Tech support scams persist with increasingly crafty techniques

Millions of users continue to encounter technical support scams. Data from Windows Defender SmartScreen (which is used by both Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer to block malicious sites) and Windows Defender Antivirus show that some three million users are subjected to these threats every month. In addition to being rampant, technical support scams continue to…

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World Backup Day is as good as any to back up your data

In today’s security landscape, there are more threats to data than ever before. Beyond corruption caused by hardware or human failure, malware and cyberattacks can put data in serious danger.  That’s why it’s imperative for enterprises, small-and-medium businesses, and individuals to back up data. It must be implemented systematically, not just on World Backup Day…

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Ransomware operators are hiding malware deeper in installer packages

We are seeing a wave of new NSIS installers used in ransomware campaigns. These new installers pack significant updates, indicating a collective move by attackers to once again dodge AV detection by changing the way they package malicious code. These changes are observed in installers that drop ransomware like Cerber, Locky, and others. Cybercriminals have…

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MSRT February 2017: Chuckenit detection completes MSRT solution for one malware suite

In September 2016, we started adding to Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT) a malware suite of browser modifiers and other Trojans installed by software bundlers. We documented how the malware in this group install other malware or applications silently, without your consent. This behavior ticks boxes in the evaluation criteria that Microsoft Malware Protection…

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Ransomware: A declining nuisance or an evolving menace?

The volume of ransomware encounters is on a downward trend. Are we seeing the beginning of the end of this vicious threat? Unfortunately, a look at the attack vectors, the number of unique families released into the wild, and the improvements in malware code reveals otherwise. Ransomware was arguably the biggest security story of 2016….

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Improved scripts in .lnk files now deliver Kovter in addition to Locky

Cybercriminals are using a combination of improved script and well-maintained download sites to attempt installing Locky and Kovter on more computers. A few months ago, we reported an email campaign distributing .lnk files with a malicious script that delivered Locky ransomware. Opening the malicious .lnk files executed a PowerShell script that performed a download routine. More…

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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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Phishers unleash simple but effective social engineering techniques using PDF attachments

The Gmail phishing attack is reportedly so effective that it tricks even technical users, but it may be just the tip of the iceberg. We’re seeing similarly simple but clever social engineering tactics using PDF attachments. These deceitful PDF attachments are being used in email phishing attacks that attempt to steal your email credentials. Apparently, the…

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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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