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Bian Lian Ransomware Attacks Another US-Based Target

Bogdan Pătru

By Bogdan Pătru . 7 April 2024

Tech Writer

Alex Popa

Fact-Checked this

Bian Lian ransomware announced another US victim in the form of On Q Financial, LLC. This is a known mortgage company that offers home financing and refinancing options. It’s unclear how devastating Bian Lian’s breach has been.

  • Bian Lian is a known ransomware actor that typically targets low and medium-revenue companies
  • The Bian Lian hackers prioritize stealth and their own security over the prospect of massive financial gains
  • Ransomware attacks have increased considerably in frequency and magnitude over the past year
  • On Q Financial didn’t comment on the attack, and it’s unclear for now whether they’ve decided to negotiate with the hackers

Bian Lian operators initially used the double extortion method, which implied stealing the victim’s data and encrypting their systems on top of that. This way, the victim would be forced to negotiate both the decryption key and the deletion of the data.

However, the hackers recently moved to a standard extortion method, which eliminates the encryption part. Bian Lian only exfiltrates the target data now and blackmailed the victim afterward, threatening to release it publicly.

X showing the BianLian attack on On Q Financial

Whether they will stick to their word is another issue entirely. Cybersecurity experts warn that most ransomware actors do not keep their word, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. The problem is that you have no way of verifying the deletion of the data.

You simply have to take the hackers’ word for it, and it’s easy to see how that would backfire. As experts explain, most ransomware gangs prefer to keep the data for themselves for later use. Others sell it to other cybercriminal organizations.

In turn, this leads to even more breaches later down the line. Which is why cybersecurity specialists recommend embracing a no-negotiation policy, because nothing good can come with paying the ransom.

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How Dangerous is Bian Lian?

As the data shows, Bian Lian is a considerable danger for small and medium corporations. The hackers prefer to stay away from governmental institutions, as well as high-end companies. This tactic decreases the likelihood of them attracting heat.

Which is a wise decision, given that the FBI, along with other law enforcement agencies, are constantly in hot pursuit. Not much time has passed since operation Cronos, which aimed to bring down Lockbit, the most infamous ransomware gang today.

When it comes to the actual methodology, Bian Lian sticks to the tried-and-tested phishing attempts. Very rarely, some victims have reported getting infected when using online services or platforms.

But once the hackers are in, they are very difficult to combat. Even without encryption, Bian Lian will steal the victim’s valuable data and use it as leverage during negotiations.

While you shouldn’t negotiate with the hackers as a golden rule, you still have to face the fallout that comes from them owning your data. This can lead to a lot of problems for you, your company, and your employees and clients.

So, yes, Bian Lian is very dangerous, which is why you should invest in meaningful cybersecurity assets. Collaborating with competent professionals in this sense is the optimal way to go about it for the best results.

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