Sophos describes some other telephone scams

On this site, I tend to focus on tech support scams in the context of telephone scams. However, here’s an interesting article by Bill Brenner for Sophos that focuses on other types of telephone scam:

  • IRS tax scams
  • Immigration scams
  • Payday loan scams
  • Government grant scams

The callers seem to be based in India and tend to impersonate government officials, and either threaten victims with tax-related fines and penalties or deportation, or promise services such as grants or loans (on payment of a ‘worthiness’ fee. Here’s the article:

Anatomy of a scam: how phone frauds harvest millions from us

David Harley

MacRansom (& MacSpy)

(MacSpy isn’t ransomware, but seems to have been developed by the same author, and both are offered as as-a-service malware.)

Zeljka Zorz for HelpNet Security: Two Mac malware-as-a-Service offerings uncovered. According to HelpNet ‘Patric Wardle’s RansomWhere? tool can also stop MacRansomware from doing any damage.’

Rommel Joven and Wayne Chin Yick Low, for Fortinet: MacRansom: Offered as Ransomware as a Service

Fortinet notes that “Nevertheless, we are still skeptical of the author’s claim to be able to decrypt the hijacked files, even assuming that the victims sent the author an unknown random file…”

AlienVault: MacSpy: OS X RAT as a Service

David Harley

 

Tech Support Scams and Google

And still it goes on…

Tech support scammers poisoning Google search results is hardly new – see My PC has 32,539 errors: how telephone support scams really work – but there’s an interesting example flagged by Malwarebytes in the article Ads in Google Search Results Redirect Users to Tech Support Scam by Catalin Cimpanu. Also some useful commentary by Lisa Vaas for Sophos: Google ads for tech support scams – would you spot one?

David Harley

Ransomware: InfoSec, Stats, and Paying Up

A couple of items of general interest regarding ransomware:

  • For Sophos, Bill Brenner’s article InfoSec 2017: a look at the family album of ransomware includes some threat statistics for the period October 2016 and April 2017, plus some ransomware-based talks and events  at InfoSec.
  • For Computer Weekly, Warwick Ashford writes about UK firms stockpiling bitcoins for ransomware attacks, referring to a survey commissioned by Citrix. The survey suggests that the number of companies not willing to pay up if attacked by ransomware has fallen from 25% to 22%, whereas large firms are prepared to pay nearly four times as much as they were a year ago. However, the number of companies with no contingency plans at all seems to have dropped dramatically.

I’ve commented a couple of times recently on the question of Ransomware: To pay or not to pay? and The economics of ransomware recovery.

David Harley

ESET’s EternalBlue Vulnerability Checker

A free tool released by ESET ‘to help combat the recent ransomware, WannaCry (WannaCryptor).’

The press release goes on to say that:

ESET’s EternalBlue Vulnerability Checker can be used to determine whether your Windows machine is patched against EternalBlue, the exploit behind the WannaCry ransomware epidemic that is still being used to spread cryptocurrency mining software and other malware.

This obviously isn’t the only way to check, and it may not be the only tool of its kind out there – I haven’t been looking for such a tool. And clearly, checking for a specific vulnerability isn’t a substitute for a sound patching strategy, or for using security software that detects malware (including WannaCryptor) reasonably reliably. But while I haven’t tested it personally, I’d be very surprised (in view of my longstanding association with ESET) if this tool didn’t do what it says on the tin, so some people and organizations might well find this useful.

David Harley

Decryption hope for WannaCryptor a.k.a. Wannacry

Wannacry in-memory key recovery for WinXP – Adrian Guinet warns:

“This software has only been tested and known to work under Windows XP. In order to work, your computer must not have been rebooted after being infected.

Please also note that you need some luck for this to work (see below), and so it might not work in every cases!”

However, wanakiwi claims to have tested it successfully with versions up to Windows 7, but points to some alternative information. WannaCry — Decrypting files with WanaKiwi + Demos

Dan Goodin for Ars Technica: Windows XP PCs infected by WCry can be decrypted without paying ransom – “Decryption tool is of limited value, because XP was unaffected by last week’s worm.”

John Leyden for The Register: There’s a ransom-free fix for WannaCry‬pt. Oh snap, you’ve rebooted your XP box – “Sooo… that’s not gonna work for you mate”

David Harley

WannaCryptor news updates

Because of the apparent seriousness of the issue, I borrowed my earlier blogs on this topic for ITsecurity UK. So it’s only fair that I borrow back a couple of updates from that article.

You may have seen that someone was able to ‘switch off’ the attack by registering a domain. (‘Accidental hero’ finds kill switch to stop spread of ransomware cyber-attack.) While it sounds as if this bought the world some time, it doesn’t mean there won’t be further attacks. I still recommend that you patch if you can.

There are reports of further variants, including one which is alleged not to include a kill switch. That might not be an accurate report, but certainly no-one should be relying on the neutralization of kill-switch domains rather than patching.

And if you have been caught out by the malware and were thinking of paying up, be warned that payment may not get your files back, according to Checkpoint: WannaCry – Paid Time Off?

Analysis by Microsoft here. MS recommends that you update to Windows 10 (no comment…) and/or apply the MS17-010 update. If that’s not possible, they recommend that you:

Hat tip to Artem Baranov for links to further information.

David Harley

 

WannaCryptor – XP patch available

Unusually, Microsoft has provided a patch for systems that are no longer supported, but are vulnerable to the Microsoft Security Bulletin MS17-010 flaw exploited by WannaCryptor (a.k.a. WannaCrypt among other names). These include Windows XP, Windows 8, and Windows Server 2003. A patch for later operating systems (i.e. those versions of Windows still supported) was made available in March 2017.

If you didn’t take advantage of the patch for Windows 8.1 and later at the time, now would be a good time to do so. (A couple of days earlier would have been even better.)

If you’re running one of the unsupported Windows versions mentioned above (and yes, I appreciate that some people have to), I strongly recommend that you either upgrade or take advantage of the new patch.

Microsoft’s announcement is here: Customer Guidance for WannaCrypt attacks, with links to the update and further information. Detection of the threat has also been added to Windows Defender.

Kudos to Microsoft for going the extra mile…

Additional analysis and/or commentary by ESET – Huge ransomware outbreak disrupts IT systems worldwide, WannaCryptor to blame, Malwarebytes – The worm that spreads WanaCrypt0r, and Sophos: Wanna Decrypter 2.0 ransomware attack: what you need to know. Among other vendors, of course. [Added subsequently: Symantec – What you need to know about the WannaCry Ransomware]

David Harley