Ransomware Sophos Threats

Sophos Discovers New Memento Ransomware

Memento Ransomware Locked Files in a Password-Protected Archive When it Couldn’t Encrypt the Data and Demands $1 Million in Bitcoin

Sophos Discovers Memento Ransomware – Sophos, a global leader in next-generation cybersecurity, has released details of a new Python ransomware called Memento. The research, “New Ransomware Actor Uses Password Protected Archives to Bypass Encryption Protection,” describes the attack, which locks files in a password-protected archive if the Memento ransomware can’t encrypt the targeted data.

“Human-led ransomware attacks in the real world are rarely clear cut and linear,” said Sean Gallagher, senior threat researcher at Sophos. “Attackers seize opportunities when they find them or make mistakes, and then change tactics ‘on-the-fly.’ If they can make it into a target’s network, they won’t want to leave empty handed. The Memento attack is a good example of this, and it serves as a critical reminder to use defense-in-depth security. Being able to detect ransomware and attempted encryption is vital, but it’s also important to have security technologies that can alert IT managers to other, unexpected, activity such as lateral movement.”

Attack Timeline

Sophos researchers believe the Memento operators breached the target’s network in mid-April 2021. The attackers exploited a flaw in VMware’s vSphere, an internet facing cloud computing virtualization tool, to gain a foothold on a server. The forensic evidence Sophos researchers found indicates the attackers started the main intrusion in early May 2021.

The attackers used the early months for lateral movement and reconnaissance, using the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), NMAP network scanner, Advanced Port Scanner, and Plink Secure Shell (SSH) tunneling tool to set up an interactive connection with the breached server. The attackers also used mimikatz to harvest account credentials to use in later stages of the attack.

According to Sophos researchers, on Oct. 20, 2021, the attackers used the legitimate tool WinRAR to compress a collection of files and exfiltrate them via RDP.

“Ransomware is one of the most growing cyber threats, being one of the biggest concerns of customers around the globe.” says Douglas Bernardini, Cyber Security Specialist and Cloud Computing Expert.

Release of the Ransomware

The attacker first deployed the ransomware on Oct. 23, 2021. Sophos researchers found that the attackers initially tried to directly encrypt files, but security measures blocked this attempt. The attackers then changed tactics, re-tooled and re-deployed the ransomware. They copied unencrypted files into password-protected archives using a renamed free version of WinRaR, before encrypting the password and deleting the original files.

The attackers demanded a ransom of $1 million in bitcoin in order to restore the files. Fortunately, the target was able to recover data without the involvement of the attackers.

Open Entry Points Let in Additional Attackers

While the Memento attackers were in the target’s network, two different attackers broke in via the same vulnerable access point, using similar exploits. These attackers each dropped cryptocurrency miners onto the same compromised server. One of them installed an XMR cryptominer on May 18, while the other installed an XMRig cryptominer on Sept. 8 and again on Oct. 3.

“We’ve seen this repeatedly – when internet-facing vulnerabilities become public and go unpatched, multiple attackers will quickly exploit them. The longer vulnerabilities go unmitigated, the more attackers they attract,” said Gallagher. “Cybercriminals are continuously scanning the internet for vulnerable online entry points, and they don’t wait in line when they find one. Being breached by multiple attackers compounds disruption and recovery time for victims. It also makes it harder for forensic investigations to unpick and resolve who did what, which is important intelligence for threat responders to collect to help organizations prevent additional repeat attacks.”

Security Advice

Sophos believes this incident, where multiple attackers exploited a single unpatched server exposed to the internet, highlights the importance of quickly applying patches and checking with third-party integrators, contract developers or service providers about their software security.

Sophos also recommends the following general best practices to help defend against ransomware and related cyberattacks:

At a Strategic Level

  • Deploy layered protection. As more ransomware attacks begin to involve extortion, backups remain necessary, but insufficient. It is more important than ever to keep adversaries out in the first place, or to detect them quickly, before they cause harm. Use layered protection to block and detect attackers at as many points as possible across an estate
  • Combine human experts and anti-ransomware technology. The key to stopping ransomware is defense-in-depth that combines dedicated anti-ransomware technology and human-led threat hunting. Technology provides the scale and automation an organization needs, while human experts are best able to detect the tell-tale tactics, techniques and procedures that indicate an attacker is attempting to get into the environment. If organizations don’t have the skills in house, they can enlist support from cybersecurity specialists

At a Day-to-Day Tactical Level

  • Monitor and respond to alerts. Ensure the appropriate tools, processes, and resources (people) are available to monitor, investigate and respond to threats seen in the environment. Ransomware attackers often time their strike during off-peak hours, at weekends or during the holidays, on the assumption that few or no staff are watching
  • Set and enforce strong passwords. Strong passwords serve as one of the first lines of defense. Passwords should be unique or complex and never re-used. This is easier to accomplish with a password manager that can store staff credentials
  • Use Multi Factor Authentication (MFA). Even strong passwords can be compromised. Any form of multifactor authentication is better than none for securing access to critical resources such as e-mail, remote management tools and network assets
  • Lock down accessible services. Perform network scans from the outside and identify and lock down the ports commonly used by VNC, RDP, or other remote access tools. If a machine needs to be reachable using a remote management tool, put that tool behind a VPN or zero-trust network access solution that uses MFA as part of its login
  • Practice segmentation and zero-trust. Separate critical servers from each other and from workstations by putting them into separate VLANs as you work towards a zero-trust network model
  • Make offline backups of information and applications. Keep backups up to date, ensure their recoverability and keep a copy offline
  • Inventory your assets and accounts. Unknown, unprotected and unpatched devices in the network increase risk and create a situation where malicious activities could pass unnoticed. It is vital to have a current inventory of all connected compute instances. Use network scans, IaaS tools, and physical checks to locate and catalog them, and install endpoint protection software on any machines that lack protection
  • Make sure security products are correctly configured. Under-protected systems and devices are vulnerable too. It is important that you ensure security solutions are configured properly and to check and, where necessary, validate and update security policies regularly. New security features are not always enabled automatically. Don’t disable tamper protection or create broad detection exclusions as doing so will make an attacker’s job easier
  • Audit Active Directory (AD). Conduct regular audits on all accounts in AD, ensuring that none have more access than is needed for their purpose. Disable accounts for departing employees as soon as they leave the company
  • Patch everything. Keep Windows and other operating systems and software up to date. This also means double checking that patches have been installed correctly and are in place for critical systems like internet-facing machines or domain controllers

Sophos endpoint products, such as Intercept X, protect users by detecting the actions and behaviors of ransomware and other attacks. The act of attempting to encrypt files is blocked by the CryptoGuard feature. Integrated endpoint detection and response, including Sophos Extended Detection and Response (XDR), can help capture nefarious activities, such as when attackers create password-protected archives like those used in the Memento ransomware attack.

To learn more, please read the Memento ransomware article on SophosLabs Uncut.

Additional resources

  • To learn more about evolving cyberthreats, including ransomware and cryptominers and what they mean for IT security in 2022, read the Sophos 2022 Threat Report
  • Tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) and more for different types of threats are available on SophosLab Uncut, which provides Sophos’ latest threat intelligence
  • Information on attacker behaviors, incident reports and advice for security operations professionals is available on Sophos News SecOps
  • Learn more about Sophos’ Rapid Response service that contains, neutralizes and investigates attacks 24/7
  • The four top tips for responding to a security incident from Sophos Rapid Response and the Managed Threat Response Team
  • Read the latest security news and views on Sophos’ award-winning news website Naked Security and on Sophos News

About Sophos

Sophos is a worldwide leader in next-generation cybersecurity, protecting more than 500,000 organizations and millions of consumers in more than 150 countries from today’s most advanced cyberthreats. Powered by threat intelligence, AI and machine learning from SophosLabs and SophosAI, Sophos delivers a broad portfolio of advanced products and services to secure users, networks and endpoints against ransomware, malware, exploits, phishing and the wide range of other cyberattacks. Sophos provides a single integrated cloud-based management console, Sophos Central – the centerpiece of an adaptive cybersecurity ecosystem that features a centralized data lake that leverages a rich set of open APIs available to customers, partners, developers, and other cybersecurity vendors. Sophos sells its products and services through reseller partners and managed service providers (MSPs) worldwide. Sophos is headquartered in Oxford, U.K. More information is available at



Azure Firewall Fortinet Microsoft Threats

Fortinet Announces the First Next-Generation Firewall and Secure SD-WAN Integration in Microsoft Azure Virtual WAN

FortiGate-VM Integration Enables the Convergence of Security and Networking in the Cloud

Fortinet, a global leader in broad, integrated and automated cybersecurity solutions, today announced the expansion of its collaboration with Microsoft. The collaboration deliver the industry’s first next-generation firewall (NGFW) and Secure SD-WAN integration with Microsoft Azure Virtual WAN.

Customers can now – for the first time ever from any vendor – apply advanced security policies to virtual WAN traffic and extend Secure SD-WAN into the Azure virtual WAN hub.

The result is the convergence of advanced security and networking capabilities in the cloud for an even more simplified, automated, and secure cloud on-ramp and SD-WAN experience.

The integration also allows enterprises to more effectively interconnect with applications and workloads running Azure with the rest of their hybrid and multi-cloud deployments.

Secure Traffic Into, Out of and Through Azure Virtual WAN with Fortinet

Companies are increasingly looking to utilize Azure Virtual WAN as a global transit network architecture, providing seamless connectivity between endpoints.

While Microsoft has long provided secure access to the Virtual WAN Hub, until now, it has been difficult to provide the same security policies with the same security tools within Azure Virtual WAN and across clouds and data centers.

The integration of FortiGate tools into Azure Virtual WAN empowers organizations to achieve their innovation goals outcomes in the cloud. Specifically, this integration enables IT and security professionals to easily configure networking and security in Microsoft Azure and delivers some benefits:


  • Advanced Security for Virtual WAN Traffic: FortiGate-VM allows security policies to extend to traffic within the Azure Virtual WAN hub. That enable better, more secure application experiences for users and branch offices. Support encrypted data transports, granular segmentation and application-layer protection against advanced threats. Allows and seamless overlay network with uniform policies across multi-clouds.
  • One-Click Deployment: Azure Virtual WAN integration provides one-click deployment and easy scalability for FortiGate-VM in Azure. Customers can select, configure and deploy FortiGate virtual machines directly from the Azure Marketplace. That is also possible from within the Azure Virtual WAN interface, allowing security to be part of the workflow for setting up a Virtual WAN in Azure.
  • Securely Interconnect Applications and Workloads Across Clouds:. Azure Virtual WAN provides a global network transit backbone for branch-to-branch connectivity readily interconnecting regions together. Customers looking to deploy hybrid and multi-cloud networks that include Azure can now easily and securely interconnect applications and workloads. That allows extending the benefits across their entire infrastructure to enable consistent policies and centralized visibility. This simplifies security management, enables global visibility into security events and policies, and improves quality of experience (QoE). For users and customers.

“Integrated information security solutions are becoming increasingly important for the success of cybersecurity actions.” says Douglas Bernardini, Cyber Security Specialist and Cloud Computing Expert.

Earlier this month, Fortinet and Microsoft also announced the availability of FortiGate-VM integration with Azure gateway load-balancer. It enables customers to deliver superior experiences for applications and workloads running in Azure.

See also: Fortinet Global Threat Landscape Report


CISA MS-ISAC Ransomware Threats

CISA Issues Guidance on Ransomware Attacks

CISA guidance ransomware attacks.

Recently, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued a fact sheet offering suggestions to government agencies and private companies on how to prevent and respond to a ransomware attack.

The fact sheet is entitled “Protecting Sensitive and Personal Information from Ransomware-Caused Data Breaches”. It provides organizations with tips to prevent and respond to ransomware. CISA encourages organizations to adopt a heightened state of awareness and implement the recommendations listed in this fact sheet. The goal is to reduce their risk to ransomware and protect sensitive and personal information. Review for additional resources.”

The fact sheet includes tips such as maintaining an offline, encrypted back-up of data, develop an incident response plan, implement auditing, regular scans and software updates, block phishing attempts, and practice “good cyber hygiene.”

“Guidance from internationally respected institutions such as CISA on real and dangerous threats to our companies is of paramount importance.”, says Douglas Bernardini, Cyber Security Specialist and Cloud Computing Expert.

The guidance sets forth some examples of good cyber hygiene, including:

  1. Ensuring antivirus and anti-malware software and signatures are up to date.
  2. Implementing application allowlisting.
  3. Ensuring user and privileged accounts are limited through account use policies, user account control, and privileged account management.
  4. Employing MFA for all services to the extent possible, particularly for webmail, virtual private networks (VPNs), and accounts that access critical systems.
  5. Implementing cybersecurity best practices from CISA’s Cyber Essentials and the CISA-MS-ISAC Joint Ransomware Guide.
    The fact sheet also offers suggestions on the topics “Protecting Sensitive and Personal Information” and “Responding to Ransomware-Caused Data Breaches.”

Finally, it provides additional resources listed on the website. This is a free and valuable roadmap for organizations to read and consider using to prepare for and respond to a ransomware attack.

See also: CISA MS-ISAC Ransonware Guide


DDoS Threats

DDoS Attack launched by Mirai Botnet blocked by Cloudflare

The number of DDoS increases. DDoS Attack Mirai Botnet confirms it.

Cloudflare, a web giant, has detected and suppressed a DDoS Attack Mirai Botnet. This attack peaked at just below 2Tbps, making it the largest ever.

Hackers launched a mega-attack against the company that targeted its online servers. They attacked with more than 15,000 bots running a variant of the original Mirai code. The targets was IoT devices and unpatched GitLab instances, according to SecureMyCloud.

The company claims that the assault lasted no more than a minute. It was most likely a multi-vector attack utilizing both DNS amplification assaults as well as UDP floods.

“Cloudflare’s mission is to help build a better Internet — one that is secure, faster, and more reliable for everyone. The DDoS team’s vision is derived from this mission: our goal is to make the impact of DDoS attacks a thing of the past”. Cloudflare in a blog post detailing the attack.

According to Cloudflare, its systems automatically produced real-time signature after detecting the attack traffic. That was used by the whole network to identify assault patterns.

Cloudflare about the current context of DDoS

The firm’s website claims that employing fingerprinted rules to mitigate DDoS assaults without affecting real traffic, or introducing latency or performance issues, is possible.

Cloudflare’s DDoS protection has gained a lot of admirers in the business. VoIP providers that have been subjected to ransomware attacks are grateful for Cloudflare’s built-in DDoS protection feature, which has saved them from an onslaught of DDoS assaults.

“DDoS attacks are more and more frequent and can literally stop companies from operating.” says Douglas Bernardini, Cybersecurity Specialist and Cloud Computing Expert about DDoS Attack Mirai Botnet.

In a recent DDoS trend assessment in Q3 2021, Gartner discovered that:

  • There was a 44 percent increase in network-layer DDoS attacks.
  • There was huge 1 terabit-per-second and larger than 10 gigabits per second (GTPS) network-layer DDoS attacks as well.

While the fourth quarter is not yet over, Cloudflare has detected several terabit-force assaults aimed at its customers, according to the firm. “While the fourth quarter isn’t over yet, we’ve seen several terabit-force assaults targeted at Cloudflare customers,” it adds.

See also: DDoS Protection

Source: “”

Malware MSP MSSP Ransomware Threats

SonicWall Knows MSSPs, MSPs Are Targets

SonicWall Knows MSSPs MSPs Are Targets. SonicWall is particularly attuned to the threat ransomware poses to a whole host of organizations. It includes MSSPs and managed service providers (MSPs), SonicWall president and chief executive Bill Conner said. “As we see it, ransomware is on a nearly unimaginable upward trend, which poses a major risk to businesses, service providers, governments and everyday citizens,” he said. “The real-world damage caused by these attacks is beyond anecdotal at this point.”

SonicWall released its findings following a mid-October White House virtual conference of 30 nations. The goal was to hammer out strategies to combat ransomware and other types of cyber crime. At the summit, Australia, Britain, Germany and India led panel discussions. With attendees also from Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Latin America. Russia and China, universally considered the primary perpetrators of most cyber offensives, were not invited to the meeting.

“It is one of the biggest threats in cybersecurity today” says Douglas Bernardini, Cybersecurity Specialist & Cloud Computing Expert

Of note, SonicWall also discovered 307,516 previously unknown malware variants through September, 2021 for a 73 percent spike from last year. The Milpitas, California-based security specialist said its researchers found more than 1,100 novel variants per day.

“The risk of ransomware infection is increasing, and tools like Sonic Wall are invaluable allies.” says Douglas Bernardini, Cyber Security Specialist and Cloud Computing Expert.

Here are some additional SonicWall ransomware findings:

  • In June, 2021, a new high water mark of 78.4 million ransomware attacks were recorded.
  • SonicWall logged the equivalent to 9.7 ransomware attempts per customer each business day.
  • The 190.4 million ransomware attempts in Q3, 2021 alone made it the highest quarter ever recorded by SonicWall, nearly overtaking the 195.7 million total ransomware attempts logged during the first three quarters of 2020.
  • The U.S. has incurred a 127 percent year-to-date increase in the number of ransomware attacks while the U.K. has seen a 233 percent surge.
  • Internet of Things malware incidents rose 33 percent globally.
  • An overall 21 percent increase in crypto-jacking with a 461 percent balloon across Europe.

See also: Sonic wall cyber report 2021

Source: mssp alert