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CISA cybersecurity advisory addresses ongoing ransomware campaign

February 9, 2023

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released a joint Cybersecurity Advisory (CSA) in response to the ongoing ransomware campaign, known as “ESXiArgs.”

Malicious actors may be exploiting known vulnerabilities in VMware ESXi servers that are likely running unpatched and out-of-service or out-of-date versions of VMware ESXi software to gain access and deploy ransomware.

The ESXiArgs ransomware encrypts configuration files on ESXi servers, potentially rendering virtual machines (VMs) unusable. 

CISA has released an ESXiArgs recovery script at Organizations that have fallen victim to ESXiArgs ransomware can use this script to attempt to recover their files. This CSA provides guidance on how to use the script.
ESXiArgs actors have compromised over 3,800 servers globally.

CISA and FBI encourage all organizations managing VMware ESXi servers to: 

  • Update servers to the latest version of VMware ESXi software
  • Harden ESXi hypervisors by disabling the Service Location Protocol (SLP) service, and 
  • Ensure the ESXi hypervisor is not exposed to the public internet. 

If malicious actors have compromised your organization with ESXiArgs ransomware, CISA and FBI recommend following the script and guidance provided in this CSA to attempt to recover access to your files.