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Cyber Awareness System: Crypto Ransomeware

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posted on Oct, 23 2014 @ 08:17 PM
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FYI: Members-take care. This came my way today. Please review! Thanks....MS

National Cyber Awareness System: TA14-295A: Crypto Ransomware
10/22/2014 05:28 PM EDT
www.us-cert.gov...
Original release date: October 22, 2014

Systems Affected: Microsoft Windows

Overview
Ransomware is a type of malicious software (malware) that infects a computer and restricts access to it until a ransom is paid to unlock it. This Alert is the result of Canadian Cyber Incident Response Centre (CCIRC) analysis in coordination with the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide further information about crypto ransomware, specifically to:
• Present its main characteristics, explain the prevalence of ransomware, and the proliferation of crypto ransomware variants; and
• Provide prevention and mitigation information.
Description

WHAT IS RANSOMWARE?
Ransomware is a type of malware that infects a computer and restricts a user’s access to the infected computer. This type of malware, which has now been observed for several years, attempts to extort money from victims by displaying an on-screen alert. These alerts often state that their computer has been locked or that all of their files have been encrypted, and demand that a ransom is paid to restore access. This ransom is typically in the range of $100–$300 dollars, and is sometimes demanded in virtual currency, such as Bitcoin.
Ransomware is typically spread through phishing emails that contain malicious attachments and drive-by downloading. Drive-by downloading occurs when a user unknowingly visits an infected website and malware is downloaded and installed without their knowledge. Crypto ransomware, a variant that encrypts files, is typically spread through similar methods, and has been spread through Web-based instant messaging applications.

WHY IS IT SO EFFECTIVE?
The authors of ransomware instill fear and panic into their victims, causing them to click on a link or pay a ransom, and inevitably become infected with additional malware, including messages similar to those below:
• “Your computer has been infected with a virus. Click here to resolve the issue.”
• “Your computer was used to visit websites with illegal content. To unlock your computer, you must pay a $100 fine.”
• “All files on your computer have been encrypted. You must pay this ransom within 72 hours to regain access to your data.”

PROLIFERATION OF VARIANTS
In 2012, Symantec, using data from a command and control (C2) server of 5,700 computers compromised in one day, estimated that approximately 2.9 percent of those compromised users paid the ransom. With an average ransom of $200, this meant malicious actors profited $33,600 per day, or $394,400 per month, from a single C2 server. These rough estimates demonstrate how profitable ransomware can be for malicious actors.
This financial success has likely led to a proliferation of ransomware variants. In 2013, more destructive and lucrative ransomware variants were introduced including Xorist, CryptorBit, and CryptoLocker. Some variants encrypt not just the files on the infected device but also the contents of shared or networked drives. These variants are considered destructive because they encrypt user’s and organization’s files, and render them useless until criminals receive a ransom.
Additional variants observed in 2014 included CryptoDefense and Cryptowall, which are also considered destructive. Reports indicate that CryptoDefense and Cryptowall share the same code, and that only the name of malware itself is different. Similar to CryptoLocker, these variants also encrypt files on the local computer, shared network files, and removable media.

LINKS TO OTHER TYPES OF MALWARE
Systems infected with ransomware are also often infected with other malware. In the case of CryptoLocker, a user typically becomes infected by opening a malicious attachment from an email. This malicious attachment contains Upatre, a downloader, which infects the user with GameOver Zeus. GameOver Zeus is a variant of the Zeus Trojan that steals banking information and is also used to steal other types of data. Once a system is infected with GameOver Zeus, Upatre will also download CryptoLocker. Finally, CryptoLocker encrypts files on the infected system, and requests that a ransom be paid.
The close ties between ransomware and other types of malware were demonstrated through the recent botnet disruption operation against GameOver Zeus, which also proved effective against CryptoLocker. In June 2014, an international law enforcement operation successfully weakened the infrastructure of both GameOver Zeus and CryptoLocker.
Impact
Ransomware doesn’t only target home users; businesses can also become infected with ransomware, which can have negative consequences, including:
• Temporary or permanent loss of sensitive or proprietary information;
• Disruption to regular operations;
• Financial losses incurred to restore systems and files; and
• Potential harm to an organization’s reputation.
Paying the ransom does not guarantee the encrypted files will be released; it only guarantees that the malicious actors receive the victim’s money, and in some cases, their banking information. In addition, decrypting files does not mean the malware infection itself has been removed.

Solution
Infections can be devastating to an individual or organization, and recovery can be a difficult process that may require the services of a reputable data recovery specialist.
US-CERT and CCIRC recommend users and administrators take the following preventive measures to protect their computer networks from ransomware infection:
• Perform regular backups of all critical information to limit the impact of data or system loss and to help expedite the recovery process. Ideally, this data should be kept on a separate device, and backups should be stored offline.
• Maintain up-to-date anti-virus software.
• Keep your operating system and software up-to-date with the latest patches.
• Do not follow unsolicited web links in email. Refer to the Security Tip Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks for more information on social engineering attacks.
• Use caution when opening email attachments. For information on safely handling email attachments, see Recognizing and Avoiding Email Scams.
• Follow safe practices when browsing the web. See Good Security Habits and Safeguarding Your Data for additional details.
Individuals or organizations are not encouraged to pay the ransom, as this does not guarantee files will be released. Report instances of fraud to the FBI at the Internet Crime Complaint Center or contact the CCIRC .

References
• Kaspersky Lab, Kaspersky Lab detects mobile Trojan Svpeng: Financial malware with ransomware capabilities now targeting U.S.
• United States National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, Cryptolocker Ransomware
• Sophos / Naked Security, What’s next for ransomware? CryptoWall picks up where CryptoLocker left off
• Symantec, CryptoDefence, the CryptoLocker Imitator, Makes Over $34,000 in One Month
• Symantec, Cryptolocker: A Thriving Menace
• Symantec, Cryptolocker Q&A: Menace of the Year
• Symantec, International Takedown Wounds Gameover Zeus Cybercrime Network




posted on Oct, 23 2014 @ 08:33 PM
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I had this once. Was not all that difficult to remove.

Turn off the computer.

Turn it on, wait for windows to start loading and turn off the power. Do this a few times until windows gives you the 'Windows did not start properly' screen.

Select, 'Repair Windows' option.

Let window's repair do its thing.

Fixed.

Then run every anti virus program you have.

P

edit on 23/10/2014 by pheonix358 because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 23 2014 @ 09:27 PM
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a reply to: pheonix358

Had a different one myself...that "FBI Cybercrime" Hijack...pain in the as-....just thought the info useful here to some members!



posted on Oct, 23 2014 @ 10:13 PM
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originally posted by: mysterioustranger
a reply to: pheonix358

Had a different one myself...that "FBI Cybercrime" Hijack...pain in the as-....just thought the info useful here to some members!



It is very useful info. My tip works on the one you mention. If it ever happens again, try it.

You can also start your system from the original disk and select the repair windows option.

P



posted on Oct, 24 2014 @ 01:53 AM
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a reply to: pheonix358

You cant repair a system that has had its files locked with cryptolocker. No amount of ant-virus programs can fix it.

The "FBI Cybercrime" , or "metropolitan police" Hijack is super simple to remove though. All you need to do is restore to an earlier time.

Also you dont need to :



Turn off the computer.

Turn it on, wait for windows to start loading and turn off the power. Do this a few times until windows gives you the 'Windows did not start properly' screen.


To get to the repair options. You just keep tapping F8 during loading or shift + F8 in windows 8. The method you are describing could potentially damage your hardware.

Of course a lot of these malware programs find it super difficult to take hold of a system in the first place if you don't use the administrator account as your main account.


edit on 24-10-2014 by PhoenixOD because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 24 2014 @ 11:18 AM
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a reply to: PhoenixOD

That didn't work for me...it would not load....no mouse, no keys control....no per on-off....just blue screen and FBI page...again zero keyboard...nothing but blue.

I....after much difficulty...got into the removed drive and transfered files and wiped drive to reinstall windows....nasty event.
edit on 07-31-2014 by mysterioustranger because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 24 2014 @ 12:17 PM
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a reply to: mysterioustranger

Sometimes you have to just keep restarting and mashing the f8 continuously to get it to work. I did a windows 8 machine the other day that must have taken me over 10 attempts to get the recovery menu.

Keyboard and sometimes mouse is automatically configured by the BIOS before you get to the point where you can access the recovery menu and windows takes over. Of course once you are past that point a virus can disable the keyboard and mouse.

But if you get completely fed up of trying to get to the recovery menu using f8 then just pop in a windows installation disk and that will allow you to navigate to the repair menu.



edit on 24-10-2014 by PhoenixOD because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 26 2014 @ 06:32 AM
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originally posted by: PhoenixOD
Sometimes you have to just keep restarting and mashing the f8 continuously to get it to work. I did a windows 8 machine the other day that must have taken me over 10 attempts to get the recovery menu.

That's why I prefer to shut down the computer instead of restarting it, the keyboard always works as expect then.

edit on 26/10/2014 by ArMaP because: (no reason given)



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