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You may have read about the Cryptolocker malware, a new ransomware Trojan that encrypts your files and demands money to return them.

In the past, we have witnessed similar malware like the famous GPCode that used RSA keys for encryption. Back in 2008, we cracked the 660 bit RSA key used by GPCode and provided the victims with a method to decrypt and recover their data. Later, the GPCode authors upgraded the RSA key to 1024 bits, putting it perhaps only in the realm of NSA’s cracking power.

Incidents|Ransomware: GPCode strikes back

Nicolas Brulez
Kaspersky Lab Expert
Posted March 25, 21:05  GMT
Tags: Ransomware, Gpcode

Back in November 2010, we wrote a blog post about a new variant of the Gpcode Ransomware.

Kaspersky lab discovered a new variant today, in the form of an obfuscated executable. Please review the technical details for further information. The threat was detected automatically thanks to the Kaspersky Security Network as UDS:DangerousObject.Multi.Generic.

Specific detection has been added and the threat is now detected as Trojan-Ransom.Win32.Gpcode.bn

The infection occurs when a malicious website is visited. (drive by download)

Upon execution, the GPCode Ransomware will generate an AES 256 bit key (Using the Windows Crypto API), and use the criminal’s public RSA 1024 key to encrypt it. The encrypted result will then be dropped on the Desktop of the infected computer, inside of the ransom text file:

Incidents|Ransomware: Fake Federal German Police (BKA) notice

Nicolas Brulez
Kaspersky Lab Expert
Posted March 24, 14:42  GMT
Tags: Ransomware

Kaspersky Lab is still monitoring malicious websites involved in the recent Japan spam campaigns.

For those who may have missed the two first blogs, you can read them here and here However, today we discovered than some of the payloads were not the usual Trojan-Downloader.Win32.CodecPack.*.

Instead, the payload is now Ransomware (detected as Trojan-Ransom.Win32.PornoBlocker.jtg), disguising itself as a fake warning message from the German Federal Police. The message pretends that your computer has been blocked because it was found to be hosting child pornography.

Victims are asked to pay a 100 euros fine to unlock the machine.

As if the German police logo wasn’t enough, they also use logo from anti-virus companies such as Kaspersky Lab to look more convincing.

Research|Mistyping leads to infections!

Jorge Mieres
Kaspersky Lab Expert
Posted January 13, 22:27  GMT
Tags: Microsoft Windows, Ransomware, Campaigns

Cybercriminals like to register domain names that are very similar to actual, well known domain names but with one or more letters changed. In many cases a potential victim will mistype a letter and in this way arrives at a fake Web site instead of the original one.

Here is just one example of this: a copy of the official Russian Web page of Kaspersky. The criminals added just one small line inside of the ‘downloads’ tab promoting a fake download for a free, one year copy of Kaspersky Internet Security 2011.

Instead of KIS 2011 the victim gets malware. This is ransomware which, after the installation, forces a reboot of your PC. Upon completing the reboot the malware shows a fake message that you’ve won a prize of a Samsung Galaxy S cellphone for just 1200 rubles (40 USD)! To claim this prize, you should pay via SMS text or, optionally through one of the popular on-line payments systems in Russia.

Kaspersky Anti-Virus detects this threat as Trojan-Ransom.MSIL.FakeInstaller.e In the time of writing of this blogpost the malicious site was still on-line and also detected by Kaspersky Internet Security Web Anti-Virus as a fraudulent one.

Comment      Link

Virus Watch|And Now, an MBR Ransomware

Kaspersky Lab Expert
Posted November 29, 21:47  GMT
Tags: Ransomware

Today my colleague Vitaly Kamluk wrote about a new GpCode-like ransomware which encrypts user’s files with RSA-1024 and AES-256 crypto-algorithms. We’re continuing to investigate this malware and will notify you about our findings.

However, GpCode.ax is not the only piece of ransomware we found today. We’ve just discovered a malware which overwrites the master boot record (MBR) and demands a ransom to retrieve a password and restore the original MBR. This malware is detected as Trojan-Ransom.Win32.Seftad.a and Trojan-Ransom.Boot.Seftad.a.

This ransomware is downloaded by Trojan.Win32.Oficla.cw.

If Seftad.a was downloaded by Oficla.cw and run, the victim’s PC is rebooted and the following message appears on the screen:

Research|GpCode-like Ransomware Is Back

Kaspersky Lab Expert
Posted November 29, 15:33  GMT
Tags: Ransomware, Gpcode

We have received several reports from people around the world asking for help with infections very similar to the GpCode trojan that we detected in 2008.

GpCode was initially detected in 2004 and it reappeared almost every year until 2008. Since then, the author has been silent. A few copycats created some imitations of GpCode that were mostly hot air and not real threats because they weren’t using strong cryptographic algorithms.

As we explained before, this type of malware is very dangerous because the chances of getting your data back are very low. It is almost the same as permanent removal of the data from your hard drive. Back in 2006 and 2008, we managed to offer a few ways of recovering and even decrypting your data with our decryption tools.

Now, GpCode is back and it is stronger than before. Unlike the previous variants, it doesn't delete files after encryption. Instead it overwrites data in the files, which makes it impossible to use data-recovery software such as PhotoRec, which we suggested during the last attack.

Preliminary analysis showed that RSA-1024 and AES-256 are used as crypto-algorithms. The malware encrypts only part of the file, starting from the first byte.

The malware detection was added today as Trojan-Ransom.Win32.GpCode.ax. Kaspersky Lab experts are working on an in-depth analysis of the recent Trojan and will update you on every discovery that may assist with data recovery.

If you think you are infected, we recommend that you do not change anything on your system as it may prevent potential data recovery if we find a solution. It is safe to shutdown the computer or restart it despite claims by the malware writer that files are deleted after N days - we haven't seen any evidence of time-based file deleting mechanism. But nevertheless, it is better to stay away from any changes that could be made to the file system which, for example, may be caused by computer restart.

People who are not should be aware of the problem and should recognize GpCode from the first second when the warnings appears on your screen. Pushing Reset/Power button on your desktop may save a significant amount of your valuable data! Please remember this and tell your friends that if you see a sudden popup of notepad with text like this:

Don't hesitate and turn off your PC, pull out the power cable if this is fastest!

Another sign of infection is immediate change of the Desktop background to something like this:

Gpcode desktop message 1

We will keep posting more information and screenshots as we continue our investigation.

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While Eugene’s busy taking bets (wonder how much he’s going to make?), I’ve been having a think about the Winlock case.

Russian law enforcement is estimating that the bad guys could have raked in as much as $1 billion. While it’s difficult to be certain about the exact amounts involved (obviously they spread their money across a lot of different accounts to avoid attracting attention), a little bit of simple math makes me think this figure isn’t as crazy as it might sound.

Our statistical analysis tells us there could be around a million people who’ve been infected. 10 cybercriminals, each getting a cut of a ransom between $10 and $30 - even though they were paying out $3 per infection to the people willing to spread this malware, the numbers add up pretty quickly.

Opinions|The Winlock case - I'm taking bets!

Kaspersky Lab Expert
Posted September 01, 02:25  GMT
Tags: Ransomware, Cybercrime Legislation, Malware Creators

Interesting news on Trojan SMS Blockers (Winlock etc). These programs block Windows and demand a ransom in the form of a text message which is sent to short number for a fee. It's a very popular type of racket at the moment, both in Russia and a few other countries.

The whole affair has now reached the General Prosecutor’s office of Russia – the criminals have been identified and detained (or so it seems) and will be prosecuted in Moscow soon.

Altogether the criminals have earned an estimated 790,000 roubles, or $25K. Moreover, they have caused other damages by blocking or crashing a yet to be determined number of personal and company PCs. Very often people have needed to re-install the OS and all software and then restore data from backups - even after paying the ransom.

But I wanted to focus on the outcome – or the possible outcome of this incident, not on the investigation, arrests and so forth.

Incidents|Not Kaspersky

Kaspersky Lab Expert
Posted July 21, 12:13  GMT
Tags: Rogue Security Solutions, Ransomware

We've had a number of people contacting us with queries about 'Kaspersky Lab Antivirus Online' after their computer showed them this message:

The short answer is: it's certainly nothing to do with us! It's actually the payload of a primitive piece of ransomware, Trojan-Ransom.Win32.SMSer. The Trojan installs itself to the Windows directory, and shows this message when the computer is rebooted.

Virus Watch|Every little helps?

Kaspersky Lab Expert
Posted November 06, 16:25  GMT
Tags: Rogue Security Solutions, Ransomware

Mobile Trojans, which send SMS messages to premium pay numbers; fake antivirus software, which finds ‘infections’ on your computer that you’ll have to pay to have cured; Trojan ransomware, which prevents infected systems from functioning normally and demands money in return for restoring functionality.

All these types of malware get regular coverage and we’re seeing (and writing about them) on an ever more frequent basis.

And now we’ve got a sort of three-in-one, a nasty little program called Trojan.Win32.KillProc.am. So far, we’ve seen three variants of this, and two of them get detected under a different name - Trojan-Ransom.Win32.BHO.a and .b.

This Trojan is a Browser Helper Object which attacks Internet Explorer. If your machine is infected, you’re going to get a less than pleasant surprise. Instead of showing you your favourite sites, your browser will start to load part of Microsoft’s Russian site – the part devoted to antipiracy and legitimate software.