Sunday, March 19, 2017

Tabula Rosa Systems Security Alert Captain 'Kirk' Ransomware

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March 17, 2017 from

Star Trek-themed Captain 'Kirk' ransomware with Spock decryptor spotted

Star Trek-themed Captain 'Kirk' ransomware with Spock decryptor spotted
A cybercriminal who obviously watches way too much television has gone where many have gone before and rolled out a new malware family called Kirk ransomware.

Kirk's creators did have a sense of humor when putting together their scheme. The malware, which was uncovered by Avast cyber researcher Jakub Kroustek, contains a short list of Star Trek and SciFi references that any TV junkie/hacker would admire. In addition to naming the code after the captain of the USS Enterprise, the decryptor that is supplied once payment is made is dubbed Spock, according to Bleeping Computer.
In addition, there is a reference to a Low Orbital Ion Canon, which not only satisfies the geeks out there, but is also a real type of network stress tool.

There has not yet been any reported incidences of Kirk, which is written in Python, in the wild, but on (mixed metaphor alert) the dark side of the situation the malware has the potential to be dangerous as no decryptor is available, except for the one offered by the criminals. Webroot reverse engineer Eric Klonowski said his firm classified Kirk as malicious on March 7.

Bleeping Computer founder Lawrence Abrams also noted that the cybercriminals are using the Monero digital currency instead of the more popular Bitcoin, which he believes is a first for this type of attack.

Since the Kirk ransomware has not been officially spotted in the wild nor have any victims come forward, Abrams told SC Media, its distribution method is still unknown. However, once in a system it cloaks itself as a Low Orbital Ion Canon stress tool, and uses a fake Low Orbital Ion Canon alert to confuse the victim. The ransomware then executes creating an AES password, which in turn, is encrypted by an embedded RSA-4096 encryption key and stored in the system for later use.

"The Kirk malware demonstrates that ransomware crypto can be effectively implemented in a few lines of code with relatively few weaknesses," Klonowski said, adding that "New flavors of ransomware are nothing new, we've seen ransomware that brands itself as PAC-MAN, Breaking Bad, etc. Generally, these don't proliferate and aren't very serious in the grand scheme of things."

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