Dangerous Rombertik virus wipes out hard disk drives if detected

Security researchers at the Cisco Talos Security Intelligence and Research Group have warned of a new virus called Rombertik, that is designed to destroy the master boot record if it finds out that has been detected. The researchers say in a blog post, “In the process of reverse engineering Rombertik, we discovered multiple layers of obfuscation and anti-analysis functionality. This functionality was designed to evade both static and dynamic analysis tools, make debugging difficult. If the sample detected it was being analyzed or debugged it would ultimately destroy the master boot record (MBR).”

The process by which Rombertik compromises the target system is a fairly complex with anti-analysis checks in place to prevent static and dynamic analysis.  Upon execution, Rombertik will stall and then run through a first set of anti-analysis checks to see if it is running within a sandbox.  Once these checks are complete, Rombertik will proceed to decrypt and install itself on the victims computer to maintain persistence.  After installation, it will then launch a second copy of itself and overwrite the second copy with the malware’s core functionality.  Before Rombertik begins the process of spying on users, Rombertik will perform once last check to ensure it is not being analyzed in memory.  If this check fails, Rombertik will attempt to destroy the Master Boot Record and restart the computer to render it unusable.

At a basic level, Romberik is a complex piece of malware that is designed to hook into the user’s browser to read credentials and other sensitive information for exfiltration to an attacker controlled server.

Rombertik has been identified to propagate via spam and phishing messages sent to would-be victims.  Like previous spam and phishing campaigns Talos has discussed, attackers use social engineering tactics to entice users to download, unzip, and open the attachments that ultimately result in the user’s compromise.

For more details, check out the Cisco Talos blog

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