Monthly Archives: August 2017

Tech support scams – FTC offers money back…

…well, there’s no foolproof way of doing that (getting your money back, that is), unfortunately. But Shaun Nichols reports for The Register that FTC ready to give back tech support scamming money to the bilked.

“Those who have been identified as eligible by the FTC will get an email from the commission with a PIN number that can be used to obtain the claim forms. In order to claim a share of the payout, consumers will have to fill out a claim before October 27.”

The article does, very sensibly, point out the risk that scammers will use the FTC’s initiative as a springboard for further scams. Unfortunately, I can’t predict exactly what form such scams will take, but I’d be surprised if they don’t happen…

The Federal Trade Commission’s own press release is here: FTC Announces Refund Process for Victims of Deceptive Tech Support Operation.

It states:

Eligible consumers bought tech support products and services between April 2012 and November 2014 from Advanced Tech Support, which also used the name Inbound Call Experts. Consumers will have until October 27, 2017 to submit a request for a refund.

David Harley

SyncCrypt: Getting the Ransomware Picture?

Lawrence Abrams, for Bleeping Computer, describes how the SyncCrypt Ransomware Hides Inside JPG Files, Appends .KK Extension.

The article describes ransomware discovered by EmsiSoft’s xXToffeeXx, distributed as spam attachments containing WSF (Windows Script File) objects. The WSF script pulls down images containing embedded Zip files. Abrams reports that the ‘WSF attachments are pretending to be court orders with file names like CourtOrder_845493809.wsf.’

VirusTotal searches today indicate that detection is rising of the image file for which a hash is provided, but still lower than the detection rate for the executable, which the majority of mainstream security products now detect. The JPGs are not directly harmful, but the embedded Zip file contains the malicious sync.exe executable. Detection of the WSF file for which a hash is provided is also lower than for the executable.

There’s no free decryption for affected data at this time.

IOCs, filenames etc. are appended to the Bleeping Computer analysis.

David Harley

 

Cerber now kind to canaries

Cybereason: Researchers at Cybereason have discovered a new strain of the Cerber ransomware that implements a new feature to avoid triggering canary files.

Apparently this strain of Cerber assumes that any malformed image file is a ‘canary’ file (a variation on the old idea of a goat file) and avoids encrypting it or any other file in the directory in which it’s found.

A goat file can be used to facilitate detection and/or analysis of a virus when it has been infected, by analogy with a ‘sacrificial goat’.

A canary file is intended to act like ‘a canary in a coal mine’, giving early warning of an attempt by ransomware to encrypt files, by analogy with a canary dropping unconscious or dead at the first hint of dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide.

Since it’s rather easy to generate a ‘malformed image file’, it’s been suggested that people do so to help protect folders containing valuable files. I suspect, however, that the Cerber gang (and other malefactors) have already twigged that one, so I certainly wouldn’t rely on such a strategy.

David Harley

Ransomware targeting WordPress sites

WordFence, which offers a security plugin for WordPress sites, reports on Ransomware Targeting WordPress – An Emerging Threat, claiming to have ‘captured several attempts to upload ransomware that provides an attacker with the ability to encrypt a WordPress website’s files and then extort money from the site owner.’

I hope the company won’t mind my quoting this important paragraph:

If you are affected by this ransomware, do not pay the ransom, as it is unlikely the attacker will actually decrypt your files for you. If they provide you with a key, you will need an experienced PHP developer to help you fix their broken code in order to use the key and reverse the encryption.

Commentary by HelpNet Security here: EV ransomware is targeting WordPress sites

David Harley

 

Talk Talk fined for support scam issue

The Register: TalkTalk fined £100k for exposing personal sensitive info – 21,000 accounts handled by Indian outsourcing biz exposed

‘…TalkTalk found an issue with the UK ISP’s portal … One of the companies with access to the portal was Wipro, a multinational IT services company in India that resolved high level complaints and addressed network coverage problems on TalkTalk’s behalf … three Wipro accounts … had been used to gain unauthorised and unlawful access to the personal data of up to 21,000 customers.’

See also TalkTalk confesses: Scammers have data about our engineers’ visits to your home Info exploited, say customers

Added to tech support resources page, of course.

David Harley