A wave of the GlobeImposter 2.0 ransomware infected the computers of innocent internet users, and told them to visit a Tor website in order to pay up and have their files decrypted.
Nothing so unusual in that, but as researchers at Coveware report, these particular victims have been left in the lurch because the masterminds behind the attack appear to have abandoned the recovery website:
As is standard, the site offers free decryption of a single file. However, unlike GandCrab, the victim is not able to upload the file to the site. Instead they are directed to a support ticketing system. The ticketing system allows the user to upload a file and send a short message with their contact information. In both live cases and tests, this support function is not working. The tickets are submitted with confirms sent to the email address input. You can even log back in to check the status of these tickets. The problem is no one replies. There is no indication that the support function is being monitored
So, if victims cannot trial the decryption service for free on one file, will they have better luck if they simply pay the ransom? Unfortunately, according to Coveware, they won’t.
When testing the actual ransom payment function and confirmation, errors where thrown when trying to confirm that a payment had been sent, further demonstrating that the site has been abandoned.
Other GlobeImposter ransomware attacks have provided email addresses for victims to correspond with, and these reportedly have resulted in users successfully making contact with their extortionists and getting their files decrypted.
However, for whatever reason (it’s unclear if they are unwilling or unable), those hackers who monitor those email addresses won’t be any help to victims who were directed to the Tor site.
So, if you don’t have a secure backup of your data before it was encrypted by the ransomware, you’re left clutching at straws that someday the extortionists might update and fix their webpage.
Don’t wait until it’s too late to think about your backup regime.
Listen to this episode of the “Smashing Security” podcast to learn more about backups.