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

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