Averting ransomware epidemics in corporate networks with Windows Defender ATP

Microsoft security researchers continue to observe ransomware campaigns blanketing the market and indiscriminately hitting potential targets. Unsurprisingly, these campaigns also continue to use email and the web as primary delivery mechanisms. Also, it appears that most corporate victims are simply caught by the wide nets cast by ransomware operators. Unlike cyberespionage groups, ransomware operators do…

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Detecting threat actors in recent German industrial attacks with Windows Defender ATP

When a Germany-based industrial conglomerate disclosed in December 2016 that it was breached early that year, the breach was revealed to be a professionally run industrial espionage attack. According to the German press, the intruders used the Winnti family of malware as their main implant, giving them persistent access to the conglomerate’s network as early…

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Exploit kits remain a cybercrime staple against outdated software – 2016 threat landscape review series

Despite the disruption of Axpergle (Angler), which dominated the landscape in early 2016, exploit kits as a whole continued to be a threat to PCs running unpatched software. Some of the most prominent threats, from malvertising to ransomware, used exploit kits to infect millions of computers worldwide in 2016. The prevalence of exploit kits as an…

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No slowdown in Cerber ransomware activity as 2016 draws to a close

As everybody else winds down for the holidays, the cybercriminals behind Cerber are busy ramping up their operations. Following our discovery of a spam campaign that takes advantage of holiday shopping, we found two new campaigns that continue distributing the latest variants of Cerber ransomware. These campaigns are the latest in a series of persistent cybercriminal…

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Twin zero-day attacks: PROMETHIUM and NEODYMIUM target individuals in Europe

Targeted attacks are typically carried out against individuals to obtain intellectual property and other valuable data from target organizations. These individuals are either directly in possession of the targeted information or are able to connect to networks where the information resides. Microsoft researchers have encountered twin threat activity groups that appear to target individuals for…

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Been shopping lately? Fake credit card email can spook you into downloading Cerber ransomware

As the shopping sprees become increasingly frenetic during holiday season, it’s hard not to worry about how much credit card debt we’re piling. Some of us rely on email notifications from our banks to track the damage to our finances. So what happens when we suddenly get notified about charges for things we never bought?…

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MSRT December 2016 addresses Clodaconas, which serves unsolicited ads through DNS hijacking

In this month’s Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT) release, we continue taking down unwanted software, the pesky threats that force onto our computers things that we neither want nor need. BrowserModifier:Win32/Clodaconas, for instance, displays ads when you’re browsing the internet. It modifies search results pages so that you see unsolicited ads related to your…

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Windows 10: protection, detection, and response against recent Depriz malware attacks

A few weeks ago, multiple organizations in the Middle East fell victim to targeted and destructive attacks that wiped data from computers, and in many cases rendering them unstable and unbootable. Destructive attacks like these have been observed repeatedly over the years and the Windows Defender and Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection Threat Intelligence teams…

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Don’t let this Black Friday/Cyber Monday spam deliver Locky ransomware to you

We see it every year: social engineering attacks that take advantage of the online shopping activities around Black Friday and Cyber Monday, targeting customers of online retailers. This year, we’re seeing a spam campaign that Amazon customers need to be wary of. The fake emails pretend to be notifications from the online retailer that a purchase has…

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No payment necessary: Fighting back against ransomware

Any IT professional who’s ever had an experience with malware knows how fast an intrusive attack can happen, and how difficult it can be to educate employees to be vigilant against such threats. And with ransomware attacks only growing, having information, tools and technologies to help protect your network can mean the difference between serious…

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