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.

Endpoint

12/3/2015
02:30 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Chimera Ransomware Trying To Recruit More Operators From Victim Pool

Malware that first appeared in September is now building a ransomware-as-a-service business.

In a weird twist on Stockholm Syndrome, the Chimera ransomware is taking victims hostage, then recruiting them to be part of the criminal team, according to researchers at Trend Micro's Trend Labs.

Compared to other ransom messages, Chimera's is refreshingly brief, straightforward, and polite: it says "please" twice. What's particularly noteworthy, though is the addition at the bottom:

"Take advantage of our affiliate program! More information in the source code of this file."

The disassembled code does actually contain contact info -- a Bitmessage address through which both parties can have their identities masked and their communication encrypted. From the report:

Peddling ransomware as a service (or RaaS) has some advantages. RaaS lessens the possibility of the illegal activity being traced back to the creators. Selling ransomware as a service allows creators to enjoy some profit without the increased risk of detection. For Chimera, the commission is 50%, a large payoff for lesser effort.

The drawback of the model is that the code itself is less sophisticated -- with a weak command-and-control infrastructure and no obfuscation techniques.

Chimera first appeared on the scene in September, demonstrating another unique tactic -- threatening to publish a victim's files online if payment is not received. The threats, however, might be empty. According to TrendLabs, "our analysis reveals the malware has no capability of siphoning the victim's files to a command-and-control (C&C) server."

It's not uncommon for ransomware to make empty threats. As Engin Kirda, chief architect at LastLine, has told Dark Reading before, some ransomware claims to encrypt files when it can't. Yet, as Michael Sentonas, vice president and chief technology officer of Security Connected for Intel Security, wrote on Dark Reading, "It is not clear if Chimera actually exports your files and can carry out the threat, but if it cannot, the next one will."

Sara Peters is Senior Editor at Dark Reading and formerly the editor-in-chief of Enterprise Efficiency. Prior that she was senior editor for the Computer Security Institute, writing and speaking about virtualization, identity management, cybersecurity law, and a myriad ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Sara Peters
50%
50%
Sara Peters,
User Rank: Author
12/4/2015 | 10:07:23 AM
Re: Jeez...
@whoopty  I've been wondering the same thing -- whether law enforcement could use this recruitment thing against them. The fact that they're using Bitmessage certainly makes it more difficult, but at least it opens another line of communication that wasn't there before.

I'm not a fan of ransomware either. (What you said about it reminded me of the things a detective said about kidnappers in a crime novel I read.) But what I really hate are blackmailers and doxing attackers, so the fact that Chimera is adding doxing to ransomware (or at least threatening to) is particularly upsetting.

Although I have to confess... the sociology behind the wide variety of ransom messages is really fascinating to me.
Whoopty
50%
50%
Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
12/4/2015 | 7:14:31 AM
Jeez...
I really hate ransomware. It's the most malicious of all malware if you ask me. The idea that it would take those precious memories from people and hold them hostage is so gross. 

Still, I wonder if law enforcement or security firms will be able to use the affiliate communications to track down who's behind it?
Small Business Security: 5 Tips on How and Where to Start
Mike Puglia, Chief Strategy Officer at Kaseya,  2/13/2020
Architectural Analysis IDs 78 Specific Risks in Machine-Learning Systems
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  2/13/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
6 Emerging Cyber Threats That Enterprises Face in 2020
This Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at six emerging cyber threats that enterprises could face in 2020. Download your copy today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises Are Developing and Maintaining Secure Applications
How Enterprises Are Developing and Maintaining Secure Applications
The concept of application security is well known, but application security testing and remediation processes remain unbalanced. Most organizations are confident in their approach to AppSec, although others seem to have no approach at all. Read this report to find out more.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-9308
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-20
archive_read_support_format_rar5.c in libarchive before 3.4.2 attempts to unpack a RAR5 file with an invalid or corrupted header (such as a header size of zero), leading to a SIGSEGV or possibly unspecified other impact.
CVE-2019-20479
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-20
A flaw was found in mod_auth_openidc before version 2.4.1. An open redirect issue exists in URLs with a slash and backslash at the beginning.
CVE-2011-2498
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-20
The Linux kernel from v2.3.36 before v2.6.39 allows local unprivileged users to cause a denial of service (memory consumption) by triggering creation of PTE pages.
CVE-2012-2629
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-20
Multiple cross-site request forgery (CSRF) and cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in Axous 1.1.1 and earlier allow remote attackers to hijack the authentication of administrators for requests that (1) add an administrator account via an addnew action to admin/administrators_add.php; or (2) c...
CVE-2014-3484
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-20
Multiple stack-based buffer overflows in the __dn_expand function in network/dn_expand.c in musl libc 1.1x before 1.1.2 and 0.9.13 through 1.0.3 allow remote attackers to (1) have unspecified impact via an invalid name length in a DNS response or (2) cause a denial of service (crash) via an invalid ...