Car manufacturer Honda has been hit by a cyber attack, according to a report published by the BBC, and later confirmed by the company in a tweet. Another similar attack, also disclosed on Twitter, hit Edesur S.A., one of the companies belonging to Enel Argentina which operates in the business of energy distribution in the City of Buenos Aires.

Based on samples posted online, these incidents may be tied to the EKANS/SNAKE ransomware family, according to the blog post on Malwarebytes by the Threat Intelligence Team.

Targeted Ransomware With A lLking For ICS

First public mentions of EKANS ransomware date back to January 2020, with security researcher Vitali Kremez sharing information about a new targeted ransomware written in GOLANG.

The group appears to have a special interest for Industrial Control Systems (ICS), as detailed in this blog post by security firm Dragos.

Figure 1: EKANS ransom note

On June 8, a researcher shared samples of ransomware that supposedly was aimed at Honda and ENEL INT. When we started looking at the code, we found several artefacts that corroborate this possibility.

Figure 2: Mutex check

When the malware executes, it will try to resolve to a hardcoded hostname (mds.honda.com). If, and only if it does, will the file encryption begin. The same logic, with a specific hostname, also applied to the ransomware allegedly tied to Enel.

Figure 3: Function responsible for performing DNS query

Target: Honda

Target: Enel

RDP as a possible attack vector

Both companies had some machines with Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) access publicly exposed (reference here). RDP attacks are one of the main entry points when it comes to targeted ransomware opertaions.

  • RDP Exposed: /AGL632956.jpn.mds.honda.com
  • RDP Exposed: /IT000001429258.enelint.global
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Detection

Threat Intelligence Team has tested the ransomware samples publicly available in their lab by creating a fake internal server that would respond to the DNS query made by the malware code with the same IP address it expected. Then they ran the sample alleged to be tied to Honda against Malwarebytes Nebula, their cloud-based endpoint protection for businesses.

Figure 4: Malwarebytes Nebula dashboard showing detections

Threat Intelligence Team detect this payload as ‘Ransom.Ekans’ when it attempts to execute. Ransomware gangs have shown no mercy, even in this period of dealing with a pandemic. They continue to target big companies in order to extort large sums of money.

Indicators of Compromise (IOCs)

Honda related sample:

d4da69e424241c291c173c8b3756639c654432706e7def5025a649730868c4a1
mds.honda.com

Enel related sample:

edef8b955468236c6323e9019abb10c324c27b4f5667bc3f85f3a097b2e5159a
enelint.global