Alert (AA22-223A)

#StopRansomware: Zeppelin Ransomware

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Summary

Actions to take today to mitigate cyber threats from ransomware:

• Prioritize remediating known exploited vulnerabilities.
• Train users to recognize and report phishing attempts.
• Enable and enforce multifactor authentication.

Note: this joint Cybersecurity Advisory (CSA) is part of an ongoing #StopRansomware effort to publish advisories for network defenders that detail various ransomware variants and ransomware threat actors. These #StopRansomware advisories include recently and historically observed tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) and indicators of compromise (IOCs) to help organizations protect against ransomware. Visit stopransomware.gov to see all #StopRansomware advisories and to learn more about other ransomware threats and no-cost resources.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) are releasing this joint CSA to disseminate known Zeppelin ransomware IOCs and TTPs associated with ransomware variants identified through FBI investigations as recently as 21 June 2022.

The FBI and CISA encourage organizations to implement the recommendations in the Mitigations section of this CSA to reduce the likelihood and impact of ransomware incidents.

Download the PDF version of this report: pdf, 999 kb

Download the YARA signature for Zeppelin: YARA Signature, .yar 125 kb

Download the IOCs: .stix 113 kb

Technical Details

Note: this advisory uses the MITRE ATT&CK® for Enterprise framework, version 11. See MITRE ATT&CK for Enterprise for all referenced tactics and techniques.

Zeppelin ransomware is a derivative of the Delphi-based Vega malware family and functions as a Ransomware as a Service (RaaS). From 2019 through at least June 2022, actors have used this malware to target a wide range of businesses and critical infrastructure organizations, including defense contractors, educational institutions, manufacturers, technology companies, and especially organizations in the healthcare and medical industries. Zeppelin actors have been known to request ransom payments in Bitcoin, with initial amounts ranging from several thousand dollars to over a million dollars.

Zeppelin actors gain access to victim networks via RDP exploitation [T1133], exploiting SonicWall firewall vulnerabilities [T1190], and phishing campaigns [T1566]. Prior to deploying Zeppelin ransomware, actors spend one to two weeks mapping or enumerating the victim network to identify data enclaves, including cloud storage and network backups [TA0007]. Zeppelin actors can deploy Zeppelin ransomware as a .dll or .exe file or contained within a PowerShell loader. [1

Prior to encryption, Zeppelin actors exfiltrate [TA0010] sensitive company data files to sell or publish in the event the victim refuses to pay the ransom. Once the ransomware is executed, a randomized nine-digit hexadecimal number is appended to each encrypted file as a file extension, e.g., file.txt.txt.C59-E0C-929 [T1486]. A note file with a ransom note is left on compromised systems, frequently on the desktop (see figure 1 below).

 

"Figure 1: This is an illustration of a note file with a ransom note is left on compromised systems, frequently on the desktop."
Figure 1: Sample Ransom Note

 

The FBI has observed instances where Zeppelin actors executed their malware multiple times within a victim’s network, resulting in the creation of different IDs or file extensions, for each instance of an attack; this results in the victim needing several unique decryption keys.

 

Indicators of Compromise (IOC)

See table 1 below for IOCs as of June 2022 obtained from FBI incident response investigations.

MD5

SHA1

 SHA256

981526650af8d6f8f20177a26abb513a

4fee2cb5c98abbe556e9c7ccfebe9df4f8cde53f

001938ed01bfde6b100927ff8199c65d1bff30381b80b846f2e3fe5a0d2df21d

c25d45e9bbfea29cb6d9ee0d9bf2864d

eaeff8d315cca71e997063a2baec5cc73fad9453

a42185d506e08160cb96c81801fbe173fb071f4a2f284830580541e057f4423b

183b6b0c90c1e0276a2015752344a4cf

1cb5e8132302b420af9b1e5f333c507d8b2a2441

aa7e2d63fc991990958dfb795a0aed254149f185f403231eaebe35147f4b5ebe

9349e1cc3de7c7f6893a21bd6c3c4a6b

db398e38ee6221df7e4aa49d8f96799cca4d87e1

a2a9385cbbcfacc2d541f5bd92c38b0376b15002901b2fd1cc62859e161a8037

c8f75487d0d496a3746e6c81a5ecc6dc

4b91a91a98a2f0128c80f8ceeef0f5d293adf0cd

54d567812eca7fc5f2ff566e7fb8a93618b6d2357ce71776238e0b94d55172b1

477eedb422041385e59a4fff72cb97c1

9892cc90e6712d3548e45f34f14f362bccedf0be

fb59f163a2372d09cd0fc75341d3972fdd3087d2d507961303656b1d791b17c6

5841ef35aaff08bb03d25e5afe3856a2

ffd228b0d7afe7cab4e9734f7093e7ba01c5a06e

1e3c5a0aa079f8dfcc49cdca82891ab78d016a919d9810120b79c5deb332f388

d6c4b253ab1d169cf312fec12cc9a28f

0f47c279fea1423c7a0e7bc967d9ff3fae7a0de8

347f14497df4df73bc414f4e852c5490b12db991a4b3811712bac7476a3f1bc9

fba7180ad49d6a7f3c60c890e2784704

f561f9e3c949fe87f12dbfa166ffb2eb85712419

7d8c4c742689c097ac861fcbf7734709fd7dcab1f7ef2ceffb4b0b7dec109f55

bc6c991941d9afbd522fa0a2a248a97a

a243ce234fc8294e2e2e526418b4eaadc2d6c84f

37c320983ae4c1fd0897736a53e5b0481edb1d1d91b366f047aa024b0fc0a86e

f3490951ae51922cb360a3d76a670159

e2cb60be111716e32db7ca2365ad6e73c30f0e21

894b03ed203cfa712a28ec472efec0ca9a55d6058115970fe7d1697a3ddb0072

e4f1f05c2e6c3fc2f3336a8c8799ffb4

dbd9fcf2b05e703d34181c46f4c22392b9fcc1da

307877881957a297e41d75c84e9a965f1cd07ac9d026314dcaff55c4da23d03e

aa2048271f0aef3383480ce4a7c93b52

512b16ea74027fa4d0055831de5e51278812c8de

bafd3434f3ba5bb9685e239762281d4c7504de7e0cfd9d6394e4a85b4882ff5d

f66b738e1bfe1f8aab510abed850c424

571f50fee0acad1da39fe06c75116461800cc719

faa79c796c27b11c4f007023e50509662eac4bca99a71b26a9122c260abfb3c6

bb30f050546f5d6e61fafc59eaf097c3

ee44179f64918f72a8d2e88a5074d89efab3d81b

e48cf17caffc40815efb907e522475722f059990afc19ac516592231a783e878

78621f1e196497d440afb57f4609fcf9

eed7c3bb3fc5181b88abeed2204997f350324022

4a4be110d587421ad50d2b1a38b108fa05f314631066a2e96a1c85cc05814080

f4e0ee0200de397691748a2cdcd7e34a

bd3f6b878284a63c72e8354e877e3f48d6fca53c

9ef90ec912543cc24e18e73299296f14cb2c931a5d633d4c097efa372ae59846

cf5a358a22326f09fd55983bb812b7d8

1addcffae4fd4211ea24202783c2ffad6771aa34

dd89d939c941a53d6188232288a3bd73ba9baf0b4ca6bf6ccca697d9ee42533f

7afe492a38ca6f27e24028aab68406b5

5870a3adbce9737319f3c9461586d5f2afbc7adb

79d6e498e7789aaccd8caa610e8c15836267c6a668c322111708cf80bc38286c

1da1c0115caca5ebf064380eb7490041

5edb8b651c7013ebaba2eb81c87df76a1e0724d6

b22b3625bcce7b010c0ee621434878c5f8d7691c2a101ae248dd221a70668ac0

8c3c663ffcf363d087f4e114a79945ca

905726d178962dd1d7fe87504d051aca440740b8

961fbc7641f04f9fed8391c387f01d64435dda6af1164be58c4cb808b08cc910

17c5cae3bce5832dd42986fe612517d9

6f70e73c53d7622d8c4808ae7849133df1343484

d618c1ccd24d29e911cd3e899a4df2625155297e80f4c5c1354bc2e79f70768c

bfe7f54f1f0640936dd7a3384608b1f6

9436ccee41c01ca3cb4db55c10884615aba76d19

8170612574f914eec9e66902767b834432a75b1d6ae510f77546af2a291a48a2

f28af04ef0370addfebfdd31f1ec25ed

cfcfa995c15d9f33de21d0dd88d3b95d0f91d6bc

5326f52bd9a7a52759fe2fde3407dc28e8c2caa33abf1c09c47b192a1c004c12

f3bcad5358f89df1eb0294ef53f54437

eb036759beb28f86ee981bdca4fad24152b82d8c

6bafc7e2c7edc2167db187f50106e57b49d4a0e1b9269f1d8a40f824f2ccb42b

b1f6370582fbaf5c51e826fecef53cd7

4b2d0127699f708a8116bff8f25c9d6140033197

f7af51f1b2b98b482885b702508bd65d310108a506e6d8cef3986e69f972c67d

de785ed922d4e737dc0fa0bb30a4de8b

4d280105e724db851f03de8fc76409ef4057ff2c

bc214c74bdf6f6781f0de994750ba3c50c0e10d9db3483183bd47f5cef154509

7a296f7c1ac4aeee18d4c23476735be7

c13542310f7a4e50a78247fc7334096ca09c5d7f

ed1548744db512a5502474116828f75737aec8bb11133d5e4ad44be16aa3666b

37f18b38e1af6533d93bbb3f2ddb86dc

d3929331d9bc278dea5607aec1574012a08de861

cf9b6dda84cbf2dbfc6edd7a740f50bddc128842565c590d8126e5d93c024ff2

291de974e5cbe5e3d47e3d17487e027f

def93f18aaf146fe8f3c4f9a257364f181197608

21807d9fcaa91a0945e80d92778760e7856268883d36139a1ad29ab91f9d983d

99d59c862a082b207a868e409ce2d97c

908a9026d61717b5fa29959478a9bd939da9206f

0d22d3d637930e7c26a0f16513ec438243a8a01ea9c9d856acbcda61fcb7b499

d27125d534e398f1873b7f4835a79f09

1862f063c30cd02cfea6070d3dba41ac5eee2a35

6fbfc8319ed7996761b613c18c8cb6b92a1eaed1555dae6c6b8e2594ac5fa2b9

4534f2afe5f7df1d998f37ad4e35afeb

e2cc94e471509f9fa58620b8bb56d77f2cfe74b0

e8596675fef4ad8378e4220c22f4358fdb4a20531b59d7df5382c421867520a9

7ab0676262c681b8ec15bdada17d7476

2f1803d444891abb604864d476a8feac0d614f77

353e59e96cbf6ea6c16d06da5579d3815aaaeeefacabd7b35ba31f7b17207c5b

d7d3d23a5e796be844af443bda5cd67e

a9771c591f6ccc2f3419d571c64ab93228785771

85f9bf4d07bc2ac1891e367f077dd513d6ca07705bffd1b648d32a7b2dc396f5

0a1cd4efda7543cec406a6822418daf6

af4f8d889d6a2049e7a379ea197f8cd361feb074

614cb70659ef5bb2f641f09785adc4ab5873e0564a5303252d3c141a899253b2

23eda650479fc4908d0ddff713508025

b1e6527c10f68586f7f1a279ed439d46c3f12a06

fb3e0f1e6f53ffe680d66d2143f06eb6363897d374dc5dc63eb2f28188b8ad83

6607d8c1a28d7538e2a6565cf40d1260

f618879c011cde344066072949f025827feea663

594df9c402abfdc3c838d871c3395ac047f256b2ac2fd6ff66b371252978348d

caa7a669da39ffd8a3a4f3419018b363

44538b7f8f065e3cef0049089a8522a76a7fccc6

2dffe3ba5c70af51ddf0ff5a322eba0746f3bf3ae0751beb3dc0059ed3faaf3d

48b844494a746ca96c7b96d6bd90f45f

7bf83b98f798f3a8f4ce85b6d29554a435e516e3

45fba1ef399f41227ae4d14228253237b5eb464f56cab92c91a6a964dc790622

9c13ab7b79aec8dc02869999773cd4b2

4b4d865132329e0dd1d129e85fc4fa9ad0c1d206

774ef04333c3fb2a6a4407654e28c2900c62bd202ad6e5909336eb9bc180d279

450e5bf4b42691924d09267ac1a570cb

665a563157f4aa0033a15c88f55ac4fa28397b49

677035259ba8342f1a624fd09168c42017bdca9ebc0b39bf6c37852899331460

51104215a618a5f56ad9c884d6832f79

801580a46f9759ceeeebbce419d879e2ed6943fe

26ec12b63c0e4e60d839aea592c4b5dcff853589b53626e1dbf8c656f4ee6c64

73627cbe2ba139e2ec26889a4e8d6284

1116dc35993fce8118e1e5421000a70b6777433f

37efe10b04090995e2f3d9f932c3653b27a65fc76811fa583934a725d41a6b08

935f54b6609c5339001579e96dc34244

a809327d39fab61bfcfac0c97b1d4b3bfb9a2cfe

a5847867730e7849117c31cdae8bb0a25004635d49f366fbfaebce034d865d7d

ba681db97f283c2e784d9bb4969b1f5a

5d28acf52f399793e82ec7e79da47d372d9175d7

e61edbddf9aed8a52e9be1165a0440f1b6e9943ae634148df0d0517a0cf2db13

c1ab7b68262b5ab31c45327e7138fd25

b8c74327831e460d2b2a8eb7e68ee68938779d8d

746f0c02c832b079aec221c04d2a4eb790287f6d10d39b95595a7df4086f457f

f818938b987236cdd41195796b4c1fb5

bfed40f050175935277c802cbbbce132f44c06ec

b191a004b6d8a706aba82a2d1052bcb7bed0c286a0a6e4e0c4723f073af52e7c

0a1cd4efda7543cec406a6822418daf6

af4f8d889d6a2049e7a379ea197f8cd361feb074

614cb70659ef5bb2f641f09785adc4ab5873e0564a5303252d3c141a899253b2

d7d3d23a5e796be844af443bda5cd67e

a9771c591f6ccc2f3419d571c64ab93228785771

85f9bf4d07bc2ac1891e367f077dd513d6ca07705bffd1b648d32a7b2dc396f5

7ab0676262c681b8ec15bdada17d7476

2f1803d444891abb604864d476a8feac0d614f77

353e59e96cbf6ea6c16d06da5579d3815aaaeeefacabd7b35ba31f7b17207c5b

4534f2afe5f7df1d998f37ad4e35afeb

e2cc94e471509f9fa58620b8bb56d77f2cfe74b0

e8596675fef4ad8378e4220c22f4358fdb4a20531b59d7df5382c421867520a9

d27125d534e398f1873b7f4835a79f09

1862f063c30cd02cfea6070d3dba41ac5eee2a35

6fbfc8319ed7996761b613c18c8cb6b92a1eaed1555dae6c6b8e2594ac5fa2b9

99d59c862a082b207a868e409ce2d97c

908a9026d61717b5fa29959478a9bd939da9206f

0d22d3d637930e7c26a0f16513ec438243a8a01ea9c9d856acbcda61fcb7b499

 

MITRE ATT&CK TECHNIQUES

 Zeppelin actors use the ATT&CK techniques listed in Table 2.

Table 2: Zeppelin Actors Att&ck Techniques for Enterprise

Initial Access

Technique Title

ID

Use

Exploit External Remote Services

T1133

Zeppelin actors exploit RDP to gain access to victim networks.

Exploit

Public-Facing Application

T1190

Zeppelin actors exploit vulnerabilities in internet-facing systems to gain access to systems

Phishing

T1566

Zeppelin actors have used phishing and spear phishing to gain access to victims' networks.

Execution

Technique Title

ID

Use

Malicious Link

T1204.001

Zeppelin actors trick users to click a malicious link to execute malicious macros.

Malicious File Attachment

T1204.002

Zeppelin actors trick users to click a malicious attachment disguised as advertisements to execute malicious macros.

Persistence

Technique Title

ID

Use

Modify System Process

T1543.003

Zeppelin actors encrypt Windows Operating functions to preserve compromised system functions.

Impact

Technique Title

ID

Use

Data Encrypted for Impact

T1486

Zeppelin actors have encrypted data on target systems or on large numbers of systems in a network to interrupt availability to system and network resources.

 

DETECTION

Download the YARA signature for Zeppelin: YARA Signature, .yar 125 kb

Mitigations

The FBI and CISA recommend network defenders apply the following mitigations to limit potential adversarial use of common system and network discovery techniques and to reduce the risk of compromise by Zeppelin ransomware:

  • Implement a recovery plan to maintain and retain multiple copies of sensitive or proprietary data and servers in a physically separate, segmented, and secure location (i.e., hard drive, storage device, the cloud).
  • Require all accounts with password logins (e.g., service account, admin accounts, and domain admin accounts) to comply with National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) standards for developing and managing password policies.
    • Use longer passwords consisting of at least 8 characters and no more than 64 characters in length;
    • Store passwords in hashed format using industry-recognized password managers;
    • Add password user “salts” to shared login credentials;
    • Avoid reusing passwords;
    • Implement multiple failed login attempt account lockouts;
    • Disable password “hints”;
    • Refrain from requiring password changes more frequently than once per year. Note: NIST guidance suggests favoring longer passwords instead of requiring regular and frequent password resets. Frequent password resets are more likely to result in users developing password “patterns” cyber criminals can easily decipher.
    • Require administrator credentials to install software.
  • Require multifactor authentication for all services to the extent possible, particularly for webmail, virtual private networks, and accounts that access critical systems. 
  • Keep all operating systems, software, and firmware up to date. Timely patching is one of the most efficient and cost-effective steps an organization can take to minimize its exposure to cybersecurity threats. Prioritize patching SonicWall firewall vulnerabilities and known exploited vulnerabilities in internet-facing systems. Note: SonicWall maintains a vulnerability list that includes Advisory ID, CVE, and mitigation. Their list can be found at psirt.global.sonicwall.com/vuln-list
  • Segment networks to prevent the spread of ransomware. Network segmentation can help prevent the spread of ransomware by controlling traffic flows between—and access to—various subnetworks and by restricting adversary lateral movement. 
  • Identify, detect, and investigate abnormal activity and potential traversal of the indicated ransomware with a networking monitoring tool. To aid in detecting the ransomware, implement a tool that logs and reports all network traffic, including lateral movement activity on a network. Endpoint detection and response (EDR) tools are particularly useful for detecting lateral connections as they have insight into common and uncommon network connections for each host. 
  • Install, regularly update, and enable real time detection for antivirus software on all hosts.
  • Review domain controllers, servers, workstations, and active directories for new and/or unrecognized accounts.
  • Audit user accounts with administrative privileges and configure access controls according to the principle of least privilege. 
  • Disable unused ports.
  • Consider adding an email banner to emails received from outside your organization.
  • Disable hyperlinks in received emails.
  • Implement time-based access for accounts set at the admin level and higher. For example, the Just-in-Time (JIT) access method provisions privileged access when needed and can support enforcement of the principle of least privilege (as well as the Zero Trust model). This is a process where a network-wide policy is set in place to automatically disable admin accounts at the Active Directory level when the account is not in direct need. Individual users may submit their requests through an automated process that grants them access to a specified system for a set timeframe when they need to support the completion of a certain task. 
  • Disable command-line and scripting activities and permissions. Privilege escalation and lateral movement often depend on software utilities running from the command line. If threat actors are not able to run these tools, they will have difficulty escalating privileges and/or moving laterally. 
  • Maintain offline backups of data, and regularly maintain backup and restoration.  By instituting this practice, the organization ensures they will not be severely interrupted, and/or only have irretrievable data. 
  • Ensure all backup data is encrypted, immutable (i.e., cannot be altered or deleted), and covers the entire organization’s data infrastructure.

RESOURCES

REPORTING

The FBI is seeking any information that can be shared, to include boundary logs showing communication to and from foreign IP addresses, a sample ransom note, communications with Zeppelin actors, Bitcoin wallet information, decryptor files, and/or a benign sample of an encrypted file. The FBI and CISA do not encourage paying ransom as payment does not guarantee victim files will be recovered. Furthermore, payment may also embolden adversaries to target additional organizations, encourage other criminal actors to engage in the distribution of ransomware, and/or fund illicit activities. Regardless of whether you or your organization have decided to pay the ransom, the FBI and CISA urge you to promptly report ransomware incidents to a local FBI Field Office, CISA at us-cert.cisa.gov/report, or the U.S. Secret Service (USSS) at a USSS Field Office.

DISCLAIMER

The information in this report is being provided “as is” for informational purposes only. CISA and the FBI do not endorse any commercial product or service, including any subjects of analysis. Any reference to specific commercial products, processes, or services by service mark, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by CISA or the FBI.

References

Revisions

August 11, 2022: Initial Version

This product is provided subject to this Notification and this Privacy & Use policy.

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