November 22, 2016 By Larry Loeb 2 min read

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

CVE-2023-20078 technical analysis: Identifying and triggering a command injection vulnerability in Cisco IP phones

7 min read - CVE-2023-20078 catalogs an unauthenticated command injection vulnerability in the web-based management interface of Cisco 6800, 7800, and 8800 Series IP Phones with Multiplatform Firmware installed; however, limited technical analysis is publicly available. This article presents my findings while researching this vulnerability. In the end, the reader should be equipped with the information necessary to understand and trigger this vulnerability.Vulnerability detailsThe following Cisco Security Advisory (Cisco IP Phone 6800, 7800, and 8800 Series Web UI Vulnerabilities - Cisco) details CVE-2023-20078 and…

X-Force data reveals top spam trends, campaigns and senior superlatives in 2023

10 min read - The 2024 IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Index revealed attackers continued to pivot to evade detection to deliver their malware in 2023. The good news? Security improvements, such as Microsoft blocking macro execution by default starting in 2022 and OneNote embedded files with potentially dangerous extensions by mid-2023, have changed the threat landscape for the better. Improved endpoint detection also likely forced attackers to shift away from other techniques prominent in 2022, such as using disk image files (e.g. ISO) and…

The compelling need for cloud-native data protection

4 min read - Cloud environments were frequent targets for cyber attackers in 2023. Eighty-two percent of breaches that involved data stored in the cloud were in public, private or multi-cloud environments. Attackers gained the most access to multi-cloud environments, with 39% of breaches spanning multi-cloud environments because of the more complicated security issues. The cost of these cloud breaches totaled $4.75 million, higher than the average cost of $4.45 million for all data breaches.The reason for this high cost is not only the…

Topic updates

Get email updates and stay ahead of the latest threats to the security landscape, thought leadership and research.
Subscribe today