RedAlert Ransomware Targets Windows and Linux VMware ESXi Servers

Before starting encryption, virtual machines can be shut down using command options in RedAlert’s Linux encryptor. A list of command options is shown below:

-wStops running VMs by calling an esxcli command:
esxcli -formatter=csv -format-param=fields==”WorldID,DisplayName” vm process list | tail -n +2 | awk -F $’,’ ‘{system(“esxcli vm process kill -type=force -world-id=” $1)}’

-p Path (Encrypts files in a directory)
-f File (Encrypts a file)
-r Recursive (Used with -p)
-t Show encryption time
-n Search without file encryption (File info)
-x Debug Tests (Asymmetric cryptography performance tests)
-h List of command options
After stealing data and encrypting all files, they demand a ransom in Monero (XMR). For double extortion, RedAlert threatens the victims to publish the stolen data on their leak page that anyone can download, which is named Board of Shame, if they don’t get in contact in 72 hours.
The ransomware will also create a custom ransom note named HOW_TO_RESTORE in each folder, which includes a description of the stolen data as well as a link to a unique TOR ransom payment site for the victim.

The Tor payment site, like other ransomware operation sites, displays the ransom demand and allows threat actors to negotiate.
However, RedAlert/N13V exclusively takes Monero cryptocurrency (XMR) as payment, which is uncommon in US cryptocurrency exchanges due to its private nature.
The ransomware uses the NTRUEncrypt public-key encryption method to encrypt files. This algorithm supports several “Parameter Sets” that provide various levels of security. Compared to other asymmetric encryption methods like RSA, ElGamal, and elliptic curve cryptography, these processes are rapid because encryption and decryption use only simple polynomial multiplication. However, NTRUEncrypt has not yet undergone a comparable level of cryptographic analysis in deployed form.

The ‘-x’ command-line option of RedAlert/N13V is an intriguing feature because it performs ‘asymmetric cryptography performance testing’ utilizing these various NTRUEncrypt parameter sets. But it’s unknown whether there’s a way to force a specific parameter set during encryption or if the ransomware will choose a more effective one.

FiveHands is the only other known ransomware operation using this encryption method.

The ransomware will only encrypt files associated with VMware ESXi virtual machines, such as log files, swap files, virtual disks, and memory files, as their extensions are listed below.

These file formats would be encrypted by the ransomware in the examined sample , and the file names of encrypted files would be appended with the.crypt658 extension.

Sign Up For Threat Alerts

Threats Icon

Dec 06, 2022

DuckLogs MaaS (Malware-as-a-Service) Provides Sophisticated Features

DuckLogs is MaaS (Malware-as-a-Service) advertised on cybercrime forums with a range of features including remote...

Threats Icon

Dec 05, 2022

WannaRen Returns As Life Ransomware

WannaRen ransomware appeared on the threat landscape in 2020 and reemerged in 2022 as Life...

Threats Icon

Dec 04, 2022

Alert (AA22-335A) Cuba Ransomware

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) are...

Threats Icon

Dec 01, 2022

UNC4191 Threat Group Targets Entities In The...

The UNC4191 threat group was discovered targeting entities in the Philippines with custom malware and...

Threats Icon

Nov 30, 2022

Emotet Leads To Quantum Ransomware Infection

Threat actors were observed using Emotet to gain access to the victim's network and deploy...

Threats Icon

Nov 29, 2022

RansomExx Upgrades to Rust

IBM Security X-Force Threat Researchers have discovered a new variant of the RansomExx ransomware that...

Threats Icon

Nov 29, 2022

Ransomware Roundup: Cryptonite Ransomware

FortiGuard Labs has reported on Cryptonite ransomware, which was found to target Microsoft Windows machines...

Threats Icon

Nov 28, 2022

Operation Typhoon: The Cyber Sea Lotus Coveting...

Cyber espionage actors, now designated by FireEye as APT32 (OceanLotus Group), are carrying out intrusions...

Threats Icon

Nov 27, 2022

IL-Cert Alert – Active phishing campaign in...

There is a new phishing campaign in Israel. The malware relies upon user execution. The...

Threats Icon

Nov 27, 2022

Emotets Vacation Is Over: No Rest For...

Emotet started as a banking Trojan in spreading via spam campaigns by imitating financial statements,...

Threats Icon

Nov 24, 2022

Aurora: A Rising Stealer Flying Under The...

Aurora is a multipurpose botnet with data collection, information stealer, downloading, and remote access Trojan...

Threats Icon

Nov 23, 2022

Analysis Of The ViperSoftX And VenomSoftX Information...

Torrents and software-sharing sites are being used to target victims across the globe with variants...

Threats Icon

Nov 22, 2022


Wipers have existed for years, and while they haven't been utilized as much as ransomware,...

Threats Icon

Nov 21, 2022

LockBit 3.0 Ransomware Unlocked

Also known as LockBit Black, this ransomware family announced itself stating that it would now...

Threats Icon

Nov 21, 2022

Control Panel Executable Abused For QakBot Infection

QakBot campaign modifies deployment tactics and aims to exploit a DLL hijacking technique that abuses...