Tue. Dec 7th, 2021


When ransomware hits A biomanufacturing facility this spring, something just didn’t sit well with the response team. The attackers left only half-hearted Ransom Take note, and don’t really seem interested in collecting a payment. The malware they then used was: a strikingly sophisticated strain called Tardigrade.

Researchers at the biomedical and cybersecurity firm Biobrite have discovered that Tardigrade has done more than just lock down computers across the entire facility. Malware has been shown to adapt to its environment, hide itself, and even act autonomously when disconnected from its command and control servers. This was something new.

Today Cybersecurity is publicly publishing the nonprofit Bioeconomy Information Sharing and Analysis Center, or BIO-ISAC, of ​​which BioBright is a member. The result Although they do not attribute the malware to Tardigrade, they say its sophistication and other digital forensic clues point to a well-funded and inspired “continuous threat” group. What’s more, they say, malware is “actively spreading” in the organic production industry.

“It almost certainly started with espionage, but it hit everything. Disruption, destruction, espionage, all of the above,” said Charles Frachia, CEO of Biobright. “It’s the most sophisticated malware we’ve ever seen in this place. It is strikingly similar to other attacks and propaganda by the national state APT targeting other industries. “

As the world continues to develop, manufacture and distribute state-of-the-art vaccines and drugs to combat it Covid-19 The importance of epidemics, organic production has been fully demonstrated. Frachia victims declined to comment on whether Kovid-19 works, but stressed that their processes play an important role.

Researchers have found that Tardigrade bears some resemblance to a popular malware downloader known as Smoke Loader. Also known as Duffel, the tool has been used to distribute malware payloads At least since 2011 Or before, and readily available in criminal forums. In 2018, Microsoft stymied A large cryptocurrency mining campaign using smoke loaders and security firms Proofpoint published results About a data-theft attack in July that deceived downloaders into installing victims in disguise as a legitimate privacy tool. Attackers can adapt the functionality of malware to a repository of readymade plug-ins and are known for using clever technical tactics to disguise themselves.

Biobrite researchers say that despite its similarities to smoke loaders, Tardigrade seems to be more advanced and offers an extended array of customization options. It also adds functionality to a Trojan, which means that once installed on the Victim network, it searches for stored passwords, installs a keylogger, starts extracting data, and sets a backdoor for attackers to choose their own adventures.

“This malware is designed to differentiate itself in different environments, so the signature is constantly changing and it’s hard to detect,” said Callie Churchwell, a malware analyst at Biobrite. “I’ve tested it almost 100 times and each time it created itself in a different way and communicated differently. In addition, if it is not able to communicate with the command and control server, it has the ability to be more autonomous and self-contained, which was completely unexpected. “



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