Medusa Ransomware group demands $700k from victims

Tarrant Appraisal District (TAD), a governmental entity in Texas, has made headlines due to a sophisticated cyber attack suspected to be orchestrated by the Medusa Ransomware group. The incident came to light on March 24th, 2024, prompting an emergency meeting chaired by Vince Puente, the board chairperson, after the district’s IT personnel uncovered a digital breach within its infrastructure.

Reports indicate that the hackers have demanded a ransom of $700,000 to release the encrypted data, resulting in the district’s systems being offline for approximately a week. While the threat actors claim to have accessed and stolen sensitive information, including taxpayer details, Lindsay B. Nickle, the district’s legal counsel, is yet to ascertain the full extent of the breach on the system’s servers.

In response to the ransom demand, the district has adamantly refused to entertain the exorbitant request, recognizing that acquiescing to such demands not only emboldens criminal activity but also provides no guarantee of receiving the decryption key after payment. Instead, the board members are evaluating mitigation costs, estimated at around $235,000, and have invested in Microsoft 365 software and Sentinel One security software to bolster their defenses.

The Medusa ransomware gang gained notoriety in 2023, targeting 74 organizations primarily in Europe, with a focus on educational and healthcare institutions. Their recent incursion into a federal organization underscores the group’s audacious tactics. These ransomware attacks typically involve stealing and threatening to sell sensitive data if ransom demands are not met, a tactic known as double or triple extortion. If victims refuse to pay, the stolen data may be sold to various parties, including phishing gangs, competitors, or government entities, with banking information, social security numbers, email addresses, passwords, and proprietary research and development data being particularly sought after by hackers.

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Naveen Goud
Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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