On one side where the organizations are striving hard from recovering from the ongoing COVID-19 phase, on the other side they are struggling to cope up with their security measures for defending themselves from the various types of cyberattacks. Recently, a new targeted cyberattack has infected several organizations in Taiwan with a new ransomware family, which has been named as ColdLock. Recently, Cyble’s researchers detected a big mining company also falling as a victim of this ransomware family. According to the security researchers, this ransomware-type mainly targets databases and email servers for encryption. Along with that, the security researchers seem to find similarities between ColdLock and previously discovered ransomware variants such as Lockergoga, Freezing, and EDA2.
As per the information gathered it indicates that this ransomware started to strike organizations based in Taiwan from the starting of May 2020. To execute this attack cybercriminals infuse the ransomware payload as a .NET executable (as a .DLL file), which is packed/protected using the ConfuserEx packer. It uses PowerShell reflective loading of .NET executables to run the .DLL file. To verify if the ransomware file is running, the hacker runs two checks on it. Firstly, the hacker checks for the presence of %System Root%\ProgramData\readme.tmp, which is used by the ransom note. This check prevents a system from being reinfected by the same threat. Secondly, the hacker would check the system clock. It will only run at or later than 12:10 PM on any given day; if it is earlier, it will sleep for 15 seconds until it is past the said time. Just to ensure the cyberattack to launch successfully, before encrypting the files ColdLock performs certain preliminary routines to terminate multiple services on the system which might be preventing file access. Along with that, the ransomware also takes note of the Windows version running on the system. For instance, if it is running windows 10 then it carries out several windows 10-specific routines such as disabling the windows defender, the push notifications, and the ability to send the malware samples further to Microsoft.
Original Text of ColdLock Ransomware Note Displayed on the Affected System
This ransomware-type has connections to multiple other ransomware families such as its code share similarities with the open-source EDA2 ransomware kit, and it shares a similar method of propagation with networks, reflective injection methods, and internal module architecture. As stated, before that this ransomware has only affected organizations based in Taiwan, but it is seen as fast-spreading and malicious ransomware by our security researchers. It is advised that the organizations should ensure that their security measures are all up to date and efficient in preventing the organization from being cyber struck.
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