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What is Shamoon?

Shamoon is an attack campaign delivering an aggressive malware strain known as Disttrack which destroys target systems by wiping data rendering them unable to boot. It gained notoriety after being linked to attacks against Saudi Aramco in 2012 and reportedly damaged over 30,000 systems.

In late 2016 Shamoon 2 appeared and has been increasingly active in targeting organizations in the Middle East. Several Government ministries and chemical companies have been attacked. With many believing this is just the start of a renewed campaign many are wondering what can be done to prevent this latest threat.

How does it work?

As with most advanced threats the Shamoon campaign is modular and composed of three main components.

Shamoon Dropper - This is the initial point of infection and used by the attackers to establish a foothold.

Shamoon Wiper - This inflicts the damage by installing a malicious disk driver to overwrite data.

Shamoon Reporter - This reports back to the attacker the domain of the target machine and the number of files that have been overwritten.

This modular approach allows the attacker to reduce the risk of being detected, as not all the malicious code is delivered at once and droppers can be quickly evolved to evade AV and other detection technologies.

Although there are few available details of how exactly the attack is delivered, phishing emails or stolen credentials are the most likely source.