December 9, 2023

Strains of ransomware were employed in attacks on financial institutions,and it has been estimated that APT38 has stolen at hundreds of million dollars from banks worldwide.

The string of attacks against the SWIFT banking system to the APT38, including the hack of Vietnam’s TP Bank in 2015,  Bangladesh’s central bank in 2016, Taiwan’s Far Eastern International in 2017,  Bancomext in Mexico in 2018, and Banco de Chile in 2018.

Mandiant Report

All started with the investigation of the discovery of ‘VHD ransomware’ in the threat landscape in March 2020. The MATA malware framework could target Windows, Linux, and macOS operating systems.

The malware framework implements a wide range of features that allow attackers to fully control the infected systems.

The analysis of the source code of the VHD ransomware revealed many similarities with other malware families, that mentioned below

  • BEAF ransomware
  • PXJ ransomware
  • ZZZZ ransomware
  • CHiCHi ransomware

Other than code-similarity hunting, Tflower ransomware spreads via MATA framework with an .BEAF extension.

Hilbert curves are used to visualize the code of the different malware families and discovered that PXJ, Beaf, and ZZZZ share a notable amount of source code and functionality with VHD and TFlower ransomware, while Beaf and ZZZZ are almost identical.

Trellix researchers also state that the attacks involving this ransomware were aimed at a limited group of companies in APAC and for this reason was not easy to investigate the activities of the threat actors.


The experts also tracked the transactions associated with the Bitcoin (BTC) wallet addresses used by the attackers for ransom payments, but they did not find any overlap in transfer wallets between the families.

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