New Cerber ransomware variant kills common database-related processes

Pierluigi Paganini October 06, 2016

A new variant of the Cerber ransomware kills common database-related processes like those of the MySQL, Oracle and Microsoft SQL servers to encrypt files.

According to experts the forum, a new variant of the Cerber ransomware is the wild attempts to shut down database connections to increase the effects of the infection.

The principal goal of a ransomware it to encrypt some of the most important data stored on computers and servers in the shortest time.

In a business perspective, precious data are usually stored in databases, and the write access to them if usually blocked by the operating systems because other processes are already using them.

Clearly, the lock of the databases doesn’t allow the malware, including the Cerber ransomware, to have a write access to the archive preventing the ransomware from encrypting them.

In order to overwhelm this problem, the latest version of the Cerber attempts to kill the principal processes linked to many database-related activities.

“According to security researcher BloodDolly, this update also includes the addition of new database processes that are closed by the close_process directive in Cerber’s configuration.  This directive tells Cerber to terminate certain processes before encryption begins.” states

“The directive and the current list of processes being terminated are:


msftesql.exe, sqlagent.exe, sqlbrowser.exe, sqlservr.exe, sqlwriter.exe, oracle.exe, ocssd.exe, dbsnmp.exe, synctime.exe, mydesktopqos.exe, agntsvc.exeisqlplussvc.exe, xfssvccon.exe, mydesktopservice.exe, ocautoupds.exe, agntsvc.exeagntsvc.exe, agntsvc.exeencsvc.exe, firefoxconfig.exe, tbirdconfig.exe, ocomm.exe, mysqld.exe, mysqld-nt.exe, mysqld-opt.exe, dbeng50.exe and sqbcoreservice.exe.”

In order to kill the above processes, the ransomware needs to run from privileged accounts, a good reason to work with minimum privileges in a workspace.

The Cerber ransomware is a very common threat, it is offered on the criminal underground as a service and researchers estimate that the profits for the criminal organization behind is greater than a $1 million this year.

Cerber ransomware

Another worrisome trend is the increasing number of ransomware-bases attacks against businesses that need to adopt all the necessary countermeasure to defeat the threat.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – Cerber ransomware, hacking)

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