With the highly publicized release of Microsoft’s Windows 10 on July 29th, scammers and malware developers were quick to jump in and use it as a method of distributing malware. Cisco’s Talos Group has discovered a email campaign underway that pretends to be from Microsoft and contains an attachment that will supposedly allow you to upgrade to Windows 10. In reality, though, this email is fake and once you double-click on the attached file, you will instead become infected with the encrypting ransomware CTB-Locker.
Image of fake Windows Update Email courtesy of Cisco
As you can see the email pretends to be from the email address firstname.lastname@example.org and contains the subject [b]Windows 10 Free Update. Even the email message looks legitimate with no spelling mistakes or strange grammar. This is because the content is copied directly from Microsoft’s site. The only tell-tale sign is that there will be some characters that do not render properly. Unfortunately, this small sign will not be enough for many people to notice.
Furthermore, once they download the attachment and extract it, the attached Win10Installer.exe icon will be the familiar Windows 10 logo.
It isn’t until you inspect the file properties of the attachment, do you see that something is not right as its file description will be iMacros Web Automation and the copyright for the program will belong to Ipswitch. Ipswitch is a legitimate company and not the ones who released this malware.
Finally, if a user double-clicks on the Win10Installer.exe file, they will not be greeted with the normal Windows 10 upgrade screen. Instead, after a brief delay they will be shown the screen for the CTB-Locker ransomware.
At this point, the computer’s data will be encrypted and there is not much that can be done about it.
Since the Angler Exploit Kit began in late May spreading Cryptowall 3.0 ransomware, traffic containing the malware has continued to grow, putting more potential victims in harm’s way.
A week ago, the SANS Internet Storm Center reported that Cryptowall 3.0 infections are emanating from not only the prolific exploit kit, but also from malicious spam campaigns. The two means of infections share some common characteristics, lending credence to the theory that the same group may be behind both. Version 3.0 is the latest iteration of Cryptowall, which is also known as Crowti. Like other ransomware families, Cryptowall 3.0 encrypts files stored on a compromised computer and demands a ransom, usually $500 payable in Bitcoin, in exchange for the encryption key. The malware uses numerous channels to communicate and send stolen traffic to its keepers, including I2P and Tor anonymity networks. Researchers at Cisco in February said that Cryptowall 3.0 abandoned using a dropper for propagation, opting instead to use exploit kits.
As of this morning, SANS incident handler and Rackspace security researcher Brad Duncan said that the latest run of Angler Exploit Kit traffic showed that the attackers had added a different Bitcoin address than the one used previously.
At this point, I’m not 100 percent certain it’s the same actor behind all this Cryptowall 3.0 we’ve been seeing lately,” Duncan wrote on the SANS ISC website. “However, my gut feeling tells me this activity is all related to the same actor or group. The timing is too much of a coincidence.
Duncan said that a check on blockchain.info for activity on the two Bitcoin addresses shows some transactions, indicating some victims are paying the ransom.
“We’re seeing a lot more samples of CryptoWall 3.0 in the spam/EK traffic now than before, so maybe the increased exposure might help infect more computers,” Duncan said, adding that he had no data on whether any of the victims who did pay the ransom were receiving encryption keys and are able to salvage their data.
Duncan said this latest spike began May 25 from both the malicious spam and Angler angles; both campaigns were still active as of early this morning.
The spam campaign uses Yahoo email addresses to send Cryptowall 3.0 via attachments. The attachments are called my_resume.zip and contain an HTML file called my_resume.svg. Duncan said the attackers have begun appending numbers to the file names, such as resume4210.html or resume9647.html.
Opening the attachment and extracting the malicious file gives you an HTML document. If you open one of these HTML files, your browser will generate traffic to a compromised server,” Duncan wrote. “The return traffic is gzip compressed, so you won’t see it in the TCP stream from Wireshark. Exporting the text from Wireshark shows HTML that points to a shared document from a Google server.
Cryptowall is hosted on a number of different docs.google.com URLs, he said, a list of which is posted on the SANS website. The Bitcoin address used for payment in the spam campaign is 16REtGSobiQZoprFnXZBR2mSWvRyUSJ3ag, the same address found in other spam samples.
Infections coming from Angler began May 26, and were the first Cryptowall 3.0 infections seen from Angler. The Bitcoin address used in Angler infections is 16Z6sidfLrfNoxJNu4qM5zhRttJEUD3XoB, SANS said. Duncan reports that a second Bitcoin address, 12LE1yNak3ZuNTLa95KYR2CQSKb6rZnELb, was used as of today.
“There are any number of reasons to use more than one Bitcoin address. It could be a back-up, in case law enforcement is closing in on the other one. It could be a way to track different infections, geographically,” Duncan said. “I’m not sure on this one. It’s just my gut feeling, which could be wrong.”
Duncan said that a new slate of WordPress sites were redirecting to Angler in this campaign, based on web injects observed.
“The significance is that there are plenty of vulnerable websites running outdated or unpatched versions of WordPress,” Duncan said. “The actors behind this (and other) campaigns will have a continuous supply of websites that can be compromised and used for these efforts.”
Windows Efficiency Kit is a rogue anti-spyware program from the Rogue.FakeVimes family of computer infections. This program is considered scareware because it displays false scan results, fake security warnings, and does not allow you to access your legitimate Windows applications. Windows Efficiency Kit is distributed through web sites that display a fake online virus scanner that states your computer is infected and then prompts you to download the installation file. This infection is also promoted by hacked web sites that contain exploit code that tries to install the infection on your computer without your permission or knowledge.
Once Windows Efficiency Kit is installed it will be configured to automatically start when you login to Windows. Once started, it will pretend to scan your computer and then states that there are numerous infections present. If you attempt to remove any of these supposed infections, the program will state that you first need to purchase a license before being allowed to do so. As all of the scan results are false, please ignore any prompts to purchase the program.
Windows Efficiency Kit screen shot
To protect itself from being removed, Windows Efficiency Kit will also block you from running any legitimate application on your computer. It does this to prevent you from running legitimate security software that may detect it as an infection and remove it. The message that you will see when you attempt to run a program is:
Firewall has blocked a program from accessing the Internet
C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe
is suspected to have infected your PC.
This type of virus intercepts entered data and transmits them
to a remote server.
When you see this message please ignore it as your programs are not infected and will work normally after this infection is removed.
While Windows Efficiency Kit is running it will also display fake security alerts that are designed to make you think your computer has a severe security problem. Some of these warnings include:
There’s a suspicious software running on your PC. For more details, run a system file check.
Trojan activity detected. System data security is at risk. It is recommended to activate protection and run a fully system scan.
Just like the scan results, these warnings are fake and can be ignored.
Without a doubt, this infection was created for the sole reason of scaring you into purchasing it. It goes without saying that you should definitely not purchase Windows Efficiency Kit, and if you already have, please contact your credit card company and dispute the charges stating that the program is a scam and a computer virus. To remove Windows Efficiency Kit and other related malware, PLEASE VISIT OUR WEBSITE
CALL – COMPUTER REPAIR at 754-234-5598 if you are infected by any of these viruses.