Researchers spotted two Satan variants targeting organizations in the financial sector with Monero miners and ransomware.

The first variant of the malware, which security solutions provider NSFOCUS spotted in early November, targets Linux and Windows systems and spreads by exploiting various application vulnerabilities. After establishing a foothold into a system, the virus simply propagates itself further without causing additional damage.

A few weeks later, NSFOCUS came across a second variant of Satan that is also capable of self-propagation via Windows and Linux platforms. But unlike the first sample, this variant is drops ransomware that encrypts local files and appends “.lucky” to filenames of affected assets. It also installs the XMRig Monero miner on infected machines.

The Evolution of Satan

First reported on by Bleeping Computer in January 2017, Satan entered the digital threat landscape as a ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS). Its operators have since updated its capabilities to expand its reach. In April, Blaze’s Security Blog reported that a Satan variant had abused the EternalBlue exploit to spread across vulnerable systems. 360 Total Security later observed that the threat had added two new system vulnerabilities to its arsenal.

Satan’s evolution is emblematic of ransomware’s ongoing prominence as a digital threat. Europol went so far as to call ransomware “the key malware threat in both law enforcement and industry reporting” given the surge in targeted campaigns and attackers’ preference for ransomware over banking Trojans in financially motivated malware attacks.

How to Defend Against Satan Variants

Security professionals can help defend the organizations against Satan variants by patching software vigilantly and regularly. Investing in endpoint management technology can also help security teams gain visibility into users and devices and keep ransomware off the network proactively.

Finally, organizations should implement an antivirus solution that is compatible with the Anti Malware Scanning Interface (AMSI) to protect their networks from Monero miners and other cryptocurrency-related threats.

Sources: NSFOCUS, Bleeping Computer, Blaze’s Security Blog, 360 Total Security, Europol

More from

Securing Your SAP Environments: Going Beyond Access Control

Many large businesses run SAP to manage their business operations and their customer relations. Security has become an increasingly critical priority due to the ongoing digitalization of society and the new opportunities that attackers exploit to achieve a system breach. Recent attacks related to corrupt data, stealing personal information and escalating privileges for remote code execution all highlight the new and varied entry points threat actors have taken advantage of. Attackers with the appropriate skills could be able to exploit…

Who Carries the Weight of a Cyberattack?

Almost immediately after a company discovers a data breach, the finger-pointing begins. Who is to blame? Most often, it is the chief information security officer (CISO) or chief security officer (CSO) because protecting the network infrastructure is their job. Heck, it is even in their job title: they are the security officer. Security is their responsibility. But is that fair – or even right? After all, the most common sources of data breaches and other cyber incidents are situations caused…

Transitioning to Quantum-Safe Encryption

With their vast increase in computing power, quantum computers promise to revolutionize many fields. Artificial intelligence, medicine and space exploration all benefit from this technological leap — but that power is also a double-edged sword. The risk is that threat actors could abuse quantum computers to break the key cryptographic algorithms we depend upon for the safety of our digital world. This poses a threat to a wide range of critical areas. Fortunately, alternate cryptographic algorithms that are safe against…

Abuse of Privilege Enabled Long-Term DIB Organization Hack

From November 2021 through January 2022, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) responded to an advanced cyberattack on a Defense Industrial Base (DIB) organization’s enterprise network. During that time frame, advanced persistent threat (APT) adversaries used an open-source toolkit called Impacket to breach the environment and further penetrate the organization’s network. Even worse, CISA reported that multiple APT groups may have hacked into the organization’s network. Data breaches such as these are almost always the result of compromised endpoints…