Recently, they’ve been using a RAT called ChaChi to create back doors in a wide range of education-oriented organizations and steal data or mass lock files with ransomware then try to extort those organizations.
ChaChi was developed by PYSA sometime in early 2020. When it was first observed in the wild, researchers noted that it was rather crudely designed, lacking any way of hiding from software-based security protocols. They couldn’t even do some of the basics, like port forwarding or tunneling.
Unfortunately, the ransomware gang didn’t stop at version 1.0. In fact, since it was first spotted, the malware has been in a near constant state of flux, receiving regular updates that have dramatically increased its capabilities.
The ChaChi threat is serious enough that it has even attracted the attention of the FBI. The agency began tracking ChaChi campaigned in March of this year (2020), and has noted a recent increase in the number of PYSA ransomware targets in both the US and the UK.
The gang seems to preferentially target organizations in education and healthcare, and it’s not difficult to understand why. Both types of organizations regularly deal with vast amounts of incredibly sensitive data, which has far more value on the Dark Web than a simple collection of credit card numbers.
Especially if the organizations you do business with are using older, legacy systems and/or don’t have a robust backup process, you could be placing yourself at risk, as a breach of their system could lead to a breach of your own.
Stay vigilant. ChaChi isn’t the only threat out there.