Last week in security news, researchers observed the new PureLocker ransomware family using some unusual techniques to target enterprise production servers. Ransomware wasn’t the only type of malware that made headlines last week. A PowerShell-based script, a new backdoor and an info-stealing Trojan also generated attention in the security community for using interesting tactics and staging new attack campaigns.

Top Story of the Week: PureLocker’s Unique Tactics

Intezer and IBM X-Force Incident Response and Intelligence Services (IRIS) first came across PureLocker when they detected a sample masquerading as a C++ cryptography library called Crypto++. Further analysis revealed that the sample actually belonged to a ransomware family written in the PureBasic programming language, hence the name PureLocker.

Researchers observed the ransomware using two unusual techniques in its efforts to exclusively target enterprises’ production servers. First, they noticed PureLocker using several checks to verify the nature of its execution, a tactic that suggests the ransomware might be functioning as a component of a multi-stage attack. Second, they noticed the sample using anti-evasion tactics that other ransomware families rarely employ.

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Also in Security News

  • Mortality Rate From Heart Attacks Increased at Hospitals Following Data Breaches: An academic study found that the time until patients suffering from cardiovascular issues received a cardiogram grew by 2.7 minutes at hospitals that suffered a data breach. The mortality rate for these patients also increased 0.36 percent for three years following the security incident.
  • Mobile Users Urged to Be on the Lookout for Fleeceware: Kaspersky Lab noted that digital fraudsters are targeting mobile users with fleeceware, apps that charged high subscription fees to users even after they uninstalled them from their devices. These apps aren’t considered malware, however, in that they don’t perform malicious activity or request unusual permissions.
  • New Titanium Backdoor Used by Platinum Group to Target APAC Region: Detected by Kaspersky Lab, the Platinum Group launched a campaign that used encryption and fileless techniques to target South and Southeast Asian companies. Each step of the attack mimicked the activity of known software to ultimately load the Titanium backdoor.
  • Over Half of Q3 2019 DDoS Attacks Occurred in September: In its report findings published on Securelist, Kaspersky Lab revealed that September accounted for 53 percent of all distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks that occurred in the third quarter of the year. Interestingly, 60 percent of all DDoS attacks in the early fall targeted education-related resources.
  • Glimpse Malware Capable of Using Alternative DNS to Evade Detection: IronNet found that Glimpse malware is capable of using text mode as an alternative Domain Name System (DNS) instead of relying on existing .NET DNS libraries. This technique makes it easier for the threat to evade detection by IT security teams.
  • Scam Uses Fake Bitcoin Private Key Generator to Spread Predator the Thief: Bleeping Computer learned of a scam campaign using YouTube videos to advertise a tool that claimed it could generate the private key of a bitcoin address, thereby helping users to steal other people’s funds. In reality, this tool infected users with Predator the Thief information-stealing malware.
  • New Pipka JavaScript Skimmer Targeting E-Commerce Merchants: In September 2019, Visa Payment Fraud Disruption found a new JavaScript-based skimmer infiltrating the payment forms of e-commerce merchants’ websites. Researchers found that the malware, named Pipka, removes itself from the HTML code of a compromised site, thereby increasing the likelihood that it’ll evade detection.
  • AnteFrigus Ransomware Not Targeting the C: Drive: In mid-November, Bleeping Computer learned of a malvertising campaign that’s using the RIG exploit kit to distribute samples of a new ransomware family called AnteFrigus. The threat differs from most ransomware families in that it targets removable drives and mapped network drives instead of the C: drive.
  • Growth in Number of Look-Alike Domains More Than Doubled in a Year: Researchers at Venafi found that the number of look-alike domains more than doubled between 2018 and 2019. Many of those domains targeted major retailers and used TLS certificates to lure users into a false sense of security.

Security Tip of the Week: Defend Against a Ransomware Attack

Security professionals can help their organizations prevent a ransomware infection by embracing the philosophy of threat hunting and using ethical hackers who can help identify gaps in their defenses. Companies should also make sure to implement a robust data backup strategy and test these backups so they can recover from a ransomware attack should they suffer one.

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