Vulnerabilities / Threats

11/5/2015
04:30 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
0%
100%

CryptoWall 4.0 A Stealthier, More Sweet-Talking Ransomware

Less 'gimme all your money,' more 'please buy this software package.'

A sweet-talking, stealthier, new version of the CryptoWall ransomware, CryptoWall 4.0, is in the wild, according to researchers at Heimdal Security and BitDefender.

The previous version, CryptoWall 3.0, just came out in January, and according to figures released last week by the Cyber Threat Alliance, it has already extorted $325 million from tens of thousands of victims worldwide. CryptoWall 4.0 aims to surpass that performance.

Ransomware is not exactly shy; it will always make itself known eventually. Yet security tools hope to catch it when it first creeps onto a machine, and stop it before it springs into action. Yet, CryptoWall 4.0 has made modifications to help it evade detection by security tools "even by 2nd generation firewall solutions," according to Heimdal Security.

When the malware makes its move, the new CryptoWall not only encrypts files, as it always has done, it also encrypts filenames. Heimdal Security states this new technique increases victims' confusion, and thereby increases the likelihood that they'll pay the ransom, and quickly.

4.0 also contains a strikingly different ransom message than earlier CryptoWalls. Previous versions have always aimed to frighten and harass victims, but as BitDefender explains, the new ransom message is "longer, less alarming and with a hint of irony."

Instead of being an obvious threat from an attacker, the new message hides the threat inside a welcome wagon. Rather than simply demanding a ransom to decrypt the files, they recommend "purchasing the software package" for $700, payable in Bitcoin.

The ransom itself has the cuddly filename "HELP_YOUR_FILES," comes in TXT, HTML, and PNG form, and includes the text "Congratulations! You have become a part of large community CryptoWall!" and "the instructions that you find in folders with encrypted files are not viruses; they are your helpers."

The message urges victims to "think logically" and not get security products involved, because their attempts could prove fatal to their files.

It isn't all soft-sell, cajoling, and reason, though. The message has some bite, stating: "In case if these simple rules are violated we will not be able to help you, and we will not try because you have been warned."

As Heimdal Security explains "Cryptoware creators act like they run software companies," continuing to enhance their code, addressing advancements in security controls, and using all possible social engineering techniques at their disposal to trigger payment.

Black Hat Europe returns to the beautiful city of Amsterdam, Netherlands November 12 & 13, 2015. Click here for more information and to register.

Sara Peters is Senior Editor at Dark Reading and formerly the editor-in-chief of Enterprise Efficiency. Prior that she was senior editor for the Computer Security Institute, writing and speaking about virtualization, identity management, cybersecurity law, and a myriad ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
The Year in Security 2018
This Dark Reading Tech Digest explores the biggest news stories of 2018 that shaped the cybersecurity landscape.
Flash Poll
How Enterprises Are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How Enterprises Are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
Data breach fears and the need to comply with regulations such as GDPR are two major drivers increased spending on security products and technologies. But other factors are contributing to the trend as well. Find out more about how enterprises are attacking the cybersecurity problem by reading our report today.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2018-19019
PUBLISHED: 2019-01-22
A type confusion vulnerability exists when processing project files in CX-Supervisor (Versions 3.42 and prior). An attacker could use a specially crafted project file to exploit and execute code under the privileges of the application.
CVE-2019-6260
PUBLISHED: 2019-01-22
The ASPEED ast2400 and ast2500 Baseband Management Controller (BMC) hardware and firmware implement Advanced High-performance Bus (AHB) bridges, which allow arbitrary read and write access to the BMC's physical address space from the host (or from the network in unusual cases where the BMC console u...
CVE-2018-19011
PUBLISHED: 2019-01-22
CX-Supervisor (Versions 3.42 and prior) can execute code that has been injected into a project file. An attacker could exploit this to execute code under the privileges of the application.
CVE-2018-19013
PUBLISHED: 2019-01-22
An attacker could inject commands to delete files and/or delete the contents of a file on CX-Supervisor (Versions 3.42 and prior) through a specially crafted project file.
CVE-2018-19017
PUBLISHED: 2019-01-22
Several use after free vulnerabilities have been identified in CX-Supervisor (Versions 3.42 and prior). When processing project files, the application fails to check if it is referencing freed memory. An attacker could use a specially crafted project file to exploit and execute code under the privil...