A ransomware gang made $260,000 in 5 days using the 7zip utility

A ransomware gang has made $260,000 in just five days simply by remotely encrypting files on QNAP devices using the 7zip archive program.

Starting on Monday, QNAP NAS users from all over the world suddenly found their files encrypted after a ransomware operation called Qlocker exploited vulnerabilities on their devices.

While most ransomware groups put considerable development time in their malware to make it efficient, feature-rich, and have strong encryption, the Qlocker gang didn’t even have to create their own malware program.

Instead, they scanned for QNAP devices connected to the Internet and exploited them using the recently disclosed vulnerabilities. These exploits allowed the threat actors to remotely execute the 7zip archival utility to password protect all the files on victims’ NAS storage devices.

Using such a simple approach allowed them to encrypt over a thousand, if not thousands, of devices in just five days using a time-tested encryption algorithm built into the 7zip archive utility.

Ransom demands were priced correctly

Enterprise-targeting ransomware usually demands ransom payments ranging from $100,000 to $50 million to decrypt all of a victim’s devices and not leak their stolen data.

However, Qlocker chose a different target – consumers and small-to-medium business owners utilizing QNAP NAS devices for network storage.

It seems that the threat actors knew their targets well as they priced their ransom demands at only 0.01 Bitcoins, or at today’s Bitcoin prices, approximately $500.

Deciding to pay millions of dollars requires a company to think hard about whether the lost data is worth millions of dollars.

However, paying $500 can be seen as a small price to pay to recover important files, no matter how violated a victim may feel.

Qlocker’s decision appears to have paid off as the payments have started to rush in earning the threat actors a sizeable return for a few days of activity.

Qlocker made almost $260,000 so far

As the Qlocker ransomware uses a fixed set of Bitcoin addresses that victims are rotated through, it has been possible to collect the addresses and monitor their payments.

Tuesday night, security researcher Jack Cable discovered a short-lived bug that allowed him to recover the passwords for 55 victims passwords for free. While utilizing this bug, he collected ten different Bitcoin addresses that the threat actors were rotating with victims and shared them

At this time, the 20 bitcoin addresses, shown below, have received ransom payments totaling 5.25735623 Bitcoins. This amount is equivalent to approximately $258,494.

Bitcoin AddressTotal Bitcoin payments

If we divide the amount of Bitcoins earned, we come out to approximately 525 victims having paid the ransom so far.

Unfortunately, the ransoms keep coming in as users make the hard decision of paying to recover their files, so this number will likely increase through the weekend and into next week.

This ransomware campaign is still ongoing, with new victims appearing every day. Therefore, all QNAP users must update the latest versions of the Multimedia Console, Media Streaming Add-on, and Hybrid Backup Sync apps to fix the vulnerabilities and protect against these ransomware attacks.

Users are also advised to secure their NAS devices so that other future attacks are harder to accomplish.

For more information, you can read our dedicated Qlocker article or visit our highly active Qlocker support topic, where users are helping each other recover files and secure their devices.

NOTE:: This article is copyright by bleepingcomputer.com and we are using it for educational or Information purpose only

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