(c) SANS Internet Storm Center. https://isc.sans.edu Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.


On Tuesday 2017-01-03, BleepingComputer published an article about Merry X-Mas Ransomware [1]. This ransomware was first seen by people like @PolarToffee, @dvk01uk, and @Techhelplistcom. however, Orthodox Christian communities celebrate Christmas on January 7th [3]. Ultimately, such Christmas-themed ransomware isnt odd if its from a Russian actor.

With that in mind, lets review the characteristics of Sunday" />
Show above: Comparison of Merry X-mas ransomware notifications from 2017-01-03 and 2017-01-08.

The malspam

The malspam was a fake notification to appear in court. Email headers indicate the senders address was spoofed, and the email came from a cloudapp.net domain associated with Microsoft.

  • Date/Time: Sunday, 2017-01-08 15:40:24 UTC
  • Received from: rcp-drools.rcp-drools.a10.internal.cloudapp.net
  • Message-Id: [email protected]oudapp.net
  • From: Court Agent
  • Subject:" />
    Show above: Screenshot of the malspam.

    The link from malspam downloaded a zip archive. The zip archive contained a Microsoft Word document with a malicious macro." />
    Show above:" />
    Show above: From zip archive to Word macro.

    2017-01-08, the infected Windows host had a ransom notification with text identical to the message seen on Tuesday 2017-01-03 [1, 2]. Sunday" />
    Show above: Desktop of an infected Windows host.

    The ransom notification was dropped to various directories on the computer as YOUR_FILES_ARE_DEAD.HTA, including the desktop." />
    Show above:" />
    Show above: Registry entry for the ransom notification to appear when logging on.

    em>The traffic

    Traffic remained consistent with last weeks Merry X-Mas Ransomware example. After downloading the zip archive and extracting Word document, I enabled macros. That retrieved the ransomware binary from onion1.host over TCP port 443 as HTTP (not HTTPS). The ransomware was stored as C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming.eXe on the local host and deleted itself after running." />
    Show above:" />
    Show above:" />
    Show above:" />
    Show above: Post-infection traffic sending details on the infected Windows host.

    ors of Compromise (IoCs)

    I submitted a pcap of the infection traffic to VirusTotal to see what alerts should trigger [5]. Two EmergingThreats rules triggered on the callback traffic as MRCR1 Ransomware. MRCR1 is one of the file extensions seen for the encrypted files from last weeks sample." />
    Show above: Suricata and Snort hits on the pcap from VirusTotal.

    A full list of IoCs follow:

    • port 80 - neogenomes.com - GET /court/PlaintNote_12545_copy.zip [initial zip download]
    • port 443 - onion1.host:443 - GET /temper/PGPClient.exe [ransomware binary]
    • port 443 - onion1.pw - POST /blog/index.php [post-infection callback]
    • YOUR_FILES_ARE_DEAD.HTA [ransom notification]
    • @comodosecurity [Telegram POC from ransom notification]
    • [email protected] [email POC from ransom notification]
    • File name: PlaintNote_12545_copy.zip
    • SHA256 hash: 86e98f1ddbb2953a5de8b3d550ac2fb45fd20d1305a12dfebc2ccb6e80717631
    • File description: Zip archive from link in malspam
    • File name: PlaintNote_12545_copy.doc
    • SHA256 hash: 244b4205acb416700bec459c8b36be379c0b7e3d2a21a57c4a121ba95d229bc4
    • File description: Word document with malicious macro
    • File name: C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming.eXe
    • SHA256 hash: 78cc9626bb8d6f9d8ddf8236c197894a86f9d54a294b38c9c0b82744496b3fae
    • File description: Merry X-Mas Ransomware

    Final words

    Malspam with links to malware is a common threat. This is not an unusual method of malware distribution, and its holiday theme also fits the season. So why draw your attention to Merry X-Mas ransomware, you ask?

    Such information emphasizes the ever-present threat of ransomware. It also shows that despite the protective measures an organization might have in place, some people will click their way through warnings and infect their computers. We wouldnt continue to see this type of activity if it wasnt profitable for the criminals involved.

    I trust that most people reading this diary are aware of the threat, and most would not fall for this type of malspam. Furthermore, some organizations already have protective measures in place that prevent these kind of ransomware infections.

    Still, we need to keep an ongoing dialog to promote awareness of this and other ransomware threats. Too many people continue to fall for it.

    Pcap and malware for this diary can be found here.

    Brad Duncan
    brad [at] malware-traffic-analysis.net

    [1] https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/merry-christmas-ransomware-and-its-dev-comodosecurity-not-bringing-holiday-cheer/
    [2] https://myonlinesecurity.co.uk/spoofed-ftc-consumer-complaint-notification/
    [3] http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/orthodox-christmas-when-why-how-russia-celebrate-date-14-january-greek-greece-catholic-church-a7512666.html
    [4] http://futurama.wikia.com/wiki/Robot_Santa_Claus
    [5] https://www.virustotal.com/en/file/eb691d46a05ec1c90be31add563d94692aafef087c6fdd559e8da4378c0364e2/analysis/1483906212/

    (c) SANS Internet Storm Center. https://isc.sans.edu Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.
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