Joint Cybersecurity Advisory TLP Clear: #StopRansomware: Royal Ransomware Update

November 13, 2023


Update November 13, 2023 This CSA is being re-released to add new TTPs, IOCs, and information related to Royal Ransomware activity.

End of Update

Note:  This joint Cybersecurity Advisory (CSA) is part of an ongoing #StopRansomware effort to publish advisories for network defenders that detail various ransomware variants and ransomware threat actors. These #StopRansomware advisories include recently and historically observed tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) and indicators of compromise (IOCs) to help organizations protect against ransomware. Visit to see all #StopRansomware advisories and to learn more about other ransomware threats and no-cost resources.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) are releasing this joint CSA to disseminate known Royal ransomware IOCs and TTPs identified through FBI threat response activities as recently as June 2023.

Since approximately September 2022, cyber threat actors have compromised U.S. and international organizations with Royal ransomware. FBI and CISA believe this variant, which uses its own custom made file encryption program, evolved from earlier iterations that used “Zeon” as a loader. After gaining access to victims’ networks, Royal actors disable antivirus software and exfiltrate large amounts of data before ultimately deploying the ransomware and encrypting the systems. Royal actors have made ransom demands ranging from approximately $1 million to $11 million USD in Bitcoin. In observed incidents, Royal actors do not include ransom amounts and payment instructions as part of the initial ransom note. Instead, the note, which appears after encryption, requires victims to directly interact with the threat actor via a .onion URL (reachable through the Tor browser). Royal actors have targeted numerous critical infrastructure sectors including, but not limited to, Manufacturing, Communications, Healthcare and Public Healthcare (HPH), and Education.

Update November 13, 2023

Since September 2022, Royal has targeted over 350 known victims worldwide and ransomware demands have exceeded 275 million USD. Royal conducts data exfiltration and extortion prior to encryption and then publishes victim data to a leak site if a ransom is not paid. Phishing emails are among the most successful vectors for initial access by Royal threat actors. There are indications that Royal may be preparing for a re-branding effort and/or a spinoff variant. Blacksuit ransomware shares a number of identified coding characteristics similar to Royal. A previous joint CSA for Royal ransomware was published on March 2, 2023. This joint CSA provides updated IOCs identified through FBI investigations.

End Update

FBI and CISA encourage organizations to implement the recommendations found in the Mitigations section of this CSA to reduce the likelihood and impact of ransomware incidents.

View the detailed advisory below.

For help with Cybersecurity and Risk Advisory Services exclusively for AHA members, contact:

John Riggi

National Advisor for Cybersecurity and Risk, AHA

(O) +1 202 626 2272