Coca-Cola probes pro-Kremlin gang's claims of 161GB data theft

Life tastes not so good right now


Coca-Cola confirmed it's probing a possible network intrusion after the Stormous cybercrime gang claimed it stole 161GB of data from the beverage giant.

"We are aware of this matter and are investigating to determine the validity of the claim," Coca-Cola communications global vice president Scott Leith told The Register on Tuesday. "We are coordinating with law enforcement."

The ransomware gang, which has declared its support for the Russian government's illegal invasion of Ukraine, this week bragged it "hacked some of the company's servers and passed a large amount of data inside them without their knowledge." It's now trying to sell the stolen data for about $64,000, or nearest offer "depending on the amount of data you want," Stormous wrote on its website where it leaks pilfered information.

Stormous recently posted a poll on Telegram asking which multinational giant it should target next, and Coca-Cola received 72 percent of the vote, according to a screenshot shared by Security Affairs. And while the crime crew hasn't said it targeted Coca-Cola in retaliation for its support of Ukraine, Stormous' previous statements indicate its support for Putin's war could explain its most recent attack. 

Coca-Cola previously suspended its business in Russia and said it has committed to contributions totaling $14.8 million to support the Red Cross and other relief efforts in Ukraine.

Stormous, who?

Stormous is a new ransomware gang that acccording to Ivan Righi, an analyst at threat intelligence firm Digital Shadows, publicly emerged in the first quarter of this year. Shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine, however, the cybercriminals were quick to follow fellow ransomware gang Conti's lead and announce its support for Moscow.

"And if any party in different parts of the world decides to organize a cyber-attack or cyber-attacks against Russia, we will be in the right direction and will make all our efforts to abandon the supplication of the West, especially the infrastructure," the crew wrote in Arabic. 

More recently, the gang claimed it was under attack by US-based cybersecurity teams, and vowed to "do our best to disrupt the various Western unions," before adding a weirdly ominous ending: "Be on time."

Conti and Stormous aren't the only cybercrime gangs taking sides over the war and targeting either the West or the Kremlin, depending on where their loyalties lie.

Accenture's Cyber Threat Intelligence team, which tracks illicit dark-web activity, recently noted this is the first time it has witnessed "financially motivated threat actors divided along ideological faction."

"Pro-Russian actors are increasingly aligning with hacktivist-like activity targeting 'enemies of Russia,' especially Western entities due to their claims of Western warmongering," the consultancy said. ®


Other stories you might like

  • Lonestar plans to put datacenters in the Moon's lava tubes
    How? Founder tells The Register 'Robots… lots of robots'

    Imagine a future where racks of computer servers hum quietly in darkness below the surface of the Moon.

    Here is where some of the most important data is stored, to be left untouched for as long as can be. The idea sounds like something from science-fiction, but one startup that recently emerged from stealth is trying to turn it into a reality. Lonestar Data Holdings has a unique mission unlike any other cloud provider: to build datacenters on the Moon backing up the world's data.

    "It's inconceivable to me that we are keeping our most precious assets, our knowledge and our data, on Earth, where we're setting off bombs and burning things," Christopher Stott, founder and CEO of Lonestar, told The Register. "We need to put our assets in place off our planet, where we can keep it safe."

    Continue reading
  • Conti: Russian-backed rulers of Costa Rican hacktocracy?
    Also, Chinese IT admin jailed for deleting database, and the NSA promises no more backdoors

    In brief The notorious Russian-aligned Conti ransomware gang has upped the ante in its attack against Costa Rica, threatening to overthrow the government if it doesn't pay a $20 million ransom. 

    Costa Rican president Rodrigo Chaves said that the country is effectively at war with the gang, who in April infiltrated the government's computer systems, gaining a foothold in 27 agencies at various government levels. The US State Department has offered a $15 million reward leading to the capture of Conti's leaders, who it said have made more than $150 million from 1,000+ victims.

    Conti claimed this week that it has insiders in the Costa Rican government, the AP reported, warning that "We are determined to overthrow the government by means of a cyber attack, we have already shown you all the strength and power, you have introduced an emergency." 

    Continue reading
  • China-linked Twisted Panda caught spying on Russian defense R&D
    Because Beijing isn't above covert ops to accomplish its five-year goals

    Chinese cyberspies targeted two Russian defense institutes and possibly another research facility in Belarus, according to Check Point Research.

    The new campaign, dubbed Twisted Panda, is part of a larger, state-sponsored espionage operation that has been ongoing for several months, if not nearly a year, according to the security shop.

    In a technical analysis, the researchers detail the various malicious stages and payloads of the campaign that used sanctions-related phishing emails to attack Russian entities, which are part of the state-owned defense conglomerate Rostec Corporation.

    Continue reading
  • FTC signals crackdown on ed-tech harvesting kid's data
    Trade watchdog, and President, reminds that COPPA can ban ya

    The US Federal Trade Commission on Thursday said it intends to take action against educational technology companies that unlawfully collect data from children using online educational services.

    In a policy statement, the agency said, "Children should not have to needlessly hand over their data and forfeit their privacy in order to do their schoolwork or participate in remote learning, especially given the wide and increasing adoption of ed tech tools."

    The agency says it will scrutinize educational service providers to ensure that they are meeting their legal obligations under COPPA, the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.

    Continue reading
  • Mysterious firm seeks to buy majority stake in Arm China
    Chinese joint venture's ousted CEO tries to hang on - who will get control?

    The saga surrounding Arm's joint venture in China just took another intriguing turn: a mysterious firm named Lotcap Group claims it has signed a letter of intent to buy a 51 percent stake in Arm China from existing investors in the country.

    In a Chinese-language press release posted Wednesday, Lotcap said it has formed a subsidiary, Lotcap Fund, to buy a majority stake in the joint venture. However, reporting by one newspaper suggested that the investment firm still needs the approval of one significant investor to gain 51 percent control of Arm China.

    The development comes a couple of weeks after Arm China said that its former CEO, Allen Wu, was refusing once again to step down from his position, despite the company's board voting in late April to replace Wu with two co-chief executives. SoftBank Group, which owns 49 percent of the Chinese venture, has been trying to unentangle Arm China from Wu as the Japanese tech investment giant plans for an initial public offering of the British parent company.

    Continue reading
  • SmartNICs power the cloud, are enterprise datacenters next?
    High pricing, lack of software make smartNICs a tough sell, despite offload potential

    SmartNICs have the potential to accelerate enterprise workloads, but don't expect to see them bring hyperscale-class efficiency to most datacenters anytime soon, ZK Research's Zeus Kerravala told The Register.

    SmartNICs are widely deployed in cloud and hyperscale datacenters as a means to offload input/output (I/O) intensive network, security, and storage operations from the CPU, freeing it up to run revenue generating tenant workloads. Some more advanced chips even offload the hypervisor to further separate the infrastructure management layer from the rest of the server.

    Despite relative success in the cloud and a flurry of innovation from the still-limited vendor SmartNIC ecosystem, including Mellanox (Nvidia), Intel, Marvell, and Xilinx (AMD), Kerravala argues that the use cases for enterprise datacenters are unlikely to resemble those of the major hyperscalers, at least in the near term.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022