Cybersecurity researchers at Trend Micro have warned of a new ransomware called DarkRadiation. The malware is designed to attack Red Hat / CentOS and Debian Linux distributions. Cybercriminals use Telegram messenger to communicate with the C&C server.
The malware uses AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) symmetric block cipher algorithm with CBC mode to encrypt files in various directories. At this time, the methods used to spread the malware are unknown, and there is no evidence that the ransomware was used in actual attacks.
The information was obtained as a result of an analysis of a set of hacking tools hosted in the infrastructure of an unidentified attacker in the api_attack directory. The api_attack folder contained several versions of DarkRadiation and the SSH worm (downloader.sh) responsible for spreading the malware
The ransomware is under active development, for the purpose of obfuscation it uses the open-source tool node-bash-obfuscate, which allows you to split the code into several fragments, then assign a variable name to each segment and replace the original script with references to variables.
— Mohamed A. Basset (@SymbianSyMoh) June 23, 2021
DarkRadiation checks to see if it was started as root and uses elevated permissions to download and install the Wget, cURL and OpenSSL libraries. The software also periodically collects information about users logged into the Unix system using the “who” command every five seconds. The data is then transferred to a server controlled by the attacker using the Telegram API.
At the last stage of the attack, the malware creates a list of all available users on the compromised system, overwrites existing passwords with megapassword and deletes all shell users, before creating a new user ferrum and password MegPw0rD3 to continue the encryption process.
DarkRadiation also disables all running Docker containers on the infected system and generates a ransom note. According to experts, ransomware adds radioactive characters (.☢) as an extension to the encrypted file.
DarkRadiation contains the install_tools function to download and install the necessary utilities on the infected system if they are not already installed. The worm downloads and installs only the necessary packages for a Linux distribution based on CentOS or RHEL, since it only uses the Yellowdog Updater, Modified (YUM) package manager.
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