A highly targeted ransomware strain emerged this month, with attackers focusing on specific industry verticals in small attacks, Proofpoint researchers stated this week.
The Defray ransomware attacks have hit the healthcare, education, manufacturing, and technology industries by distributing emails containing a Microsoft Word document embedded with an executable OLE packager shell object, according to Proofpoint, which discovered Defray.
The small campaigns usually only contain several messages in each effort and demand a ransom of $5,000. An Aug. 15 campaign against the manufacturing and technology sectors used a bogus email from a representative of a UK-based aquarium with offices across the globe as bait. That was followed up with a similar campaign against the healthcare and education industries on Aug. 22 from a purported director of information management and technology at a hospital.
Once the victim clicks on the attachment, the ransomware is activated and encryption takes place. Defray, however, may also disable startup recovery and delete shadow copy volumes, as well, according to Proofpoint. The researchers suspect Defray is not for sale like other ransomware strains and instead is being used by certain threat actors for their personal use.
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