cyber security

Akira Ransomware Exploiting Zero-day Flaws For Organization Network Access

The Akira ransomware group, which first appeared in March 2023, has been identified as a serious threat to data security. It encrypts data and demands a ransom for decryption, affecting both Windows and Linux devices.

The group has about 140 organizations as its target. The encryption binary of Akira, like that of many other ransomware, removes volume shadow copies, targets particular file extensions, and ignores files located in particular directories (such as those that include system files).

In particular, the United States of America, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Canada were among the nations from which the gang claimed several victims.

Specifics of Akira’s Recent Operations

Three phases were identified in the attack, according to CERT Intrinsec’s investigation. In the initial stage, Akira affiliates get access to the network by using credentials that have been stolen or by making use of the CVE-2023-20269 vulnerability (affecting Cisco ASA and FTD).

This enables them to perform brute-force attacks on local passwords covertly. By setting up local and domain accounts or installing remote access tools, they create their persistence in the information system. 

Subsequently, affiliates use the Remote Desktop Protocol to travel laterally throughout the infrastructure, gather data, exfiltrate it using Filezilla or WinSCP, and then remove all traces of their activities to evade discovery.

The second phase lasts several days, during which affiliates stay stealthy. They could be analyzing technical data gathered from the information system or examining data that has been exfiltrated.

Akira’s operation timeline

In the final stage, the attackers reappear to establish their final points of persistence, turn off security measures, attempt to destroy backups and erase volume shadow copies before executing their encryption code on the designated servers.

Investigations carried out during Akira operations reveal that affiliates will employ as many practical and legitimate techniques as possible, perhaps to ensure EDR solutions are bypassed.

Attackers attempted to remove Volume Shadow Copies using PowerShell commands and a management console connection to remove VEEAM backups.

“They finally encrypted equipments on the information system, using an Akira encryption binary,” researchers said.

Recommendation:

  • Install a backup solution and regularly test the restoration procedure.
  • Maintain a minimum of one backup version outside the information system.
  • Keep an eye on backup infrastructure access.
Balaji

BALAJI is an Ex-Security Researcher (Threat Research Labs) at Comodo Cybersecurity. Editor-in-Chief & Co-Founder - Cyber Security News & GBHackers On Security.

Recent Posts

Sleepy Pickle Exploit Let Attackers Exploit ML Models And Attack End-Users

Hackers are targeting, attacking, and exploiting ML models. They want to hack into these systems to steal sensitive data, interrupt…

2 days ago

SolarWinds Serv-U Vulnerability Let Attackers Access sensitive files

SolarWinds released a security advisory for addressing a Directory Traversal vulnerability which allows a threat actor to read sensitive files…

2 days ago

Smishing Triad Hackers Attacking Online Banking, E-Commerce AND Payment Systems Customers

Hackers often attack online banking platforms, e-commerce portals, and payment systems for illicit purposes. Resecurity researchers have recently revealed that…

2 days ago

Threat Actor Claiming Leak Of 5 Million Ecuador’s Citizen Database

A threat actor has claimed responsibility for leaking the personal data of 5 million Ecuadorian citizens. The announcement was made…

2 days ago

Ascension Hack Caused By an Employee Who Downloaded a Malicious File

Ascension, a leading healthcare provider, has made significant strides in its investigation and recovery efforts following a recent cybersecurity breach.…

3 days ago

AWS Announced Malware Detection Tool For S3 Buckets

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has announced the general availability of Amazon GuardDuty Malware Protection for Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon…

3 days ago