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AgeLocker Ransomware

Ransomware using an open-source encryption function
Threat ID:
CC-3548
Category:
Ransomware
Threat Severity:
Low
Published:
15 July 2020
Report a cyber attack: call 0300 303 5222 or email carecert@nhsdigital.nhs.uk

Summary

A new ransomware tool called AgeLocker has been observed making use of the Age open-source CLI tool for encryption.

Affected platforms

The following platforms are known to be affected:

Threat details

Introduction

AgeLocker is a newly observed ransomware tool that makes use of the 'Age' open-source encryption tool to encrypt files.

Delivery

At the time of publication, it is unclear how AgeLocker is delivered, although there are unconfirmed reports indicating it may be delivered via spam or phishing emails.

Activities

Once installed on a system, AgeLocker will attempt to encrypt all local non-system files with the Age command-line encryption tool, which uses a combination of ChaCha20-Poly1305, X25519, and SHA256 algorithms. A ransom note is then emailed to the affected users.

Remediation advice

If a device on your network becomes infected with ransomware it will begin encrypting files, which may also include remote files on network locations. The only guaranteed way to recover from a ransomware infection is to restore all affected files from their most recent backup.

To prevent and detect an infection, NHS Digital advises that:

  • Secure configurations are applied to all devices.
  • Security updates are applied at the earliest opportunity.
  • Tamper protection settings in security products are enabled where available.
  • Obsolete platforms are segregated from the rest of the network.
  • IT usage policies are reinforced by regular training to ensure all users know not to open unsolicited links or attachments.
  • Multi-factor authentication (MFA) and lockout policies are used where practicable, especially for administrative accounts.
  • Administrative accounts are only used for necessary purposes.
  • Remote administration services use strongly encrypted protocols and only accept connections from authorised users or locations.
  • Systems are continuously monitored, and unusual activity is investigated, so that a compromise of the network can be detected as early as possible.

Please note that NCSC maintains guidance for securely configuring a wide range of end user device (EUD) platforms. For further details refer to their end user device security guidance pages.

To limit the impact of a ransomware infection, NHS Digital advises that:

  • Critical data is frequently saved in multiple backup locations.
  • At least one backup is kept offline at any time (separated from live systems).
  • Backups and incident recovery plans are tested to ensure that data can be restored when needed.
  • User account permissions for modifying data are regularly reviewed and restricted to the minimum necessary.
  • Infected systems are disconnected from the network and powered down as soon as practicable.
  • Any user account credentials that may have been compromised should be reset on a clean device
  • Where infected systems cannot be quarantined with confidence, then an affected organisation should disconnect from national networks to limit propagation.
Last edited: 15 July 2020 1:37 pm