Data Encrypted for Impact

Adversaries may encrypt data on target systems or on large numbers of systems in a network to interrupt availability to system and network resources. They can attempt to render stored data inaccessible by encrypting files or data on local and remote drives and withholding access to a decryption key. This may be done in order to extract monetary compensation from a victim in exchange for decryption or a decryption key (ransomware) or to render data permanently inaccessible in cases where the key is not saved or transmitted.[1][2][3][4] In the case of ransomware, it is typical that common user files like Office documents, PDFs, images, videos, audio, text, and source code files will be encrypted. In some cases, adversaries may encrypt critical system files, disk partitions, and the MBR.[3]

To maximize impact on the target organization, malware designed for encrypting data may have worm-like features to propagate across a network by leveraging other attack techniques like Valid Accounts, OS Credential Dumping, and SMB/Windows Admin Shares.[2][3]

In cloud environments, storage objects within compromised accounts may also be encrypted.[5]

ID: T1486
Sub-techniques:  No sub-techniques
Tactic: Impact
Platforms: IaaS, Linux, Windows, macOS
Permissions Required: Administrator, SYSTEM, User, root
Data Sources: Cloud Storage: Cloud Storage Metadata, Cloud Storage: Cloud Storage Modification, Command: Command Execution, File: File Creation, File: File Modification, Process: Process Creation
Impact Type: Availability
Contributors: Oleg Kolesnikov, Securonix
Version: 1.1
Created: 15 March 2019
Last Modified: 20 April 2021

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
G0082 APT38

APT38 has used Hermes ransomware to encrypt files with AES256.[6]

G0096 APT41

APT41 used a ransomware called Encryptor RaaS to encrypt files on the targeted systems and provide a ransom note to the user.[7]

S0570 BitPaymer

BitPaymer can import a hard-coded RSA 1024-bit public key, generate a 128-bit RC4 key for each file, and encrypt the file in place, appending .locked to the filename.[8]

S0575 Conti

Conti can use CreateIoCompletionPort(), PostQueuedCompletionStatus(), and GetQueuedCompletionPort() to rapidly encrypt files, excluding those with the extensions of .exe, .dll, and .lnk. It has used a different AES-256 encryption key per file with a bundled RAS-4096 public encryption key that is unique for each victim. Conti can use "Windows Restart Manager" to ensure files are unlocked and open for encryption.[9][10][11]

S0554 Egregor

Egregor can encrypt all non-system files using a hybrid AES-RSA algorithm prior to displaying a ransom note.[12][13]

G0119 Indrik Spider

Indrik Spider has encrypted domain-controlled systems using BitPaymer.[8]

S0389 JCry

JCry has encrypted files and demanded Bitcoin to decrypt those files. [14]

S0372 LockerGoga

LockerGoga has encrypted files, including core Windows OS files, using RSA-OAEP MGF1 and then demanded Bitcoin be paid for the decryption key.[15][16][17]

S0449 Maze

Maze has disrupted systems by encrypting files on targeted machines, claiming to decrypt files if a ransom payment is made. Maze has used the ChaCha algorithm, based on Salsa20, and an RSA algorithm to encrypt files.[18]

S0576 MegaCortex

MegaCortex has used the open-source library, Mbed Crypto, and generated AES keys to carry out the file encryption process.[19][20]

S0457 Netwalker

Netwalker can encrypt files on infected machines to extort victims.[21]

S0368 NotPetya

NotPetya encrypts user files and disk structures like the MBR with 2048-bit RSA.[22][3][23]

S0556 Pay2Key

Pay2Key can encrypt data on victim's machines using RSA and AES algorithms in order to extort a ransom payment for decryption.[24][25]

S0583 Pysa

Pysa has used RSA and AES-CBC encryption algorithm to encrypt a list of targeted file extensions.[26]

S0481 Ragnar Locker

Ragnar Locker encrypts files on the local machine and mapped drives prior to displaying a note demanding a ransom.[27][28]

S0496 REvil

REvil can encrypt files on victim systems and demands a ransom to decrypt the files.[29][30][31][32][33][34][35][36]

S0400 RobbinHood

RobbinHood will search for an RSA encryption key and then perform its encryption process on the system files.[37]

S0446 Ryuk

Ryuk has used a combination of symmetric (AES) and asymmetric (RSA) encryption to encrypt files. Files have been encrypted with their own AES key and given a file extension of .RYK. Encrypted directories have had a ransom note of RyukReadMe.txt written to the directory.[38]

S0370 SamSam

SamSam encrypts victim files using RSA-2048 encryption and demands a ransom be paid in Bitcoin to decrypt those files.[39]

S0140 Shamoon

Shamoon has an operational mode for encrypting data instead of overwriting it.[40][41]

S0242 SynAck

SynAck encrypts the victims machine followed by asking the victim to pay a ransom. [42]

G0092 TA505

TA505 has used a wide variety of ransomware, such as Locky, Jaff, Bart, Philadelphia, and GlobeImposter, to encrypt victim files and demand a ransom payment.[43]

S0595 ThiefQuest

ThiefQuest encrypts a set of file extensions on a host, deletes the original files, and provides a ransom note with no contact information.[44]

S0366 WannaCry

WannaCry encrypts user files and demands that a ransom be paid in Bitcoin to decrypt those files.[45][2][46]

S0341 Xbash

Xbash has maliciously encrypted victim's database systems and demanded a cryptocurrency ransom be paid.[47]


ID Mitigation Description
M1053 Data Backup

Consider implementing IT disaster recovery plans that contain procedures for regularly taking and testing data backups that can be used to restore organizational data.[48] 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. Consider enabling versioning in cloud environments to maintain backup copies of storage objects.[49]


Use process monitoring to monitor the execution and command line parameters of binaries involved in data destruction activity, such as vssadmin, wbadmin, and bcdedit. Monitor for the creation of suspicious files as well as unusual file modification activity. In particular, look for large quantities of file modifications in user directories.

In some cases, monitoring for unusual kernel driver installation activity can aid in detection.

In cloud environments, monitor for events that indicate storage objects have been anomalously replaced by copies.


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