November 12, 2018 By David Bisson 2 min read

Researchers discovered a new strain of Dharma ransomware that is able to evade detection by nearly all of the antivirus solutions on the market.

In October and November 2018, researchers with Heimdal Security uncovered four strains of Dharma, one of the oldest ransomware families in existence. One of the strains slid past a total of 53 antivirus engines listed on VirusTotal and 14 engines used by the Jotti malware scan. Just one of the security scanners included in each of those utilities picked up on the strain’s malicious behavior.

In its analysis of the strain, Heimdal observed a malicious executable dropped through a .NET file and another associated HTML Application (HTA) file that, when unpacked, directed victims to pay a ransom amount in bitcoin.

How Persistent Is the Threat of Ransomware?

The emergence of the new Dharma strain highlights ransomware’s ongoing relevance as a cyberthreat. Europol declared that it remains the key malware threat in both law enforcement and industry reporting. The agency attributed this proclamation to financially motivated malware attacks increasingly using ransomware over banking Trojans, a trend that it anticipates will continue for years to come.

Europol identified this tendency despite a surge in activity from other threats. For example, Comodo Cybersecurity found that crypto-mining malware rose to the top of detected malware incidents in the first three months of 2018. In so doing, malicious cryptominers supplanted ransomware as the No. 1 digital threat for that quarter, according to Comodo research.

Defend Against New Malware Strains With Strong Endpoint Security

Security professionals can help keep ransomware off their networks by using an endpoint management solution that provides real-time visibility into their endpoints. Experts also recommend using tools that integrate with security information and event management (SIEM) software to streamline responses to potential incidents.

Sources: Heimdal Security, Europol, Comodo Cybersecurity

More from

Poland spending $760 million on cybersecurity after attack

3 min read - Visitors to the Polish Press Agency (PAP) website on May 31 at 2 p.m. Polish time were met with an unusual message. Instead of the typical daily news, the state-run newspaper had supposedly published a story announcing that a partial mobilization, which means calling up specific people to serve in the armed forces, was ordered by Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk beginning on July 1, 2024. Deputy Prime Minister Krzysztof Gawkowski refuted the claim on X (formerly Twitter). His post…

How generative AI Is expanding the insider threat attack surface

3 min read - As the adoption of generative AI (GenAI) soars, so too does the risk of insider threats. This puts even more pressure on businesses to rethink security and confidentiality policies.In just a few years, artificial intelligence (AI) has radically changed the world of work. 61% of knowledge workers now use GenAI tools — particularly OpenAI’s ChatGPT — in their daily routines. At the same time, business leaders, often partly driven by a fear of missing out, are investing billions in tools…

Water facilities warned to improve cybersecurity

3 min read - United States water facilities, which include 150,000 public water systems, have become an increasingly high-risk target for cyber criminals in recent years. This rising threat has demanded more attention and policies focused on improving cybersecurity.Water and wastewater systems are one of the 16 critical infrastructures in the U.S. The definition for inclusion in this category is that the industry must be so crucial to the United States that “the incapacity or destruction of such systems and assets would have a…

Topic updates

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