In the Shadow of Venus: Trinity Ransomware's Covert Ties

CRIL (Cyble Research and Intelligence Labs) has uncovered a new ransomware variant dubbed Trinity, notable for its utilization of a double extortion tactic. This method involves exfiltrating victim data before initiating encryption and subsequently demanding ransom payments. The threat actors behind Trinity operate victim support and data leak sites, enhancing their coercive capabilities (T1486). CRIL's investigation revealed striking similarities between Trinity and the previously identified Venus ransomware, including shared registry value usage and mutex naming conventions (T1140). Additionally, Trinity displays parallels with a ransomware known as "2023Lock," suggesting potential connections between the two variants (T1140). Technical analysis reveals Trinity's use of the ChaCha20 encryption algorithm and its deployment of both text and .hta format ransom notes (T1204.002). By appending a ".trinitylock" extension to encrypted files and modifying the desktop wallpaper via registry changes, Trinity aims to coerce victims into compliance (T1491.001).

Security Officer Comments:
The identification of these ransomware variants underscores the evolving threat landscape and highlights the need for robust cybersecurity measures. Cyble recommends various safety measures to prevent ransomware attacks, emphasizing the importance of regular backups, software updates, and vigilant email security practices. Moreover, in the event of a ransomware attack, users are advised to disconnect infected devices, inspect system logs for suspicious activity, and follow established incident response procedures. Finally, Cyble provides insights into Trinity's tactics using the MITRE ATT&CK:

  • T1204.002 (User Execution): Malicious file.
  • T1134 (Access Token Manipulation): Impersonates Tokens
  • T1140 (Deobfuscate/Decode Files or Information) : The binary contains encrypted strings.
  • T1083 (File and Directory Discovery): Ransomware enumerates folders for file encryption.
  • T1570 (Lateral Tool Transfer): Enumerates network shares and scans the network.
  • T1486 (Data Encrypted for Impact): Ransomware encrypts the data for extortion.
  • T1491.001 (Defacement: Internal Defacement): Changes desktop wallpaper.
  • T1490 (Inhibit System Recovery) : Removes Shadow copies.

Suggested Corrections:
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.