Search This Blog

Showing posts with label WastedLocker. Show all posts

NRA Reacts to Allegations of a Ransomware Campaign

 

Last year, the National Rifle Association — champion of gun-toting maniacs worldwide, admitted it was hacked by cybercriminals. The organization's political action committee (PAC) confirmed the attack in a filing to the Federal Election Commission on Friday. 

Last October, a ransomware group known as "Grief" boasted to the digital underworld about hacking into the gun lobby's networks and stealing critical internal papers. It released screenshots of documents it claimed to be stolen during the event. The NRA did not confirm or deny it had been hacked at the time. 

"The National Rifle Association does not talk about its physical or electronic security. The NRA, on the other hand, takes exceptional precautions to safeguard information about its members, funders, and operations, and is extremely cautious in doing so." Andrew Arulanandam, managing director of NRA Public Affairs. 

The NRA was added as a new victim on the ransomware gang's data site today, along with pictures of Excel spreadsheets revealing US tax information and transaction amounts. The threat actors also published a 2.7 MB archive called 'National Grants.zip,' which comprises bogus NRA grant applications. After Grief claimed it obtained 13 files supposedly from the NRA's databases, security researchers began posting about the breach on Wednesday. According to an analysis of the documents supplied, it included records from a recent NRA board meeting as well as grant documents. If the NRA did not pay an undisclosed ransom, it threatened to release more files. 

The Grief ransomware group is believed to be linked to Evil Corp, a Russian hacking group. Evil Corp has been active since 2009 and has been involved in a variety of destructive cyber activities, including the spread of the Dridex trojan, which was used to steal online banking credentials and money. 

In 2017, the hacking gang published BitPaymer, ransomware which was later renamed DoppelPaymer in 2019. The US Department of Justice charged members of the Evil Corp with stealing more than $100 million and adding the cyber group to the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanction list after years of attacking US interests. 

Soon after, the US Treasury cautioned ransomware negotiators may face civil penalties if anyone helped gangs on the blacklisted list get ransom payments. To avoid US sanctions, Evil Corp has been spreading new ransomware strains under different identities on a regular basis since then.WastedLocker, Hades, Phoenix CryptoLocker, PayLoadBin, and, quite recently, the Macaw Locker are among the ransomware families.

NRA members should take precautions to protect themselves from any penalties which may occur as a result of this breach, according to Paul Bischoff, a privacy advocate at Comparitech. With the Grief ransomware group emerging, security researchers believe it is another version of DoppelPaymer due to the code similarities. Because Grief is related to Evil Corp, ransomware negotiators are unlikely to allow ransom payments unless the victim first obtains OFAC certification.

WastedLocker ransomware uses a sophisticated trick by abusing Windows features to avoid detection


WastedLocker has been in the highlights for a successful attack on wearable tech and smartwatch manufacturer Garmin and was paid around 10 million for a decryption key. The ransomware is rumored to be working for the Russian Hacking group Evil Corp, a notorious hacking crew with numerous high profile attacks in their resume.


But the security researchers at Sophos discovered how the ransomware was using the inner workings of Windows to avoid detection by anti-ransomware tools and the method they say is quite ingenious and sophisticated.

 "That's really sophisticated stuff, you're digging way down into the things that only the people who wrote the internals of Windows should have a concept of, how the mechanisms might work and how they can confuse security tools and anti-ransomware detection," Chester Wisniewski, a principal research scientist at Sophos said.
How WastedLocker uses Windows Cache to hide itself 

Usually, anti-ransomware softwares monitor Operating System files for any suspicious behavior like an unknown process performing various functions like opening a file, writing to it, and then closing the file - it will trigger behavior detection and catch any malicious file. But WastedLocker, unlike other traditional ransomware stores the files on Windows Cache and operates from that file and not the original.

 Windows cache to speed up processes, stores commonly used files in it so as when the system requires a command, it first checks for the file in the cache and load it from there rather than the drive making the operation much faster.

 This ransomware opens a file in the Cache, read it there and close the original file. The software will now encrypt the file stored on the cache and not the original. When many changes are done on the file, the file becomes "dirty" and Windows Cache updates the original file with the changes. Since all these commands are done by a legitimate source and Windows itself - it tricks the detection software into believing the process is a system originated and legit thereby bypassing exposure.

 This ability to go undetected makes WastedLocker the most lethal ransomware we have seen yet.