In the Mario Brothers universe, Mario is a hero, but that "good guy" status doesn't extend to the real world — at least not for victims of a malware campaign that wraps the GandCrab ransomware in a Mario graphic package.
Matthew Rowan, a researcher at Bromium, discovered the campaign in a malware sample he was analyzing. In his blog post detailing the discovery, he shows how threat actors hide their true intentions, why it's a very bad idea to disable software protection mechanisms, and why old encryption techniques like steganography are still useful in the modern era.
The steganography comes into play with heavily obfuscated Microsoft PowerShell commands hidden within the color channels of a picture of Mario in a particularly cool pose. Rowan notes that hiding commands in the image makes it very difficult for a firewall to pick up the threat and apply a standard filter against the malware.
The new campaign is a threat to computer users in Italy, though, like most such campaigns, it could easily be modified by a different criminal to target users in any (or every) geography.
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