The newest method of spreading Locky ransomware was discovered by accident when an astute user contacted security researcher Bart Blaze. The user noticed that his Facebook Messenger service had loaded a file to the account without consent or any intervention whatsoever. It totally bypassed the file extension filters that were active on the account.

One User’s Locky Day

The downloaded file, Blaze found, was a scalable vector graphic. This open standard is an XML-based vector image format for two-dimensional graphics. It also supports interactivity and animation.

Functionally, this means that any content — such as JavaScript, for example — can be embedded into the structure. A modern browser would be able to open this file and execute its contents, which was exactly what was going on.

The embedded JavaScript in the malicious file contained misdirection instructions for the browser. A browser would then run the JavaScript and end up at a fake YouTube site.

New Infection Tactics

Once there, the victim was asked to download a codec to play the mysterious content. This codec is purported to be a Chrome extension. If installed, it propagates the malware via Facebook Messenger using another poisoned image file.

CSO Online reported that the extension may also install a downloader program, called Nemucod. This malware goes out and fetches the Locky ransomware to infect the victim. This method of transmission leads to the Locky ransomware infection.

Be Wary of Locky Ransomware

Blaze recommended immediately removing the browser extension, but did not mention what to do if the browser has already been attacked by Locky and is unavailable.

He offered some further advice on his blog, however. “As always,” Blaze wrote, “be wary when someone sends you just an ‘image’ — especially when it is not how he or she would usually behave.”

Both Facebook and Google have been notified of the issue but have yet to respond.

More from

Remote Employees: Update Your Routers (and More WFH IT Tips)

As a business owner or manager, you must ensure your employees have the right tools and resources to do their jobs well — especially with more people working from home. And IT infrastructure is one of the most important considerations regarding remote work.However, the truth is that most employees don’t think about their IT infrastructure until something goes wrong. In many cases, this can leave an employee stranded and unable to complete their tasks. In a worst-case scenario, this reactionary…

More School Closings Coast-to-Coast Due to Ransomware

Instead of snow days, students now get cyber days off. Cyberattacks are affecting school districts of all sizes from coast-to-coast. Some schools even completely shut down due to the attacks. The federal government recently warned that K-12 schools face a growing threat from cyber groups. According to the FBI, school districts often have limited cybersecurity protections, which makes them even more vulnerable. The FBI also says it anticipates the number of threats to increase. In a recent warning, the nation’s…

The Role of Human Resources in Cybersecurity

The human resources (HR) department is an integral part of an organization. They work with all departments with a wider reach than even IT. As a highly visible department, HR can support and improve an organization’s security posture through employee training. Their access to employees at the start of employment is an opportunity to lay a foundation for a culture of risk awareness. HR departments do not typically include cybersecurity risk awareness training with new hire onboarding, but it’s something…

New Attack Targets Online Customer Service Channels

An unknown attacker group is targeting customer service agents at gambling and gaming companies with a new malware effort. Known as IceBreaker, the code is capable of stealing passwords and cookies, exfiltrating files, taking screenshots and running custom VBS scripts. While these are fairly standard functions, what sets IceBreaker apart is its infection vector. Malicious actors are leveraging the helpful nature of customer service agents to deliver their payload and drive the infection process. Here’s a look at how IceBreaker…