The sufferer shaming web site operated by the cybercriminals behind 8Base — at the moment one of many extra lively ransomware teams — was till earlier in the present day leaking fairly a bit of data that the crime group in all probability didn’t intend to be made public. The leaked information means that at the very least a few of web site’s code was written by a 36-year-old programmer residing within the capital metropolis of Moldova.
8Base maintains a darknet web site that’s solely reachable through Tor, a freely accessible international anonymity community. The positioning lists a whole lot of sufferer organizations and firms — all allegedly hacking victims that refused to pay a ransom to maintain their stolen information from being revealed.
The 8Base darknet website 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 internet software framework, works fantastic so long as you might be *sending* info to the positioning (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 not too long ago generated a particularly verbose error message:
That error web page revealed the true Web handle of the Tor hidden service that homes the 8Base web site: 95.216.51[.]74, which in response to 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 are able to see a hyperlink to a personal Gitlab server known as Jcube-group: gitlab[.]com/jcube-group/purchasers/apex/8base-v2. Digging additional into this Gitlab account, we are able to discover some curious information factors accessible within the JCube Group’s public code repository.
For instance, this “standing.php” web 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 website features a part on “particular affords 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 take into account info to be our precedence,” the 8Base FAQ reads. “We’ve a particular program for journalists which incorporates sharing info just a few 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 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 photograph is a message that reads, “Welcome to 8Base. Admin Login to 8Base dashboard.”
Proper-clicking on the 8Base admin web page and deciding on “View Supply” produces the web page’s HTML code. That code is just about an identical to a “login.blade.php” web page that was authored and dedicated to JCube Group’s Gitlab repository roughly three weeks in the past.
It seems the particular person chargeable for the JCube Group’s code is a 36-year-old developer from Chisinau, Moldova named Andrei Kolev. Mr. Kolev’s LinkedIn web page says he’s a full-stack developer at JCube Group, and that he’s at the moment on the lookout for work. The homepage for Jcubegroup[.]com lists an handle and telephone quantity that Moldovan enterprise information affirm 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 concept why the 8Base darknet website was pulling code from the “purchasers” listing of his personal JCube Group Gitlab repository, or how the 8Base title was even included.
“I [don’t have] a clue, I don’t have that mission in my repo,” Kolev defined. “They [aren’t] my purchasers. 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:
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 personal Gitlab repository not appeared. As a substitute, making an attempt the identical “GET” technique described above triggered 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 website that referenced his personal Gitlab repo, and stated he deleted the screenshot from our LinkedIn chat as a result of it contained personal info.
Ransomware teams are recognized 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 potential that certainly one of Mr. Kolev’s purchasers is merely a entrance for 8Base. However regardless of 8Base’s assertion that they’re comfortable 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 supplied by a reader who requested to stay nameless. That reader, a authentic safety skilled and researcher who goes by the deal with @htmalgae on Twitter, stated it’s probably that whoever developed the 8Base web site inadvertently left it in “improvement mode,” which is what triggered the positioning to be so verbose with its error messages.
“If 8Base was working the app in manufacturing mode as an alternative of improvement mode, this Tor de-anonymization would have by no means been potential,” @htmalgae stated.
A latest weblog publish 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 season of 2023.
“8Base is a Ransomware group that has been lively since March 2022 with a major spike in exercise in June of 2023,” VMware researchers wrote. “Describing themselves as ‘easy pen testers,’ their leak website supplied 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 notably fascinating about 8Base’s communication fashion is using verbiage that’s strikingly acquainted to a different recognized 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 latest 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.”