Feeds

Fiendish CryptoLocker ransomware survives hacktivists' takedown

Proper post-op analysis would have killed it for good, says ex-rozzer

Intelligent flash storage arrays

An attempt by security researchers to take down command and control nodes associated with the infamous CryptoLocker malware appears to have been unsuccessful in its ultimate aim of putting the Bitcoin-hungry crooks behind the scam out of business.

Activists from the group Malware Must Die put together a list of scores of domains associated with communications channels for the malware, which encrypts files on infected machines before demanding a ransom of up to 2 BTC (worth just over $2,000 at the time of writing), before beginning a takedown operation on Sunday (1 December).

Most of the 138 targeted domains were suspended but failed to kill off CryptoLocker, which was quickly resurrected, according to anti-botnet firm Damballa.

Adrian Culley, a former Scotland Yard detective turned technical consultant at Damballa, said that the take-down effort might have been more successful with post-takedown analysis.

"It is no surprise that the announcements of the death of CryptoLocker appear to have been somewhat premature. An essential part of the process is post-takedown analysis, which may turn out to be a post-mortem, or a triage of the zombie remnants of a botnet, or may indeed confirm that the botnet is very much still alive and kicking."

"It is essential to undertake this analysis post any sinkholing activity,” continued Culley, “which does appear to have happened in this instance. CryptoLocker appears to have the same resilience as many other C&C based attacks.”

“Efficient post-mortems lead to better surgery, and this is just as true of botnet remediation as it is medically," he added.

CryptoLocker normally arrives in email as an executable file disguised as a PDF, packed into a .zip attachment. A spam run targeting millions of UK consumers prompted a warning from the UK National Crime Agency last month. For now, at least, only Windows machines can be infected by the malware.

If it successful executes, CryptoLocker encrypts the contents of a hard drive and any connected LAN drives before demanding payment for a private key needed to decrypt the data. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Knock Knock tool makes a joke of Mac AV
Yes, we know Macs 'don't get viruses', but when they do this code'll spot 'em
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
Why weasel words might not work for Whisper
CEO suspends editor but privacy questions remain
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
BlackEnergy crimeware coursing through US control systems
US CERT says three flavours of control kit are under attack
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.