Companies in Spain are being targeted by a ransomware group that uses phishing emails to distribute LockBit Locker ransomware. According to a recent warning issued by the Central Cybercrime Unit of the Policía Nacional, the campaign has a very high level of sophistication and has so far targeted architecture companies; however, the campaign may be expanded to target other sectors.

LockBit is a ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) operation where affiliates are recruited to conduct ransomware attacks in exchange for a cut of any ransoms they generate. LockBit is one of the most active ransomware groups and was the most deployed ransomware variant in 2022. The LockBit Locker group conducting this campaign claims to be affiliated with the notorious LockBit group; however, those claims have yet to be verified. What is known is that this is a highly capable group that conducts sophisticated attacks targeting specific industry sectors. The lures and communications used in these attacks are very difficult to distinguish from genuine communications from legitimate companies.

The group appears to have adopted tactics used by business email compromise (BEC) threat actors who build trust with the victim over several emails. An initial communication is sent to a company and the threat actor then engages in conversations over several emails to make it appear that the firm is engaging with a legitimate company that is seeking their services.

The Policía Nacional described one of the attacks, which saw the initial email sent from the non-existent domain, The threat actor claimed to be a photography company looking for a quote from architecture firms for a renovation of their premises. The targeted company responded to the initial email, then the threat actor exchanged several more messages before proposing a date to hold a meeting to finalize the budget. As a prerequisite, documents were sent via email that contained specifications for the proposed renovation to allow the architecture form to provide an accurate quote. The archive file attached to the email contained a shortcut file that executes a malicious Python script, which establishes persistence and executes the LockBit Locker payload to encrypt files. A ransom demand is then dropped on the encrypted device, payment of which is required to recover files.

Ransomware groups are constantly changing their tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) which is why it is so important to provide ongoing security awareness training to the workforce. This campaign is especially concerning because of the effort the threat actor is putting into the impersonation of a potential customer. Ransomware groups often copy each other’s tactics, and if this campaign proves to be successful, the same TTPs are likely to be used by other groups.

It is therefore recommended to incorporate these TTPs into your security awareness training and make sure that employees are made aware of this new method of attack. Companies that use TitanHQ’s SpamTitan solution can easily provide training to the workforce on specific tactics through short training modules and incorporate new tactics in their phishing simulations. Phishing simulations can be quickly and easily spun up through the platform in response to changing TTPs and administrators will be able to get instant feedback on the likelihood of employees falling for a campaign. A phishing simulation failure will immediately trigger a training module specific to the threat, ensuring employees are provided with the additional training they need to avoid similar threats in the future.

Call TitanHQ today for more information on the SafeTitan security awareness training and phishing simulation platform and find out how it can significantly improve your company’s security posture.