Cheerscrypt Ransomware Targets VMware ESXi Servers

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Cybercriminals are well-versed in the widespread usage of VMware ESXi for server virtualization in business settings. Cheerscrypt ransomware has been discovered targeting VMware ESXi hosts that are weak or inadequately protected.

Cheerscrypt ransomware is a kind of ransomware that encrypts

Cheesescrypt is a Linux-based ransomware that Trend Micro detected.

The attackers activate the encryptor after compromising the VMware ESXi server, which automatically enumerates running VMs and shuts them down using a specific esxcli command.

It looks for files with the.log,.vmdk,.vmem,.vmsn, and.vswp extensions, which are associated with ESXi snapshots, swap files, paging files, virtual discs, and log files, while encrypting data.

The attackers offer their victims three days to access the given Tor site to negotiate a ransom payment in exchange for a functional decryption key, according to the ransom letters.

Use of a two-pronged extortion strategy

Only four victims are currently listed on the Cheerscrypt ransomware operation’s victim extortion and data leak site.

The availability of this page shows that Cheerscrypt is conducting data exfiltration and using the stolen data during the assaults.

The victims are medium-sized businesses, and it appears that the ransomware group likes to target businesses who can afford to pay higher ransom demands.

If victims refuse to pay the ransom, the attackers claim they would sell the stolen information to other cybercriminals. If no one wants to buy the data, it will be released on the leak portal.

Additional information

The extension of each encrypted file is ‘.Cheers,’ although files are renamed before encryption. The encryption fails if the access permission to rename a file is refused, yet the file gets renamed.

The encryption generates a secret key from a pair of public and private keys, which is then appended to each encrypted file. To prevent recovery, the private key used to generate the secret key is erased. ​



Because VMware ESXi is often utilized in business settings for server virtualization, it is frequently targeted in ransomware attacks. To be secure in an ever-changing threat landscape, firms with excellent cyber security defenses must take a proactive approach against ransomware assaults.

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