Feeds

You've got two weeks to beat off Cryptolocker, GameoverZeus nasties

So say UK cops after control servers for malware battered

Seven Steps to Software Security

The UK’s National Crime Agency has warned people have just two weeks to protect themselves against the Cryptolocker ransomware and a strain of the ZeuS password-slurping malware – before both return from the dead.

The alert comes after the cops "disrupted" the systems remotely controlling the software nasties – which could mean anything from knocking them offline to physically seizing machines. The cyber-plod isn't saying.

The NCA worked with the FBI, Europol and other agencies to knackered the command and control (C&C) servers that were managing a major network distributing the GameoverZeuS Trojan and the infamous Cryptolocker ransomware.

NCE operatives warned that it’s only a matter of time before the miscreants behind the botnet set up new C&C servers and regain control.

The agency said the standoff “will give the UK public a unique, two-week opportunity to rid and safeguard themselves” from both GameoverZeuS and Cryptolocker. However, Rik Ferguson, veep of security research at Trend Micro, said in a blog post that folks may not even have that long.

“The ultimate goal of the law enforcement activity is to prevent infected computers from communicating with one another, significantly weakening the criminal infrastructure. While this blow is effective, it is not permanent and we expect the malicious networks to return to their former strength within weeks, if not days,” he warned.

People are being advised to install or update security software and to check that operating systems and applications are up to date. Folks should also back up important data onto unconnected storage, while businesses need to check their incident response and resilience protocols.

More than 15,000 computers in Blighty alone have been hit by the ZeuS malware, which figure includes those hit by the GameoverZeuS and P2PZeuS strains. According to the NCA, ZeuS is responsible for nicking hundreds of millions of pounds globally.

Once downloaded onto a machine, and decrypted, GameoverZeuS starts sniffing around for bank account passwords and other financially sensitive info. If it can’t find anything useful, some strains of the software will “call in” Cryptolocker, a form of ransomware that encrypts the victim's device unless they pay a ransom to have it decrypted. The going rate for the ransom is about one Bitcoin (£200 to £300) in the UK, according to the NCA.

Although ISPs have started advising their users about the threat, the NCA urged users to immediately sort out their security software.

“Nobody wants their personal financial details, business information or photographs of loved ones to be stolen or held to ransom by criminals. By making use of this two-week window, huge numbers of people in the UK can stop that from happening to them,” said Andy Archibald, deputy director of the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit.

“Our message is simple: update your operating system and make this a regular occurrence, update your security software and use it and, think twice before clicking on links or attachments in unsolicited emails.” ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Attackers raid SWISS BANKS with DNS and malware bombs
'Retefe' trojan uses clever spin on old attacks to grant total control of bank accounts
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.