Emotet Botnet Began Distributing Quantum and BlackCat Ransomware

The Emotet malware is now being leveraged by ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) teams, together with Quantum and BlackCat, after Conti’s official retirement from the risk panorama this yr.

Emotet began off as a banking trojan in 2014, however updates added to it over time have reworked the malware right into a extremely potent risk that is able to downloading different payloads onto the sufferer’s machine, which might permit the attacker to regulate it remotely.

Though the infrastructure related to the invasive malware loader was taken down as a part of a legislation enforcement effort in January 2021, the Conti ransomware cartel is claimed to have performed an instrumental function in its comeback late final yr.


“From November 2021 to Conti’s dissolution in June 2022, Emotet was an unique Conti ransomware instrument, nonetheless, the Emotet an infection chain is at present attributed to Quantum and BlackCat,” AdvIntel mentioned in an advisory revealed final week.

Typical assault sequences entail the usage of Emotet (aka SpmTools) as an preliminary entry vector to drop Cobalt Strike, which then is used as a post-exploitation instrument for ransomware operations.

The infamous Conti ransomware gang could have dissolved, however a number of of its members stay as lively as ever both as a part of different ransomware crews like BlackCat and Hive or as unbiased teams centered on knowledge extortion and different legal endeavors.

Emotet Botnet

Quantum can also be a Conti spin-off group that, within the intervening months, has resorted to the strategy of call-back phishing – dubbed BazaCall or BazarCall – as a way to breach focused networks.

“Conti associates use a wide range of preliminary entry vectors together with phishing, compromised credentials, malware distribution, and exploiting vulnerabilities,” Recorded Future famous in a report revealed final month.

AdvIntel mentioned it noticed over 1,267,000 Emotet infections the world over for the reason that begin of the yr, with exercise peaks registered in February and March coinciding with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.


A second surge in infections occurred between June and July, owing to the use by ransomware teams reminiscent of Quantum and BlackCat. Knowledge captured by the cybersecurity agency exhibits that essentially the most Emotet-targeted nation is the U.S., adopted by Finland, Brazil, the Netherlands, and France.

ESET beforehand reported a 100-fold leap in Emotet detections throughout the first 4 months of 2022 compared to the previous 4 months from September to December 2021.

In line with Israeli cybersecurity firm Verify Level, Emotet dropped from first to fifth place within the record of most prevalent malware for August 2022, coming behind FormBook, Agent Tesla, XMRig, and GuLoader.

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