Following up on a somewhat atypical strategy to monetize an alleged attack on Tipalti, AlphV updated their leak site post today. It now reads:
We are systematically reaching out to affected clients of Tipalti, the first batch (consisting of organizations with the most data exfiltrated), have been sent communications requesting initial contact. We will immediately leak the data of organizations who share these file lists , samples or notes with their vendor Tipalti.
Samples or file lists have and will be provided to authorized negotiators.
Victims, note that you won’t be outed unless you fail to cooperate.
In light of some confusion yesterday as to what their first post yesterday even meant in terms of strategy (see this thread for various interpretations), DataBreaches reached out to a TA involved in this particular attack to request some clarification from their perspective.
As of this morning, the TA claimed, they have already started attempting to extort some of Tipalti’s clients because “it will make more $ that way.” When DataBreaches followed up by asking, “So you didn’t try Tipalti first at all?” they answered, “They will be reached out to once we extort the clients,” adding, “We know they won’t pay what we want.”
The TA also confirmed DataBreaches’ interpretation yesterday that the absence of cyberinsurance had led them to conclude that they wouldn’t get paid a lot by attempting to extort Tipalti, so they were starting with Tipalti’s clients first.
“We are sadly hitting a wall here,” the TA commented. “Exfil only doesn’t allow for huge payouts.”
DataBreaches has sent an email inquiry to Roblox asking whether they have received any contact request from AlphV and if so, if they have replied. An automatic acknowledgement to the inquiry was received promptly but no substantive reply as yet.
To summarize the situation so far, at least as far as DataBreaches understands it:
- AlphV claims to have exfiltrated more than 265 GB of data from Tipalti, including client data.0 No encryption was involved.
- AlphV publicly announced the attack even though they had not yet contacted Tipalti or any clients to attempt to extort them.
- Following AlphV’s somewhat confusing post, there were public and incorrect claims that Roblox and Twitch were being extorted (even though they hadn’t even been contacted at all) and that Twitter would likely be extorted within a few days (even though the TA had not stated that specific intention).
- Tipalti’s only statements have been that they are investigating the claimed attack. As of yesterday’s statement, they had not detected any data loss or breach of its systems but is not known to DataBreaches if that is still the case.
As of today, the threat actors have not stated what clients they have already reached out to and whether they got any responses.
Claims by people on Twitter that named companies are being extorted or will almost certainly be extorted within days just help the threat actors while possibly harming the clients’ reputations and stock values. As Alexander Leslie eloquently stated:
Don’t let criminals control online narratives.
Amplifying criminal claims without context, analysis, credibility assessments, or confidence language puts potential victims at a disadvantage.
It also contributes to the spread of misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation online.
If left unchecked, unverified criminal claims alone have the potential to do as much harm to brand reputation as a data breach or disruptive attack.
Amplify credible voices, promote counter-messaging, and encourage transparency.
Urge patience and restraint, especially in developing situations.
Share accurate and timely information with the widest possible audience.
If you can provide actionable intelligence or mitigation strategies for defenders — even better.
Some of this burden relies on government, but it is mainly shouldered by independent researchers, journalists, and technology companies.
Update 1 (Dec. 4): DataBreaches had an opportunity to ask the TA this evening if they were currently negotiating with Roblox and Twitch. Their answer was “no.”