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Joint Cybersecurity Advisory (CISA + FBI) - Snatch Ransomware


20 Sept 2023

Since mid-2021, Snatch threat actors have consistently evolved their tactics to take advantage of
current trends in the cybercriminal space and leveraged successes of other ransomware variants’
operations. Snatch threat actors have targeted a wide range of critical infrastructure sectors including
the Defense Industrial Base (DIB), Food and Agriculture, and Information Technology sectors. Snatch
threat actors conduct ransomware operations involving data exfiltration and double extortion. After
data exfiltration often involving direct communications with victims demanding ransom, Snatch threat
actors may threaten victims with double extortion, where the victims’ data will be posted on Snatch’s
extortion blog if the ransom goes unpaid.

First appearing in 2018, Snatch operates a ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) model and claimed their first U.S.-based victim in 2019. Originally, the group was referred to as Team Truniger, based on the nickname of a key group member, Truniger, who previously operated as a GandCrab affiliate. Snatch threat actors use a customized ransomware variant notable for rebooting devices into Safe Mode [T1562.009], enabling the ransomware to circumvent detection by antivirus or endpoint protection, and then encrypting files when few services are running. Snatch threat actors have been observed purchasing previously stolen data from other ransomware variants in an attempt to further exploit victims into paying a ransom to avoid having their data released on Snatch’s extortion blog.

Initial Access and Persistence

Snatch affiliates primarily rely on exploiting weaknesses in Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) [T1133] for brute-forcing and gaining administrator credentials to victims’ networks [T1110.001]. In some instances, Snatch affiliates have sought out compromised credentials from criminal forums/marketplaces [T1078].

Snatch threat actors gain persistence on a victim’s network by compromising an administrator account [T1078.002] and establishing connections over port 443 [T1071.001] to a command and control (C2) server located on a Russian bulletproof hosting service [T1583.003].

Data Discovery and Lateral Movement

Prior to deploying the ransomware, Snatch threat actors were observed spending up to three months on a victim’s system. Within this timeframe, Snatch threat actors exploited the victim’s network. [T1590], moving laterally across the victim’s network with RDP [T1021.001] for the largest possible deployment of ransomware and searching for files and folders [T1005] for data exfiltration [TA0010] followed by file encryption [T1486]

Defense Evasion and Execution

During the early stages of ransomware deployment, Snatch threat actors attempt to disable antivirus software [T1562.001] and run an executable as a file named safe.exe or some variation thereof.

Upon initiation, the Snatch ransomware payload queries and modifies registry keys [T1012][T1112], uses various native Windows tools to enumerate the system [T1569.002], finds processes [T1057], and creates benign processes to execute Windows batch (.bat) files [T1059.003].

The Snatch ransomware executable appends a series of hexadecimal characters to each file and folder name it encrypts—unique to each infection—and leaves behind a text file titled HOW TO RESTORE YOUR FILES.TXT in each folder. Snatch threat actors communicate with their victims through email and the Tox communication platform based on identifiers left in ransom notes or through their extortion blog.

Indicators of Compromise (IOCs)

Visit CISA site : #StopRansomware: Snatch Ransomware | CISA

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