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AlphV Ransomware Group Targets Canadian Oil Transmission Operator


The Alphv ransomware group targeted Canadian oil transmission operator Trans-Northern Pipeline.

This revelation came to light through Brett Callow, a threat researcher based in British Columbia, who shared the news on social media.

Canadian Oil Company Loses 190GB of Data

The ransomware group claims to have obtained 190 GB of data from Trans-Northern Pipeline, which they have now made public. In response, Trans-Northern Pipeline released a statement acknowledging a cybersecurity incident that occurred in November 2023, affecting a limited number of internal systems.

They stated that they promptly contained the incident with the assistance of cybersecurity experts and continued to maintain the safety of their pipeline operations.

Despite the breach, Trans-Northern Pipeline asserts that there have been no unusual interruptions to its pipeline operations.

However, they have not disclosed the extent of the data stolen or encrypted, nor have they addressed concerns regarding the potential compromise of employee or customer information.

In addition to Trans-Northern Pipeline, the AlphV ransomware group also claimed The Source, a Canadian electronics retail chain owned by BCE, as a victim. This highlights the widespread impact of ransomware attacks across various sectors.

Government Intervention and Industry Response

The AlphV/BlackCat ransomware group has been under scrutiny by government agencies, with recent actions by the U.S. Justice Department disrupting their operations and seizing their websites.

The debate among cybersecurity experts continues regarding the targeting of ransomware victims. Some argue that victims are specifically targeted, while others suggest that attackers exploit vulnerabilities in applications or compromised passwords.

AlphV operates as a ransomware-as-a-service entity, utilizing affiliates with expertise in breaching corporate networks.

The targeting of critical infrastructure, such as pipelines, for extortion is particularly concerning. The 2021 ransomware attack on the U.S. Colonial Pipeline resulted in operational shutdowns and fuel shortages.

Despite paying a ransom, Colonial Pipeline faced scrutiny from U.S. authorities, highlighting the risks associated with cyber attacks on critical infrastructure.

During a Congressional hearing, it was revealed that hackers gained access to Colonial’s IT system through a single password to a legacy VPN lacking multifactor authentication, underscoring the importance of robust cybersecurity measures.

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