Ransomware And How It Evades Our Defenses

Rene Kolga

Rene Kolga

Speaker Bio

Rene Kolga, CISSP, has over 15 years of cybersecurity experience in the areas of endpoint protection, insider threat, encryption and vulnerability management. He worked for both Fortune 500 companies and Silicon Valley startups, including Symantec, Citrix, Altiris and Nyotron. Rene earned his Computer Science degree from Tallinn University of Technology. He frequently speaks on security topics at industry conferences like Black Hat, BSides, InfoSecurity and (ISC)2 Security Congress.


Remember WannaCry – the ransomware attack that infected Windows devices across 150 countries? What is often forgotten is that WannaCry was completely preventable. Microsoft had issued a patch two months prior to the attack. If you think WannaCry was bad, how about a ransomware that we don’t have any protection from?

This talk will cover a Windows evasion technique called “RIPlace” that, when used to maliciously alter files, bypasses most existing anti-ransomware technologies. In fact, even Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) products are blind to this technique, which means these operations will not be visible for future incident response and investigation purposes.

The technique leverages an issue with error handling of an edge-case scenario by filter drivers of security products. While not a vulnerability per say, the technique is extremely easy for malicious actors to take advantage of with barely two lines of code. RIPlace abuses the way file rename operations are (mis)handled using a legacy Windows function.

The talk will include a live demo of RIPlace bypassing a number of anti-ransomware technologies as well as the release of a RIPlace testing tool for the community to leverage in your own organizations.