Story image

Email-based attacks by ransomware groups on the rise

14 Oct 16

Over the last three months there has been a major increase in the number of email-based attacks using malicious Windows Script File (WSF) attachments – particularly done by ransomware groups.

That’s according to Symantec who has worked to block a number of major campaigns involving the files.

WSF files are designed to allow a mix of scripting languages within a single file which Symantec explains are opened and run by the Windows Script Host (WSH).

According to Symantec, malicious WSF files have been used in a number of recent major spam campaigns spreading Locky.

For example, between October 3 and 4, Symantec blocked more than 1.3 million emails with the subject line "Travel Itinerary."

The emails claimed to come from a major airline and came with an attachment that consisted of a WSF file within a .zip archive.

If the WSF file was allowed to run, Locky was installed on the victim's computer.

Not long after, on October 5, the same attack group launched another massive malicious spam campaign with the subject line "complaint letter."

Symantec says it was able to block more than 918,000 of these emails and explains that the campaigns are part of a broader trend.

Over the past few months, the cyber security organisation has noticed a major increase in the overall numbers of emails being blocked containing malicious WSF attachments.

In June there were just over 22,000 with the figure shooting up to more than 2 million in July. September was a record month, with more than 2.2 million emails blocked.

For constant protection, Symantec advises to regularly back up any files, keep security software up to date and always delete any suspicious looking emails. 

Disruption in the supply chain: Why IT resilience is a collective responsibility
"A truly resilient organisation will invest in building strong relationships while the sun shines so they can draw on goodwill when it rains."
Verifi takes spot in Deloitte Asia Pacific Fast 500
"An increasing amount of companies captured by New Zealand’s Anti-Money laundering legislation are realising that an electronic identity verification solution can streamline their customer onboarding."
Businesses too slow on attack detection – CrowdStrike
The 2018 CrowdStrike Services Cyber Intrusion Casebook reveals IR strategies, lessons learned, and trends derived from more than 200 cases.
What disaster recovery will look like in 2019
“With nearly half of all businesses experiencing an unrecoverable data event in the last three years, current backup solutions are no longer fit for purpose."
Proofpoint launches feature to identify most targeted users
“One of the largest security industry misconceptions is that most cyberattacks target top executives and management.”
McAfee named Leader in Magic Quadrant an eighth time
The company has been once again named as a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Security Information and Event Management.
Symantec and Fortinet partner for integration
The partnership will deliver essential security controls across endpoint, network, and cloud environments.
Is Supermicro innocent? 3rd party test finds no malicious hardware
One of the larger scandals within IT circles took place this year with Bloomberg firing shots at Supermicro - now Supermicro is firing back.