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Sprite Spider emerges as one of the most destructive players in ransomware threats


During the recent SANS Cyber ​​Threat Intelligence Summit, two CrowdStrike cybersecurity executives, senior security researcher Sergei Frankoff and senior intelligence analyst Eric Loui, gave details of a major emerging ransomware player they call Sprite Spider. Like many other ransomware attackers, the gang behind the Sprite Spiders attacks has grown rapidly in sophistication and damage capacity since 2015.

Today, Sprite Spider is poised to become one of the biggest players in the ransomware threat of 2021 and has a threat profile comparable to the advanced persistent threat players five or ten years ago. The rise of Sprite Spider as a sophisticated threat is not surprising given that it, like many other organized ransomware gangs, is filled with hackers who are often employed for profit by security actors. threat of the nation-state.

Evolution of Sprite Spider

Sprite Spider started using a banking Trojan called Shifu in 2015, adding a malware loader called Vatet around 2017. In 2018, the gang deployed a remote access Trojan called PyXie. In 2019, the group evolved to the point of deploying a ransomware called DEFRAY777.

At this point, CrowdStrike researchers have linked Shifu, Vatet, and PyXie to the DEFRAY777 ransomware attacks. They realized that all of the activity of these components was tied to a single threat actor, which was flying under the radar.

How Sprite Spider ransomware works

The gang can often escape detection mainly because their code appears harmless, hiding in open source projects such as Notepad ++. The only thing Sprite Spider writes to disk is Vatet, which makes it even more difficult for analysts to follow them during incident response.

Despite its stealth and multiple components, Sprite Spider displays mundane characteristics. DEFRAY777 isn’t sophisticated ransomware, but it gets the job done. Sprite Spider was also a little behind the game dedicated to the leak site, waiting until the end of November 2020 to launch its own victim communication site, months after other ransomware players started launching these. Site (s.

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