Experts warn of Babuk Locker attacks with recently leaked ransomware builder

Pierluigi Paganini July 02, 2021

The recently leaked Babuk Locker ransomware builder was used by a threat actor in an ongoing campaign targeting victims worldwide.

At the end of June, The Record first reported that the builder for the Babuk Locker ransomware was leaked online allowing threat actors to use it to create their own version of the popular ransomware.

The Babuk Locker operators halted their operations at the end of April after the attack against the Washington, DC police department. Experts believe that the decision of the group to leave the ransomware practice could be the result of an operational error, it was a bad idea to threaten the US police department due to the information that it manages.

The ransomware gang broke into the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department, encrypted its files and demanded a $4 million ransom.

At the end of May, the Babuk ransomware operators rebranded their ransomware leak site into Payload.bin and started offering the opportunity to other gangs to use it to leak data stolen from their victims.

The Record experts this week obtained and analyzed a copy of the builder and confirmed that it allows creating custom versions of the Babuk Locker ransomware that works for Windows systems, ARM-based network storage attached (NAS) devices, and VMWare ESXi servers.

“According to a copy of the leak, obtained and tested by The Record, the Babuk Locker “builder” can be used to create custom versions of the Babuk Locker ransomware that can be used to encrypt files hosted on Windows systems, ARM-based network storage attached (NAS) devices, and VMWare ESXi servers.” reported The Record. “At the time of writing, it is unclear if the Babuk gang tried to sell their ransomware builder to a third party in a transaction that went bad, or if the builder was leaked by a rival or a white-hat security researcher.”

The available builder also generates decrypters that could be used by victims to recover the encrypted files.

The builder was uploaded on the VirusTotal malware scanning service and was discovered by the popular cybersecurity expert Kevin Beaumont.

The builder allows customizing ransomware encryptors and decryptors and the ransom note.

BleepingComputer tested the builder and confirmed that the ransomware could target Windows, VMware ESXi, Network Attached Storage (NAS) x86, and NAS ARM devices.

babuk ransomware builder
Using the builder to create a customized Babuk ransomware

Soon after the builder was leaked online, a threat actor began using it to launch a very active ransomware campaign.

Now BleepingComputer reported the use of the builder in a fresh attack, this week a victim reported on Reddit that they were hit by the ‘Babuk Locker.’

MalwareHunterTeam researchers reported multiple Babuk Locker submissions from organizations worldwide starting on June 29th.

Other researchers confirmed the ongoing campaign.

“Compared to the original Babuk Ransomware operation that demanded hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars to recover their files, this new threat actor is only asking for .006 bitcoins or approximately $210 from their victims.” reported BleepingComputer.

“The new threat actors also misspelled Babuk by adding a ‘C’ to ‘Babuck Locker’ in the ransom note.”

Unlike previous attacks, in new attacks, the ransomware operators are using email([email protected]) to communicate with victims.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, Babuk Locker)

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