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'Luna Moth' Group Ransoms Data Without the Ransomware

Unsophisticated campaigns use off-the-shelf RATs and other tools to exfiltrate data and demand a ransom to keep it private.

A little social engineering and commercially available remote administration tools (RATs) and other software are all the new Luna Moth ransom group has needed to infiltrate victims' systems and extort payments.

The threat group is essentially pulling off ransom attacks without the ransomware, according to researchers at Sygnia, who today published their findings on Luna Moth.

With co-opted branding from Zoho Masterclass and Duolingo, Luna Moth launches a classic phishing campaign to compromise victim devices and exfiltrate any available data. Phishing emails request a payment for a subscription and offer a PDF attachment with a cell phone number to call for more information. When the victim calls to discuss the invoice, the call is answered by the threat actor, who will try to trick the victim into installing Atera, a widely available RAT, giving the attackers full device control.

The researchers observed Luna Moth abusing other off-the-shelf remote administration tools including Splashtop, Syncro, and AnyDesk for device takeover. In addition to RATs, commercially available tools like SoftPerfect Network Scanner, SharpShares, and Rclone were used to access and exfiltrate data, the researchers added.

"The tools are stored on compromised machines under false names masquerading as legitimate binaries," Sygnia said it in its report on Luna Moth. "These tools, in addition to the RATs, provide the threat actors with the means to conduct basic reconnaissance activities, access additional available assets, and exfiltrate data from compromised networks."

Editors' Choice
Haris Pylarinos, Founder and CEO, Hack The Box
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer, Dark Reading