Azov Ransomware Attempts To Frame Security Researchers

The malware included a trigger time that would cause it to sit dormant on the victim’s devices until October 27th, 2022, at 10:14:30 AM UTC, which would then trigger the corruption of all data on the device.

The wiper would overwrite a file’s contents and corrupt data in alternating 666-byte chunks of garbage data. The number 666 is commonly associated with the biblical ‘Devil,’ clearly showing the malicious intent of the threat actor.

Each cycle exactly 666 bytes are being overwritten with random (uninitialized data) and the next 666 bytes are left original, This works in a loop, so wiped file structure would look like this: 666 bytes of garbage, 666 bytes original, 666 bytes of garbage, 666 bytes original.

The data wiper will infect, or ‘backdoor,’ other 64-bit executables on the Windows device whose file path does not contain the following strings:

:Windows
ProgramData
cache2entries
LowContent.IE5
User DataDefaultCache
Documents and Settings

When backdooring an executable, the malware will inject code that will cause the data wiper to launch when a seemingly harmless executable is launched.

Backdooring of the files works in a polymorphic way, which means the same shellcodes used to backdoor files are every time encoded differently.

Today, the threat actor continues distributing the malware through the Smokeloader botnet, commonly found in fake pirated software and crack sites.

It is unclear why the threat actor is spending money to distribute a data wiper. However, theories range from it being done to cover up other malicious behavior or simply to ‘troll’ the cybersecurity community.

Regardless of the reason, victims who are infected with Azov Ransomware will have no way of recovering their files, and as other executables are infected, they should reinstall Windows to be safe.

Furthermore, as Smokeloader is being used to distribute the Azov data wiper, it is likely also installed with other malware, such as password-stealing malware. Therefore, it is essential to reset any passwords to email accounts, financial services, or other sensitive information.

Finally, while the ransomware is named after the Ukrainian ‘Azov’ military regiment, this malware is likely not affiliated with the country and is just using the name as a false flag.

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