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DJVU Ransomware’s Newest Variant ‘Xaro’ Disguised as Cracked Software program

Nov 29, 2023NewsroomRansomware / Cyber Menace


A variant of a ransomware pressure often called DJVU has been noticed to be distributed within the type of cracked software program.

“Whereas this assault sample will not be new, incidents involving a DJVU variant that appends the .xaro extension to affected recordsdata and demanding ransom for a decryptor have been noticed infecting techniques alongside a number of assorted commodity loaders and infostealers,” Cybereason safety researcher Ralph Villanueva mentioned.

The brand new variant has been codenamed Xaro by the American cybersecurity agency.

DJVU, in itself, is a variant of the STOP ransomware, usually arrives on the scene masquerading as authentic providers or functions. It is also delivered as a payload of SmokeLoader.


A big facet of DJVU assaults is the deployment of further malware, equivalent to info stealers (e.g., RedLine Stealer and Vidar), making them extra damaging in nature.

Within the newest assault chain documented by Cybereason, Xaro is propagated as an archive file from a doubtful supply that masquerades as a web site providing authentic freeware.

Opening the archive file results in the execution of a supposed installer binary for a PDF writing software program referred to as CutePDF that, in actuality, is a pay-per-install malware downloader service often called PrivateLoader.

PrivateLoader, for its half, establishes contact with a command-and-control (C2) server to fetch a variety of stealer and loader malware households like RedLine Stealer, Vidar, Lumma Stealer, Amadey, SmokeLoader, Nymaim, GCleaner, XMRig, and Fabookie, along with dropping Xaro.

“This shotgun-approach to the obtain and execution of commodity malware is usually noticed in PrivateLoader infections originating from suspicious freeware or cracked software program websites,” Villanueva defined.

The aim seems to be to collect and exfiltrate delicate info for double extortion in addition to make sure the success of the assault even when one of many payloads will get blocked by safety software program.


Xaro, in addition to spawning an occasion of the Vidar infostealer, is able to encrypting recordsdata within the contaminated host, earlier than dropping a ransom notice, urging the sufferer to get in contact with the risk actor to pay $980 for the personal key and the decryptor software, a value that drops by 50% to $490 if approached inside 72 hours.

If something, the exercise illustrates the dangers concerned with downloading freeware from untrusted sources. Final month, Sucuri detailed one other marketing campaign referred to as FakeUpdateRU whereby guests to compromised web sites are served bogus browser replace notices to ship RedLine Stealer.

“Menace actors are identified to favor freeware masquerading as a strategy to covertly deploy malicious code,” Villanueva mentioned. “The pace and breadth of affect on contaminated machines ought to be fastidiously understood by enterprise networks trying to defend themselves and their information.”

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