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Apollolocker Ransomware

Posted: September 7, 2017

Threat Metric

Threat Level: 10/10
Infected PCs: 52
First Seen: September 7, 2017
OS(es) Affected: Windows

The ApolloLocker Ransomware is a Trojan that may collect information or lock the files on your PC by encrypting them. Other symptoms associated with this threat include messages asking you to pay money for recovering your encrypted data, although the con artists may break these agreements. Use either preventative security procedures or backups to preserve any vulnerable media and professional anti-malware programs for removing the ApolloLocker Ransomware after an infection.

Trojans Shining Down on Turkey's PC Workers

It's today's standard procedure for threatening software to specialize in what it does, but not all threat actors want their Trojans to do just one thing at a time. A few threats include additional attacks that they can accomplish simultaneously, which can serve the purpose of creating vulnerabilities for later exploitation or distracting the victim from the real motivation, such as the exfiltration of legally-protected data. The ApolloLocker Ransomware is just one such example, with its payload enabling both spyware-related features for passing over data, as well as ransom-based ones for locking the contents of your PC.

Based on the HTML instructions it relays to any victims, the ApolloLocker Ransomware campaign appears to be specializing in Turkish users, although most aspects of an infection could apply equally well to PCs elsewhere. The attacks malware experts emphasize as the greatest security issues with any the ApolloLocker Ransomware infection include:

  • The ApolloLocker Ransomware can encrypt the local media on a PC, including documents and pictures ordinarily, with a cipher to prevent them from opening. Every file also is appended with the '.locked' extension, which the ApolloLocker Ransomware also shares with several, unrelated Trojans.
  • Unlike most file-encoding threats, the ApolloLocker Ransomware also collects passwords and related confidential data by monitoring your keyboard or Web-browsing activities. So far, malware analysts only can confirm the compatibility of the ApolloLocker Ransomware's spyware features with Internet Explorer.
  • This Trojan also includes features meant to protect it from analysis by security researchers. As a result, the ApolloLocker Ransomware may self-terminate or display other behavior, if it runs within a VM (or Virtual Machine) environment.
  • The ApolloLocker Ransomware also drops links to Web pages meant to redirect the victim to a ransom-paying TOR site for decrypting their media, and all of its provided text is for Turkish readers. Unusually, the threat actors offer several weeks to pay, instead of the one to three days that malware experts see throughout most of the digital extortion industry.

Extinguishing a Sun Fueled by Ransoms

While the sun god-based name implies at least a superficial familiarity with the Greek mythology, the ApolloLocker Ransomware has yet to be verifiable for compromising PCs outside of Turkey's borders. However, attacks by this threat are capable of damaging data permanently through the encryption process and may not be recoverable directly. PC users who can't afford to lose specific files should copy that content to a detachable drive or a protected cloud server, and avoid limiting themselves to ransom-based recovery options that may not be reciprocal.

The ApolloLocker Ransomware shares its extension-based symptom with other, file-locking Trojans, including ones that lack its capacity for logging and uploading information. Victims of potential attacks by file-locking threats should avoid trying to identify them visually. Disable all Internet connectivity as soon as possible and allow your anti-malware program to uninstall the ApolloLocker Ransomware before it can collect or lock any additional data. Malware experts always discourage paying any ransoms since threat actors always can accept the payment without providing their half of the decryption solution.

Other threats before the ApolloLocker Ransomware show similar proclivities towards conducting 'hidden' attacks, like collecting passwords, alongside their more detectable ones. While a minority usually, the ApolloLocker Ransomware, and its kin, exemplify many of the problems with judging a security risk by what one sees.