CAD drawings of a radar antenna stolen and then leaked online by criminals were of a military radar system produced by defense contractor Leonardo and fitted to a number of UK, US, and UAE aircraft, The Register can confirm.
The purloined blueprint was dumped on the dark web by the Clop ransomware’n’extortion gang as part of the criminals’ usual modus operandi of compromising computers, exfiltrating valuable documents, encrypting victims’ file systems, and demanding a ransom for the decryption keys and a promise to not publicly leak the stolen materials.
The Register can reveal Clop got its hands on at least one drawing of a Leonardo Seaspray 7500E radar antenna, and divulged on a Tor-hidden website a rendering of the hardware in some detail – without its external covers usually used in promotional material.
The drawing was among a cache of files obtained by the Clop crew from Canadian aerospace manufacturer Bombardier, whose Global 6000 business jet forms the basis of a number of military conversions, as we reported yesterday.
The CAD blueprint was similar in detail and orientation to a picture of a Seaspray 7500E antenna in this academic paper about radar technology (see figure 8). A number of people with knowledge of military radar systems and antennas looked at and recognized the device in the blueprint leaked by the Clop gang. The Register has chosen not to reproduce this particular piece of commercially and potentially militarily sensitive information.
The Seaspray 7500E active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar is fitted to Britain’s Royal Air Force’s Sentinel surveillance aircraft, as well as US Coastguard C-130 Hercules aircraft. Its main use is air-to-ground surveillance, target detection, and classification, though newer models are capable of air-to-air use.
It is also mounted on new intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) aircraft being sold to the United Arab Emirates.
The military value of the information may seem obvious but for one key detail: in this recent tranche of theft and extortion from military and aerospace companies, all the stolen information appears to date from the early 2010s, perhaps relating to the age of the appliance from which the information was stolen.
Clop starting to gallop
The Clop ransomware gang are tracked by FireEye under the catchy names UNC2546, UNC2582, and Fin11. Yesterday the infosec biz said in a blog post that UNC2582 is the extortionist side of the operation (aka Clop, as they call themselves on their Tor .onion site), with UNC2546 being the thieves who broke into unpatched Accellion file-transfer appliances containing the sensitive information.
Clop ransomware gang leaks online what looks like stolen Bombardier blueprints of GlobalEye radar snoop jet
Accellion FTA, said FireEye, “is a 20-year-old product nearing end of life.” Its maker has both patched Accellion to stop miscreants raiding vulnerable installations of the software for corporate secrets – and there are have been a string of raids on organizations that deployed the tech – and urged customers to migrate to a newer product “built on an entirely different code base.” The attacks were possible through a web shell that used an SQL injection vuln in the Accellion product.
Ransomware gang specialist Brett Callow, of infosec outfit Emsisoft, told The Register: “If information has significant commercial value, ransomware groups likely sell it rather than publish it. In fact, some groups actually state that’s what they do. Which, perhaps, makes it somewhat peculiar that Clop chose to publish this particular information.”
Leonardo did not respond to a request for comment.
As this article was published, the criminal extortionists appeared to be leaking more stolen files – their usual tactic when marks don’t pay up. Credit is due to Bombardier (and Leonardo) for not giving in to the crooks’ threats, we reckon. ®