June 10, 2019 By David Bisson 2 min read

A malvertising campaign is redirecting users to the RIG exploit kit, which then attempts to infect them with a new ransomware called Buran.

According to Bleeping Computer, exploit kit researcher nao_sec was among the first to spot the malvertising campaign. The operation redirects users to the RIG exploit kit, which then attempts to exploit several vulnerabilities affecting various versions of Internet Explorer. If one of those exploitation attempts is successful, the exploit kit uses a series of commands to download Buran ransomware onto the vulnerable computer.

Bleeping Computer examined a sample of Buran and found that it copied itself to and launched from %APPDATA%\microsoft\windows\ctfmon.exe upon execution. Unlike other, more recent ransomware variants, Buran doesn’t clear event logs or delete shadow volume copies to evade detection or impede recovery. Instead, it implements its encryption process and displays a ransom note to the victim once it’s finished.

Around the Block With Buran and the RIG Exploit Kit

In April 2019, researchers at ESET detected an earlier version of Buran called Vega being distributed via the Yandex.Direct online advertising network. In examining the campaign uncovered by Bleeping Computer, it appears that threat actors made a few small changes but kept Vega’s encryption routine the same in Buran.

RIG has also been busy recently. For example, researchers at Malwarebytes observed RIG spreading malware that was responsible for launching distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against Electrum bitcoin wallet servers. About a year prior, FireEye discovered that the exploit kit was distributing Grobios, a Trojan that came preloaded with evasion and anti-sandbox tactics.

How to Defend Against Malware-Bearing Exploit Kits

Security professionals can help defend their organizations against malware-bearing exploit kits like RIG by using asset discovery to unearth shadow IT and effective software patching to protect these assets against vulnerabilities. They should also leverage anti-spam software, employee awareness training, and other tools and initiatives as part of a layered defense strategy to prevent a ransomware infection.

More from

Passwords, passkeys and familiarity bias

5 min read - As passkey (passwordless authentication) adoption proceeds, misconceptions abound. There appears to be a widespread impression that passkeys may be more convenient and less secure than passwords. The reality is that they are both more secure and more convenient — possibly a first in cybersecurity.Most of us could be forgiven for not realizing passwordless authentication is more secure than passwords. Thinking back to the first couple of use cases I was exposed to — a phone operating system (OS) and a…

DOD establishes Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Cyber Policy

2 min read - The federal government recently took a new step toward prioritizing cybersecurity and demonstrating its commitment to reducing risk. On March 20, 2024, the Pentagon formally established the new Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Cyber Policy to supervise cyber policy for the Department of Defense. The next day, President Joe Biden announced Michael Sulmeyer as his nominee for the role.“In standing up this office, the Department is giving cyber the focus and attention that Congress intended,” said Acting…

Unpacking the NIST cybersecurity framework 2.0

4 min read - The NIST cybersecurity framework (CSF) helps organizations improve risk management using common language that focuses on business drivers to enhance cybersecurity.NIST CSF 1.0 was released in February 2014, and version 1.1 in April 2018. In February 2024, NIST released its newest CSF iteration: 2.0. The journey to CSF 2.0 began with a request for information (RFI) in February 2022. Over the next two years, NIST engaged the cybersecurity community through analysis, workshops, comments and draft revision to refine existing standards…

Topic updates

Get email updates and stay ahead of the latest threats to the security landscape, thought leadership and research.
Subscribe today