Adversaries may destroy data and files on specific systems or in large numbers on a network to interrupt availability to systems, services, and network resources. Data destruction is likely to render stored data irrecoverable by forensic techniques through overwriting files or data on local and remote drives. Common operating system file deletion commands such as
rm often only remove pointers to files without wiping the contents of the files themselves, making the files recoverable by proper forensic methodology. This behavior is distinct from Disk Content Wipe and Disk Structure Wipe because individual files are destroyed rather than sections of a storage disk or the disk's logical structure.
Adversaries may attempt to overwrite files and directories with randomly generated data to make it irrecoverable. In some cases politically oriented image files have been used to overwrite data.
To maximize impact on the target organization in operations where network-wide availability interruption is the goal, malware designed for destroying data may have worm-like features to propagate across a network by leveraging additional techniques like Valid Accounts, OS Credential Dumping, and SMB/Windows Admin Shares..
In cloud environments, adversaries may leverage access to delete cloud storage, cloud storage accounts, machine images, and other infrastructure crucial to operations to damage an organization or their customers.
Consider implementing IT disaster recovery plans that contain procedures for taking regular data backups that can be used to restore organizational data. Ensure backups are stored off system and is protected from common methods adversaries may use to gain access and destroy the backups to prevent recovery.
Use process monitoring to monitor the execution and command-line parameters of binaries that could be involved in data destruction activity, such as SDelete. Monitor for the creation of suspicious files as well as high unusual file modification activity. In particular, look for large quantities of file modifications in user directories and under
In cloud environments, the occurrence of anomalous high-volume deletion events, such as the
DeleteGlobalCluster events in AWS, or a high quantity of data deletion events, such as
DeleteBucket, within a short period of time may indicate suspicious activity.
- Symantec. (2012, August 16). The Shamoon Attacks. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
- FireEye. (2016, November 30). FireEye Responds to Wave of Destructive Cyber Attacks in Gulf Region. Retrieved January 11, 2017.
- Falcone, R.. (2016, November 30). Shamoon 2: Return of the Disttrack Wiper. Retrieved January 11, 2017.
- Kaspersky Lab. (2017, March 7). From Shamoon to StoneDrill: Wipers attacking Saudi organizations and beyond. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
- Falcone, R. (2018, December 13). Shamoon 3 Targets Oil and Gas Organization. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
- Mercer, W. and Rascagneres, P. (2018, February 12). Olympic Destroyer Takes Aim At Winter Olympics. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
- Mimoso, M.. (2014, June 18). Hacker Puts Hosting Service Code Spaces Out of Business. Retrieved December 15, 2020.
- DOJ. (2020, August 26). San Jose Man Pleads Guilty To Damaging Cisco’s Network. Retrieved December 15, 2020.
- FireEye. (2018, October 03). APT38: Un-usual Suspects. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
- Baumgartner, K. and Garnaeva, M.. (2015, February 17). BE2 extraordinary plugins, Siemens targeting, dev fails. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
- Cherepanov, A.. (2016, January 3). BlackEnergy by the SSHBearDoor: attacks against Ukrainian news media and electric industry . Retrieved June 10, 2020.
- Levene, B, et al. (2017, May 03). Kazuar: Multiplatform Espionage Backdoor with API Access. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
- Novetta Threat Research Group. (2016, February 24). Operation Blockbuster: Unraveling the Long Thread of the Sony Attack. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
- Scott W. Brady. (2020, October 15). United States vs. Yuriy Sergeyevich Andrienko et al.. Retrieved November 25, 2020.
- Adair, S.. (2016, November 9). PowerDuke: Widespread Post-Election Spear Phishing Campaigns Targeting Think Tanks and NGOs. Retrieved January 11, 2017.
- Sherstobitoff, R., Malhotra, A. (2018, April 24). Analyzing Operation GhostSecret: Attack Seeks to Steal Data Worldwide. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
- Mamedov, O, et al. (2019, July 3). Sodin ransomware exploits Windows vulnerability and processor architecture. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
- Secureworks . (2019, September 24). REvil: The GandCrab Connection. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
- McAfee. (2019, October 2). McAfee ATR Analyzes Sodinokibi aka REvil Ransomware-as-a-Service – What The Code Tells Us. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
- Intel 471 Malware Intelligence team. (2020, March 31). REvil Ransomware-as-a-Service – An analysis of a ransomware affiliate operation. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
- Ozarslan, S. (2020, January 15). A Brief History of Sodinokibi. Retrieved August 5, 2020.
- Counter Threat Unit Research Team. (2019, September 24). REvil/Sodinokibi Ransomware. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
- US-CERT. (2016, February 25). ICS Alert (IR-ALERT-H-16-056-01) Cyber-Attack Against Ukrainian Critical Infrastructure. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
- Cherepanov, A.. (2017, June 30). TeleBots are back: Supply chain attacks against Ukraine. Retrieved June 11, 2020.
- Russinovich, M. (2016, July 4). SDelete v2.0. Retrieved February 8, 2018.
- Mundo, A., Roccia, T., Saavedra-Morales, J., Beek, C.. (2018, December 14). Shamoon Returns to Wipe Systems in Middle East, Europe . Retrieved May 29, 2020.
- Xiao, C. (2018, September 17). Xbash Combines Botnet, Ransomware, Coinmining in Worm that Targets Linux and Windows. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
- Ready.gov. (n.d.). IT Disaster Recovery Plan. Retrieved March 15, 2019.