Feeds

Fiendish CryptoLocker ransomware survives hacktivists' takedown

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

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
Experian subsidiary faces MEGA-PROBE for 'selling consumer data to fraudster'
US attorneys general roll up sleeves, snap on gloves
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.