Ragnar Locker ransomware attack hides inside virtual machine

Nancy J. Delong

Menace actors designed a new sort of ransomware assault that makes use of virtual machines, Sophos revealed Thursday in a weblog write-up.

Sophos scientists not too long ago detected a Ragnar Locker ransomware assault that “takes protection evasion to a new stage.” According to the write-up, the ransomware variant was deployed within a Windows XP virtual device in buy to hide the destructive code from antimalware detection. The virtual device includes an old variation of the Solar xVM VirtualBox, which is a free of charge, open source hypervisor that was obtained by Oracle when it obtained Solar Microsystems in 2010.

“In the detected assault, the Ragnar Locker actors utilized a GPO job to execute Microsoft Installer (msiexec.exe), passing parameters to obtain and silently put in a 122 MB crafted, unsigned MSI deal from a remote world-wide-web server,” Mark Loman, Sophos’ director of engineering for risk mitigation, wrote in the write-up.

The MSI deal contained Solar xVM VirtualBox variation three..4, which was unveiled August of 2009, and “an picture of a stripped-down variation of the Windows XP SP3 running procedure, named MicroXP v0.82.” In that picture is a 49 KB Ragnar Locker executable file.

“Given that the vrun.exe ransomware application runs within the virtual visitor device, its course of action and behaviors can run unhindered, because they’re out of reach for stability software program on the bodily host device,” Loman wrote.

This was the 1st time Sophos has seen virtual machines utilized for ransomware attacks, Loman explained.

It really is unclear how lots of organizations were being influenced by this modern assault and how common it was. Sophos was unavailable for remark at push time. In the earlier, the Ragnar Locker ransomware group has focused managed assistance providers and utilized their remote access to clients to infect extra organizations.

In other Sophos information, the corporation printed an update Thursday regarding the attacks on Sophos XG Firewalls. Menace actors utilized a personalized Trojan Sophos phone calls “Asnarök” to exploit a zero-day SQL vulnerability in the firewalls, which the seller rapidly patched via a hotfix. Sophos scientists explained the Asnarök attackers tried to bypass the hotfix and deploy ransomware in buyer environments. Even so, Sophos explained it took other techniques to mitigate the risk over and above the hotfix, which prevented the modified attacks.

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