September 27, 2023

The sufferer shaming web site operated by the cybercriminals behind 8Base — presently one of many extra energetic ransomware teams — was till earlier immediately leaking fairly a bit of data that the crime group most likely didn’t intend to be made public. The leaked information means that not less than 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 through Tor, a freely out there world anonymity community. The positioning lists lots of of sufferer organizations and corporations — all allegedly hacking victims that refused to pay a ransom to maintain their stolen information from being revealed.

The 8Base darknet web site additionally has a built-in chat characteristic, presumably in order that 8Base victims can talk and negotiate with their extortionists. This chat characteristic, which runs on the Laravel net software framework, works superb so long as you might be *sending* info to the location (i.e., by making a “POST” request).

Nevertheless, if one have been to attempt to fetch information 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 drag information from 8Base’s darknet web site. 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 deal with of the Tor hidden service that homes the 8Base web site: 95.216.51[.]74, which in response to is a server in Finland that’s tied to the Germany-based internet hosting large Hetzner.

However that’s not the fascinating half: Scrolling down the prolonged error message, we will see a hyperlink to a non-public Gitlab server referred to as Jcube-group: gitlab[.]com/jcube-group/purchasers/apex/8base-v2. Digging additional into this Gitlab account, we will discover some curious information factors out there 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, consists of 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 web site features a part on “particular provides 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 generally stands for “Know Your Buyer.”

“We extremely respect the work of journalists and think about info to be our precedence,” the 8Base FAQ reads. “We’ve a particular program for journalists which incorporates sharing info a couple of hours and even days earlier than it’s formally revealed on our information web site and Telegram channel: you would wish to undergo a KYC process to use. Journalists and reporters can contact us through our PR Telegram channel with any questions.”

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

The 8Base darknet web site additionally has a publicly accessible “admin” login web page, which options a picture of a business passenger aircraft 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 choosing “View Supply” produces the web page’s HTML code. That code is just about similar 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 accountable 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 presently on the lookout for work. The homepage for Jcubegroup[.]com lists an deal with and cellphone 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 through LinkedIn, Mr. Kolev stated he had no thought why the 8Base darknet web site was pulling code from the “purchasers” listing of his non-public JCube Group Gitlab repository, or how the 8Base identify was even included.

“I [don’t have] a clue, I don’t have that venture in my repo,” Kolev defined. “They [aren’t] my purchasers. Truly we presently have simply our personal initiatives.”

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

A screenshot of Mr. Kolev’s present initiatives that he rapidly deleted.

Inside minutes of explaining why I used to be reaching out to Mr. Kolev and strolling him by means of the method of discovering this connection, the 8Base web site was modified, and the error message that linked to the JCube Group non-public Gitlab repository not appeared. As a substitute, attempting the identical “GET” technique described above brought about the 8Base web site to return a “405 Methodology 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 web site that referenced his non-public Gitlab repo, and stated he deleted the screenshot from our LinkedIn chat as a result of it contained non-public info.

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

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

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

A current weblog submit from VMware referred to 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 energetic since March 2022 with a major spike in exercise in June of 2023,” VMware researchers wrote. “Describing themselves as ‘easy pen testers,’ their leak web site offered sufferer particulars by means of Incessantly Requested Questions and Guidelines sections in addition to a number of methods to contact them. ”

In response to VMware, what’s significantly fascinating about 8Base’s communication model 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 different industries. Regardless of the excessive quantity of compromises, the knowledge relating to identities, methodology, and underlying motivation behind these incidents nonetheless stays a thriller.”