Ragnar Locker vows to leak data if victim contacts the police

Visual representation of ransomware by showing encrypted files on a display
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The Ragnar Locker group, which has hit large companies with ransomware attacks, has warned it will leak victims’ data if they contact the police or FBI.

The hacking group said it would publish full data of victims if they contacted any law enforcement agencies in an announcement on its darknet website.

The ransomware gang said victims hiring "professional negotiators" are making the recovery process worse, as these negotiators often work with law enforcement through data recovery companies, according to Bleeping Computer.

"So from this moment we warn all our clients, if you will hire any recovery company for negotiations or if you will send requests to the police/FBI/investigators, we will consider this as a hostile intent and we will initiate the publication of whole compromised data immediately," a note read on its website.

Ilia Kolochenko, founder of ImmuniWeb, told IT Pro that such would disincentivize many victims from contacting the authorities.

“Nonetheless, in many ransomware cases, law enforcement agencies are of little to no help for the victims being overloaded with pending cases and complex investigations. But hiring external or internal professionals to meticulously investigate the incident is crucial for all victimized companies,” he said.

Chris Sedgwick, director of security operations at cyber security firm Talion, told ITPro the motive behind this announcement is to encourage more victims to pay their ransom demands.


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“However, while this is a serious threat that should not be ignored, it is worth considering how Ragnar Locker will know when a company has contacted law enforcement, especially if they are working behind the scenes?! This seems to be more of a scare technique, designed to cause panic,” Sedgwick said.

Martin Jartelius, CSO at Outpost24, told IT Pro this must be seen as a partial success for the pressure applied after some earlier breaches aroused substantial attention from the US government, where the exerted pressure led to a temporary dismantling of one threat actors’ operations.

“Clearly the group is uncomfortable with such attention, which can only be seen as a positive change. This can’t continue to be a relatively risk-free form of digital international sabotage,” Jartelius said.

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.