The proliferation of Ransomware-as-a-Service (Raas) and the widespread availability of leaked source code from prominent ransomware strains have elevated ransomware attacks to a significant concern for individuals and organizations alike. As more threat actors adopt this modus operandi, it becomes imperative to acquire a comprehensive understanding of the Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTPs) employed by these ransomware affiliates.

Recently we noticed that threat actors have been working on cross-platform malware for a wider attack surface. One such malware was a new ransomware variant named Akira that has emerged, making waves in the cybersecurity landscape from late March 2023. Notably, the ransomware group operates a Tor website imbued with a retro-themed aesthetic, where they publicly disclose pilfered data as a consequence of non-compliance with their ransom demands. Moreover, their website offers a chat feature, facilitating communication between victims and the perpetrators, utilizing the unique ID provided within the ransom note. Through this blog post, we will delve into the recent Akira ransomware Linux variant, unraveling its interconnectedness with the Windows variant of Akira ransomware and the Conti ransomware strain.

The Tor site of Akira ransomware is as shown below.

Figure 1: Tor site of Akira ransomware

Binary analysis

Let’s start with the header of the file. This file is 64 bit. 

Figure 2: Binary Header

On analyzing the binary, we can see that this ransomware has the following command line arguments.

Figure 3: Command line arguments

-pEncryption Path used to only encrypt files in the given path
-sPath to file containing list of shares to include in the encryption 
-nEncryption percentage on how much content of the files needs to be encrypted
-forkTo create new process or child process

The ransomware integrates functionalities related to several symmetric key algorithms, such as AES, CAMELLIA, IDEA, and DES. Upon encountering a file possessing an extension from the aforementioned list, the ransomware proceeds with the encryption process of said file.

Figure 4: Algorithms referred in the binary

We found this ransomware is also using the CHACHA 20 encryption algorithm.

Figure 5: CHACHA_20

If the directory and file shown in Figure 6 are present in the system, it excludes those from the encryption.

Figure 6: Exclusion list

It then encrypts and adds the extension .akira for all the files.

During our analysis, we observed that the examined samples exhibited distinctive characteristics, specifically, a distinct Public RSA key and a Unique ID embedded in their Load section. These components were deliberately incorporated by the attacker to enable communication between the victim and the ransomware group. 

Figure 7: Comparison of public key


It appears that the ransomware operator dynamically constructs the ransomware with a fresh public RSA key for each target, along with a corresponding Unique ID appended in the ransomware note. The purpose of this Unique ID is to facilitate the attacker in determining the specific ransomware build that infected the victim, thereby identifying the corresponding private key required for decrypting the compromised files.

Figure 8: Unique ID for communication

Figure 9 lists around 190  file extensions that this binary encrypts.

Figure 9: Files extension to be encrypted


Figure 10: Ransom note

We at K7 Labs provide detection for Akira ransomware and all the latest threats. Users are advised to use a reliable security product such as “K7 Total Security” and keep it up-to-date to safeguard their devices.

Indicators of Compromise (IOCs)

HashDetection Name
177ACD248FC715A8B5E443BE38D3B204Trojan ( 035562be1 )
302f76897e4e5c8c98a52a38c4c98443Trojan ( 035562be1 )

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