Tag Archives: ransomware

Trends 2018: The ransomware revolution

While Denial of Service attacks amplified by the use of networks of bot-compromised PCs were becoming a notable problem by the turn of the century, DDoS extortion threats have accelerated in parallel (if less dramatically) with the rise in ransomware in the past few years.

The post Trends 2018: The ransomware revolution appeared first on WeLiveSecurity

Read More

Android ransomware in 2017: Innovative infiltration and rougher extortion

Ransomware in 2017 saw users and businesses across the globe trying to cope with campaigns such as Petya and WannaCryptor. Not to be outdone, Android ransomware had a year full of innovative infiltration and rougher extortion as highlighted by the latest ESET research whitepaper.

The post Android ransomware in 2017: Innovative infiltration and rougher extortion appeared first on WeLiveSecurity

Read More

How to Avoid Ransomware in 5 Easy Steps

As you scroll through your social media feed, a window pops up: “Your hard drive has been encrypted. You have 48 hours to pay $200 or your data will be destroyed.” You see a link and instructions to “pay in Bitcoin.” An ominous looking timer counts down the seconds and minutes for the two-day window. Nine, eight, seven….  

Your thoughts immediately go to the contents of your hard drive — your daughter’s graduation video, your bank statements, a life insurance policy, pictures of your grandchildren — they all sit there, vulnerable, helpless bits of ones and zeros…and you don’t know what the heck bitcoin is.

Welcome to the world of ransomware — digital data hostage-taking only Hollywood could make up. Ransomware is a security threat for people and business, and cybersecurity experts predict it will only get worse in the future. One cause for its popularity is the profitability of the enterprise. Cyberthieves rake in millions every year with threats to destroy or encrypt valuable data if their ransoms aren’t paid.

You don’t need to be a millionaire or multinational corporation to be at risk. Cyberthieves also target the data of average consumers. When they target consumers, hackers may only request a few hundred dollars ransom but when the threat includes a thousand people, it makes for quite the lucrative venture. Many ransomware victims feel the risk of losing their data is too great, so they pay up. However, this only encourages the criminals.

The best way to combat ransomware is by not becoming a victim in the first place. To that end, here are five immediate steps you can take to avoid ransomware attacks.   

Step 1: Set Your Operating System to Automatically Update

The first step to avoiding ransomware is to update your operating system (OS). Anything connected to the web works better when it’s OS is updated. Tech companies like Microsoft and Apple regularly research and release fixes for “bugs” and security patches for vulnerabilities in their systems. It’s a cybersecurity game of cat and mouse. Cyberthieves search for “holes,” and companies race to find them first and “patch” them.

Users are key players in the game because they are the ultimate gatekeepers of their operating systems. If your OS isn’t up to date, you can’t take advantage of the security updates. Plus, your computer runs better with an updated OS.

Set your OS to update automatically and you won’t need to remember to do it manually. While Windows 10 automatically updates (you have no choice), older versions don’t. But setting auto updates are easy, whether you’re on a Mac or PC.  

Step 2: Screenshot Your Bank Emails

Cybercriminals use trojans or worms to infect your computer with ransomware. So avoiding these will help you avoid ransomware. Worms and trojan malware are often spread through phishing email scams, which trick users into opening email attachments containing viruses or clicking links to fake websites posed as legitimate ones.

One of the best tips for keeping phishing emails at bay is learning to identify them. Hackers send phishing emails that look like they come from banks, credit card companies, or the IRS. Phishing emails kickstart your fears and anxieties by suggesting there are “problems with your account” or insisting that “Urgent action is required.” Who wouldn’t be scared if their bank sent them an email saying, “You are overdrawn in your account.”

Cybercriminals use this fear to distract people so they will overlook the telltale signs of the phishing email like misspellings or common fear-inducing subject lines.     

Take screenshots of all of the legitimate emails from your bank, credit card companies, and others business that manage your sensitive information. Use these screenshots to compare with future emails you receive so you can spot phishing phonies and avoid ransomware.

Step 3: Bookmark Your Most Visited Websites

The next step in your ransomware avoidance journey is to bookmark all of your most visited websites. Just as with phishing emails, cybercriminals build websites that look like bank or credit card sites. Then they trick users into clicking a link and visiting them. From there, hackers steal your sign-in credentials or infect your computer with malware.

Think twice before you visit a website by clicking a link in an email, comments section, or private messaging app. Instead, bookmark your most visited or high-value websites and visit them through your browser.  

Step 4: Backup Your Data to the Cloud and a Hard Drive

This step is a no-brainer. Ransomware works if you only have one copy of your data. If it’s irretrievable, then cyberthieves have the upperhand, but if you have multiple copies, you have taken away the power behind the threat.

Back up your data to both a cloud service and a hard drive. That way, you have a copy that’s available anywhere there’s internet access and one that’s physically accessible all the time. Both types of storage are relatively inexpensive and will certainly prove worth it if you’re ever a ransomware target.

After backing up your data, set up a schedule so you can keep your data current. If you haven’t backed up your data in six months, you’re probably just as vulnerable to ransomware attacks as having no backup at all.

The post How to Avoid Ransomware in 5 Easy Steps appeared first on Panda Security Mediacenter.

Read More

Cryptocurrency Mining Malware Infected Over Half-Million PCs Using NSA Exploit


2017 was the year of high profile data breaches and ransomware attacks, but from the beginning of this year, we are noticing a faster-paced shift in the cyber threat landscape, as cryptocurrency-related malware is becoming a popular and profitable choice of cyber criminals.

Several cybersecurity firms are reporting of new cryptocurrency mining viruses that are being spread using EternalBlue—the same NSA exploit that was leaked by the hacking group Shadow Brokers and responsible for the devastating widespread ransomware threat WannaCry.

Researchers from Proofpoint discovered a massive global botnet dubbed “Smominru,” a.k.a Ismo, that is using EternalBlue SMB exploit (CVE-2017-0144) to infect Windows computers to secretly mine Monero cryptocurrency, worth millions of dollars, for its master.

Active since at least May 2017, Smominru botnet has already infected more than 526,000 Windows computers, most of which are believed to be servers running unpatched versions of Windows, according to the researchers.

“Based on the hash power associated with the Monero payment address for this operation, it appeared that this botnet was likely twice the size of Adylkuzz,” the researchers said.

The botnet operators have already mined approximately 8,900 Monero, valued at up to $3.6 million, at the rate of roughly 24 Monero per day ($8,500) by stealing computing resources of millions of systems.


The highest number of Smominru infection has been observed in Russia, India, and Taiwan, the researchers said.

The command and control infrastructure of Smominru botnet is hosted on DDoS protection service SharkTech, which was notified of the abuse but the firm reportedly ignored the abuse notifications.

According to the Proofpoint researchers, cybercriminals are using at least 25 machines to scan the internet to find vulnerable Windows computers and also using leaked NSA’s RDP protocol exploit, EsteemAudit (CVE-2017-0176), for infection.

“As Bitcoin has become prohibitively resource-intensive to mine outside of dedicated mining farms, interest in Monero has increased dramatically. While Monero can no longer be mined effectively on desktop computers, a distributed botnet like that described here can prove quite lucrative for its operators,” the researchers concluded. 

“The operators of this botnet are persistent, use all available exploits to expand their botnet, and have found multiple ways to recover after sinkhole operations. Given the significant profits available to the botnet operators and the resilience of the botnet and its infrastructure, we expect these activities to continue, along with their potential impacts on infected nodes.”

Another security firm CrowdStrike recently published a blog post, reporting another widespread cryptocurrency fileless malware, dubbed WannaMine, using EternalBlue exploit to infect computers to mine Monero cryptocurrency.

Since it does not download any application to an infected computer, WannaMine infections are harder to detect by antivirus programs. CrowdStrike researchers observed the malware has rendered “some companies unable to operate for days and weeks at a time.”

Besides infecting systems, cybercriminals are also widely adopting cryptojacking attacks, wherein browser-based JavaScript miners utilise website visitors’ CPUs power to mine cryptocurrencies for monetisation.

Since recently observed cryptocurrency mining malware attacks have been found leveraging EternalBlue, which had already been patched by Microsoft last year, users are advised to keep their systems and software updated to avoid being a victim of such threats.

2017: Threats got more precise – and pervasive

2017 was a transitional year as the online threats grew more precisely focused on individual population segments and government-funded software exploits escaped their secure confines and wreaked havoc around the globe. During the year, Avira detected over 4.5 billion instances of malware attempting to infect operating devices protected by our AV software. There was substantial […]

The post 2017: Threats got more precise – and pervasive appeared first on Avira Blog.

Read More