Threat Signal Report

H0lyGh0st Ransomware Used to Target SMBs

description-logo Description

FortiGuard Labs is aware of a report that H0lyGh0st ransomware was primarily used against "small-to-midsized businesses, including manufacturing organizations, banks, schools, and event and meeting planning companies". Microsoft attributed the ransomware to a North Korean hacking group. After the victim's networks are infiltrated, the threat actor then exfiltrates information which then deploys H0lyGh0st ransomware that encrypts files.

Why is this Significant?

This is significant as H0lyGh0st ransomware is a newly reported ransomware that was deployed to compromised small-to-midsized businesses by an alleged North Korean hacking group in newly discovered attacks.

What is H0lyGh0st Ransomware?

H0lyGh0st is a ransomware which encrypts files on a compromised machine for financial gain. After the victim's networks are compromised, the threat actor will exfiltrate information from the victim's machine. Then, H0lyGhst ransomware is deployed and encrypts files. The ransomware adds a ".h0lyenc" file extension to the affected files and leaves a ransom note in FOR_DECRYPT.html.

The html file includes ransom message below:

Please Read this text to decrypt all files encrypted.

We have uploaded all files to cloud. Url: [redacted]

Don't worry, you can return all of your files immediately if you pay.

If you want to restore all of your files, Send mail to [redacted] with your Id. Your ID is [redacted]

Or install tor browser and contact us with your id or [redacted] (If all of pcs in your company are encrypted).

Our site : "A link to H0lyGh0st Onion site"

After you pay, We will send unlocker with decryption key


1. Do not rename encrypted files.

2. Do not try to decrypt your data using third party software, it may cause permanent data loss.

3. Decryption of your files with the help of third parties may cause increase price.

4. Antivirus may block our unlocker, So disable antivirus first and execute unlocker with decryption key.

According to the report, the ransom amount ranges from 1.2 to 5 Bitcoins, which amounts to 26,000 to 110,000 US dollars based on the exchange rate as of this publishing.

What are the Initial Attack Vectors?

While initial attack vectors have not been identified, CVE-2022-26352 is called out as a potential vulnerability that was exploited to break into target networks. CVE-2022-26352 is a critical arbitrary file upload vulnerability in dotCMS. A remote, unauthenticated attacker could exploit this vulnerability by sending a crafted request to the target server. Successfully exploiting this vulnerability could result in arbitrary file be saved in target server and lead to remote code execution.

Has the Vendor Released a Fix for CVE-2022-26352?

Yes, a patch is available. For more information, see the Appendix for a link to "SI-62: Multipart File Directory Traversal can lead to remote execution".

What is the Status of Coverage?

FortiGuard Labs provides the following AV coverage against known samples of H0lyGh0st ransomware:

  • W64/Filecoder.788A!tr.ransom
  • W32/Filecoder.AX!tr
  • W64/Agent.ACR!tr
  • W32/PossibleThreat
  • Malicious_Behavior.SB

FortiGuard Labs provides the following IPS coverage for CVE-2022-26352:

  • DotCMS.API.Content.Arbitrary.File.Upload (default action is set to pass)

Known network IOCs for H0lyGh0st ransomware are blocked by the WebFiltering client.


Traffic Light Protocol

Color When Should it Be used? How may it be shared?


Not for disclosure, restricted to participants only.
Sources may use TLP:RED when information cannot be effectively acted upon by additional parties, and could lead to impacts on a party's privacy, reputation, or operations if misused. Recipients may not share TLP:RED information with any parties outside of the specific exchange, meeting, or conversation in which it was originally disclosed. In the context of a meeting, for example, TLP:RED information is limited to those present at the meeting. In most circumstances, TLP:RED should be exchanged verbally or in person.


Limited disclosure, restricted to participants’ organizations.
Sources may use TLP:AMBER when information requires support to be effectively acted upon, yet carries risks to privacy, reputation, or operations if shared outside of the organizations involved. Recipients may only share TLP:AMBER information with members of their own organization, and with clients or customers who need to know the information to protect themselves or prevent further harm. Sources are at liberty to specify additional intended limits of the sharing: these must be adhered to.


Limited disclosure, restricted to the community.
Sources may use TLP:GREEN when information is useful for the awareness of all participating organizations as well as with peers within the broader community or sector. Recipients may share TLP:GREEN information with peers and partner organizations within their sector or community, but not via publicly accessible channels. Information in this category can be circulated widely within a particular community. TLP:GREEN information may not be released outside of the community.


Disclosure is not limited.
Sources may use TLP:WHITE when information carries minimal or no foreseeable risk of misuse, in accordance with applicable rules and procedures for public release. Subject to standard copyright rules, TLP:WHITE information may be distributed without restriction.