Our website uses cookies

Cookies enable us to provide the best experience possible and help us understand how visitors use our website. By browsing Infosecurity Magazine, you agree to our use of cookies.

Okay, I understand Learn more

Reveton Ransomware Gets Serious Upgrade with Pony Stealer

The standard ransomware business model is dangerous enough as it is, hinging on holding one’s computer files hostage in return for extortion payments. But Reveton, which employs a 'police' gambit, has upped its game considerably with the addition of a password-stealer that opens the door to far worse damage than any standard ransomware could inflict.

“The latest generation of Reveton targets new black market business,” said Avast researchers, in an analysis. “The authors upped the ante of the despised malware from a lockscreen-only version to a dangerously powerful password and credentials stealer, by adding the last version of Pony Stealer. This addition affects more than 110 applications and turns your computer to a botnet client.”

The madeover malware has 17 main stealer modules like those targeting OS credentials, FTP clients, browsers, email clients, instant messaging clients, online poker clients, and more than 140 submodules.

Reveton now also steals passwords from five crypto-currency wallets: BitCoin, BlackCoin, DarkCoin, DodgeCoin, LiteCoin, VertCoin. The crypto-currency module can close QT wallets and imitate the log-in screen after the next execute.

“Pony authors conduct deep reverse engineering work which results in almost every password decrypted to plain text form,” Avast researchers said. “The malware can crack or decrypt quite complex passwords stored in various forms.”

The new Reveton can also collect systems information, including deep system information, screensaver password, LSA local, Windows passwords and certificates, RAS, ASP/.NET credentials, Groups passwords, proxy, WinSocks, WinInet pipe and more.

In other words, taken together, it can collect all of the access information needed to wreak havoc on a user’s system and personal finances.

“The high profits from the former Reveton model, unlocking the infected computer after the user pays a ransom, is not enough,” Avast researchers said. “Malware authors have decided to enter into a new black business area. Passwords to various systems and crypto currency wallets are a very lucrative commodity today. Some passwords (FTP, emails, IM…) are perfectly suited for spreading their malware and build stronger botnets.”

Avast also found that in addition to Reveton riding the Pony, as it were, its lockscreen function has been updated too.

“The authors divided the program into multiple threads, changed the encryption, saved the payload to registry, and recreated communication with C&C servers,” researchers noted.

The most common infection is via well-known exploit kits, including Fiesta, Nuclear, SweetOrange and so on. Updated software patching is critical for defense, but the best protection against any sort of ransomware malware is frequent backups of all important files, documents and photos. The most secure way is to backup to online storage or the cloud because some malware encrypts data on all connected devices, local network drives and NAS servers. 

What’s Hot on Infosecurity Magazine?