PartyTicket Ransomware: In-Depth Analysis, Detection, and Mitigation

Summary of PartyTicket Ransomware

PartyTicket ransomware emerged in February 2022, as part of an initial wave of cyberattacks against Ukraine.  The ransomware is associated with the deployment of HermeticWiper.  The ransomware was used as a decoy / distraction during the distribution of HermeticWiper.  The malware is written in Golang, with the code containing numerous references to the US government and Biden administration.

PartyTicket Ransomware

What Does PartyTicket Ransomware Target?

PartyTicket specifically targets Ukrainian organizations.

How Does PartyTicket Ransomware Spread?

PartyTicket is a decoy/distraction tactic.  This threat was leveraged during the HermeticWiper attacks as a distraction from the greater cyber attacks occurring.

PartyTicket Ransomware Technical Details

PartyTicket is a Golang ransomware being used as a decoy alongside the deployment of HermeticWiper during attacks against Ukraine.

The purpose of PartyTicket is to monopolize resources of the “ransomware” when in fact the more destructive malware (wiper) is staged for launch.

In the case of PartyTicket, the main.subscribeNewPartyMember() function is indirectly called for each thread. It takes a filename, makes a copy named <UUID>.exe and deletes the original file. The expected second loop is meant to relieve the queue of files and run each one through a Go AES crypto implementation. Unfortunately, due to the current design of PartyTicket, execution is unlikely to reach this point.  This can also present display or pseudo-denial-of-service conditions for certain endpoint security products.

The folder organization and function naming conventions within the binary show the developer’s intent for taunting the U.S. government and the Biden administration.

How to Detect PartyTicket Ransomware

  • The SentinelOne Singularity XDR Platform can identify and stop any malicious activities and items related to PartyTicket.

In case you do not have SentinelOne deployed, detecting this ransomware requires a combination of technical and operational measures, which are designed to identify and flag suspicious activity on the network. This allows the organization to take appropriate action, and to prevent or mitigate the impact of the ransomware attack.

  1. Use antimalware software, or other security tools, which are capable of detecting and blocking known ransomware variants. These tools may use signatures, heuristics, or machine learning algorithms, to identify and block suspicious files or activities.
  2. Monitor network traffic, and look for indicators of compromise, such as unusual network traffic patterns, or communication with known command-and-control servers.
  3. Conduct regular security audits and assessments, to identify vulnerabilities in the network and the system, and to ensure that all security controls are in place and functioning properly.
  4. Educate and train employees on cybersecurity best practices, including how to identify and report suspicious emails, or other threats.
  5. Implement a robust backup and recovery plan, to ensure that the organization has a copy of its data, and can restore it in case of an attack.

How to Mitigate PartyTicket Ransomware

  • The SentinelOne Singularity XDR Platform can return systems to their original state using either the Repair or Rollback feature.

In case you do not have SentinelOne deployed, there are several steps that organizations can take to mitigate the risk of ransomware attacks:

  1. Educate employees: Employees should be educated on the risks of ransomware, and on how to identify and avoid phishing emails, malicious attachments, and other threats. They should be encouraged to report suspicious emails or attachments, and to avoid opening them, or clicking on links or buttons in them.
  2. Implement strong passwords: Organizations should implement strong, unique passwords for all user accounts, and should regularly update and rotate these passwords. Passwords should be at least 8 characters long, and should include a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
  3. Enable multi-factor authentication: Organizations should enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) for all user accounts, to provide an additional layer of security. This can be done through the use of mobile apps, such as Google Authenticator or Microsoft Authenticator, or through the use of physical tokens or smart cards.
  4. Update and patch systems: Organizations should regularly update and patch their systems, to fix any known vulnerabilities, and to prevent attackers from exploiting them. This includes updating the operating system, applications, and firmware on all devices, as well as disabling any unnecessary or unused services or protocols.

Implement backup and disaster recovery: Organizations should implement regular backup and disaster recovery (BDR) processes, to ensure that they can recover from ransomware attacks, or other disasters. This includes creating regular backups of all data and systems, and storing these backups in a secure, offsite location. The backups should be tested regularly, to ensure that they are working, and that they can be restored quickly and easily.

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