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LitterDrifter: A USB Worm for Cyberespionage

LitterDrifter A USB Worm for Cyberespionage
LitterDrifter by Jacques Gascuel: This article will be updated with any new information on the topic.

LitterDrifter: USB Worm Threat and Safeguarding

Explore the LitterDrifter USB worm threat and effective safeguards. Learn to protect against this cyber threat and enhance data security.

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LitterDrifter: A USB Worm for Cyberespionage and Its Threats to Data Security

LitterDrifter is a computer worm that spreads through USB drives and is utilized by a Russian cyber espionage group known as Gamaredon. This group, active since at least 2013, primarily targets Ukraine but has also infected systems in other countries. LitterDrifter enables Gamaredon to gather sensitive information, execute remote commands, and download other malicious software. In this article, we will explore how this worm functions, methods to safeguard against it, and the motivations behind its creators.

Understanding Gamaredon

Gamaredon is a cyber espionage group suspected to have ties to Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB). It conducts intelligence and sabotage operations against strategic targets in Ukraine, including government institutions, law enforcement, media, political organizations, and dissidents. Gamaredon plays a part in the hybrid warfare between Russia and Ukraine that emerged in 2014 following the annexation of Crimea and the armed conflict in Donbass.

Gamaredon employs a diverse range of cyberattack techniques, including phishing, disinformation, sabotage, and espionage. The group possesses several malicious tools such as Pterodo, Outlook Forms, VBA Macros, LNK Spreader, and, of course, LitterDrifter. Gamaredon is considered a group that learns from its experiences and adapts its tactics based on responses from its adversaries. It also serves as a training ground for Russia, observing the potential of cyber warfare in contemporary conflicts.

How LitterDrifter Works

LitterDrifter is a computer worm initially discovered in October 2021 by cybersecurity company Check Point Research. It is written in VBS and consists of two main modules: a propagation module and a communication module.

LitterDrifter’s Propagation

The propagation module is responsible for copying the worm to USB drives connected to the infected computer. It creates an autorun.inf file that allows the worm to launch automatically upon inserting an infected drive. Additionally, it generates an LNK file that serves as bait, featuring a random name to entice the user to click on it. The worm’s name is derived from the initial file name, “trash.dll,” which means “garbage” in English.

LitterDrifter’s Communication

The communication module establishes contact with the worm’s authors’ command and control (C2) server. It uses domains as markers for the actual IP addresses of the C2 servers. It can also connect to a C2 server extracted from a Telegram channel, a technique employed by Gamaredon since early 2021. The communication module allows the worm to collect information about the infected system, such as the computer name, username, IP address, operating system, process list, files on the hard drive, and USB drives. It can also execute remote commands, download and install other malicious software, and delete files or partitions.

How LitterDrifter Propagates

LitterDrifter is primarily intended to target Ukraine but has also been detected in other countries, including Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Turkey, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, India, Japan, and Australia. The worm appears to spread opportunistically, taking advantage of USB exchanges and movements among individuals and organizations. Some of the victims may be secondary targets infected inadvertently, while others could be potential targets awaiting activation.

LitterDrifter Statistics

LitterDrifter is a rapidly spreading worm that affects a large number of systems. According to data from Check Point Research, the worm has been submitted to VirusTotal more than 1,000 times since October 2021, originating from 14 different countries. The majority of submissions come from Ukraine (58%), followed by the United States (12%) and Vietnam (7%). Other countries each represent less than 5% of submissions.

The worm also uses a large number of domains as markers for C2 servers. Check Point Research has identified over 200 different domains used by the worm, with most being free or expired domains. Some domains have been used by Gamaredon for a long time, while others are created or modified recently. The worm also uses Telegram channels to extract C2 server IP addresses, making their blocking or tracking more challenging.

The worm is capable of downloading and installing other malicious software on infected systems. Among the malicious software detected by Check Point Research are remote control tools, spyware, screen capture software, password stealers, file encryption software, and data destruction software. Some of these malicious software are specific to Gamaredon, while others are generic or open-source tools.

Uncontrolled Expansion and Real Consequences of LitterDrifter

LitterDrifter is a worm with uncontrolled expansion, meaning it spreads opportunistically by taking advantage of the movement and exchange of USB drives among individuals and organizations. It doesn’t have a specific target but can infect systems in various countries, without regard to the industry sector or security level. Consequently, it can affect critical systems, including infrastructure, public services, or government institutions.

The real consequences of LitterDrifter are manifold and severe. It can compromise the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data. Moreover, it can serve as a gateway for more sophisticated attacks, such as deploying ransomware, spyware, or destructive software. Additionally, it can enable the worm’s authors to access sensitive information, including confidential documents, passwords, personal data, or industrial secrets.

LitterDrifter can have serious repercussions for victims, including damage to reputation, financial costs, data loss, disruption of operations, or legal liability. It can also impact national security, political stability, or the sovereignty of targeted countries. It is part of the context of a hybrid war waged by Russia against Ukraine, aiming to weaken and destabilize its neighbor through military, political, economic, media, and cyber means.

LitterDrifter’s Attack Methods

Understanding the attack methods employed by LitterDrifter is crucial in safeguarding your systems. This USB worm leverages various techniques to infiltrate systems and establish contact with its command and control (C2) servers. Below, we delve into the primary attack methods used by LitterDrifter:

Attack Method Description Example
Vulnerability Exploitation Exploiting known vulnerabilities in software and network protocols, such as SMB, RDP, FTP, HTTP, SSH, etc. It employs tools like Metasploit, Nmap, and Mimikatz to scan systems, execute malicious code, steal credentials, and propagate. Utilizing the EternalBlue vulnerability to infect Windows systems via the SMB protocol and install a backdoor.
Phishing Sending fraudulent emails containing malicious attachments or links that entice users to open or click. Attachments or links trigger the download and execution of LitterDrifter. Sending an email pretending to be an invoice from a supplier but containing a malicious Word file that exploits the CVE-2017-0199 vulnerability to execute LitterDrifter.
Identity Spoofing Impersonating legitimate services or applications through similar names, icons, or interfaces. This deceives users or administrators into granting privileges, access, or sensitive information. Using the name and icon of TeamViewer, a remote control software, to blend into the process list and establish a connection with C2 servers.
USB Propagation Copying itself to USB drives connected to infected computers, automatically running upon insertion. It also creates random-named LNK files as bait, encouraging users to click. When a user inserts an infected USB drive into their computer, the worm copies itself to the hard drive and executes. It also creates an LNK file named “Holiday Photos.lnk” pointing to the worm.
Domain Marker Usage Using domains as markers for actual C2 server IP addresses. It generates a random subdomain of a hardcoded domain (e.g., 4fj3k2h5.example.com from example.com) and resolves its IP address through a DNS query. It then uses this IP address for communication with the C2 server. Generating the subdomain 4fj3k2h5.example.com from the hardcoded domain example.com, resolving its IP address through a DNS query (e.g.,, and using it to send data to the C2 server.

LitterDrifter’s Malicious Actions

LitterDrifter is a worm that can cause significant damage to infected systems. It not only collects sensitive information but can also execute remote commands, download and install other malicious software, and delete files or partitions. Here’s a table summarizing LitterDrifter’s main malicious actions:

Action Description Example
Information Collection The worm gathers information about the infected system, including computer name, username, IP address, OS, process list, files on the hard drive, and USB drives. The worm sends the collected information to the C2 server via an HTTP POST request.
Remote Command Execution The worm can receive remote commands from the C2 server, such as launching a process, creating a file, modifying the registry, opening a URL, etc. The worm can execute a command like cmd.exe /c del /f /s /q c:\*.* to erase all files on the C drive.
Download and Malware Installation The worm can download and install other malicious software on the infected system, such as remote control tools, spyware, screen capture software, password stealers, file encryption software, and data destruction software. The worm can download and install the Pterodo malware, allowing Gamaredon to take control of the infected system.
File or Partition Deletion The worm can delete files or partitions on the infected system, potentially leading to data loss, system corruption, or boot failure. The worm can erase the EFI partition, which contains system boot information.

Protecting Against LitterDrifter

Safeguarding your systems against LitterDrifter and similar threats is essential in today’s interconnected digital landscape. Here are some steps you can take to enhance your cybersecurity posture:

  1. Keep Software Updated: Regularly update your operating system, software, and antivirus programs to patch known vulnerabilities that malware like LitterDrifter exploits.
  2. Exercise Caution with Email Attachments and Links: Be cautious when opening email attachments or clicking on links, especially if the sender is unknown or the email seems suspicious. Verify the legitimacy of the sender before taking any action.
  3. Use Reliable Security Software: Install reputable security software that can detect and block malware. Ensure that it is regularly updated to recognize new threats effectively.
  4. Employ Network Segmentation: Implement network segmentation to isolate critical systems and data from potentially compromised parts of your network.
  5. Educate Employees: Train your employees to recognize phishing attempts and the importance of safe browsing and email practices.
  6. USB Drive Security: Disable autorun features on computers and use endpoint security solutions to scan USB drives for malware upon insertion.
  7. Network Monitoring: Implement network monitoring tools to detect unusual activities and unauthorized access promptly.
  8. Encryption and Authentication: Use encryption for sensitive data and multi-factor authentication to secure critical accounts.

Enhancing Data Security with HSM Technologies

In addition to the steps mentioned above, organizations can enhance data security by leveraging NFC HSM (Near Field Communication and Hardware Security Module). These specialized devices provide secure storage and processing of cryptographic keys, protecting sensitive data from unauthorized access.

HSMs offer several advantages, including tamper resistance, hardware-based encryption, and secure key management. By integrating HSMs into your cybersecurity strategy, you can further safeguard your organization against threats like LitterDrifter.

Leveraging NFC HSM Technologies Made in Andorra by Freemindtronic

To take your data security to the next level, consider utilizing NFC HSM technologies manufactured in Andorra by Freemindtronic. These state-of-the-art devices are designed to meet the highest security standards, ensuring the confidentiality and integrity of your cryptographic keys.

Freemindtronic innovates, manufactures white-label NFC HSM technologies, including PassCypher NFC HSM and DataShielder Defense NFC HSM. These solutions, like EviPass, EviOTP, EviCypher, and EviKey, effectively combat LitterDrifter. They enhance data security, protecting against unauthorized access and decryption, even in the era of quantum computing.

With HSMs from Freemindtronic, you benefit from:

  • Tamper Resistance: HSMs are built to withstand physical tampering attempts, providing an added layer of protection against unauthorized access.
  • Hardware-Based Encryption: Enjoy the benefits of hardware-based encryption, which is more secure than software-based solutions and less susceptible to vulnerabilities.
  • Secure Key Management: HSMs enable secure generation, storage, and management of cryptographic keys, reducing the risk of key compromise.

By integrating HSMs into your organization’s security infrastructure, you can establish a robust defense against threats like LitterDrifter and ensure the confidentiality and integrity of your sensitive data.


Staying One Step Ahead of LitterDrifter

LitterDrifter, the USB worm associated with the Gamaredon cyber espionage group, poses a significant threat to cybersecurity. Its ability to infiltrate systems, collect sensitive data, and execute malicious actions underscores the importance of proactive protection.

By understanding LitterDrifter’s origins, functionality, and impact, as well as implementing robust cybersecurity measures, you can shield your organization from this perilous threat. Additionally, NFC HSM technologies offer an extra layer of security to safeguard your data and secrets.

Stay vigilant, stay informed, and stay ahead of LitterDrifter and the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats.

DataShielder Defense NFC HSM: Protect Your Sovereign Communications

DataShielder Defense NFC HSM Protect your Sovereign Communications by Freemindtronic Andorra
DataShielder Defense NFC HSM – Jacques Gascuel: This article will be updated with any new information on the topic.

Why You Need DataShielder Defense NFC HSM

DataShielder Defense NFC HSM, a patented solution, ensures maximum confidentiality and anonymization of communications from sovereign entities. Using NFC technology, this HSM manages up to 200 secrets offline, contactless and shareable via any communication method, including email and SMS. A GreenTech innovation, it is interoperable, backward compatible and versatile, designed to immediately respond to various specific needs and customizable for enhanced secret security.

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DataShielder Defense NFC HSM: How to Protect Your Sovereign Communications with a Revolutionary Solution

The protection of sovereign entities and the enhancement of existing defense and intelligence systems are crucial challenges in today’s world. Sovereign communications, such as those between heads of state, diplomats, military personnel, or secret agents, are constantly exposed to threats of interception, hacking, or manipulation. These threats can compromise the security, integrity, and confidentiality of sensitive information, and have serious consequences for national and international security.

To address these challenges, a revolutionary solution has been developed by Freemindtronic, a andorran company specialized in data security and encryption. This solution is called DataShielder Defense NFC HSM, and it is the ultimate solution for protecting all forms of communications of sovereign entities. This innovative and cutting-edge solution, protected by two patents, guarantees an unparalleled level of confidentiality and trust among humans, without compromise. With DataShielder, your secrets and sensitive data remain inaccessible and indecipherable, even in case of compromise of the equipment and information and communication systems.

In this article, we will explain how DataShielder Defense NFC HSM works, what are its features and benefits, and how it can be customized to suit your specific needs. We will also show how this solution could have influenced several major events in the history of communication security, and how it has received international recognition and awards for its excellence.

How DataShielder Defense NFC HSM Works

DataShielder Defense NFC HSM is a device that uses Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to create, store, and use up to 100 different secrets in a single device. A secret can be anything that you want to protect, such as an encryption key, a password, a PIN code, a cryptocurrency key, a bank account information, or a message. DataShielder allows you to share your encrypted secrets via all the means of communication available in the world, such as postal mail, webcam, email, SMS, MMS, RCS, messaging, or directly between two NFC HSM devices.

To use DataShielder, you need an Android NFC phone or tablet, and the DataShielder app, which is available for free on the Google Play Store. You also need a DataShielder Defense NFC HSM device, which is a small and discreet card that can be customized to fit different formats and accessories. The device does not require any battery or external power source, as it uses the energy of the NFC signal of the phone to operate on demand.

To create a secret, you simply need to tap your phone on the device, and choose the type of secret you want to create. You can either generate a random secret, or import an existing one. You can also add specific trust criteria for each secret, such as BSSID, geographical area, password, fingerprint, QR code or barcode scan, and phone UID. The absence of any of these criteria makes the access to the secret impossible, ensuring maximum and personalized security.

To use a secret, you simply need to tap your phone on the device, and choose the secret you want to use. You can either use it directly on your phone, or send it to another device or person. You can also use the secret to unlock secure USB or SSD keys, to log in to your favorite websites, to make secure voice calls and SMS, to manage your banking information, to generate and use cryptocurrency wallets, and more.

To share a secret, you simply need to tap your phone on the device, and choose the secret you want to share. You can either share it directly with another NFC HSM device, or encrypt it with the RSA-4096 public key of the recipient, and send it via any means of communication. The recipient will need to decrypt the secret with their NFC HSM device, using the EviSCP HSM (ZKP) protocol, which is a patented technology that ensures a secure and confidential exchange of secrets.

Differentiating Benefits of DataShielder Defense NFC HSM

DataShielder Defense NFC HSM offers a complete and adaptable solution to your needs, thanks to the set of advanced and efficient features that it incorporates. These features are based on different technologies, each with a specific name and function. Here is a summary of the main features and benefits of DataShielder:


Feature Technology Function Benefit
Random generation of symmetric and asymmetric encryption keys EviCypher NFC HSM Encrypt all types of data (texts, images, videos) in post-quantum AES-256. Use the RSA-4096 public key to exchange encrypted secrets between distant NFC devices. Protect your data and secrets from unauthorized access and decryption, even in case of quantum computing attacks.
Random generation of identifiers and passwords EviPass NFC HSM Generate automatically complex and complicated passwords up to 48 characters based on the 95 ASCII characters, or on bases 16, 58, 64 or 85. Import and store manually login identifiers, PIN codes, PUK, lock codes, TPM2.0 passwords, BitLocker… Log in automatically to your favorite websites. Secure your online accounts and devices with strong and unique passwords. Save time and avoid typing errors with automatic login.
Create a segmented key EviAuth NFC HSM Divide your secret into two segments and store them on two different NFC HSM devices. Require the presence of two people to reconstitute the secret. Increase the security and confidentiality of your secret by adding a human factor. Prevent the access to the secret by a single person or device.
Management of secret OTP keys EviOTP NFC HSM Store securely the secret OTP keys whose one-time passwords based on time (TOTP) or HMAC (HOTP) to generate a secondary authentication factor (2FA). Enhance the security of your online accounts and services with a second factor of authentication. Avoid the risk of losing or compromising your OTP keys.
Secure voice calls and SMS EviCall NFC HSM Store your phone contacts and make a voice call from the NFC HSM without leaving any trace in the phone history. Communicate securely and discreetly with your contacts. Avoid the interception and recording of your voice calls and SMS.
Secure management of banking information EviPay NFC HSM Store, manage and use securely the information related to credit cards and bank accounts. Protect your financial information and transactions from fraud and theft. Access and use your banking information easily and securely.
Unlocking of secure USB or SSD keys without contact EviKey NFC HSM Manage the administrator, user and temporary user PIN codes to unlock the secure USB/SSD keys without contact. Secure your external and internal storage with a contactless unlocking system. Manage the access rights and permissions of the USB/SSD keys.
Generation of cryptocurrency wallets EviSeed NFC HSM Automatically and directly create from a blockchain the secret BIP39 key, its derived key, its public key and the public address. The balance verification is done directly on the blockchain. Create and use cryptocurrency wallets securely and conveniently. Store your cryptocurrency keys in an inviolable and encrypted manner. Verify your balance directly on the blockchain.
Automatic import of private keys EviVault NFC HSM Import derived private keys by scanning their QR codes from five blockchain platforms including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Polygon, Binance Smart Chain and IOTA. Create and save also the BIP39 PassPhrases. Import and use private keys from different blockchain platforms easily and securely. Scan the QR codes and store the keys in an encrypted manner. Create and save also the BIP39 PassPhrases.
Management of authentication cards EviCore NFC HSM Scan and store the barcode or QR code of any type of card that uses this type of identification (access cards, loyalty cards sometimes linked to a payment system). Store and use authentication cards securely and conveniently. Scan the barcode or QR code and store it in an encrypted manner.
NFC HSM pairing key manager EviCore NFC HSM Manage the NFC HSM fleet within a sovereign entity. Manage and control the NFC HSM devices within your organization. Assign and revoke pairing keys for the devices.
Data encryption EviCrypt NFC HSM Encrypt your texts and files upstream before sending them to your recipients using your usual messaging services. Encrypt your data before sending it via any means of communication. Ensure that only the intended recipients can decrypt and access your data.
Use on all computer systems EviCore NFC HSM Browser Extension Use your NFC HSM with the free Freemindtronic browser extension based on Chromium and Firefox. Find the DataShielder NFC HSM functions on all your computers. Use your NFC HSM on any computer system.
Use of a virtual USB Bluetooth keyboard EviKeyboard BLE Use a virtual keyboard for secure and discreet input. Extend the use of secrets in HID mode on various computer systems, TPM2.0, BitLocker, Windows, Linux, Apple, proprietary software and web browsers. Don’t touch the keyboard. Enter a free line of code up to 52 characters. Entering BIOS passwords. Easy to use

Stealth Customization Options

The manufacturer Freemindtronic offers a customization service specially designed for sovereign entities, combining discretion and functionality.

Discreet Formats: Modified standard PVC and PCB cards for effective camouflage.

Stealth Accessories: Labels, key rings, promotional pens, and cufflinks subtly integrating NFC HSM devices.

USB Dummy Keys: Mini USB keys functioning as secret containers for the NFC HSM devices.

NFC On/Off Card: PCB cards with switchable NFC antenna for increased stealth.

These options guarantee invisible security, ideal for special operations and covert missions.

Complementary Accessories

  • Secure NFC EviKey USB and SSD Keys: These devices offer secure external and internal storage, perfectly integrated with DataShielder NFC HSM for enhanced data protection.
  • Bluetooth Virtual Keyboard EviKeyboard BLE: An innovative keyboard for secure and discreet input, complementing the DataShielder NFC HSM by an additional layer of security in data entry.

International Distinctions and Awards

The EviCypher NFC HSM technology, essential to DataShielder, has received worldwide recognition, marked by several important awards.

  • Gold Medal 2021 of the Geneva Inventions: EviCypher Technology awarded among hundreds of international inventions.
  • Three Global InfoSec Awards 2021: Awarded for being the best data security solution by Cyber Defense Magazine “Next-Gen in Crypto Security”, “Most Innovative Hardware Password Manager”, “Next-Gen in Secrets Management”.
  • Two E&T Innovation Awards 2021: Distinguished for the best communication and IT solution, as well as for the best cybersecurity solution.
  • Two nominations for the National Cyber Awards 2021 of the United Kingdom: Finalist in two categories “The Innovation in Cyber Award 2021” and “The Cyber Defense Product of the Year 2021”.
  • Gold Globee Award 2022: Cyber Computer NFC winner of a Cyber Security Global Excellence Awards®.
  • Fortress Award 2023: Awarded for its excellence in encryption and privacy protection.


DataShielder Defense NFC HSM is a revolutionary solution for protecting your sovereign communications. It offers a high level of security, confidentiality, and trust, without compromise. It is compatible with all types of data and communication means, and can be customized to suit your specific needs. It is also environmentally friendly, durable, and interoperable. It has received international recognition and awards for its excellence and innovation. If you are looking for a solution that can protect your secrets and sensitive data from any threat, DataShielder Defense NFC HSM is the solution for you. Contact Freemindtronic today and get your DataShielder Defense NFC HSM device. You will not regret it.