Thanos Ransomware: Destructive Variant Targeting State-Run Organizations in the Middle East and North Africa


On July 6 and July 9, 2020, we observed files associated with an attack on two state-run organizations in the Middle East and North Africa that ultimately installed and ran a variant of the Thanos ransomware. The Thanos variant created a text file that displayed a ransom message requesting the victim transfer “20,000$” into a specified Bitcoin wallet to restore the files on the system. We do not have visibility into the overall impacts of these attacks or whether or not the threat actors were successful in receiving a payment from the victims.

The ransomware was also configured to overwrite the master boot record (MBR), which is an important component loaded on a system’s hard drive that is required for the computer to locate and load the operating system. The ransomware overwrites the MBR to display the same ransom message as the previously mentioned text file, which is a technique we do not see often. The most notable example we’ve observed involved the Petya ransomware in 2017.

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Source: Palo Alto