Cognizant falls victim to Maze ransomware attack

IT services firm admits incident caused "service disruption" for some of its clients

IT services giant Cognizant has been hit by a ransomware attack that has led to "service disruptions" for some of its clients.

The company, which has around 300,000 employees and over $15 billion in revenue, said it was hit by the Maze ransomware group and is engaging with law enforcement authorities.

“Cognizant can confirm that a security incident involving our internal systems, and causing service disruptions for some of our clients, is the result of a Maze ransomware attack,” the New Jersey-based company said in a statement.

“Our internal security teams, supplemented by leading cyber defence firms, are actively taking steps to contain this incident.”

Maze, previously known as “ChaCha ransomware”, was first discovered in May last year. It's not your typical data-encrypting ransomware, as it not only encrypts a victim's files but also threatens to publish this sensitive data if organisations do not respond to extortion demands.

“Ransomware attacks have pivoted to data theft before encrypting information as leverage to get organisations to pay the ransom," Chris Morales, head of Security Analytics at Vectra, told IT Pro.

"In particular, the Maze ransomware ring has begun publicly posting breached data on the internet and threatening full dumps of stolen data if victims don't pay for their files to be unencrypted. Maze has posted on their 'Mazenews' site alleged stolen data from victim organisations around the word, from many different industries – including multiple legal professional service providers.

The FBI in December warned businesses of an increase in Maze-related ransomware incidents and urged security leaders to bolster protections in wake of a surge in attacks in the US and Europe. 

Related Resource

2020 report: The threat posed by shadow IoT devices

Unsanctioned IoT devices open a portal for chaos across the network

Download now

However, Bleeping Computer, which first reported the attack on Cognizant, claims the Maze group has denied responsibility for the Cognizant hack. However, it notes that "Maze has been reticent to discuss attacks or victims until negotiations stall", so it's likely the hackers are keeping quiet to avoid complications in what they hope would be potential ransom payment.

The Cognizant attack comes a year after India based IT outsourcing giant Wipro was hit by a "multi-month" ransomware breach that saw hackers target the firm's IT systems and launch attacks on its clients.

Featured Resources

2021 Thales cloud security study

The challenges of cloud data protection and access management in a hybrid and multi cloud world

Free download

IDC agility assessment

The competitive advantage in adaptability

Free Download

Digital transformation insights from CIOs for CIOs

Transformation pilotes, co-pilots, and engineers

Free download

What ITDMs did next - and what they should be doing now

Enable continued collaboration and communication for hybrid workers

Recommended

Senate report slams agencies for poor cyber security
cyber security

Senate report slams agencies for poor cyber security

3 Aug 2021
Most employees put their workplace at risk by taking cyber security shortcuts
cyber security

Most employees put their workplace at risk by taking cyber security shortcuts

27 Jul 2021
61% of organizations say improving security a top priority for 2021
cyber security

61% of organizations say improving security a top priority for 2021

29 Jun 2021
ProtectedBy.AI’s CodeLock blocks malware at source code level
software as a service (SaaS)

ProtectedBy.AI’s CodeLock blocks malware at source code level

9 Jun 2021

Most Popular

What are the pros and cons of AI?
machine learning

What are the pros and cons of AI?

30 Nov 2021
What is single sign-on (SSO)?
single sign-on (SSO)

What is single sign-on (SSO)?

2 Dec 2021
Microsoft seizes domains used by Chinese hacking group
cyber attacks

Microsoft seizes domains used by Chinese hacking group

7 Dec 2021