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Watch out for Android Ransomware – It’s rising!

Android-ransomware

It’s not only PC ransomware that you should be worrying about. Android ransomware too is on the rise…

Android ransomware has grown by 200% according to the study done by Quick Heal Security Labs for its Q1 Threat Report.

Click here to read the full report

Android ransomware work in the same fashion like PC ransomware do. The malware can lock your device or encrypt the stored data and demand a ransom to put things back to normal.

Tips to stay safe from Android ransomware

  1. Do not click on links or download attachments received in unknown or unexpected emails.
  2. Do not click on links received in text messages from unknown numbers.
  3. Avoid installing apps from unofficial or third-party sources.
  4. Keep a backup of your important data stored on your phone.

How Quick Heal Mobile Security app helps prevent ransomware and other malware threats

  1. Scans apps while they are being installed on your phone.
  2. Detects security vulnerabilities that might exist in the apps installed on your phone.
  3. Background scans inspects every downloaded app to ensure it is safe.
  4. The app receives automatic virus updates that help protect your phone from the latest viruses and malware.
  5. The app reviews the security level of your device and helps you keep it strong.

Reference by Quick Heal

Quick Heal supports the Windows 10 Creators Update

A couple of years ago, Microsoft launched Windows 10 and it created quite a spur among PC users all around the world. Celebrating the anniversary of this launch, Microsoft released the Windows 10 Anniversary Update in August last year. In 2017, Microsoft is ready with the Windows 10 Creators Update. This post lists some of the highlights of the Creators Update and Quick Heal’s compatibility with the OS.

The Windows 10 Creators Update highlights

  • The concept of 3D in Windows. For example, the Paint application is now 3D
  • Microsoft Edge is now faster and safer with better browsing and entertainment
  • Additional security and privacy protection

You can learn more about the Creators Update here.

Which versions of Quick Heal will support the Windows 10 Creators Update?

Support via Builds
The latest Quick Heal Builds of v17.00 onwards, downloaded from Quick Heal website, support the Windows 10 Creators Update.

Support via Quick Heal update
Support for the Creators Update is being rolled out to existing users via the latest Quick Heal updates.

What must Quick Heal users do before getting the Creators Update?
Quick Heal users with Win10 RS1 or lower Operating System must take the latest Quick Heal updates and then proceed with the Creators Update. Failing to do so might cause Quick Heal or the system to behave abnormally.

How to apply the latest Quick Heal Update?

  • The update will be applied automatically if your Quick Heal’s Automatic Update is turned ON.
  • You can also apply the update manually. You can do this by following any one of the following methods:
    1. Click on the Update Now button on your Quick Heal dashboard
    2. Go to Help -> About, click on Update Now
    3. Right click on the Quick Heal icon in the system tray and click on Update Now
    4. Go to Start -> All Programs -> Quick Heal -> Click on Quick Update

How to know if the Quick Heal update has been successfully installed and is compatible with the Creators Update?
If your Quick Heal Virus Database Date falls after 1st Feb 2017, it means that the latest updates compatible with the Creators Update have been installed on your computer.

Note – Fresh installation of Quick Heal version 16.00 and below is not supported by the Creators Update.

 

 

 

Reference by Quick Heal

Beware of Spora – a professionally designed ransomware

Spora is a recent addition to the ransomware family that Quick Heal Lab has come across.  It is a file encryptor ransomware that encrypts a user’s files with strong encryption algorithm and demands a ransom. Spora is launched with a good infection routine, the capability to work offline, well-designed and managed payment portal dashboard, decryption key purchase options.

Infection Vector

Spora is delivered to the victim via spam emails containing a malicious .ZIP file as an attachment. This .ZIP file contains an HTML Application (‘.HTA’) file that pretends to be an invoice in .PDF or .DOC format, wearing double extensions to those files (e.g. <file_name>.pdf.HTA). As ‘Hide extensions for known file types’ option is marked checked by default in many systems, it increases the chances of getting trapped in opening an .HTA file by mistaking it for harmless file types.

Infection Routine

Spora has a multistage infection behavior. When a malicious .HTA file is executed, it drops and executes the below files into the system using VBScript program:

  • ‘%Temp%\close.js’
  • ‘%Temp%\doc_6d518e.docx’

• It is actually a file encryptor component that performs file encryption.
• doc_6d518e.docx is a corrupt file that is intentionally dropped and opened to keep the victim busy in viewing it while files are getting encrypted in the background.

spora ransomeware

Figure 1: Corrupt document to fool a victim

Spora was not found appending any extension to the encrypted files. When encryption is over, a ransom note is displayed (shown below), highlighting the uniquely generated ‘Infection ID’ and basic instructions.

spora ransomeware note

Figure 2. Spora ransom note with an infection ID

A .KEY file is dropped on the desktop, containing information about ‘encrypted-encryption keys’ used to encrypt files. In order for the victim to get complete access to the payment portal, they need to upload .KEY file to the portal to synchronize the infected computer with the payment portal. To do so, the below panel is provided.

spora ransomware key

Figure 3. Key upload panel on Spora payment portal

 

Once synchronized, the victim can choose from a number of purchase options available on a ‘My Purchase’ section of the portal.

 

spora ransomeware purchase

Figure 4. Decryptor purchase options

FULL RESTORE – With this, the user can have all their encrypted data restored.

IMMUNITY – With this, the user can buy immunity against future Spora attacks.

REMOVAL – With this, the user can have the Spora malware completely removed from their computer.

FILE RESTORE – Offers two options; decrypt two files for free or decrypt a selection of files for $30.

As you can see, Spora offers the victim with a variety of options to take care of the situation. For instance, a victim might be less likely to pay the ransom because they know they have safely backed up their data. However, they would still want to have the malware removed from the system – which gives the ‘Removal’ option.

Quick Heal Detection
Quick Heal antivirus successfully prevents Spora infections at multiple stages.

Quick Heal Email Protection successfully prevents download of the malicious .ZIP attachment which is the first stage of the infection.

Quick Heal detection

Figure 5. Quick Heal Email Protection

As shown in the image above, the malicious .HTA file has been successfully detected as ‘JS.Nemucod.BJF’ and deleted thereafter.

Quick Heal Anti-ransomware protection successfully detects potential file encryption activities and alerts the user

Quick Heal Anti-Ransomware alert

Figure 6. Quick Heal Anti-Ransomware alert

Quick Heal Behavior Detection System successfully detects malicious activities and alerts the user

Quick Heal Behavior Detection System alert

Figure 7. Quick Heal Behavior Detection System alert

Conclusion
It is not hard to guess that the creators of Spora have taken their time in developing this ransomware to make it effective, and professional at the same time.

A nicely designed decryptor portal dashboard, synchronization between the portal and infected system using a .KEY file, and multiple purchase option for decryption signify how attackers are using complex tactics in creating ransomware.

How to stay safe against such ransomware attacks

  • Never download attachments that arrive in emails from unknown or unexpected sources.
  • Take regular backups of your files. Remember to disconnect the Internet when you are backing up on a hard drive. Unplug the drive before you go online again.
  • Apply all recommended security updates (patches) to your Operating System, and programs like Adobe, Java, web browsers, etc.
  • Install an antivirus software that offers several layers of security. More importantly, keep the software up-to-date.

 

Reference by Quick Heal

Data Privacy Day – 10 tips to keep your data secure

Recognized annually on January 28th, Data Privacy Day is defined as a centered approach towards respecting privacy, safeguarding data, and enabling trust. It is a global effort to raise and promote awareness around protecting one’s data and privacy. With this thought in mind, we have put together these 10 security tips on Data Privacy Day.

10 Security Tips on Data Privacy Day

1. Change the passwords of your online accounts. Here are some tips to build strong and unique ones:

  • Use a mix of uppercase and lower letters
  • Use special characters
  • Use numbers
  • Use at least 8 characters

Also, here’s a fun way to create a password that is strong and can be easily remembered. First, think of a phrase or the title of your favorite book or movie; say, “The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo”. Now, take the first letter of every word in the title – this will give you tgwtdt. Capitalize a letter, add some numbers, and special characters – and you will have the ultimate password Tgwtdt#$8945B. We tested the strength of this password, and it seems that a hacker will take about 273 years to crack it. Find it out yourself – https://www-ssl.intel.com/content/www/us/en/forms/passwordwin.html

2. Take a back up of all your important data stored on your computer and mobile device. You can either take the backup over Cloud or an external hard drive. Taking regular data backups can save you from the aftermath of a virus attack or system crash – especially a ransomware infection. Ransomware is a malware that hijacks your data and demands money (ransom) to release it.

3. Data Privacy Day is not only about storing or saving data. It also advocates the importance of disposing of your information securely. Data that you delete from your computer or mobile device does not really get deleted permanently. It can still be recovered with advanced data recovery tools. So, while removing sensitive information, ensure it is gone forever. Know how to delete your data securely.

4. It is unsafe to store login ID and passwords, banking details, social security number, and other such sensitive information on your mobile device or computer. But, if you can’t help it, ensure that the data is encrypted. When you encrypt an information, it gets converted into an unreadable form, and can only be read by you. So, even if a situation arises wherein your data falls into the wrong hands, you can rest assured that it won’t get misused.

5. Just like you won’t hand over your wallet, ID card, or house key to a stranger, avoid sharing your personal information on the Internet; these could be unfamiliar websites, survey forms, online friends, unsolicited emails, and anything/anybody that asks for your information. When it comes to Data Privacy, it’s wise to be a miser in sharing your data.

6. Banking or shopping online using unsecured Wi-Fi networks can let attackers steal your personal and financial information. While using any such network, ensure it is accessible only with a login ID and password.

7. Before installing any mobile app, review its permissions carefully. Many a time, you may come across an app that asks for permissions that are not actually required for it to function on your device. For instance, if a simple Flash Light app is asking your permission to access your device’s Internet, contact details, photos, etc., then chances are it is a malicious or a potentially dangerous app. So, stay cautious against such threats.

8. One of the greatest threats to your data and privacy is phishing. Phishing is defined as an attempt to trick you into providing your personal or financial details so that the attacker can commit illegal acts using your name. Any unknown or unexpected communication (email, call, SMS, etc.) that carries a sense of urgency and requires you to provide your personal information should be treated as a phishing attack. Always ignore such communications and report them to the right authority.

9. With mobile devices becoming an integral part of our everyday lives, they store massive amounts of data about us, our friends and family members. More importantly, being smaller and compact, they are more vulnerable to theft. So, it is only logical to protect these devices with a PIN, fingerprint or a password. We do not recommend the Pattern Lock because they are easily noticeable and less secure. Also, it is wise to keep the Automatic Lock feature ON at all times.

10. While you follow all the steps mentioned above, also consider getting a trusted antivirus solution. The software that you choose must offer multiple layers of security that can block ransomware, fake, infected and phishing websites, emails designed for phishing attacks, malicious downloads, and unauthorized data storage devices.

 

Reference by Quick Heal

Ransoc – An unusual ransomware that threatens to expose your personal information

Mostly a ransomware encrypts your files and demands money in exchange for a key that can decrypt the data. And the payment is demanded in Bitcoins. Ransoc is different in the way it works and the medium it uses for the payment.

How does Ransoc work?
Once your computer is infected by Ransoc, it gathers your personal information from your Skype and social media profiles and scans your system for Torrent files and other sensitive information. It then displays a ransom note. Interestingly, the ransom note is customized for a particular user and has their social media details including their profile picture. The ransom note threatens the victim with a fake legal proceeding and also that the ‘sensitive’ information found on their computer will be made public if the ransom is not paid.

Now, two important points to note here:

  1. Ransoc, unlike other ransomware, does not encrypt any files on the infected computer.
  2. Reportedly, the ransom note is displayed only in a case where the ‘sensitive’ information found by the ransomware includes child pornography or illegally downloaded Torrent media files.

So basically, the creators of this ransomware are targeting the victim’s fear of facing legal complications and losing their reputation instead of their data.

Further, where all ransomware creators use Bitcoin to remain hidden from law enforcement, Ransoc asks its victims to pay via credit card; this kind of payment approach has been unheard of in ransomware attacks till now.

How Quick Heal helps?

Quick Heal’s Virus Protection proactively detects the ransomware as “Ransomware.TorLocker.PB5” and prevents it from performing any activity on your computer.

Quick heal Total Security Detected Ransomeware

How to stay safe from ransomware attacks

  • Never click on links or download attachments that arrive in emails from unwanted, unknown or unexpected sources.
  • Apply all recommended security updates (patches) to your Operating System, and programs like Adobe, Java, web browsers, etc.
  • Take regular backups of your files. Remember to disconnect the Internet when you are backing up on a hard drive. Unplug the drive before you go online again.
  • Avoid using outdated browser plugins or plugins that you do not use anymore.
  • Invest in an antivirus software that comes with several layers of security such as Web Security that blocks infected websites, Email Security that blocks infected emails, Phishing Protection that blocks fake websites, etc.
  • Always keep your antivirus software up-to-date to stay safe against new threats.

Reference by Quickheal