back to article Good Grief! Ransomware gang has only gone and pwned the NRA – or so it claims

Grief ransomware gang took to a dark portal website where it typically publishes the data of victims that haven't paid up, to identify its latest target: the National Rifle Association (NRA). The ransomware gang, believed by the US Department of the Treasury to be a rebranded version of Russia-based Evil Corp, posted 13 …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "the cybergang at arms is under US financial sanctions"

    So, caught between a rock and a hard place, are we ?

    The NRA being one of, if not the most harmful "associations" that has ever been created, I am amused.

    You take extraordinary measures ? And you're "very vigilant" ?

    Pro tip : having armed guards next to your servers is not going to help.

    1. macjules

      Re: "the cybergang at arms is under US financial sanctions"

      "I'll give you my website when you pry it from my cold, dead server"

    2. Robert 22

      Re: "the cybergang at arms is under US financial sanctions"

      "Pro tip : having armed guards next to your servers is not going to help."

      But firing a sufficient number of bullets into the servers will keep the data safe from hackers.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge

        Re: "the cybergang at arms is under US financial sanctions"

        I would rather aim at the hackers themselves...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "the cybergang at arms is under US financial sanctions"

        Having done so before the attack would have, I assume they've extracted what they want by now.

    3. Plest Silver badge

      Re: "the cybergang at arms is under US financial sanctions"

      I will add that this is the same bunch who took guns, that is automatic weapons, along to COVID anti-mask protests. What you gonna do there bub, shoot the disease with your gun when it appears?!

      I offer my learned friends Pearl Jam's track Glorified G, the lyrics...

      "Got a gun, fact I got two!

      That's OK man 'cos I love God.

      Glorified version of a pellet gun.

      Feels so manly, when armed."

      I rest my case.

  2. NoneSuch Silver badge

    Ummmm, no...

    "However, the NRA takes extraordinary measures to protect information regarding its members, donors, and operations – and is vigilant in doing so.”

    Carries as much weight as the Facebook privacy pledge.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Ummmm, no...

      It depends on what they mean by "extraordinary". Perhaps a few members will go looking for the the gang to take some extraordinary measures if/when they find them.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge

        Re: Ummmm, no...

        yeah exactly what _I_ was thinking.

        Ransoming the NRA, even from half way around the world, is probably NOT a good idea, like teasing the lion or scaring the elephant. This is a group of people who strongly believe in self-defense and (if they're like me) RETALIATION. With weapons if necessary. Or lawyers wielded as weapons. Or, as I would put it, "Nothing is too good for our new special friends" (kinda like Charles Bronson in the Lethal Weapon series).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Ummmm, no...

          Nutters in other words. While a dozen fat bald guys with AR-15's might be scary in downtown Minnesota, they will be just something else to ransom when they get off the plane in Dushanbe or Boujdour, while they'd go straight to the nearest prison in St Petersburg or Shenzhen.

        2. the Jim bloke

          Re: Ummmm, no...

          Charles Bronson was the guy from the Death Wish movies. I have a vague memory he had some role with the NRA.. Spokesman? Talking head?

          Mel Gibson was the guy from the Lethal Weapon movies.

          neither have the same credibility now they had when those movies were blockbusters.

          Time moves on.

          1. willyslick

            Re: Ummmm, no...

            Charlton Heston was formerly president of the NRA - perhaps you are confusing him with Charles Bronson?

  3. devin3782
    Thumb Up


    Maybe they could target that organisation created by that failed sci-fi writer next.

    1. WolfFan

      Elron was a _successful_ writer, and not just of science fiction. Name another writer who founded a religion worth billions… by taking a bet from an editor that he could create a religion and have it last more than a decade? The religion is his greatest writing achievement. It was brilliant. Volcanoes. Assorted Boeing products. Aliens. A really irae deus.

      I wish that I could fail as badly as he did.

      1. NoneSuch Silver badge

        And that legacy ruined zero lives along the way, right? Right?

        BTW, where is Shelley Miscavige?

        1. James O'Shea

          Only those idiot enough to believe. Suckers should not be allowed to keep their money.

      2. Outski

        Wasn't it a bet with Heinlein rather than an editor?

        "Sure, writing pulp fiction might make you a coupla million, but if you want to make real money, start a religion"

        1. James O'Shea

          It was with John W. Campbell, who was egged on by Robert Heinlein. Both Heinlein and Hubbard wrote for Campbell. The three of them were at a table at a WorldCon together, and were not particularly sober; Heinlein, being a sailor, held his liquor better than the other two and decided to have some fun. Hubbard was drunk enough to agree.That Hubbard was one of Campbell's writers, by the way, is another sign that Hubbard wasn't a 'failed' writer. Failed writers got rejected from Astounding/Analog.

          1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

            Indeed. And I seem to recall that Heinlein's own invented religion - from Stranger in a Strange Land - acquired a few adherents of its own. Though not having been there, I can't really comment.

  4. chivo243 Silver badge

    I'm happy for them

    Bankrupt and now being held hostage. Is this Karma?

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: I'm happy for them

      Or is it an inside job, to destroy incriminating evidence?

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'm happy for them

        This makes sense. The New York Attorney General has filed a criminal case against them and is fighting them over document subpoenas.

        This would be a way to destroy the evidence and blame it on the Commies.

        And it's just the sort of devious thinking and misdirection the NRA is known for.

        1. storner

          Re: I'm happy for them

          So the DA should pay the ransom and get all the NRA documents in return? That could be interesting ...

          1. bombastic bob Silver badge

            Re: I'm happy for them

            i wish they would, and then they'd have to drop their (allegedly VEXATIOUS) case because anything collected in this manner would be inadmissible

        2. bombastic bob Silver badge

          Re: I'm happy for them

          And it's just the sort of devious thinking and misdirection the NRA is known for.

          Do you have actual EVIDENCE for that potentially less than accurate claim? Or are you merely trying to pander to an inaccurate perception in a failed attempt at humor?

          Keep in mind the NY attorney general FAILED to go after Cuomo for a very, very, very long time. Other high profile (allegedly politicized) legal issues have been observed over the last few years coming out of their offices (such as actions against Trump - "trumped up" charges, yeah), and (mentioning it again) a COMPLETE FAILURE to do anything about (now former) governor Cuomo's NOW well known exploits they apparently knew about for a long time. Except NOW everybody ELSE knows about it too, and they have to "save face" with some token investigations...

          So, keeping THAT in mind, I would suggest it is VEXATIOUS PROSECUTION, and politically motivated.

  5. james 68

    Thoughts and prayers folks ...

    Thoughts and prayers.

    1. WolfFan

      Re: Thoughts and prayers folks ...

      Bah. You don’t need thoughts and prayers when you have a belt-fed AR.

      1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Thoughts and prayers folks ...

        Which you need when you have 30-50 feral hogs in your yard ...

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge

        Re: Thoughts and prayers folks ...

        you sure an AR rifle can be belt fed? (never heard that before)

        Actually a "Ma Deuce" 0.50 caliber WW2-era machine gun or a helicopter-style minigun would be better... heh heh heh. "Happiness is a belt-fed weapon" (or chain fed, same idea)

        1. James O'Shea

          Re: Thoughts and prayers folks ...

          ARs can be belt-fed. See, for example. and note the date on the site. Belt feeding ARs has been a thing for years now.

        2. WolfFan

          Re: Thoughts and prayers folks ...

          AR type weapons have had belt feeds since 1963. Eugene Stoner, who designed the AR-15, designed the Stoner Weapon System around the 5.56mm cartridge; SWSs were used by the SEALs and the Marines in Vietnam. (The Marines didn’t use very many SWSs, but the ones which they did use were very effective.) AR-15s have a lot of commonality with SWSs, and parts, including the receiver, can be swapped out. It is easy, though not cheap to put a belt feed into an AR. Why anyone not an extreme gun nut would want one is another question entirely.

          When I was a lot younger I used to read the early (first two dozen or so, last I looked there were around 200) Mack Bolan books, and the authors of the series really liked SWSs. I stopped reading them about the time that m’man Mack used a pistol as a sniper gun. I see that many people seem to have had a higher tolerance for nonsense. In any case, Mack was always fiddling with Stoner guns. I just checked, there are 631 Mack Bolan books. 631. There are a lot of guys who like repetitive gun porn out there…

          1. khjohansen

            Re: "pistol as a sniper gun.."

            - would that be the Manurhin MR 73 "GIGN special" ;D


  6. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    What we never hear about

    It would be very helpful if we heard how these ransomware infections were administered - most of the time these days it's done by sending the target lots of emails that they think they must open and read, but we never hear how this is being done, only that it "worked" - one factor that I see is that weather makes us a target. We had a cold front go through yesterday with only a couple of inches of rain and a few tornadoes but our virus deliveries went up about 800% locally ... tons of neworder.pdf.exe files, but if the NRA were a target then they probably started getting emails offering to "provide" details of Biden's sexual corruption and Chinese share ownership.

    It might help everyone if the infection attempt methods were documented, not just the results.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What we never hear about

      To be fair...

      Any conservative organization would have to disable their email filtering... or they would be unable to function...

      How else would they keep up to date with 'Alternative Facts' from the right wing media shart bubble in the form of:

      FW:FW:FW: Biden secretly Obama's gimp at Satanic Atheist Facist Communist Socialist Orgy

      So it was just a matter of time to pw0nag3

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: What we never hear about

      sending the target lots of emails that they think they must open and read

      I have been getting a LOT of those lately. Fake inquiries for purchasing products, fake "our check did not get through" requests for banking info, LOTS of fake mail from my e-mail domain admin (I own the domain, I _AM_ the admin) telling me my mailbox is full or my pasword expires (etc.) and giving me a link to some phishing site to "fix" it, yotta yotta yotta. sometimes 15 or 20 per DAY, lately. It's pretty much a PLAGUE now.

      Maybe it's a GOOD thing they went and made themselves "new special friends" of the NRA...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Man, so if you get ransomed by THESE guys in the US, you're HOSED, because you either lose all your data or the Feds come down on you like a ton of bricks if you pay them off. Nice. Who came up with that logic in the government? Were they under the impression they could send in the military instead of paying them off?

    1. lglethal Silver badge

      I think its more along the lines of if you pay these scum, then they are encouraged to continue to ransomware. If you dont pay them, and no one is allowed to pay them, then there's no money in it, and they'll have to find some other way to make money.

      It's the same reason why your not allowed to/supposed to pay kidnappers. It encourages further kidnappings.

      If the money's not there, then people are going to stop doing it and go and do something else.

      So how about instead of paying the ransom, you spend the money in advance on training users not to get phished, implementing secure builds, and making sure you have working and tested backups, so that if you get hit, the effect is minimal. It works out cheaper for everyone in the long run.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        My 100,000 employee international ICT company checks people's security hygiene be sending phishing test mails from I kid you not.

        1. sten2012

          Do you have to dig through the headers to find that, or is the sender literally

          If the former that's pretty standard, it's not a red team, and it's not designed to fly under the radar, just literally a quick stat gathering on how many perform whatever action (as you said, checking hygiene), usually whitelisted by the incoming mail gateways too.

          Oftentimes how many+who, but can be just how many to see if training is sticking. Anyone digging through headers is already suspicious.

          Apologies if this comes across condescending and I misunderstood, but it seemed like you were saying that's a rubbish practice or something

          If it's the latter then.. Wow. Someone is just looking to get good stats to show how great the training was, lol.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Although phishers (not spearphishers) want to find the stupidest users so good ones deliberately put warning signs in their email, knowing that smart users will spot them.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        *Couch* Ahem...


        Security is not a value add to our shareholders... A dollar not spent on security is a dollar more that can be put toward our shareholders mega yacht...

        Let's not forget who are the real victims here are...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I honestly wouldn't have thought Russian based hacker groups would dare go after an arm of the Russian propaganda machine.

    Wild stuff.

  9. Pirate Dave Silver badge

    Money talks...

    I wonder if any of the released documents detail how much of the annual dues were wasted on LaPierre's opulent lifestyle?

    I've let my membership lapse until they get rid of that gas-bag. Well, the other reason is I'm not happy about how they went after Col. North, but I consider that a side-effect of LaPierre's (lack of) leadership. So until LaPierre is GONE, my money is going to the GoA.

  10. podgerama

    God Dang it BillyBob

    Darn it, we had Bubba and JonnyRay walking patrols round them computerboxes 24-7!

    Perhaps they needed bigger guns?

    I heard the hackers came through that there innernet cable!

    Nuh-uh, we got jimmy playing Call of Duty on one of them, anyone comes through the cables, he shoots them!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Guns don't kill people...

    ...hackers do.

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: Guns don't kill people...

      Goldie Lookin Blockchain?

  12. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Plays into the hand of ...

    .. the NRA. They are being sued by various parties. Evidence of wrongdoing may still be due to be collected by the courts and plantiffs' attorneys. Not to mention where they might have parked all their assets in support of a bankruptcy claim.

    Now it's all gone. Having been erased by teh Russians. And they didn't even have to wear out their document shredders.

    1. ComputerSays_noAbsolutelyNo Silver badge

      Re: Plays into the hand of ...

      maybe the russians drop it all somewhere on the internets for all to see?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Plays into the hand of ...

        "russians drop it all somewhere on the internets for all to see?"

        Useless as evidence in a court case.

    2. Sam 15

      Re: Plays into the hand of ...

      The NRA can fundraise from this.

      "Help us develop cyber-guns and on-line ammo!"

      Anyway, it must have been Antifa who dun it, not the Russians.

  13. Scott Broukell

    So it looks like they rifled through a few files on the servers.

    <mines the one with the ammo clips in the pockets>

    1. AndrueC Silver badge

      I hope they present the information using bullet points. I wouldn't want to shell out for the full report.

      1. SuperGeek

        "I hope they present the information using bullet points. I wouldn't want to shell out for the full report."

        Careful. You might "trigger" more jokes, or was that the "aim" and "scope" all along?

        1. WanderingHaggis

          Be very careful that might be dumb dumb .

  14. trevorde Silver badge

    NRA Response

    Shoot the interwebs!

  15. Ceyarrecks


    seemingly a vast portion of the NRA's members are Republicans,

    which are those same ones whom scream vaguely Biblical principles to justify their actions.(Pharisee, much?)

    Yet having forgotten, or never read to begin with, that which is written: "Vengeance is MINE, sayeth the Lord." or even "The wrath of Humans worketh NOT the Righteousness of God."

    Additionally, their PR statement of "protect information" is quite correctly read as "hide our activities" or rephrased as "Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed."

    funny that,... nothing new under the Sun and all,...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    forts n prayuhs

  17. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

    I misread the headline...

    ...and thought that the NSA had been hit. That would have been beautiful.

    This is still beautiful, though.

  18. Doctor Huh?

    What is the plan here?

    I'm not sure I understand the plan here. This isn't a ransomware attack, so the NRA's computer infrastructure is still functioning.

    Generally, the threat to release documents implies that there is something in the documents that may be illegal or shameful. The NRA's legal woes have been documented, and there are multiple attorneys general from various states looking at the NRA's finances. Perhaps there is something in the stash that would help the case against the organization, but it seems that the organization has already provided plenty of evidence against itself.

    If the plan is to shame the NRA, I fear that the hackers have betrayed their lack of knowledge of the subject. The NRA is the organization that, after each massacre of schoolchildren in the US, mounts a massive press blitz to explain why it is so important that we sacrifice said schoolchildren so that any idiot can assuage his penile inadequacy by owning as many guns as some small countries. The NRA as an organization has no sense of shame.

  19. Jonathon Green

    I like Americans. They’re funny!

    1. Tom 7

      So long as you are out of range.

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