Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Attacks/Breaches

5/6/2017
08:00 AM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

And Now a Ransomware Tool That Charges Based On Where You Live

Malware is designed to charge more for victims in countries with a higher cost of living, Recorded Future says.

The creators of "Fatboy," a new and somewhat politically incorrectly named ransomware tool that surfaced recently on a Russian crimeware forum, appear to have adopted an interesting economic approach in designing the malware.

It is the first known online extortion product that is designed to automatically change ransom amounts based on the victim's location. Instead of hitting up all victims with a flat ransom amount, Fatboy is programmed to charge more to decrypt data for victims in countries with a higher cost of living, threat intelligence firm Recorded Future said in a blog this week.

The payment scheme is based on the so-called Big Mac Index, an interactive currency comparison tool that The Economist created in 1986 to assess whether international currencies are at their correct relative levels or are undervalued. It basically compares the average price of a Big Mac in the U.S. against prices for the same product in various other countries to determine currency trends.

The tool, which The Economist has said was originally designed as a lighthearted attempt to gauge currency misalignment, has become a global standard for measuring international purchasing power parity.

Fatboy, according to Recorded Future, uses the same index to determine which of its victims get to pay more and which of them get to pay less—at least in relative terms.

The malware is being offered under a ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) model via a Russian forum that is used by cyber criminals.  

"Fatboy and other RaaS products mirror many strategies of the legitimate business world, particularly the necessity to collaborate and tailor products to match the needs of customers," says Diana Granger, junior technical threat analyst at Recorded Future.

Fatboy first surfaced on the Russian cybercrime forum March. Since then the authors of the tool,appear to have made a somewhat modest $5,321 by way of ransomware payments.

An advertiser using the handle "polnowz" has been attempting to get buyers for the tool. Unlike other malware tools that are available under a RaaS model, anyone that signs up for Fatboy will work directly via Jabber with the author of the product instead of a third-party distributor. The additional transparency appears designed to get would-be cyber extortionists to sign up for the service says, Granger says.

As of this week, the efforts appear to have borne little fruit. Fatboy has not yet received any member endorsements or feedback from the forum.

Granger says Recorded Future has no data on usage of Fatboy, nor how much exactly its ransom amounts vary by country. From the standpoint of its core functionality, Fatboy is similar to the many other data encryption ransomware tools in the wild. "The automatic rate adjustment and direct partnership is what differentiate it," she says.

Related stories

 

Jai Vijayan is a seasoned technology reporter with over 20 years of experience in IT trade journalism. He was most recently a Senior Editor at Computerworld, where he covered information security and data privacy issues for the publication. Over the course of his 20-year ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
KateM710
50%
50%
KateM710,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/19/2017 | 8:29:40 AM
Scammers
This ransomware attack has been serious, crippling alot of businesses. Scammers have seen this as an opportunity and they have introduced many fake ransomeware tools that cant do anything like DarkoderCrypt0r. Please be careful and dont fall for such scams! More fake tools listed here https://www.purevpn.com/blog/fake-ransomware-tools/
Commentary
Ransomware Is Not the Problem
Adam Shostack, Consultant, Entrepreneur, Technologist, Game Designer,  6/9/2021
Edge-DRsplash-11-edge-ask-the-experts
How Can I Test the Security of My Home-Office Employees' Routers?
John Bock, Senior Research Scientist,  6/7/2021
News
New Ransomware Group Claiming Connection to REvil Gang Surfaces
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  6/10/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win an Amazon Gift Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: Google's new See No Evil policy......
Current Issue
The State of Cybersecurity Incident Response
In this report learn how enterprises are building their incident response teams and processes, how they research potential compromises, how they respond to new breaches, and what tools and processes they use to remediate problems and improve their cyber defenses for the future.
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-31664
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-18
RIOT-OS 2021.01 before commit 44741ff99f7a71df45420635b238b9c22093647a contains a buffer overflow which could allow attackers to obtain sensitive information.
CVE-2021-33185
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-18
SerenityOS contains a buffer overflow in the set_range test in TestBitmap which could allow attackers to obtain sensitive information.
CVE-2021-33186
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-18
SerenityOS in test-crypto.cpp contains a stack buffer overflow which could allow attackers to obtain sensitive information.
CVE-2021-31272
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-18
SerenityOS before commit 3844e8569689dd476064a0759d704bc64fb3ca2c contains a directory traversal vulnerability in tar/unzip that may lead to command execution or privilege escalation.
CVE-2021-31660
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-18
RIOT-OS 2021.01 before commit 85da504d2dc30188b89f44c3276fc5a25b31251f contains a buffer overflow which could allow attackers to obtain sensitive information.