In a detailed blog post, researcher Johnlery Triunfante said Web servers, network drives and removable drives were all targeted by the malware, which used brute-force attacks and multiple Web server exploits.
Among them was the notorious EternalBlue, an NSA-crafted exploit which was leaked online in 2017 by the Shadow Brokers, DoublePulsar, also an NSA creadtion, exploits for CVE-2014-6287, CVE-2017-12615, and CVE-2017-8464 and three ThinkPHP exploits for multiple versions.
"It employs anti-virtualisation, anti-debugging, and anti-sandboxing methods to determine whether to continue with installation or not," Triunfante wrote. "It also has worm-like behaviour for lateral propagation."
Under certain conditions, the infection did not proceed, he wrote. These were certain victim usernames, certain disk drive models, and certain device driver, process, and/or dynamic link library names.
If infection was successful, BlackSquid could enable an attacker to escalate unauthorised access and privileges, steal proprietary information, render hardware and software useless, or launch attacks on an organisation (or even from one organisation into another).
Triunfante said it looked like the malware was still in the development and testing stage. "...they may be studying how they can best profit from the attacks by having two components for mining regardless of the systems’ installed GPU resources," he wrote.
"Further, they may still be trying to determine specific targets without putting up much capital. For one thing, the majority of the exploits and techniques they have chosen have been openly shared in the underground.
"And using random IP address scanning rather than a faster but possibly more expensive option such as a Shodan scan (which requires a subscription) presents advantages in lessening limitations for targets, as well as blocking and evading traffic to and from Shodan."
He pointed out that all the exploits used had been patched quite some time ago.