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Russian Groups are Plagued by OldGremlin Ransomware Threat

A new gang, OldGremlin actively targeting banks, medical institutions, software developers, and industrial firms, among other targets.

 

The new cyber-crime squad, known as OldGremlin, is actively targeting banks, medical institutions, software developers, and industrial firms, among other targets. The gang differentiates from all other ransomware groups by launching a limited number of campaigns – just under five since early 2021 – which solely target Russian firms and employ proprietary backdoors developed in-house.

OldGremlin has claimed ransoms as large as $3 million from one of its victims, despite being less active, which may indicate the ransomware business is approaching moonlighting. Two phishing attacks that were conducted near the end of March 2022 constitute the most current OldGremlin activities. It might be too early to say how many organizations were attacked, but security experts say roughly one Russian mining corporation is on the list of victims. The adversary did not deviate from its previously observed strategy of exploiting trending news topics to gain initial access. 

As per cybersecurity experts at Singapore-based cybersecurity firm Group-IB, this time OldGremlin scammed a senior auditor at a Russian financial organization, advising that the Visa and Mastercard payment service systems will be suspended due to recent sanctions placed on Russia.

The email directed recipients to a malicious Dropbox document that downloads TinyFluff, a backdoor that opens the Node.js interpreter and grants the attacker remote access to the target system. The email then allowed OldGremlin remote access to the machine via a malicious file that used a backdoor known as "TinyFluff," which the gang upgraded from a prior backdoor known as "TinyNode." The target receives a ransom note once the attacker has gained access to the system and has access to system data. A mining business, according to Group-IB, is one of the possible victims. 

Another well-known ransomware group, NB65, has been trying to frustrate Russian operations, including the alleged theft of 900,000 emails and 4,000 files from the state-owned television and radio broadcasting network VGTRK. In March, the organization exploited released source code from the Conti Ransomware gang – a Russia-linked threat actor — to create distinct ransomware for the first time. 

The researchers can study the directives for these steps of the assault using a traffic sniffer because they are provided in cleartext.
  • Gathering data on the infected system or device. 
  • Collecting information about the drives that are connected.
  • Executing a command in the cmd.exe shell and passing the output to the command and control server (C2) 
  • Receiving information about the system's installed plugins.
  • Obtaining information about files on the system drive's specified folders puts an end to the Node.js interpreter.
  • Before executing the last step of the assault, TinyCrypt/TinyCryptor, the group's proprietary ransomware payload, OldGremlin can spend months within the infiltrated network. 
The gang only ran one phishing effort in 2021, but it was enough to keep them occupied for the entire year as it gave them initial access to a network of various firms. Apart from the target Russian mining company, Group-IB believes that a higher number of OldGremlin victims will be discovered this year as a result of the group's March phishing operation. 
 
The researchers believe OldGremlin has Russian-speaking members based on the evidence they collected and after examining the quality of the phishing emails and decoy papers. They called the group's understanding of the Russian terrain "astonishing." OldGremlin defies the mold by focusing solely on Russian businesses including banks, industrial corporations, medical institutions, and software producers.
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Source Code disclosure vulnerability

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