Ransomware collective claims to have hacked NASA IT contractor

The DopplePaymer ransomware group has breached a digital transformation company that boasts high-profile clients including US government agencies such as NASA and the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA).

The collective claims to have breached the networks of Digital Management, LLC (DMI), which offers services including AI and machine learning, cloud computing, digital marketing, IoT and mobile device management.

Although there is little detail around the infiltration, DopplePaymer has published a sample of archive files - seen by IT Pro - as proof, alongside a jovial message congratulating NASA and SpaceX for the recent rocket launch.

These clues, alongside a rudimentary analysis of a sample of the documents, suggest the group has deliberately targeted files associated with DMI’s work with NASA. The seized material includes invoices, forecasts, and various HR documentation including information about staff. Some of the information contained in the files date back to 2013.

“We congratulate Space-X & NASA with successful launch,” the blog post said. “But as for NASA, their partners again don't care about the data…”

DopplePaymer also published a list of 2,583 workstations and enterprise servers it had allegedly compromised, with details published including configurations, DNS hostnames and the operating systems run.

The operators of DopplePaymer have recently followed the practice of other known hacking groups in publishing stolen material on a publicly-available site in order to shame victims that haven’t paid a ransom.

The tactic, which is deployed by the likes of Maze and Sodinokibi, involves effectively blackmailing victims to pay ransoms using the threat of publishing stolen material, which can potentially expose companies to bad press, fines and action by data regulators.


IT Pro 20/20: How regulation is shaping innovation

The fifth issue of IT Pro 20/20 looks at how new rules are forcing companies to change the way they do business


DopplePaymer is a ransomware that targets enterprise systems, compromising corporate networks to gain access to admin credentials. The ransomware is then deployed across a system to encrypt all devices.

Alongside DMI, DopplePaymer claims to have recently breached the systems of Siegel Egg Co, a US-based distributor of egg, dairy and bakery ingredients, as well as transportation and logistics company Wolverine Freight System.

NASA was previously under the spotlight for cyber security gaps last year, when a report published in June 2019 detailed how an unsecured and unauthorised Raspberry Pi device was responsible for a security breach at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

The breach saw hackers target a NASA employee’s Raspberry Pi microcomputer, which was not authorised to connect with the JPL network, in order to seize 500MB of data from one of its major mission systems.

Keumars Afifi-Sabet

Keumars Afifi-Sabet is a writer and editor that specialises in public sector, cyber security, and cloud computing. He first joined ITPro as a staff writer in April 2018 and eventually became its Features Editor. Although a regular contributor to other tech sites in the past, these days you will find Keumars on LiveScience, where he runs its Technology section.