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New DragonForce Ransomware Emerged From The Leaked LOCKBIT Builder | #ransomware | #cybercrime


Hackers exploit LOCKBIT Builder due to its versatility in creating customized ransomware payloads which enable them to tailor attacks to specific targets and evade detection by security measures.

DragonForce Ransomware emerged in November 2023, employing double extortion tactics – data theft followed by encryption, with victims’ data leaked if the ransom is unpaid. 

Though sharing the name with a Malaysian hacktivist group, the origins of the DragonForce Ransomware are unclear. 

Cyble’s cybersecurity researchers’ analysis recently revealed that the DragonForce’s binary is based on the leaked LOCKBIT Black builder, allowing customization like encryption modes, filename obfuscation, process impersonation, file & folder exclusions, and ransom note templating.

DragonForce Leak Site (Source – Cyble)

DragonForce LOCKBIT Builder

Over 25 global victims have been disclosed so far, and the group leverages the leaked LOCKBIT infrastructure for operational efficiency while maintaining anonymity through the rebranded “DragonForce” identity.

After analyzing the code, it was found that DragonForce ransomware uses the leaked LOCKBIT builder, which shares many characteristics in terms of design and functionalities.

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Upon execution, this virus stops many processes and services such as Oracle, Microsoft Office apps, antivirus software, and even backup solutions to speed up encryption. 

The encrypted files are given a random name followed by the ‘.AoVOpni2N’ extension. 

Encrypted Files (Source – Cyble)

The criminals also put a ransom note called ‘AoVOpni2N.README.txt’ into each encrypted folder. It contains instructions on how to pay for decryption.

Ransom Note (Source – Cyble)

What DragonForce does is take advantage of their knowledge about Lockbit, which they got from another leak, to make their attacks fast, but it is not easy to attribute them back through rebranding themselves.

The DragonForce ransomware shows how dangerous the situation becomes with leaked malware builders such as LOCKBIT Black. 

These types of programs allow threat actors to create personalized ransomware quickly and without much effort, making it harder for international companies to protect themselves against them. 

This data-stealing and encrypting method demonstrates that cyber attackers continuously evolve their strategies to impose maximum monetary harm through ransomware attacks, such as those performed by groups such as DragonForce, which utilizes the “double extortion” method, reads Cyble report.

This particular case serves as another reminder of why strong safeguards should always exist against the ever-changing threats posed by ransomware groups that take advantage when developers leak their tools into the public domain.

Recommendations

Here below we have mentioned all the recommendations:-

  • Verify links and email attachments before opening.
  • Regularly backup data and store it offline.
  • Enable automatic software updates on all devices.
  • Utilize reputable antivirus and security software.
  • Disconnect infected devices from the network.
  • Disconnect external storage devices if connected.
  • Monitor system logs for suspicious activity.

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