HomeLatest UpdatesRansomware Roundup – Abyss Locker

Ransomware Roundup – Abyss Locker


On a bi-weekly basis, FortiGuard Labs gathers data on ransomware variants of interest that have been gaining traction within our datasets and the OSINT community. The Ransomware Roundup report aims to provide readers with brief insights into the evolving ransomware landscape and the Fortinet solutions that protect against those variants.

This edition of the Ransomware Roundup covers the Abyss Locker (AbyssLocker) ransomware.

Affected platforms: Microsoft Windows, Linux
Impacted parties: Microsoft Windows and Linux Users
Impact: Steals and encrypts victims’ files and demands ransom for file decryption and not releasing the stolen data.
Severity level: High

Abyss Locker Ransomware Overview

Although the first Abyss Locker sample was submitted to a publicly available file scanning service in July of 2023, the first variant of the ransomware may date back further as the ransomware is based on the HelloKitty ransomware source code. A version 1 variant of the Abyss Locker ransomware targeting Windows systems was discovered in early January 2024, followed by version 2 for Windows later that month. (We were unable to locate version 1 for Linux.) We review both the Linux and Windows variants in this week’s roundup.

The Abyss Locker threat actor steals victims’ data before deploying and running its ransomware malware for file encryption. The ransomware is also capable of deleting Volume Shadow Copies and system backups.

Infection Vector

Information on the infection vector used by the Abyss Locker ransomware threat actor is unavailable. However, it is not likely to differ significantly from other ransomware groups.

Victimology

The Abyss Locker ransomware samples were submitted to a publicly available file scanning service from a variety of regions, including Europe, North America, South America, and Asia.

Attack Method

Windows Version

The Windows version of the Abyss Locker ransomware version 1 performs the following actions:

It stops the following services:

MSSQLServerADHelper100

MSSQL$ISARS

MSSQL$MSFW

SQLAgent$ISARS

SQLAgent$MSFW

SQLBrowser

ReportServer$ISARS

SQLWriter

WinDefend

mr2kserv

MSExchangeADTopology

MSExchangeFBA

MSExchangeIS

MSExchangeSA

ShadowProtectSvc

SPAdminV4

SPTimerV4

SPTraceV4

SPUserCodeV4

SPWriterV4

SPSearch4

IISADMIN

firebirdguardiandefaultinstance

ibmiasrw

QBCFMonitorService

QBVSS

QBPOSDBServiceV12

IBM Domino Server (CProgramFilesIBMDominodata)

IBM Domino Diagnostics (CProgramFilesIBMDomino)

Simply Accounting Database Connection Manager

QuickBooksDB1

QuickBooksDB2

QuickBooksDB3

QuickBooksDB4

QuickBooksDB5wrapper

DefWatch

ccEvtMgr

ccSetMgr

SavRoam

Sqlservr

sqlagent

sqladhlp

Culserver

RTVscan

sqlbrowser

SQLADHLP

QBIDPService

Intuit.QuickBooks.FCS

msmdsrv

tomcat6

zhudongfangyu

vmware – usbarbitator64

vmware – converter

dbsrv12

dbeng8

MSSQL$MICROSOFT##WID

MSSQL$VEEAMSQL2012

SQLAgent$VEEAMSQL2012

FishbowlMySQ

MySQL57

MSSQL$KAV_CS_ADMIN_KIT

SQLAgent$KAV_CS_ADMIN_KIT

msftesql – Exchange

MSSQL$MICROSOFT##SSEE

MSSQL$SBSMONITORING

MSSQL$SHAREPOINT

MSSQLFDLauncher$SBSMONITORING

MSSQLFDLauncher$SHAREPOINT

SQLAgent$SBSMONITORING

SQLAgent$SHAREPOINT

QBFCService

YooBackup

YooIT

svc$

MSSQL

MSSQL$

memtas

mepocs

sophos

veeam

backup

bedbg

PDVFSService

BackupExecVSSProvider

BackupExecAgentAccelerator

BackupExecAgentBrowser

BackupExecDiveciMediaService

BackupExecJobEngine

BackupExecManagementService

BackupExecRPCService

MVArmor

MVarmor64

stc_raw_agent

VSNAPVSS

VeeamTransportSvc

VeeamDeploymentService

VeeamNFSSvc

AcronisAgent

ARSM

AcrSch2Svc

CASAD2DWebSvc

CAARCUpdateSvc

WSBExchange

MSExchange

MSExchange$

GxVss

GxBlr

GxFWD

GxCVD

GxCIMgr

 

 

It then terminates the following processes:

360doctor.exe

360se.exe

ADExplorer.exe

ADExplorer64.exe

ADExplorer64a.exe

Adobe CEF.exe

Adobe Desktop Service.exe

AdobeCollabSync.exe

AdobeIPCBroker.exe

AutodeskDesktopApp.exe

Autoruns.exe

Autoruns64.exe

Autoruns64a.exe

Autorunsc.exe

Autorunsc64.exe

Autorunsc64a.exe

AvastUI.exe

BrCcUxSys.exe

BrCtrlCntr.exe

CNTAoSMgr.exe

CagService.exe

CoreSync.exe

Creative Cloud.exe

Culture.exe

Defwatch.exe

DellSystemDetect.exe

EnterpriseClient.exe

GDscan.exe

GWCtlSrv.exe

GlassWire.exe

Helper.exe

InputPersonalization.exe

MsDtSrvr.exe

MsDtsSrvr.exe

MsMpEng.exe

ONENOTEM.exe

PccNTMon.exe

ProcessHacker.exe

Procexp.exe

Procexp64.exe

QBDBMgr.exe

QBDBMgrN.exe

QBIDPService.exe

QBW32.exe

RAgui.exe

RTVscan.exe

Raccine.exe

RaccineElevatedCfg.exe

RaccineSettings.exe

Raccine_x86.exe

RdrCEF.exe

ReportingServicesService.exe

SQLAGENT.EXE

Simply.SystemTrayIcon.exe

SimplyConnectionManager.exe

Sqlservr.exe, Ssms.exe

Sysmon.exe

Sysmon64.exe

SystemExplorer.exe

SystemExplorerService.exe

SystemExplorerService64.exe

TMBMSRV.exe

TeamViewer.exe

TeamViewer_Service.exe

TitanV, Ssms.exe

TmCCSF.exe

TmListen.exe

TmPfw.exe

TmProxy.exe

Totalcmd.exe

Totalcmd64.exe

VeeamDeploymentSvc.exe

WRSA.exe

WireShark.exe

ZhuDongFangYu.exe

acwebbrowser.exe

agntsvc.exe

avp.exe

avz.exe

axlbridge.exe

bedbh.exe

benetns.exe

bengien.exe

beserver.exe

dbeng50.exe

dbsnmp.exe

dumpcap.exe

egui.exe

encsvc.exe

excel.exe

fbguard.exe

fbserver.exe

fdhost.exe

fdlauncher.exe

firefox.exe

httpd.exe

infopath.exe

isqlplussvc.exe

j0gnjko1.exe

java.exe

msaccess.exe

msftesql.exe

msmdsrv.exe

mspub.exe

mydesktopqos.exe

mydesktopservice.exe

mysqld.exe

node.exe

notepad++.exe

notepad.exe

ntrtscan.exe

ocautoupds.exe

ocomm.exe

ocssd.exe

onenote.exe

oracle.exe

outlook.exe

pg_ctl.exe

postgres.exe

powerpnt.exe

procexp64a.exe

mon.exe

proc, procmon64.exe

procmon64a.exe

pvlsvr.exe

qbupdate.exe

raw_agent_svc.exe

sam.exe

sqbcoreservice.exe

sql.exe

sqlbrowser.exe

sqlceip.exe

sqlmangr.exe

sqlservr.exe

sqlwriter.exe

steam.exe

supervise.exe

synctime.exe

tbirdconfig.exe

tcpview.exe

tcpview64.exe

tcpview64a.exe

tdsskiller.exe

thebat.exe

thunderbird.exe

tomcat6.exe

tv_w32.exe

tv_x64.exe

visio.exe

vsnapvss.exe

vxmon.exe

wdswfsafe.exe

winword.exe

wordpad.exe

wsa_service.exe

wxServer.exe

wxServerView.exe

xfssvccon.exe

 

 

The ransomware uses the following commands to delete Volume Shadow Copies:

  • vssadmin.exe  delete shadows /all /quiet
  • wmic  SHADOWCOPY DELETE

It runs the following commands to set the boot status policy:

  • bcdedit  / set{ default } recoveryenabled No
    (Disable Automatic Repair)
  • bcdedit  / set{ default } bootstatuspolicy IgnoreAllFailures
    (Ignore all boot failures and start Windows normally)

The Abyss Locker ransomware encrypts files on compromised machines and adds a “.abyss” extension to the encrypted files. The Abyss Locker version 1 variant for Windows adds a random five-letter extension instead of “.abyss.”

The ransomware drops a ransom note labeled “WhatHappened.txt.”

The TOR site used for ransom negotiations was not accessible at the time of our investigation.

It then replaces the desktop wallpaper with its own, which contains a ransom message:

However, the following file encryption exception applies to the Abyss Locker ransomware:

It skips encrypting files with the following extensions:

.Abyss

.386

.cmd

.ani

.adv

.msi

.msp

.com

.nls

.ocx

.mpa

.cpl

.mod

.hta

.prf

.rtp

.rpd

.bin

.hlp

.shs

.drv

.wpx

.bat

.rom

.msc

.spl

.msu

.ics

.key

.exe

.dllv

.lnk

.icov

.sys

.cur

.idx

.ini

.reg

.mp3

.mp4

.apk

.ttf

.otf

.fon

.fnt

.dmp

.tmp

.pif

.wav

.wma

.dmg

.iso

.app

.ipa

.xex

.wad

.icns

.lock

.theme

.diagcfg

.blf

.diagcab

.diagpkg

.msstyles

.gadget

.woff

.part

.sfcache

.winmd

 

 

 

It also skips encrypting the following files:

work.log

autorun.inf

boot.ini

bootfont.bin

bootsect.bak

bootmgr

bootmgr.efi

bootmgfw.efi

desktop.ini

iconcache.db

ntldr

ntuser

dat

ntuser.dat.log

ntuser.ini

thumbs.db

!CryptoLockerDetectionDONT-DELETE!.jpg

WhatHappened.txt

 

 

In addition, it avoids encrypting files in the following folders:

Boot

Windows

Windows.old

$Windows.~bt

$windows.~ws

windows nt

msbuild

microsoft

perflog

Microsoft – Cloud

Computers

Apps & Gaming

microsoft shared

common files

windows defender

windowspowershell

windows security

usoshared

windowsapp

windows journal

windows photo viewer

$Recycle.Bin

All Users

Program Files

Program Files (x86)

system volume information

msocache

Tor Browser

Internet Explorer

Google

Opera

Opera Software

Mozilla

Mozilla Firefox

#recycle

 

Our analysis of Abyss Locker ransomware version 2, which appeared in late January 2024, found no differences from version 1 in terms of functionality. The only differences we could find are the ransom message (including the message on the replaced wallpaper), which clearly states that it’s version 2, and the TOR address used for ransom negotiation.

The TOR site used by this version of Abyss Locker ransomware for ransom negotiation was still accessible at the time of our investigation.

Linux Version

This ransomware variant runs the following run commands:

  • esxcli vm process list
    – (get list of running VMs)
  • esxcli vm process kill -t=soft -w=[ID of VM]
    – (try to kill VMs gracefully)
  • esxcli vm process kill -t=hard -w=[ID of VM]
    – (if the previous command fails, try to immediately shutdown the VMs)
  • esxcli vm process kill -t=force -w=[ID of VM]
    – (if the previous command fails,forcefully kill the VMs as a last resort)

The ransomware then encrypts files on the compromised machines and adds a “.crypt” extension to the encrypted files.

It then creates files with a “.README_TO_RESTORE” extension, which is a ransom note.

It avoids encrypting files in the following directories:

/boot

/dev

/etc

/lost+found

/proc

/run

/usr/bin

/usr/include

/usr/lib

/usr/lib32

/usr/lib64

/usr/sbin

/sys

/usr/libexec

/usr/share

/var/lib

It also avoids encrypting files with the following extensions:

.vmdk

.vmsd

.vmsn

.crypt

.README_TO_RESTORE

.tmp

.a

.so

.la

 

 

 

Data Leak Site

Currently, the Abyss Locker ransomware threat actor does not appear to have a TOR site that exposes the victim’s name and allows others to view the stolen data, although BleepingComputer previously reported such a leak site in mid-2023. However, the threat actor does offer a ransom negotiation site on TOR.

The ransom is set low for businesses and high for consumers ($282,380 in this case), making it difficult to determine who is being targeted.

Fortinet Protections

The Abyss Locker ransomware described in this report are detected and blocked by FortiGuard Antivirus as:

  • W64/Rook.B!tr.ransom
  • W64/Filecoder_Rook.B!tr
  • W64/Filecoder_Rook.B!tr.ransom
  • Linux/Filecoder_HelloKitty.A!tr

FortiGate, FortiMail, FortiClient, and FortiEDR support the FortiGuard AntiVirus service. The FortiGuard AntiVirus engine is a part of each of those solutions. As a result, customers who have these products with up-to-date protections are protected.

IOCs

Abyss Locker Ransomware File IOCs

SHA2

Note

72310e31280b7e90ebc9a32cb33674060a3587663c0334daef76c2ae2cc2a462

Abyss Locker v2 (Linux)

3fd080ef4cc5fbf8bf0e8736af00af973d5e41c105b4cd69522a0a3c34c96b6d

Abyss Locker v2 (Windows)

9243bdcbe30fbd430a841a623e9e1bcc894e4fdc136d46e702a94dad4b10dfdc

Abyss Locker v1 (Windows)

0763e887924f6c7afad58e7675ecfe34ab615f4bd8f569759b1c33f0b6d08c64

Abyss Locker v1 (Windows)

dee2af08e1f5bb89e7bad79fae5c39c71ff089083d65da1c03c7a4c051fabae0

Abyss Locker v1 (Windows)

e6537d30d66727c5a306dc291f02ceb9d2b48bffe89dd5eff7aa2d22e28b6d7c

Abyss Locker v1 (Windows)

1d04d9a8eeed0e1371afed06dcc7300c7b8ca341fe2d4d777191a26dabac3596

Abyss Locker v1 (Windows)

1a31b8e23ccc7933c442d88523210c89cebd2c199d9ebb88b3d16eacbefe4120

Abyss Locker v1 (Windows)

25ce2fec4cd164a93dee5d00ab547ebe47a4b713cced567ab9aca4a7080afcb7

Abyss Locker v1 (Windows)

b524773160f3cb3bfb96e7704ef31a986a179395d40a578edce8257862cafe5f

Abyss Locker v1 (Windows)

362a16c5e86f13700bdf2d58f6c0ab26e289b6a5c10ad2769f3412ec0b2da711

Abyss Locker v1 (Windows)

e5417c7a24aa6f952170e9dfcfdf044c2a7259a03a7683c3ddb72512ad0cd5c7

Abyss Locker v1 (Windows)

056220ff4204783d8cc8e596b3fc463a2e6b130db08ec923f17c9a78aa2032da

Abyss Locker v1 (Windows)

877c8a1c391e21727b2cdb2f87c7b0b37fb7be1d8dd2d941f5c20b30eb65ee97

Abyss Locker v1 (Windows)

2e42b9ded573e97c095e45dad0bdd2a2d6a0a99e4f7242695054217e2bba6829

Abyss Locker v1 (Windows)

FortiGuard Labs Guidance

Due to the ease of disruption, damage to daily operations, potential impact on an organization’s reputation, and the unwanted destruction or release of personally identifiable information (PII), etc., it is vital to keep all AV and IPS signatures up to date.

Since the majority of ransomware is delivered via phishing, organizations should consider leveraging Fortinet solutions designed to train users to understand and detect phishing threats:

The FortiPhish Phishing Simulation Service uses real-world simulations to help organizations test user awareness and vigilance to phishing threats and to train and reinforce proper practices when users encounter targeted phishing attacks.

Our FREE Fortinet Certified Fundamentals (FCF) in Cybersecurity training. The training is designed to help end users learn about today’s threat landscape and will introduce basic cybersecurity concepts and technology.

Organizations will need to make foundational changes to the frequency, location, and security of their data backups to effectively deal with the evolving and rapidly expanding risk of ransomware. When coupled with digital supply chain compromise and a workforce telecommuting into the network, there is a real risk that attacks can come from anywhere. Cloud-based security solutions, such as SASE, to protect off-network devices; advanced endpoint security, such as EDR (endpoint detection and response) solutions that can disrupt malware mid-attack; and Zero Trust Access and network segmentation strategies that restrict access to applications and resources based on policy and context, should all be investigated to minimize risk and to reduce the impact of a successful ransomware attack.

As part of the industry’s leading fully integrated Security Fabric, delivering native synergy and automation across your security ecosystem, Fortinet also provides an extensive portfolio of technology and human-based as-a-service offerings. These services are powered by our global FortiGuard team of seasoned cybersecurity experts.

FortiRecon is a SaaS based Digital Risk Prevention Service backed by cybersecurity experts to provide unrivaled threat intelligence on the latest threat actor activity across the dark web, providing a rich understanding of threat actors’ motivations and TTPs. The service can detect evidence of attacks in progress allowing customers to rapidly respond to and shut down active threats.

Best Practices Include Not Paying a Ransom

Organizations such as CISA, NCSC, the FBI, and HHS caution ransomware victims against paying a ransom partly because the payment does not guarantee that files will be recovered. According to a US Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) advisory, ransom payments may also embolden adversaries to target additional organizations, encourage other criminal actors to distribute ransomware, and/or fund illicit activities that could potentially be illegal. For organizations and individuals affected by ransomware, the FBI has a Ransomware Complaint page where victims can submit samples of ransomware activity via their Internet Crimes Complaint Center (IC3).

How Fortinet Can Help

FortiGuard Labs’ Emergency Incident Response Service provides rapid and effective response when an incident is detected. Our Incident Readiness Subscription Service provides tools and guidance to help you better prepare for a cyber incident through readiness assessments, IR playbook development, and IR playbook testing (tabletop exercises).

Additionally, FortiRecon Digital Risk Protection (DRP) is a SaaS-based service that provides a view of what adversaries are seeing, doing, and planning to help you counter attacks at the reconnaissance phase and significantly reduce the risk, time, and cost of later-stage threat mitigation.



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