Nemty

Nemty is ransomware with an unusually complex encryption algorithm. This malware encrypts user files and demands money so that they can be unlocked again. It may be connected to other famous ransomware, but we don’t know for sure.

Type
Ransomware
Origin
ex-USSR territory
First seen
1 August, 2019
Last seen
21 February, 2020
Also known as
NEMTY PROJECT
Global rank
31
Week rank
21
Month rank
19
IOCs
32

Nemty, also known as NEMTY PROJECT is a ransomware-type of malware. A virus that puts encryption on all files that are stored on infected machines and only allows to restore them if victims pay a certain ransom amount.

Nemty has surfaced not so long ago. It was first observed in the wild in August 2019. Due to some similarities in the code and behavior, researchers think than Nemty might be related to GandCrab and Sodinokibi, though direct correlation hasn’t been proved. In any case, it is safe to assume that this is a very advanced malware.

Additionally, the malware’s code apparently includes an affiliate ID which may indicate that Nemty is available as a Ransomware as a Service. If this information is correct Nemty has the potential to become a very widespread malware due to it’s easy availability.

General description of Nemty

Nemty ransomware is being actively upgraded by its creators. In fact, several versions of the virus have already been released and nothing suggests that this development should stop anytime soon.

Among other upgrades, threat actors employed a very strong encryption algorithm. It is actually so strong that no malware before Nemty has used anything similar. The RSA-8192 used here is 8192-bit encryption which is considered to be an overkill for use in malware. Even though this encryption protocol makes data decryption more difficult it also presents its own complications. For example, it causes longer encryption and key generation times and only encrypts 1024 bytes at a time.

Despite this, researchers have been able to create decryptors that work with versions 1.4, 1.5 and 1.6 of the malware. This means that victims that have been attacked by the version of the malware mentioned above can restore their information without having to pay the ransom the attackers.

Without the decryptors, victims would have to pay a ransom of about $1000 equivalent in Bitcoin to the attackers. The ransom can be paid through a payment portal that is hosted using the TOR network. And if not paid on time, the amount is doubled to a $2000 equivalent.

We don’t know for sure who the people behind Nemty are. The malware has code that checks if the victim is from one of the following countries: Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, or Ukraine.

However, victims from the countries mentioned above can still get attacked by the ransomware. This is strange since usually, viruses that check for the origins of victims terminate execution to avoid getting attention from local law enforcement structures.

In the case of Nemty, users from all over the world are in danger of being infected.

However, there are other interesting oddities in the code that point to a ex-USSR origin of the virus. The code contains a link to a similar picture that was linked in GandCrab’s code. Except, this time it contains on an overlay of the Russian president’s portrait. There are other weird things to be found in the code of this malware. For example, if you dig deep enough you will find a direct message to cybersecurity professionals telling them to, well, “mind their own business” in a less polite form.

More evidence suggesting the x-USSR origin of the malware creators is that the payment page is in the Russian language. Maybe the creators are in fact Russian or they are trying to plant a false lead and mislead researchers.

Malware analysis of Nemty Ransomware

A video recorded in the ANY.RUN malware hunting service allows us to take a look at the execution of this malware in action.

nemty's ransom note

Figure 1: Nemty's ransom note

text report of the Nemty ransomware analysis

Figure 2: Shows a customizable text report generated by the ANY.RUN malware analysis service which allows diving deeper into the details of the Nemty execution process.

Nemty execution process

The execution process of the Nemty ransomware is relatively typical for this type of malware. After the executable file makes its way into an infected system and runs, the main malicious activity begins. Like many other ransomware families, Nemty deletes shadow copy files. It also stops and kills processes from the hardcoded list. The malware creates a text file with a ransom note in every folder with encrypted files.

The interesting thing is that Nemty, as well as Sodinokibi, creates a registry key in which it stores values such as a public key and a file extension for encrypted files.

Nemty Distribution

Initially, Nemty was using RIG and Radio EK exploit kits for distribution purposes. In addition to that, malware authors employed spam email campaigns to distribute the virus primarily in Korea and China. These two countries are where the bulk of all Nemty infections is happening.

However, with the newer versions of the malware coming out, threat actors started using new distribution methods. Possibly they were trying to expand the reach of the malware and gain the ability to infect more victims.

One of such methods is a fake PayPal website that promises to save money with an unusually high cashback. The website is designed to look identical to the genuine PayPal and prompts users to download a file called “cashback.exe”. Although unsuspecting victims might think that they are downloading a PayPal app, in reality, they are installing and executing the Nemty ransomware.

In addition, later versions of the malware are delivered using the Trik botnet. Apparently, the authors of Nemty have partnered up with people behind Trik to increase their range.

How to detect Nemty using ANY.RUN?

To determine whether the sample under review is Nemty or not, you can take a look at the changes that it made in the registry. To do so, open "Advanced details of process" of the malicious process and look at the "Registry changes" tab in the "Events" section. If a process has created values with the names "cfg", "pbkey" or "fid" into the key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\NEMTY, you can be sure that the given sample is Nemty.

changes in registry made by nemty ransomware

Figure 3: Changes in registry made by Nemty ransomware

Conclusion

The constant evolution of distribution methods, as well as regular updates, prove that this malware is at a stage of active development. First seen in 2019, Nemty is a young threat that already shows signs of sophisticated malware.

Coupled with the potential use of the Ransomware as a Service business model that makes this malware available to many threat actors around the globe, these factors demand that this threat is not taken lightly.

One of the primary dangers of this Ransomware lies in the delivery techniques chosen by the attackers. While mail spam helps to reach millions of potential victims easily, heavy use of exploit kits allows attackers to control every step of the infection.

Thus, it is especially important that security researchers can evaluate this ransomware and continue developing countermeasures and encryptors. One tool that can help in this pursuit is the ANY.RUN malware hunting service that will allow studying samples of Nemty in a controlled and safe environment.

IOCs

IP addresses
104.26.4.15
104.26.5.15
54.243.147.226
54.225.71.235
23.23.73.124
54.225.169.250
50.19.218.16
23.23.229.94
107.22.249.177
23.23.83.153
54.225.92.64
23.21.72.212
174.129.199.232
104.25.3.33
104.25.2.33
23.23.243.154
107.22.193.167
54.243.198.12
104.25.2.33
Hashes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majul.com
isns.net
qxq.ddns.net
api.db-ip.com
api-mg2.db-ip.com
api-osisoft.db-ip.com
cdn.db-ip.com
www.beautypaths.eu
thuocnam.tk
m-onetrading-jp.com
krupskaya.com
e4280.g.akamaiedge.net
nagano-19599.herokussl.com

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