Who’s Behind the 8Base Ransomware Web site? – Krebs on Safety

The sufferer shaming web site operated by the cybercriminals behind 8Base — at the moment one of many extra lively ransomware teams — was till earlier right now leaking fairly a bit of knowledge that the crime group most likely didn’t intend to be made public. The leaked knowledge means that a minimum of a few of web site’s code was written by a 36-year-old programmer residing within the capital metropolis of Moldova.

The 8Base ransomware group’s sufferer shaming web site on the darknet.

8Base maintains a darknet web site that’s solely reachable by way of Tor, a freely accessible world anonymity community. The location lists a whole lot of sufferer organizations and corporations — all allegedly hacking victims that refused to pay a ransom to maintain their stolen knowledge from being printed.

The 8Base darknet website additionally has a built-in chat function, presumably in order that 8Base victims can talk and negotiate with their extortionists. This chat function, which runs on the Laravel internet utility framework, works tremendous so long as you’re *sending* data to the positioning (i.e., by making a “POST” request).

Nevertheless, if one had been to attempt to fetch knowledge from the identical chat service (i.e., by making a “GET” request), the web site till fairly just lately generated a particularly verbose error message:

The verbose error message when one tries to tug knowledge from 8Base’s darknet website. Discover the hyperlink on the backside of this picture, which is generated when one hovers over the “View commit” message underneath the “Git” heading.

That error web page revealed the true Web tackle of the Tor hidden service that homes the 8Base web site: 95.216.51[.]74, which based on DomainTools.com is a server in Finland that’s tied to the Germany-based internet hosting big Hetzner.

However that’s not the fascinating half: Scrolling down the prolonged error message, we will see a hyperlink to a personal Gitlab server known as Jcube-group: gitlab[.]com/jcube-group/shoppers/apex/8base-v2. Digging additional into this Gitlab account, we will discover some curious knowledge factors accessible within the JCube Group’s public code repository.

For instance, this “status.php” page, which was dedicated to JCube Group’s Gitlab repository roughly one month in the past, contains code that makes a number of mentions of the time period “KYC” (e.g. KYC_UNVERIFIED, KYC_VERIFIED, and KYC_PENDING).

That is curious as a result of a FAQ on the 8Base darknet website features a part on “particular presents for journalists and reporters,” which says the crime group is open to interviews however that journalists might want to show their id earlier than any interview can happen. The 8base FAQ refers to this vetting course of as “KYC,” which usually stands for “Know Your Buyer.”

“We extremely respect the work of journalists and take into account data to be our precedence,” the 8Base FAQ reads. “We have now a particular program for journalists which incorporates sharing data a couple of hours and even days earlier than it’s formally printed on our information web site and Telegram channel: you would want to undergo a KYC process to use. Journalists and reporters can contact us by way of our PR Telegram channel with any questions.”

The 8Base FAQ (left) and the KYC code in Kolev’s Gitlab account (proper)

The 8Base darknet website additionally has a publicly accessible “admin” login web page, which options a picture of a industrial passenger airplane parked at what seems to be an airport. Subsequent to the airplane picture is a message that reads, “Welcome to 8Base. Admin Login to 8Base dashboard.”

The login web page on the 8Base ransomware group’s darknet web site.

Proper-clicking on the 8Base admin web page and deciding on “View Supply” produces the web page’s HTML code. That code is nearly an identical to a “login.blade.php” page that was authored and dedicated to JCube Group’s Gitlab repository roughly three weeks in the past.

It seems the individual liable for the JCube Group’s code is a 36-year-old developer from Chisinau, Moldova named Andrei Kolev. Mr. Kolev’s LinkedIn page says he’s a full-stack developer at JCube Group, and that he’s at the moment searching for work. The homepage for Jcubegroup[.]com lists an tackle and telephone quantity that Moldovan enterprise data confirm is tied to Mr. Kolev.

The posts on the Twitter account for Mr. Kolev (@andrewkolev) are all written in Russian, and reference a number of now-defunct on-line companies, together with pluginspro[.]ru.

Reached for remark by way of LinkedIn, Mr. Kolev mentioned he had no thought why the 8Base darknet website was pulling code from the “shoppers” listing of his personal JCube Group Gitlab repository, or how the 8Base identify was even included.

“I [don’t have] a clue, I don’t have that undertaking in my repo,” Kolev defined. “They [aren’t] my shoppers. Really we at the moment have simply our personal tasks.”

Mr. Kolev shared a screenshot of his present tasks, however in a short time after that deleted it. Nevertheless, KrebsOnSecurity captured a replica of the picture earlier than it was eliminated:

A screenshot of Mr. Kolev’s present tasks that he shortly deleted.

Inside minutes of explaining why I used to be reaching out to Mr. Kolev and strolling him by way of the method of discovering this connection, the 8Base web site was modified, and the error message that linked to the JCube Group personal Gitlab repository now not appeared. As a substitute, attempting the identical “GET” methodology described above brought about the 8Base web site to return a “405 Technique Not Allowed” error web page:

Mr. Kolev claimed he didn’t know something in regards to the now-removed error web page on 8Base’s website that referenced his personal Gitlab repo, and mentioned he deleted the screenshot from our LinkedIn chat as a result of it contained personal data.

Ransomware teams are identified to remotely rent builders for particular tasks with out disclosing precisely who they’re or how the brand new rent’s code is meant for use, and it’s doable that one among Mr. Kolev’s shoppers is merely a entrance for 8Base. However regardless of 8Base’s assertion that they’re joyful to correspond with journalists, KrebsOnSecurity remains to be ready for a reply from the group by way of their Telegram channel.

The tip in regards to the leaky 8Base web site was supplied by a reader who requested to stay nameless. That reader, a professional safety skilled and researcher who goes by the deal with @htmalgae on Twitter, mentioned it’s probably that whoever developed the 8Base web site inadvertently left it in “growth mode,” which is what brought about the positioning to be so verbose with its error messages.

“If 8Base was working the app in manufacturing mode as a substitute of growth mode, this Tor de-anonymization would have by no means been doable,” @htmalgae mentioned.

A current weblog put up from VMware known as the 8Base ransomware group “a heavy hitter” that has remained comparatively unknown regardless of the large spike in exercise in Summer time of 2023.

“8Base is a Ransomware group that has been lively since March 2022 with a big spike in exercise in June of 2023,” VMware researchers wrote. “Describing themselves as ‘easy pen testers,’ their leak website supplied sufferer particulars by way of Steadily Requested Questions and Guidelines sections in addition to a number of methods to contact them. ”

In accordance with VMware, what’s notably fascinating about 8Base’s communication type is using verbiage that’s strikingly acquainted to a different identified cybercriminal group: RansomHouse.

“The group makes use of encryption paired with ‘name-and-shame’ strategies to compel their victims to pay their ransoms,” VMware researchers wrote. “8Base has an opportunistic sample of compromise with current victims spanning throughout assorted industries. Regardless of the excessive quantity of compromises, the data concerning identities, methodology, and underlying motivation behind these incidents nonetheless stays a thriller.”