Microsoft Exchange logo with a padlock behind

This week’s reports illustrate how threat actors view Microsoft Exchange as a prime target to gain initial access to corporate networks to steal data and deploy ransomware.

CrowdStrike researchers reported this week that the Play ransomware operation used a new Microsoft Exchange attack dubbed “OWASSRF” which chained exploits for CVE-2022-41082 and CVE-2022-41080 to gain initial access to corporate networks.

The ransomware operation then used this access to steal data and encrypt devices on the network.

As another example of Microsoft Exchange heavily targeted by threat actors, ProDaft revealed this week that the Hacking group FIN7 has created an auto-attack platform called ‘Checkmarks’ which targets Microsoft Exchange.

This platform automatically scans Exchange servers, exploits vulnerabilities to access them, and then downloads data from the server.

FIN7 would then assess the company to determine if it was valuable enough to deploy ransomware.

Details of victims on FIN7’s Checkmarks platform
Source: Pro Daft

TrendMicro also confirmed this week our September report that a Conti cell known as Zeon rebranded as Royal Ransomware.

Other reports this week highlighted various ransomware operations:

Contributors and those who provided new ransomware information and stories this week include: @BleepinComputer, @FourBytes, @billtoulas, @DanielGallagher, @demonslay335, @struppigel, @jorntvdw, @LawrenceAbrams, @malwhunterteam, @VK_Intel, @PolarToffee, @fwosar, @Ionut_Ilascu, @Seifreed, @malwareforme, @serghei, @IBMSecurity, @PRODAFT, @CrowdStrike, @LabsSentinel, @Fortinet, @zscaler, @TrendMicroand @pcrisk.

December 19, 2022

Play ransomware claims attack on German hotel chain H-Hotels

The Play ransomware gang has claimed responsibility for a cyberattack on H-Hotels (h-hotels.com) that resulted in communication outages for the company.

How Reveton Ransomware-as-a-Service Changed Cybersecurity

In 2012, Reveton ransomware appeared. It is believed to be the first ever Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) operation. Since then, RaaS has enabled gangs with basic technical skills to launch indiscriminate attacks. Today, almost anyone can create highly effective malware campaigns.

December 20, 2022

Ransomware gang uses new Microsoft Exchange exploit to breach servers

Play ransomware threat actors are using a new exploit chain that bypasses ProxyNotShell URL rewrite mitigations to achieve Remote Code Execution (RCE) on vulnerable servers through Outlook Web Access (OWA ).

Nokoyawa Ransomware: Rust or Collapse

The Nokoyawa ransomware was discovered in February 2022, sharing code with another ransomware family known as Karma. The lineage of Nokoyawa ransomware can further be traced back to Nemty ransomware. Original version of Nokoyawa ransomware was written in C programming language and file encryption used asymmetric elliptic curve cryptography (ECC) with SECT233R1 (aka NIST B-233) curve using open library Tiny-ECDH source combined with one Salsa20 symmetric key per file. . Nokoyawa ransomware 2.0 still uses Salsa20 for symmetric encryption, but the elliptical curve has been replaced by Curve25519.

New STOP ransomware variants

Risk found new STOP ransomware variants that add the .isal or .isza expansions.

December 21, 2022

Conti Team One Splinter Group resurfaces as Royal Ransomware with callback phishing attacks

Royal ransomware may have first been observed by researchers around September 2022, but it got the cyber criminals behind it: dubbed it Zeon ransomware, until they renamed it Royal ransomware.

New HardBit 2.0 ransomware

PCrisk found HardBit 2.0 ransomware which adds the .hardbit2 extension and removes ransom notes named How to restore your .txt files.

New variant of STOP ransomware

PCrisk has found a new STOP ransomware variant that adds the .iswr extension.

December 22, 2022

Vice Society ransomware group moves to new custom encryptor

The Vice Society ransomware operation switched to using custom ransomware encryption that implements a strong hybrid encryption scheme based on NTRUEncrypt and ChaCha20-Poly1305.

FIN7 Hackers Create Auto-Attack Platform to Breach Exchange Servers

Notorious hacking group FIN7 uses an automated attack system that exploits Microsoft Exchange and SQL injection vulnerabilities to breach corporate networks, steal data, and select targets for ransomware attacks based on financial size .

Ransomware Roundup – Play Ransomware

Play is a relative newcomer to ransomware gaming, having first been detected in June 2022. In this report, Play refers to both the group that develops and distributes it and the name of the ransomware executable. Like many other carriers in this space, Play has adopted the double extortion methodology of encrypting endpoints and/or other valuable infrastructure within an organization and then threatening to leak data exfiltrated from those machines on the Internet if a ransom is not paid.

It’s all for this week ! Hope everyone is having a great holiday and we will be back after the new year!


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