Locky ransomware becomes the commonly seen type


A new family of ransomware ‘Locky’ that emerged in the last few weeks has quickly made a mark for itself. Computer security companies say it has become a commonly seen type of ransomware, which is used to hold a computer’s files hostage pending a ransom payment. Trustwave’s SpiderLabs revealed that 18 percent of 4 million spam messages it collected recently were ransomware-related, including many linked to Locky.

Rodel Mendrez, a Trustwave security researcher, informed that “We are currently seeing extraordinary huge volumes of JavaScript attachments being spammed out, which, if clicked on by users, lead to the download of a ransomware. Locky is distributed through spam messages that have been sent through the same botnet used to send Dridex, the infamous online banking malware.”

At first, the spam messages contained malicious Microsoft Word documents with macros that would download Locky. But McAfee recently revealed that Locky spam contains an obfuscated JavaScript file, which if executed downloads the ransomware.
“We believe the change to JavaScript is to evade anti malware products due to its obfuscation and small size, which suggests the file is benign,” McAfee informed.

The FBI has warned that ransomware has become one of the biggest threats to consumers and businesses. Although some ransomware writers made mistakes in their code early on, there’s usually no way to recover the files if the decryption key is not released.

The ransom is usually a few hundred dollars, with detailed instructions displayed to victims for how to pay in bitcoin. Security experts generally recommend backing up files to recover from a ransomware attack and ensuring the backup drive can’t be reached by malware

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