Iran-Linked ‘Newbie’ Hackers Spread Dharma Ransomware Via RDP Ports


Level 6
Oct 1, 2019
The recent Dharma campaign by Iran-linked script kiddies shows that the ransomware is being spread not just by sophisticated, state-sponsored actors anymore.
A group of ‘script kiddies’ tied to Iran are targeting companies worldwide with internet-facing Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) ports and weak credentials in order to infect them with Dharma ransomware.
The Dharma malware (also known as Crysis) has been distributed as a ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) model since at least 2016. While the ransomware was previously used by advance persistent threat (APT) actors, its source code surfaced in March 2020, making it available to a wider breadth of attackers. That is the case with this latest Iran-linked threat group, which researchers say is unsophisticated and has been targeting companies across Russia, Japan, China and India with the ransomware since June.
“The fact Dharma source code has been made widely available led to the increase in the number of operators deploying it,” Oleg Skulkin, senior digital forensics specialist with Group-IB, said in an analysis of the attacks posted Monday. “It’s surprising that Dharma landed in the hands of Iranian script kiddies who used it for financial gain, as Iran has traditionally been a land of state-sponsored attackers engaged in espionage and sabotage. Despite that these cybercriminals use quite common tactics, techniques and procedures they have been quite effective.”



Level 16
May 4, 2019