New Ransomware Hides in a Virtual Machine

Hiding in a VirtualBox VM, the new Ragnar Locker ransomware is currently undetectable…

An article review.


Ransomware and other malicious programs often utilize techniques to evade detection by security software, but a newly discovered piece of ransomware has raised the bar by hiding inside a virtual machine.

The new ransomware–called Ragnar Locker–was detailed in a recent article by Sophos, where its operation was broken down in detail.  Upon infection, Ragnar Locker uses the Microsoft Installer to download and install a package including an older version of the popular VirtualBox VM software, which is then executed.  Once executed, any endpoint security or antivirus software on the host machine only sees a trusted application and is oblivious to what is taking place inside of it.

Inside the VirtualBox VM, the ransomware searches for and mounts all local and networked drives on the host machine and begins encrypting files.  At this point Ragnar Locker behaves much like any other ransomware, but the way in which it is deployed and executed is novel, and as of now can’t be detected by security software.

While security firms will undoubtedly figure out how to detect an infection by Ragnar Locker, there’s no telling what future malware may use variations on this highly effective evasion technique.

Original article by Mark Loman writing for Sophos News.



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