September 24, 2013 | Bratislava

ESET Reports Major Increase of Dangerous Filecoders - Trojans Extorting Ransom After Encrypting Data

ESET HQ Malware Research Lab is reporting an unusual spike in the actvity of Filecoder malware - trojans that encrypt user files and try to extort a ransom from the victim in exchange for a decrypting software. ESET LiveGrid® technology - the company’s cloud-based malware collection system -  has shown  a rising weekly number of Win32/Filecoder detections by over 200% since July 2013 from average numbers in January - June 2013.

Significant  share of detection (44%) are from Russia, but a significant  share is reported in southern Europe (Italy, Spain), Central and Eastern Europe (Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Romania and Ukraine), and the United States.

To infect the computer, cybercriminals are using various infiltration methods: drive-by downloads from malware-laden websites; e-mail attachments, installation through another Trojan or Backdoor, or even manual installation by the attacker.

“The Win32/Filecoder malware family is more dangerous than other types of so-called ransomware as they usually encrypt pictures, documents, music and archives. A wide range of techniques and levels of sophistication has been seen in different variants over time,” says Róbert Lipovský, ESET Malware Researcher.

“It can be very expensive. Malware samples in this malware category usually request sums around 100 – 200€, however some have been seen extorting up to 3000€. The high amount is consistent with the fact that the attackers usually target businesses that can usually afford to pay higher ransoms than individuals,” he adds.

One recent variant puts the victims under pressure by displaying a countdown timer indicating that the encryption key will be permanently deleted, making the recovery of the encrypted files nearly impossible.

ESET advises Internet surfers to stay protected with regularly updated Antivirus software (ESET products detect these dangerous files). However, it is also a good idea to password-protect anti-malware software's settings to prevent them being altered by an attacker and backup regularly.

For a more detailed analysis of this malware  see the blogpost on WeLiveSecurity.com - ESET’s news platform for the latest information and analyses on cyber threats and useful security tips.


About ESET

ESET®, the pioneer of proactive protection and the maker of the award-winning ESET NOD32® technology, is a global provider of security solutions for businesses and consumers. For over 25 years, the Company continues to lead the industry in proactive threat detection. By obtaining the 80th VB100 award in June 2013, ESET NOD32® technology holds the record number of Virus Bulletin "VB100” Awards, and has never missed a single “In-the-Wild” worm or virus since the inception of testing in 1998. In addition, ESET NOD32® technology holds the longest consecutive string of the VB100 awards of any other AV vendor. ESET has received a number of accolades from AV-Comparatives, AV-TEST and other organizations. ESET NOD32® Antivirus, ESET Smart Security®, ESET Cyber Security® (solution for Mac), ESET® Mobile Security and IT Security for Business are trusted by millions of global users and are among the most recommended security solutions in the world.
 
The Company has global headquarters in Bratislava (Slovakia), with regional distribution centers in San Diego (U.S.), Buenos Aires (Argentina), and Singapore; with offices in Jena (Germany), Prague (Czech Republic) and Sao Paulo (Brazil). ESET® has malware research centers in Bratislava, San Diego, Buenos Aires, Singapore, Prague, Košice (Slovakia), Krakow (Poland), Montreal (Canada), Moscow (Russia) and an extensive partner network for more than 180 countries.

More information is available via About ESET and Press Center.

About ESET LiveGrid® technology

Build on ThreatSense.NET advanced early warning system, ESET LiveGrid® is designed to provide additional levels of security to your computer. It constantly monitors your system’s running programs and processes against the latest intelligence collected from millions of ESET users worldwide. Additionally, your system scans are processed faster and more precisely as the ESET LiveGrid® database grows over time.

ESET’s cloud-based LiveGrid® technology comprises of several parts, which can be roughly divided into three types of data which are sent from participating clients’ computers to our Security Research Lab: detection statistics (also known as ThreatSense.Net), malicious and suspicious files, and various metadata about files.

All of this is vital for making detection more effective. The information flows the other way (from the cloud to the client) as well. The benefits of cloud-assisted scanning include a faster response time (not having to wait for a full signature update), better scanning performance (optimization) and a more accurate detection with less false positives.