Automated Data Theft: Vice Society’s Sophisticated PowerShell Exfiltrator
Vice Society, a ransomware group, has introduced an advanced PowerShell script to automate the theft of data from compromised networks. The group typically steals valuable corporate and customer data and uses it to extort victims or sell it to other cybercriminals for profit.
The new data exfiltrator is fully automated, utilizing „living off the land“ binaries and scripts to avoid detection by security software, ensuring that their activities remain undetected until the final stage of the ransomware attack.
In early 2023, Palo Alto Networks Unit 42 discovered a new data theft tool used by the Vice Society ransomware gang. The tool was discovered during an incident response, where a file named „w1.ps1“ was recovered from a victim’s network.
The script utilizes PowerShell to automate the exfiltration of data and consists of multiple functions, including Work(), Show(), CreateJobLocal(), and fill(). These functions work together to identify potential directories for exfiltration, process groups of directories, and finally exfiltrate data via HTTP POST requests to Vice Society’s servers.
According to Unit 42’s report, the script does not require any arguments, leaving the responsibility of identifying files to copy out of the network to the script itself. The report also notes that the script ignores files that are less than 10 KB in size and those that do not have a file extension.
The use of „living off the land“ binaries and scripts make it difficult for security software to detect the script’s activities, ensuring that the gang’s activities remain covert until the final stage of the ransomware attack.
The Vice Society’s new PowerShell script for automated data theft has a master exclusion and inclusion list to determine what files to steal. It excludes files from common backup and system folders but targets folders containing over 433 strings in multiple languages, including German and English.
The use of sophisticated tools makes Vice Society a significant threat to organisations worldwide, making it challenging for defenders to stop their attacks.