Security Market Segment LS
Tuesday, 08 May 2018 07:49

New SynAck ransomware uses Process Doppelgänging technique

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A new variant of the SynAck ransomware that infects Windows systems has been spotted by researchers from Russian security firm Kaspersky Lab who say it appears to be targeted malware as attacks have only been observed in the US, Kuwait, Germany and Iran.

SynAck has been around since September 2017 but the new variant has some added functions which make it able to operate below the radar.

It uses the Process Doppelgänging technique, basically a way in which malicious code is disguised as a legitimate Windows process. The technique was demonstrated at the Black Hat Europe security conference in December 2017 by the firm enSilo.

In describing the technique, enSilo said: "(It) allows bypassing real-time file scanning of all tested AV and NGAV products on Microsoft Windows starting from Windows Vista."

Kaspersky researchers Anton Ivanov, Fedor Sinitsyn and Orkhan Mamedoc said they had first spotted the new SynAck variant in April.

synack big

They said the ransomware used Process Doppelgänging to avoid being detected by security software.

Additionally, the new variant was compiled with additional code in order to make the task of decompilation and reverse engineering more difficult.

On infected systems, the ransomware at times adds custom text to the Windows log-on screen (screenshot above).

Screenshot: courtesy Kaspersky Lab


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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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