An ancient PowerShell ransomware resurfaced to Italian recipients with a vengeance in a spam allocation. This ransomware is called the FTCode and is fully PowerShell-based so that the computer can be encrypted without any other parts downloaded.
Since 26 September, fresh ransomware named FTCode, which was distributed via spam, has been reported [ 1, 2,3, 4].
Safety company Certego, who conducted an FTCode ransomware assessment, says that this is effectively the same version as Sophos found in 2013.
“Even if the name could seem new, the first appearance of this threat was in 2013, as stated by Sophos. Then, almost nothing was seen for about 6 years. Strange, but we have to remember that technology changes. Windows XP was widespread at that time and, by default, Powershell is installed only from Windows 7 on. That can be a problem because actors need to install powershell itself before running ransomware. Also, cyber security was not mature as it is nowadays so, for instance, classic Zeus-like bankers were more effective.”
Certego speculates that this ransomware might not have been successful in 2013 because PowerShell is not so common as it is now and other kinds of malware are more lucrative to use.
Distributed via spam
This ransomware is spread via spam with malicious Word documents aimed at Italian consumers.
Security scientist JamesWT informed that he saw spam variations pretending to be invoices, document scans, and work resumes.
The following is, for example, a spam email pretending to be a Fattura or an invoice to be paid by the victim.
If the attachment is opened, a Word paper is displayed saying that the content has to be enabled to proceed.
Malicious Word document
Once content is activated, malicious macros will run to download and install the JasperLoader malware downloader and then encrypt the laptop with a PowerShell command.
Executing the PowerShell Command
Script drops backdoor and then computer encrypts
According to Certego, JasperLoader is the first malware element installed. JasperLoader will be used on the computer of the victim to download and install other malware.
Portion of script that installs JasperLoader
After the VBS script has been downloaded, a planned task, called the Windows ApplicationService, and a shortcut in the Startup folder are configured.
JasperLoader Scheduled Task
The PowerShell script will then move to the ransomware area, checking whether the file C:\Users\Public\OracleKit\w00log03.tmp exists. Michael Gillespie said this file is a killswitch . If it is available, the script does not encrypt the computer.
If the file doesn’t exist, a encryption key will be generated and sent to the server command and control of the attacker. This implies you can recover the encryption key if your traffic is monitored during encryption.
The script will now run several commands that will remove Shadow Volume Copies, Windows backups, and deactivate Windows restoration.
bcdedit /set absjbjsct bootstatuspolicy ignoreallfailures bcdedit /set absjbjsct recoveryenabled no wbadmin delete catalog -quiet wbadmin delete systemstatebackup wbadmin delete backup vssadmin delete shadows /all /quiet
The script begins to encrypt documents on the computer now that the computer is ready.
Ransomware portion of the PowerShell script
The. FTCODE extortion is appended to encrypted documents when it is encrypted, as seen below.
Encrypted FTCODE files
The ransomware also creates ransom notes in each folder named READ ME NOW.htm. When this ransomware was tested , ransom notes were not created correctly and 0 byte files were left.
The ransom note below from a Certego assessment shows a connection to a Tor payment site that provides directions on how to buy a decryptor at the present cost of $500 USD.
FTCode Ransom Note
When victims visit the Tor payment location, they will receive a bitcoin address and a ransom amount to be sent to buy the decrypter.
FTCode Tor Payment Site
Gillespie unfortunately analyzed the encryption algorithm and saw no weaknesses to enable victims to free recovery of their files.
Ransom note text:
All your files was encrypted! Your personal ID: [id] Your personal KEY: [key] 1. Download Tor browser - https://www.torproject.org/download/ 2. Install Tor browser 3. Open Tor Browser 4. Open link in TOR browser: http://qvo5sd7p5yazwbrgioky7rdu4vslxrcaeruhjr7ztn3t2pihp56ewlqd.onion/?guid=[id] 5. Follow the instructions on this page ***** Warning***** Do not rename files Do not try to back your data using third-party software, it may cause permanent data loss(If you do not believe us, and still try to - make copies of all files so that we can help you if third-party software harms them) As evidence, we can for free back one file Decoders of other users is not suitable to back your files - encryption key is created on your computer when the program is launched - it is unique.