, enabling them to develop proactive measures to counter the threats posed by LockBit.

Fifthly, the advisory emphasises the importance of collaboration and resilience by providing organisations with extensive resources, services, and support from the collaborating agencies. These valuable resources and guidance enable organisations to strengthen their defences and enhance their resilience against the widespread LockBit activity.

Lisa Fong, Deputy Director-General of NCSC-NZ, expressed the centre’s alignment with international partners in addressing the critical ransomware issue. Fong warmly welcomed the advisory, highlighting its value in capturing the collective experiences of the partners and the NCSC’s insights gained from assisting organisations in mitigating the impact of LockBit ransomware within New Zealand. By incorporating these shared learnings, organisations can enhance their resilience against ransomware by accessing the most reliable and up-to-date information.

Emphasising the NCSC’s commitment to strengthening cyber security resilience through sharing cyber threat intelligence, Fong urged readers to apply the recommended mitigations outlined in the advisory diligently. This proactive approach is vital to safeguarding organisations against the potentially devastating consequences of ransomware attacks.

By adopting the suggested measures, businesses in New Zealand can fortify their defences and bolster their preparedness in the face of these increasingly sophisticated threats.

Rob Pope, Director of CERT NZ, reiterated the sentiment, emphasising the importance of New Zealand businesses being vigilant and proactive in response to the ransomware threat. Recognising ransomware’s impact on organisations, Pope stressed the need for resilience and readiness to ensure the country’s ability to withstand such attacks. By raising awareness and promoting action, businesses can strengthen their defences and contribute to the overall cyber security resilience of the nation.


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