Experts from BlackBerry Cylance found a new variant of the Vega
Unlike other variants of the Vega ransomware, the Zeppelin ransomware doesn’t infect users in Russia or other ex-USSR countries like Ukraine, Belorussia, and Kazakhstan.
This major shift suggests that the Zeppelin ransomware was used by different threat actors that used a customized variant that they developed from bought/stolen/leaked source code or that rented as a service.
“The recent campaign that utilizes the newest variant, Zeppelin, is visibly distinct. The first samples of Zeppelin – with compilation timestamps no earlier than November 6, 2019 – were discovered targeting a handful of carefully chosen tech and healthcare companies in Europe and the U.S.” reads the analysis published by Cylance.
The Zeppelin ransomware is highly configurable and can be deployed as an EXE, DLL, or wrapped in a PowerShell loader. The samples analyzed by the experts
Upon execution, the ransomware enumerates files on all drives and network shares and attempt to encrypt them, experts noticed that the encryption algorithm used is the same as the one of the other Vega variants.
“The encryption algorithm has not changed substantially compared to previous versions of Buran.” reads the post published by
Experts noticed that some of the samples will encrypt only the first 0x1000 bytes (4KB), instead of 0x10000 (65KB). It is not clear if this behavior is the result of an unintended bug or a design choice that aims at speeding up the encryption process while rendering most files unusable anyway.
After encrypting all files, the Zeppelin ransomware will drop a ransom note that is completely customizable.
The ransom note instructs the victim to contact the attacker via provided email addresses
Zeppelin ransomware relies on multiple layers of obfuscation to evade detection.
Experts speculate that at least some of the Zeppelin attacks were carried out through MSSPs in a similar way to a targeted campaign that distributed the Sodinokibi ransomware.
Additional technical details, including the indicators of compromise (IoC) are reported in the analysis published by the experts