KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A federal court case filed this week in Kansas details a conspiracy by North Korean “ransomware actors” that included hacking and defrauding a Kansas medical provider.
According to federal court documents, an agent working on the FBI Kansas City Division’s Cyber Crimes Task Force was made aware around May 4, 2021, that a medical provider in Kansas had been the victim of a ransomware attack.
While the court documents don’t name the medical provider, they do indicate that about a week later, on May 11, the medical provider made a bitcoin payment to a bitcoin address associated with the hackers. Agents believe the value of the cryptocurrency transaction was roughly $100,000.
As agents continued their investigation of the Kansas cyber attack and others during the time period, they became aware of a similar ransomware attack in April 2022 on a Colorado-based medical provider.
The agent who originally investigated the Kansas attack believed the Colorado attack was conducted by the same conspirators.
Earlier this month, the federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency went public with an advisory of the ransomware attacks on medical providers dating back to the Kansas case in May 2021. The advisory referenced “North Korean state-sponsored cyber actors” using a program named Maui.
“Thanks to rapid reporting and cooperation from a victim, the FBI and Justice Department prosecutors have disrupted the activities of a North Korean state-sponsored group deploying ransomware known as ‘Maui,’” Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco said Tuesday at the International Conference on Cyber Security. “Not only did this allow us to recover their ransom payment as well as a ransom paid by previously unknown victims, but we were also able to identify a previously unidentified ransomware strain. The approach used in this case exemplifies how the Department of Justice is attacking malicious cyber activity from all angles to disrupt bad actors and prevent the next victim.”
Federal agents are hoping to seize $500,000.
For jurisdictions that utilize the Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers Tips Hotline, anonymous tips can be made by calling 816-474-TIPS (8477), submitting the tip online or through the free mobile app at P3Tips.com.