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

7/10/2019
04:05 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

New Ransomware Targets QNAP's Network-Attached Storage Devices

More than 19,000 systems in the US are potentially at risk from eCh0raix.

Researchers at Anomali have spotted a new ransomware strain that is targeting users of QNAP Systems' network-attached storage (NAS) devices.

The operators of the malware appear to be gaining access to the devices either by brute-forcing weak credentials or by exploiting known vulnerabilities in them. However, the exact infection vector remains unclear for the moment, the security vendor said in an advisory released Wednesday.

The ransomware, dubbed eCh0raix, seems designed for targeted attacks and not just for mass distribution. Hard-coded encryption keys in some samples of the malware that Anomali analyzed appeared to have unique decryption keys associated with them, meaning the same decryptor would not work for all victims.

Taiwan-based QNAP is a relatively major player in the NAS market worldwide.

"We have seen a fully 'offline' version and a version that reaches out to the C2 server to fetch the bitcoin wallet and public key before it starts," says Joakim Kennedy, threat intelligence manager at Anomali.

The online version alerts its command-and-control server when it starts and finishes encrypting files on an infected device. However, the information that is sent back to the C2 server does not contain any tracking data that would reveal the identity of the victim to the attacker.

The offline version, on the other hand, has the encryption information embedded in the malware and seems compiled for specific targets. The hard-coded public key in these samples is used to encrypt the AES key that encrypts and decrypts the files, Kennedy says.

eCh0raix is the latest example of ransomware being used in targeted attacks. Numerous security vendors have reported a substantial decline in general ransomware activity in the last few months. However, at the same time, there has been a sharp increase in attacks targeting enterprise organizations.

In its "2019 Internet Security Threat Report," Symantec noted ransomware infections on endpoints dropping by 20% in 2018 compared with the year before — the first drop in volume since 2013. Significantly, though, 81% of all ransomware infections last year involved enterprises — a sharp reversal from a few years ago when consumers were the primary targets.

Poorly Protected Systems
With eCh0raix, the threat actor behind it is targeting QNAP NAS devices that people use for backups and file storage purposes. Such devices typically do not run antivirus or anti-malware products, which means eCH0raix is able to run on them with little risk of being detected. The samples that Anomali analyzed were detected by just two or three anti-malware tools on VirusTotal, Anomali said.

It's unclear if the operators of eCh0raix are targeting older QNAP devices or more recent ones, but it is likely they are scanning the Internet for accessible devices. Based on Anomali's own Internet-wide scans, there appears to be currently over 19,000 publicly facing QNAP devices in the US. It's unclear how many of these devices are deployed in enterprise organizations, Kennedy says.

What makes the malware interesting is that it is targeting NAS devices, Kennedy notes. Besides having relatively little protection, such devices are usually used to store important files and backups especially in enterprise settings. Therefore, NAS devices present a potentially lucrative target for ransomware authors, he says. 

Some victims of the malware have reported seeing a high number of failed login attempts just before being infected, suggesting a brute-force credential attack. Others have reported their systems as not being fully patched, suggesting the attackers may be exploiting vulnerabilities on QNAP NAS devices.

From a technical standpoint, eCh0raix is a fairly basic ransomware tool written in the Go programming language. Before the malware executes, it kills off several processes on the infected machine and looks for certain files to avoid, such as /boot/, /proc/, /sys/, /run/, and /dev/, Anomali said. It then looks for and encrypts all data, image, media, and memory dump-related files on the system.

The malware is another reminder for enterprises to lock down all their Internet-facing assets, Kennedy says. "Organizations should perform asset management and ensure that only necessary devices are publicly facing," he says. "Strong login credentials should be used and systems should be kept updated with the latest patches to ensure that exploitation is less likely."

Related Content:

Black Hat USA returns to Las Vegas with hands-on technical Trainings, cutting-edge Briefings, Arsenal open-source tool demonstrations, top-tier security solutions, and service providers in the Business Hall. Click for information on the conference and to register.

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
Commentary
How SolarWinds Busted Up Our Assumptions About Code Signing
Dr. Jethro Beekman, Technical Director,  3/3/2021
News
'ObliqueRAT' Now Hides Behind Images on Compromised Websites
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  3/2/2021
News
Attackers Turn Struggling Software Projects Into Trojan Horses
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  2/26/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win an Amazon Gift Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
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-2019-18629
PUBLISHED: 2021-03-04
Xerox AltaLink B8045/B8055/B8065/B8075/B8090 and C8030/C8035/C8045/C8055/C8070 multifunction printers with software releases before 101.00x.099.28200 allow an attacker to execute an unwanted binary during a exploited clone install. This requires creating a clone file and signing that file with a com...
CVE-2019-18628
PUBLISHED: 2021-03-04
Xerox AltaLink B8045/B8055/B8065/B8075/B8090 and C8030/C8035/C8045/C8055/C8070 multifunction printers with software releases before 101.00x.099.28200 allow a user with administrative privileges to turn off data encryption on the device, thus leaving it open to potential cryptographic information dis...
CVE-2021-21331
PUBLISHED: 2021-03-03
The Java client for the Datadog API before version 1.0.0-beta.9 has a local information disclosure of sensitive information downloaded via the API using the API Client. The Datadog API is executed on a unix-like system with multiple users. The API is used to download a file containing sensitive info...
CVE-2021-27940
PUBLISHED: 2021-03-03
resources/public/js/orchestrator.js in openark orchestrator before 3.2.4 allows XSS via the orchestrator-msg parameter.
CVE-2021-21312
PUBLISHED: 2021-03-03
GLPI is open source software which stands for Gestionnaire Libre de Parc Informatique and it is a Free Asset and IT Management Software package. In GLPI before verison 9.5.4, there is a vulnerability within the document upload function (Home > Management > Documents > Add, or /front/documen...