Scarab Ransomware Deployed Worldwide Via Spacecolon Toolset

Cyber Security Threat Summary:
ESET researchers found the Spacecolon toolkit spreading Scarab ransomware across global organizations. It exploits weak web servers or RDP credentials for entry, with Turkish elements hinting at a Turkish-speaking developer. Spacecolon dates back to May 2020, with ongoing campaigns and a recent May 2023 build. ESET hasn’t linked it to any known group naming it “CosmicBeetle”. From a technical perspective, the toolkit is made up of three main components:ScHackTool, ScInstaller, and ScService. These components allow CosmicBeetle to establish remote access, deploy additional tools, and even execute ransomware attacks. ScHackTool functions as the coordinator, overseeing the deployment of ScInstaller and ScService. ScInstaller’s primary role is to install ScService, which operates as a backdoor. This enables CosmicBeetle to issue commands, download payloads, and gather system data.

In addition to the core components, Spacecolon’s operators extensively utilize a range of third party tools, both legitimate and malicious, accessible on demand.

Security Officer Comments:
ESET’s investigation also revealed the emergence of a fresh ransomware variant, ScRansom, thought to be crafted by the Spacecolon’s creator. ScRansom displays the comparable Turkish code elements and shares resemblances in its user interface. This ransomware is designed to encrypt different drives using AES-128 encryption, deriving a key from a fixed string. Despite not being seen in live attacks, ESET indicates that ScRansom seems to be in its developmental phase.

Suggested Correction(s):
Researchers at ESET have published IOC’s that can be used for detection:

General Ransomware Mitigation:
Backup your data, system images, and configurations, regularly test them, and keep the backups offline: Ensure that backups are regularly tested and that they are not connected to the business network, as many ransomware variants try to find and encrypt or delete accessible backups. Maintaining current backups offline is critical because if your network data is encrypted with ransomware, your organization can restore systems. Update and patch systems promptly: This includes maintaining the security of operating systems, applications, and firmware in a timely manner. Consider using a centralized patch management system; use a risk- based assessment strategy to drive your patch management program.

Test your incident response plan: There's nothing that shows the gaps in plans more than testing them. Run through some core questions and use those to build an incident response plan: Are you able to sustain business operations without access to certain systems? For how long? Would you turn off your manufacturing operations if business systems such as billing were offline?

Check Your Security Team's Work:
Use a 3rd party pen tester to test the security of your systems and your ability to defend against a sophisticated attack. Many ransomware criminals are aggressive and sophisticated and will find the equivalent of unlocked doors.

Segment your networks:
There's been a recent shift in ransomware attacks – from stealing data to disrupting operations. It's critically important that your corporate business functions and manufacturing/production operations are separated and that you carefully filter and limit internet access to operational networks, identify links between these networks and develop workarounds or manual controls to ensure ICS networks can be isolated and continue operating if your corporate network is compromised. Regularly test contingency plans such as manual controls so that safety critical functions can be maintained during a cyber incident.

Train employees:
Email remains the most vulnerable attack vector for organizations. Users should be trained how to avoid and spot phishing emails. Multi Factor authentication can help prevent malicious access to sensitive services.