As we cover ransomware extensively at BleepingComputer, some ransomware developers tend to interact with our site in various ways. This includes coming to the site to communicate with victims, releasing ransomware keys in our forums, or naming their command & control servers after our site's name.
Over the weekend, the Kraken Cryptor Ransomware released version 2.0.6, which now connects to BleepingComputer during different stages of their encryption process. It is not known what they are trying to achieve by doing this, but it does provide BleepingComputer with insight into the amount of victims being infected by this ransomware.
After sharing the file hashes and information with BleepingComputer, I was able to determine that since October 20th, 2018, this ransomware has been able to infect 217 unique victims from all over the world.
As Kraken Cryptor is written in C# it allows us to easily see how the program operates. In this new version a variable is created that contains the URL "https://2no.co/2SVJa5" as shown below. This URL belongs to the IPlogger.com service that allows users to create shortened URLs and track statistics of how many times it has been used.
The ransomware connects to this shortened URL so the developer can track statistics. In the past, the shortened URL would then redirect to google.com, but in this version it is redirecting to www.bleepingcomputer.com.
When the ransomware first begins to encrypt the computer it will call the smethod_4 function with the shortened URL and the string "Begin".
The smethod_4 will then connect to the shortened URL using the user agent "Kraken web request agent/v2.0.6" and with a referer containing various information, including the passed status argument, which in the above case is "Begin". Nao_Sec told BleepingComputer that the referer is built using the following information "referer is country code + drive size + status".
When the encryption is finished, the ransomware will once again connect to BleepingComputer.com via the shortened URL. This time, though, the status is the "End: " string with the amount of encrypted files appended to it.
The ransomware developer can then use IPlogger.com site to check the stats on the amount of victims who connected to the shortened URL.
I can see no reason to connect to BleepingComputer during its encryption process other than because we have covered this ransomware in the past and they felt like poking a little fun at us. Its insight, though, does tell us that ransomware, even in its diminished state, is still nothing to ignore.
Make sure you have working backups, security updates installed, and be vigilant as ransomware infections can be devastating for unprepared businesses and consumers.
Update 10/22/18: Updated to clarify why it's using IPLogger.