A new ransomware of file encryption has come to the fore, leading many users to believe it is linked to Iran, which is targeting processes and files related to industrial control systems (ICS).
It is written in the programming language Golang and it's called Snake. Ransomware has been used in targeted campaigns aimed at businesses. According to SentinelLabs, which has been monitoring Snake attacks last month, encrypted files from this ransomware are difficult to recover without paying for the ransomware the intruders demand.
Snake targets a wide range of files, but avoids encrypting system files and folders. However, before attempting to encrypt them, it attempts to terminate processes related to various types of programs, including system utilities and business management tools.
Snake terminates a critical process for the GE Digital Proficy server, which allows connectivity to Proficy HMI / SCADA systems, M&E systems, and EMM (Enterprise Manufacturing Intelligence) systems. Terminating this process could cause serious problems for business.
"The damage that Snake can cause is significant," says Dor Yardeni, head of OTORIO's incident management team. "Deleting or blocking targeted ICS processes prevents production teams from accessing critical production-related processes, including analysis, adjustment and control."
Both OTORIO and SentinelOne noted that the Snake creator ransom note instructed victims to contact the intruders at “bapcocrypt @ ctemplar.com” to purchase the decryption tool.
"Bapcocrypt" may be a reference to Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco), which hackers recently targeted using a piece of malware called Dustman. Dustman has been linked to the Saudi National Cyber Security Authority through ZeroCleare, a wiper used to target energy and industrial organizations in the Middle East.
ZeroCleare has been linked to Iranian hacker teams, and experts believe the same teams are behind Snake. Although SentinelOne says that "there may be some link between Snake and Dustman attacks", OTORIO believes that Snake may have been used in an attack against Bapco.