Domino effect: 5000 attack attempts in 22 countries detected as a result of REvil ransomware campaign
July 2021 by Kaspersky
On July 2, it became known that the REvil ransomware gang perpetrated a large attack against Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and its clients around the world. This led to thousands of companies becoming potential victims of ransomware. At the moment of writing, Kaspersky researchers have already observed over 5000 infection attempts in Europe, North and South America. REvil (aka Sodinokibi) is one of the most prolific ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) operators that first surfaced in 2019, and made numerous headlines in the past few months due to the targets they hit and their record ransomware earnings. In this latest attack, REVil infected a provider of IT Management Software for MSP, affecting multiple companies across the world. The attackers deployed a malicious payload via PowerShell script, which, in turn, was presumably executed through the MSP provider’s software.
This script disabled Microsoft Defender for Endpoint protection features and then decoded a malicious executable, which included a legitimate Microsoft binary, an older version of the Microsoft Defender solution, and a malicious library containing REvil ransomware. Using this combination of components in the loader, the attackers were able to exploit the DLL side-loading technique and attack multiple organizations.
Geography of attempted attacks based on Kaspersky’s telemetry
Using its Threat Intelligence Service, Kaspersky observed more than 5000 attack attempts in 22 countries, with the most affected being Italy (45.2% registered attack attempts), the USA (25.91%), Colombia (14.83%), Germany (3,21%) and Mexico (2.21%).
“Ransomware gangs and their affiliates continue to up their game after high-profile attacks on the Colonial Pipeline and JBS, and many other organizations in different countries since then. This time, REvil operators have carried out a massive attack on MSPs with thousands of managed businesses around the world, infecting them as well,” comments Vladimir Kuskov, Head of Threat Exploration at Kaspersky. “This case once again demonstrates how important it is to implement proper cybersecurity measurements and solutions at all stages – including suppliers and partners.”
Kaspersky protect against this threat and detects it with the following names:
• PDM:Trojan.Win32.Generic (with Behaviour Detection)
To keep organizations protected from modern ransomware attacks, Kaspersky recommends to:
• Use a reliable endpoint security solution, such as Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Business that is powered by exploit prevention, behaviour detection and a remediation engine that is able to roll back malicious actions. KESB also has self-defence mechanisms which can prevent its removal by cybercriminals;
• Not expose remote desktop services (such as RDP) to public networks unless absolutely necessary and always use strong passwords for them.
• Promptly install available patches for commercial VPN solutions providing access for remote employees and acting as gateways in your network.
• Always keep software updated on all the devices you use to prevent ransomware from exploiting vulnerabilities.
• Focus your defence strategy on detecting lateral movements and data exfiltration to the Internet. Pay special attention to the outgoing traffic to detect cybercriminals’ connections. Backup data regularly. Make sure you can quickly access it in an emergency when needed. Use the latest Threat Intelligence information to stay aware of actual TTPs used by threat actors.
• Use solutions like Kaspersky Endpoint Detection and Response and Kaspersky Managed Detection and Response service, which help to identify and stop the attack in its early stages, before attackers reach their final goals.
• Protect the corporate environment and educate employees. Dedicated training courses can help, such as the ones provided in the Kaspersky Automated Security Awareness Platform.