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Malware Attack! Oregon County's Network Smashed By a Ransomware?


Per local news and reports, allegedly, a cyber-attack shook the Tillamook County of Oregon, USA when it rendered the local government’s services ineffective.

Apparently owing it to the cyber-attack, the county officials are back to basics with all their daily tasks and are working about the crisis.

When the computers in the various departments of the county started misbehaving, that’s when the officials grasped the severity of the situation and immediately warned the IT department.

That is when the IT department comprehended that the systems had been infected with encrypting malware. To contain the infection, all the affected servers and devices were instantly isolated.

There is no sincere evidence to show if the malware was used for a ransomware attack but it sure is being conjectured on the affirmative. Per sources, no request for a ransom has been posted so far.

Allegedly, the Oregon city was recently struck by a cyber-attack of the same nature about a week ago.

The damage is of such a severe type that along with infecting all of the county’s computers and servers it has seriously harmed both the online and offline phone systems given the “VoIP” (Voice over Internet Protocol) that they employ.

Per sources, to rummage the details of the cyber-attack including the source, type, and magnitude of the attack, the county especially engaged a “digital forensic” team from a well-known cyber-security organization.

There is no doubting the fact that the Oregon county systems have been shut by the attack indefinitely and there is no knowing when they’d be back on operations.

With quite a substantial population to be hit by a cyber-attack of such severity, Oregon County has never before experienced a similar attack. Hence they can’t exactly mention their modus operandi to their plan of mitigation.

Sources mention that the county officials have decided to subcontract a few response operations to counter the attack and its repercussions.

The cyber-crisis management team happens to be the best at what they do and are efficiently working towards containing and mending the damages done by the malware.

Sodinokibi Ransomware threats Travelex to release data, if ransom not paid.



The Sodinokibi Ransomware attackers are pressuring Travelex, a foreign exchange company to pay a 6 million dollar ransom amount or risk going their data public, the attackers warn that they will either release or sell the stolen data that contains users' personal information. 


Travelex was attacked on 31st by New Year's Eve ransomware Sodinokibi Ransomware, the operators stole 5 GB un-encrypted data and later encrypted the company's whole network. 

The Sodinokibi Ransomware operators in conversation with BleepingComputer stated that they are demanding 3 million dollars ransom or they would release the data containing "DOB SSN CC" and other. The ransom was later doubled to 6 million dollars. 

Meanwhile, the exchange company Travelex is still stating that no evidence of any stolen data exists. 

"Whilst the investigation is still ongoing, Travelex has confirmed that the software virus is ransomware known as Sodinokibi, also commonly referred to as REvil. Travelex has proactively taken steps to contain the spread of the ransomware, which has been successful. To date, the company can confirm that whilst there has been some data encryption, there is no evidence that structured personal customer data has been encrypted. Whist Travelex does not yet have a complete picture of all the data that has been encrypted, there is still no evidence to date that any data has been exfiltrated."

In further conversations with BleepingComputer, the operators said even if the company is denying that any data was stolen they are negotiating the ransom price and would benefit even if the ransom is not paid. 

"If this were true, they would not bargain with us now. On the other hand, we do not care. We will still benefit if they do not pay. Just the damage to them will be more serious."

And the Sodinokibi operators are right, they would benefit either way if Travelex does pay the ransom and if it doesn't then they'll simply sell the data. As for Travelex, it will inevitably suffer damage - by paying the ransom, public release of data or if the data is sold to other actors. 

SNAKE Ransomware Targets Entire Corporate Systems?


The new Snake Ransomware family sets out to target the organizations’' corporate networks in all their entirety, written in Golang and containing a significant level of obfuscation, the observations and disclosure for the attacks were made by a group of security specialists from the MalwareHunterTeam.

The Ransomware upon successful infection subsequently erases the machine's Shadow Volume Copies before ending different processes related to SCADA frameworks, network management solutions, virtual machines, and various other tools.

After that, it continues to encrypt the machine's files while skirting significant Windows folders and system files. As a feature of this procedure, it affixes "EKANS" as a file marker alongside a five-character string to the file extension of each file it encrypts. The threat wraps up its encryption routine by dropping a ransom note entitled "Fix-Your-Files.txt" in the C:\Users\Public\Desktop folder, which instructs victims to contact "bapcocrypt@ctemplar.com" so as to purchase a decryption tool.

The ransom note of SNAKE ransomware (Source: Bleeping Computer)

“It is clearly evident from the language in the ransom note, that this Ransomware specifically targets the entire network rather than individual workstations. Further indicating that any decryptor that is purchased will be for the network and not individual machines, but it is too soon to tell if they would make an exception.”
 - This is what Bleeping Computer said in a blog post on SNAKE. 

Nonetheless, the rise of SNAKE Ransomware highlights the critical requirement for organizations to defend themselves against a Ransomware infection.

While making effective use of the suggestions to forestall a Ransomware infection in the first place, they ought to likewise consider 'investing' into a solution like Tripwire File Analyzer for the purpose of distinguishing suspicious documents and conduct on the network.

Clop Ransomware Upgraded, Now can Terminate 663 Windows Processes


In February 2019, Michael Gillespie from MalwareHunter Team founded Clop ransomware that has been evolving to reach its full potential and now a variant of the same can terminate a total of 663 Windows processes.

While it was first discovered, it did not demonstrate any unique quality which made it stand out amid other ransomware variants, it was merely another likewise addition in the ransomware ecosystem like others that existed since 2017. However, it has continued to take various forms since its discovery and is emerging with all new and integrated process killer that affects several processes of Windows 10 apps, office applications, programming IDEs, languages and text editors.

As per the sources, it was noted in March 2019, that the attackers behind Clop Ransomware started to target entire networks instead of individual systems, they changed the ransom note to imply the same. The same year also witnessed a sudden disruption in the services of Clop Ransomware wherein they abruptly changed and disabled services for Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, Microsoft Exchange, BackupExec and other enterprise software.

In 2019, while warning the organizations and businesses regarding app-killing malware, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reported that the ransomware threat now is even amplified as the attackers are continually upgrading themselves, they have devised ways to bypass detection and be more effective in their operations. Organizations are being warned by investigative agencies to keep abreast of such potential threats and build a security net to guard their systems.

While commenting on the matter, Abrams, editor-in-chief for Bleeping Computer said, "It is not known why some of these processes are terminated," Bleeping Computer editor-in-chief, Abrams, said, "especially ones like Calculator, Snagit, and SecureCRT, but it’s possible they want to encrypt configuration files used by some of these tools."

Meanwhile, in a conversation with SC Media UK, Javvad Malik, security awareness advocate at KnowBe4, told "Clop is a variant of the CryptoMix ransomware family, but has been evolving rapidly in the last year to disable an increasingly large number of windows processes,"

"The main goal of Clop is to encrypt all files in an enterprise and request a payment to receive a decryptor to decrypt all the affected files," read the McAfee report in August.

"To achieve this, we observed some new techniques being used by the author that we have not seen before. Clearly, over the last few months, we have seen more innovative techniques appearing in ransomware."

Alert! USB Flash Drive Malware: Threats Decoded!


The cybercriminals have gotten all the savvier when it comes to finding out new ways of administering malware into the victims’ devices.

The next in the list happens to be “Malicious USB sticks”. These are employed whenever an attacker needs a “physical” entrance to a computer or any device for that matter.

The first related incident goes back a decade when the highly malicious, “Stuxnet” worm was disseminated to attack Iranian networks by means of USB sticks.

An “unattended” USB flash drive might as well cause an equally malicious problem if plugged into a host network or system. These drives could be carrying viruses or even ransomware.

The ultimate motive of these drives could range from easy-going hacking into systems to disrupting major businesses and their operations.

These USB sticks are extremely malicious and could lead to major setbacks and cyber harm for victim organizations and their clients and other individuals at large.

Reportedly, there are several other malware that are carried and transmitted through USB flash drives and per sources they encompass of:

1. The “Flame” modular computer malware
2. The “Duqu” collection of computer malware


There are numerous things, threats, and risks that a malicious USB flash drive poses to its users. Backdoors, Trojans, ransomware attacks and information stealing are common endeavors.


As per sources, browser hijackers could also be installed to mislead the users to the hackers’ website where adware, grey ware, malware or spyware could be injected in the device.

The users could follow the following safety and protection mechanisms to steer clear of the contingencies of the aforementioned attacks:

1. Updating the computer and other device software on a regular basis is a must. All the essential patches must be downloaded to clear the vulnerabilities.
2. Enable all the security features on the devices. Fingerprint authentication is a good option in such cases.
3. Keep all your USB flash drives absolutely secure and safe and prepared against hackers.
4. Never plug in unauthorized or unknown USB flash drives in your business devices especially those at your workplace.
5. Keep separate drives for work and home devices.

Rise of the Ransomware Attacks Leads to an Increase Extortion Demands of Cyber Criminals


As there happens a rise in the number of ransomware attacks doubled is the number of organizations surrendering to the extortion demands of cybercriminals in the wake of succumbing to such attacks particularly this year in contrast with the previous one.

As indicated by figures in the recently released 2019 CrowdStrike Global; Security Attitude Security, the total number of organizations around the globe that pay the ransom subsequent to succumbing to a supply-chain attack has dramatically increased from 14% of victims to 39% of those influenced.

While cybersecurity suppliers and law enforcements suggest that victims don't fund crime by surrendering to the blackmail requests/ extortion demands, at times organizations see it as the fastest and easiest method for re-establishing their networks.

In the UK explicitly, the number of organizations that have encountered a ransomware attack and followed through on the demanded price for the decryption key stands at 28% – twofold the 14% figure of the previous year.

Be that as it may, on the grounds that the victims are as yet paying the ransom – which normally amounts up to six-figure sum – cybercriminals will keep on directing ransomware campaigns and likely broaden them further, particularly as the possibility of them getting captured is low.

In any case, notwithstanding the accomplishment of ransomware attacks – particularly those that have undermined the whole infrastructure of entire organizations – there are some generally straightforward and simple methods for averting the attacks doing any harm.

In the event that organizations guarantee that every one of the frameworks and programming on the network is fixed with the most recent security updates, it goes 'a long way' to preventing ransomware attacks from being effective the same number of campaigns depend on the abuse of the known vulnerabilities.

Organizations ought to likewise guarantee that default passwords aren't utilized on the system and, where conceivable, two-factor verification ought to be applied as this will counteract any hacker who figures out how to break the system from moving around and causing more damage.

However, in case of a ransomware attack being effective, organizations can guarantee they don't have to make the payment by normally creating a backup of their system and guaranteeing that the backup is stored offline.

New Orleans: Mayor Declares State of Emergency after a Cyberattack


The city of New Orleans after being hit by a cyberattack, declared a state of emergency wherein the employees and officials were asked to shut down the computers, power down devices by unplugging and take down all servers as a cautionary measure. As a part of the incident, The Nola.gov website was also down.

Officials suspect the involvement of ransomware as the attacks demanding ransom has become increasingly common in the recent past and ransomware was detected as per Mayor LaToya Cantrell, however, there is no confirmatory lead on the matter as the city has not received any ransom demand from the attackers.

Earlier this year, in November, The State of Louisiana was hit by a ransomware attack which prompted officials to shut down government websites and deactivate other digital services and consequently, a state of emergency was being declared by the governor. As per the sources, it is the gravest cyber attack the state had witnessed till date, it took about two weeks for the authorities to restore all the systems and make them functional again. The attack was followed by aggressive measures being taken by the security officers who classified the attack being a "sophisticated and coordinated" one. As per the latest findings, it remains unclear whether the two attacks are linked to each other or not.

While drawing other correlations, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell referenced the attack back to one where several school systems in Louisiana were attacked by malware. The compromised school systems were from Sabine, Morehouse, and Ouachita, according to the reports by CNN.

“Out of an abundance of caution, all employees were immediately alerted to power down computers, unplug devices & disconnect from WiFi. All servers have been powered down as well,” stated a tweet from New Orleans’ Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness.

During a press conference in regard of the matter, Mayor LaToya Cantrell said, “We have a unified command, we’re here with not only our local partners but our state and federal partners as well, which includes our national guard, Louisiana state police, FBI, the state fusion center and secret service."

Maze Ransomware Exfiltrated Data of Southwire Firm, Threatens to Publish if Ransom Not Paid


Maze ransomware, a variant of Chacha Ransomware that has been leading the charge of various ransomware attacks lately, now claimed responsibility for yet another cyber attack, this time on North America's most prominent wire and cable manufacturer, Southwire that generates household and industrial cables, utility products, portable and electronic cord products, OEM wire products, engineered products, and metal-clab cables for more than 50% of Northern America. It's a leading wire producing company with over 7,500 employees and has been around for seven decades now.

The attackers surreptitiously infiltrated company data and demanded a ransom of approximately $6 million (859 BTC) for a safe release of the data which reportedly is all set to be published in case the company fails to pay the demanded amount.

Maze Ransomware was originally discovered by Jérôme Segura, a security researcher at Malwarebytes in the month of May, earlier this year. Since then, the malware strain has gained massive popularity and is continuously becoming more and more active. While organizing various malspam campaigns, it has been discovered that its affiliates are essentially more dangerous.

On Monday, around the time when the company's website suffered the ransomware attack, admins located a message posted in Imgur demanding a ransom of 850 BTC from the company. In the wake of which, a topic was started on Reddit where Snooze16, seemingly an employee of the company, while putting the situation in perspective, said, “I went into the offices yesterday afternoon. Everyone was headed home – no computers. It looks like their site is still down. The IT guy that was there told me that the plant called him at 5 am asking how to shut the servers down. Bad time of year not to be shipping.”

In a conversation with the Chronicle, Jason Pollard, vice president of Talent Acquisition and Communications for the wire manufacturer, told, "We immediately self-quarantined by shutting down the entire network,"

"The incident did cause some disruption in our ability to make and ship our products."

"The safety of our employees, the quality of our products and our commitment to our customers are critically important to us. Today, we’re bringing critical systems back online, prioritizing manufacturing and shipping functions that enable us to create and send the product to our customers. We are dedicated to restoring all systems and bringing all of our employees back to work as safely and as quickly as possible." He further added.

British American Tobacco’s Romanian Platform Faces Data Breach; Ransomware Demands Bitcoins

British American Tobacco (BAT)’ s Romanian web platform compromised due to a ransomware attack and data breach.
BAT which is a United Kingdom-based company is one of the most gigantic manufacturers of nicotine and tobacco products.
Reportedly, the data breach was first ascertained on an Irish “unsecured Elastisearch server” with around 352 GB of data. Allegedly, the hackers had breached the data’s location.
The ransom request was waiting for the onlookers on the server in the form of a "readme" file wherein they had demanded a “Bitcoin payment” in exchange for “not deleting their data”.
Per sources, the cyber-researchers had discovered the data breach on a “server connected to the web platform YOUniverse.ro” which is part of the Romania promotional campaign for BAT, pursuing adult smokers.
The compromised data encompasses users’ “Personally Identifiable Information” (PII), like name, gender, email address, phone number, date of birth, source IP and cigarette and tobacco product preference.

Allegedly, tobacco advertising is mostly prohibited by the Romanian law, while exempting certain sorts of promotional campaigns and event sponsorship aiming at existing smokers over 18 years of age.
The platform in question aided Romanians to win tickets to events and parties studded with local and international performing stars.
Regardless of the numerous attempts made by the team to contain the breach, the database had been unprotected for the past two months and was finally contained on November 27, 2019.
According to sources, the research team has been after the company’s local branch, the global company, the server’s host, Romania’s National Authority for Consumer Protection (ANPC) and the Certification Authority (CA) for some clarification.
The CA was the only organization to revert to the team. The Romanian journalists who were contacted along with the authorities are yet to answer.   

Three Common Forms of Ransomware Infecting 1,800 businesses, Warns Dutch Govt



Around 1,800 companies are being affected by ransomware across the globe, according to a confidential report by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) in the Netherlands. The report does not specify the names of the affected organizations but indicates that the targeted are the big players from different industries including chemical, health, construction, food, entertainment, and automobile. Most of these companies deal with revenue streams of millions and billions.

In the recent past, ransomware attacks have been on a rise and are being widely publicized as well, but due to the rapid increase in the number of ransomware attacks, many of these go unnoticed and hence unreported. As a result, the number of affected companies as per the NCSC report is likely conservative. Reportedly, the affected organizations are on their own as they recuperate from the attack by either being forced to pay the ransom or resorting to untainted backups to restore files.

NCSC's report enlists three file-encrypting malware pieces namely LockerGoga, MegaCortex, and Ryuk that are to be blamed for the malware penetration, these pieces of malware use a similar digital infrastructure and are "common forms of ransomware." While drawing other inferences, NCSC reckons the utilization of zero-day vulnerabilities for the infection. The dependence upon the same digital infrastructure implies that the attackers setting-up the attacks transferred the threat onto the victim's network via a single network intruder.

Professionals in intruding corporate networks tend to find allies who are involved in ransomware dealings and being experts they are always inclined to spot the best amongst all for whom they gladly pay a lump sum amount of money as salaries on a monthly basis in turn for proficient penetration testers that can potentially travel via infected networks without being detected. Here, the level of access provided determines how high the prices can go up to.

Cybercriminals are not likely to stop spreading ransomware as long as there are victims who are paying the ransom as they have no other option to fall back on, NCSC strictly recommends that organizations strengthen their security net to avoid falling prey to ransomware attacks carried out every now and then these days. 

An IT contractor accidentally takes down NYPD's high-tech fingerprint database with a ransom malware!


The much-coveted and popular in news for keeping juveniles fingerprints data, the New York Police Department's fingerprint unit yet again gained much attention as it was shut down for hours because of ransomware.


The NYPD was hit by this ransom malware when they hired a third-party IT, contractor, to set up a digital display at the police academy in Queens on October 5 last year. And when he connected his tainted NUC mini-PC to the police network, the virus attached itself to the system. The virus immediately spread to 23 machines linked to the department's LiveScan fingerprint tracking system.

Deputy Commissioner for Information Technology Jessica Tisch said the officers discovered the malware within hours and contacted the cyber command and joint terrorism task force to solve the potential threat. We wanted to get to the bottom of this,' Tisch said. 'Was this plugged in maliciously was really important for us to get to the bottom of this.'

The ransomware was not executed but the fingerprints system was shut down for hours and were switched back on the next morning. Precautionary, 200 computers were reinstalled throughout the city to be safe.

The NYPD said, 0.1 percent of computers were attacked by the breach but the threat potential was large, as once inside the system, they could access case files and privileged data. The virus, ransomware locks the data, unless a 'ransom' is paid, fortunately, it could not execute the command and they shut down the system.

The IT contractor that accidentally bought the malware was questioned but not arrested.

Experts told the New York Post that breaches in public databases pose a serious security issue. Adam Scott Wandt, a professor of cybersecurity at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan, said any breach put information at risk of being stolen. 'It's a fairly complex world that we live in,' he added. 'Everything is linked together. The government normally does a fairly good job of keeping hackers out, but every now and then there is a breach.'

Finland Municipalities and Government Agencies Prepare for Possible Cyberattack


Finland is adapting to protect itself from a secret criminal organization warning to attack cyber-security if the country fails to pay Bitcoins as the ransom money. 

"Around two hundred Finland government bodies and districts participated in the preparation. The situation reportedly concerns a possible group of hackers asking Bitcoin ransom before prosecuting several attacks on cybersecurity," concludes the reports of YLE. The threats are said to be given by #Tietovuoto321, a crew of criminal hackers. According to reports, the group sent Bitcoin ransom blackmails to more than 200 Finnish government agencies, in response to which the Finland authorities have taken steps.


Organizations prepared for further warnings- The training Taisto is conducted by the Population Register Centre, aiming for supporting the technologization of the nation and computerized assistance in Finland. The Population Register Centre works for the Ministry of Finance. As of now, public agencies and bodies noticed their websites and cybersecurity vulnerable to hacking recently. Therefore, a training program is said to be scheduled in the coming days. "The voluntary bodies have reacted happily," says General Secretary, Population Register Centre. He further says, "The institutions in recent times have started waking up to new attacks daily and it is becoming a matter of concern for the nation."

Cases of Ransomware threats have increased- 
The attacks demanding ransoms have multiplied in recent times. Government bodies have become a simple target for hackers all around the world. In a new report published by Hard Fork, "The American government had to pay the hackers to recover their health institutions' data servers."In a data breach incident last month in Mexico, the hackers demanded Bitcoins valued $4.9 million from a government-owned oil company named Pemex.

But it's not all sad and gloomy. In a surprising change of events recently, a user sufferer of ransomware claimed vengeance on his enemies by hacking the database that supported their virus, publishing 1000 deciphering codes for other victims to help them get their money back. In the present times, it is quite difficult to completely divert such warnings in the actual course, but the training tries to support institutions' capacities to fight an invasion.

Technology Company Hit by Ransomware Attack, Prevented Access to Crucial Patient Records


Virtual Care Provider Inc, a Wisconsin based technology company that provides cloud data hosting, security, and access management to more than 100 nursing homes was hit by a ransomware attack carried out by Russian hackers. The involvement of Ryuk encryption prevented access to crucial medical records of the patients and administration data related to the medication. After encrypting all the data hosted by the company for its patients and clients, attackers demanded a $14 million ransom in bitcoin in turn for a digital key that would unlock access to the data. Unable to afford the ransom, the company owner said that she is fearful of the consequences of the incident which could lead to the premature death of certain patients and the shutdown of her business.

Reportedly, the ransomware was spread via a virus known as 'TrickBot', the company told that it is 'feverishly working' to regain access to crucial data. The officials estimated that about 20% of the company's servers were compromised during the attack.

In a letter addressed to the company's clients, obtained via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Christianson and Koch said that VCPI is "prioritizing servers that provide Active Directory access, email, eMAR, and EHR applications. We will be communicating status updates often and transparently, and, in preparation for service restoration, recommending to you the most efficient manner for your users to regain authenticated access."

Operated by WIZARD SPIDER (eCrime group), Ryuk is a targeted, well-planned and sophisticated ransomware that has targeted large organizations, primarily those that supply services to other businesses. It is employed to target the enterprise ecosystem and has mainly focused on wire fraud in the recent past. Despite having relatively low technical abilities and being under constant development since its release in August 2018, Ryuk has successfully encrypted hundreds of systems, storage and data centers in all the companies it attacked.

VCPI chief executive and owner Karen Christianson said, “We have employees asking when we’re going to make payroll,” “But right now all we’re dealing with is getting electronic medical records back up and life-threatening situations handled first.”

“We’ve got some facilities where the nurses can’t get the drugs updated and the order put in so the drugs can arrive on time,” she further told. “In another case, we have this one small assisted living place that is just a single unit that connects to billing. And if they don’t get their billing into Medicaid by December 5, they close their doors. Seniors that don’t have a family to go to are then done. We have a lot of [clients] right now who are like, ‘Just give me my data,’ but we can’t.”

Alert! A Method that Allows Hackers to make Ransomware in your Windows Unseen.


Cyber-Security company Nyotron has caught a new way that lets hackers modify Microsoft files in a unique style that subsisting anti-ransomware are unable to identify.

Ransomware is one of the most common cyber-security menaces. "It is said to be the top 2 widely used technique used by hackers, as in the case of hijacking 28 computers appeared," confirms Verizon's data breach inquiry report. Unfortunately, for the present time, it is proving quite hard to be identified. The ransomware can permit attackers to avoid the present computer securities by depending on a data system, which is the ‘rename’ selection in the Windows operating system. This detour can be performed in just two rows of the cipher. That is how simple it is for hackers.



What is Ransomware? 

Ransomware is a sort of harmful virus, intended to reject entrance to a network system or information. For access to the data, the malware demands a ransom to be paid. It normally grows through fraud e-mails or by hitting an affected website that is unfamiliar. Ransomware is disastrous to a person or an institution.

"The firm has obeyed declaration disciplines and urged all safety businesspeople to discuss the issue. Moreover, to examine if the system is infected or not, the company has provided users a fresh new tool," says Nir Gaist, Founder and Chief Technology Officer at Nyotron. Gaist further adds, "The unusual style of file alteration 'RIPlace' suggests that while technology might not ‘cover’ the virus, let's say, it helps adjust data on a computer stealthily. Therefore, from the warning player outlook, it is our only hope for identifying 'Ransomware.' The firm has also explained how the RIPlace technique allows ransomware to dodge the detection and infect computers despite Symantec Endpoint Protection and Windows Defender Antivirus software being installed.

"Recently, there was a vulnerability discovered in Canon cameras which allowed the hackers to perform ransomware attacks," say the experts from Check Point, a cyber-security company. The company examined if the DSLR's image transference custom could be misused to let an attacker hack the DSLR and affect it with the virus. However, the attacker, in this case, was obliged to be close to the camera to affect it. The issue sparked caution, as it could be used to exploit different kinds of devices.

Windows Security Warning- Ransomware is Rapidly Growing and Got Difficult to Guard Against




Security experts are predicting an unusual rise in ransomware attacks and a strategic change in the cybercrime ecosystem which is directed to evade detection and fail the existing defense mechanisms against it. As the ransomware attacks will expand in scale with a heightened influence, few dominant players currently present are expected to disperse themselves into multiple smaller ones.

Ransomware infects the victim's computer by locking down the hard drive and encrypting the data present onto the system, then the attacker asks the victim to pay the demanded ransom in due time and if the victim fails to do so, the data is gone forever. The virus spreads across infected networks via a worm and encrypts several machines in a row. After an in-depth analysis of various 'Windows security threats' such as coin miners, file-less malware, ransomware, PUAs, banking Trojans, Global cybersecurity company, Bitdefender concluded that out of all, the threat posed by ransomware is growing rapidly. Reportedly, it has grown 74 percent, year on year. GandCrab had been one of the most prevalent and sophisticated ransomware since its arrival in 2018, it kept on strengthening its defense and upgrading its delivery methods to bypass detections. After its death, ransomware experienced its first and indeed a steep fall in the cybercrime ecosystem in terms of severity of a particular threat. However, a new birth means several new players will enter the scene and might hit the security layers even harder than GandCrab, experts have the potential candidates under the radar. One such threat is being anticipated from 'Sodinokibi (aka REvil or Sodin)'.

The upsurge in ransomware attacks in 2019 has led the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to declare that it was nearing to qualify as a "large-scale cyber event." According to an August 2019 publication, ransomware "has rapidly emerged as the most visible cybersecurity risk playing out across our nation's networks."

"The fall of GandCrab, which dominated the ransomware market with a share of over 50 percent, has left a power vacuum that various spinoffs are quickly filling. This fragmentation can only mean the ransomware market will become more powerful and more resilient against combined efforts by law enforcement and the cybersecurity industry to dismantle it," the report reads.

Windows Users Beware of the “Complete Control” Hack Attack; Update Imperative!





The hardware device drivers of Microsoft Windows due to a common design flaw left the entire systems of users compromised giving it to a recently resuscitated Remote Tojan Access (RAT).

The RAT brought about a hack attack tool with a modified format which as it turns out is absolutely free of cost.

The NanoCore RAT as it’s called, has been hovering around the dark web for quite some time now. It was sold initially for $25 which is a minimal amount for a hacking tool for Windows OS.

NanoCore’s cracked version, as soon as it appeared caused quite a commotion amongst researchers and hackers.

Initially the “premium plugins” were especially paid for privileges but the latest cracked version has it all for free.

The NanoCore coder had to be arrested given the rising familiarity of the product and the fact that he was a part cybercrime!
Despite that, NanoCore thrived and generated other tool variants RAT, Surprise Ransomware, LuminosityLink and of course the free “highly modified” latest version.

The NanoCore RAT, per researchers is controlled by way of easy security measures, no particular entry troubles and a really uncomplicated interface to aid even the novice hackers.

There was an outburst of campaigns using the very malware including:
·       Remote shutdown and restart of Windows systems
·       Remote file browsing on the infected system
·       Access and control of Task Manager, mouse and Registry editor
·       Disabling webcam lights to spy
·       Taking over open webpages
·       Recovering passwords and obtaining credentials
·       Remotely operated “locker” for encryption

Owing it to the long presence of NanoCore the techniques it uses are well known to the researchers. Scripting, registry keys and malicious attachments are the three main categories that the researchers found out.


The scripting threat’s basic solution is to check Microsoft office files for macro code and “anomalous execution” of legitimate scripting programs like PowerShell or Wscript.

The registry keys should be monitored for updates and patch cycles and rigorous security implementations should be made for behavioural detection.

Windows users should immediately go ahead and get their systems updated and make sure all their applications are running the way they actually should.

Additionally, Windows 10, 8.1 and 7 users should especially keep a keen check on regular updates and patching!

State of Texas Hit By a Ransomware Attack; 23 Agencies Shut Down!





The state of Texas got hit recently by a cyber-attack as a result of which 23 government agencies were taken down offline.

Per the DIR (Department of Information Resources) of Texas most of the aggrieved parties were small local government agencies which are unnamed so far.

The Texas state networks however are still unharmed. The State Operations center of the state has been rigorously working towards the problem.

Sources mention that all the state and federal agencies handling the case hint at the fact that the attack was coordinated by a single actor.

The attack has been categorized as a sure shot ransomware attack. Per sources in it was a stain which was identified as “Nemucod”.

The aforemetioned ransomware generally “encrypts files and then at the end adds the .JSE extension”, a researcher mentioned.

Allegedly, the US have been the target for a lot of cyber-attacks of late. With an apparent total of 53% of the entire global number, the US have been victimized the most by cyber-attacks.

A state emergency was declared on Louisiana in July this year in response to a ransomware attack on school computer systems.

The situation is very critical from the point of cyber-security as municipalities falling prey to such attacks and ransomware in particular is not a good sign at all.

Mass scale attacks and their increase in number are disconcerting on so many levels. Because threat actors willing to put so many efforts, like the researchers like to say, are numerous.

Texas Hit with a Series of Coordinated Ransomware Attack




Texas is currently hit with an 'unprecedented' of ransomware attacks that has significantly focused on local government entities in the state, with at least 23 impacted by the attacks.

The attacks which seem to have been led by a single threat actor are said to have of begun in the morning of August 16. It is additionally presumed that 23 may not be the final count considering that right now the details are at 'a minimum' with the Department of Information Resources (DIR), who is leading the investigation into the attacks.

The local Texas authorities, like the DIR, Texas Division of Emergency Management, and Texas Military Department are still investigating the origin of the attack, also involved are the federal agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation – Cyber, and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

In its original statement released on late Friday, DIR says that while investigations regarding the origins of the attack are continuous, their principle need is to aid the response and recuperation of 'affected entities'.

DIR is driving the reaction to what it calls a "coordinated ransomware attack" however does not unveil which organizations are affected. This is a result of security concerns involving the matter.

In an updated statement on Saturday, DIR said that the frameworks and systems of the State of Texas have not been influenced by this attack. Until more details rise, the strain of file-encrypting malware, which is said to be the one responsible for the attack as well as the perpetrator(s) ransom demand, still remains very unclear.

Cyber security Team Identified Ransomware Utilized to Compromise City Power



Residents of Johannesburg using pre-paid electricity meters were not able to load the electricity purchased from City Power and were also unable to purchase further electricity due to a ransomware attack which compromised City Power's database.

Earlier, City Power said while the variant of ransomware utilized to carry out the attack remains unknown, they have the encrypted network, applications, and database being restored and rebuilt by their ICT department.

Easing off the customers, Isaac Mangena, the utility's spokesperson, said, "We want to assure residents of Johannesburg that City Power systems were able to proactively intercept this and managed to deal with it quicker."

"Customers should also not panic, as none of their details were compromised," Mangena assured.

On Friday, City Power announced that their cybersecurity team identified the variant of malware which temporarily paralyzed the city's computer systems.

Reportedly, the email systems took the hardest hit by the ransomware and were taking a while to recover and be functional again.

While giving updates, Mangena said “The virus samples have been taken to the external labs for analysis and testing,”

“Our IT technicians have also recovered and, in [a] few instances, reconstructed most of the systems,, applications, and data that was threatened, using backup files.”

Victims of the cyber power attack along with the customers, have been raging since the incident happened and encrypted the computer databases, applications and network.

City Power turned to external cyber security experts who worked in association with their team to tackle the issue.


Ransomware Attack Leaves Johannesburg without Power




A key electricity supplier for the largest South African city, Johannesburg, experienced a massive ransomware attack which led to the shutdown of the city's computer systems on Thursday.

In a series of tweets, City Power announced that the ransomware virus encrypted all their databases, applications and networks; all of which is being reconstructed by their ICT department.

They further told that the customers may not be able to access their website and may not be able to purchase electricity units until the issue has been sorted out by their ICT department.

As the website continued to be offline, the victims resorted to social media in order to report the issues occuring with their electricity supplies.

The type of ransomware employed in the attack is still a matter of question, however, with the magnitude, the power of this cyber power attack can be gauged. Besides, restricting customers from buying pre-paid electricity, it also affected the attempts made by City Power to respond to localized blackouts.

Commenting on the matter, a spokesman for City Power said, for the people affected, "These are the people on the pre-paid system[s] and would at any given day buy electricity,"

"Those people were not able to access the system." he added.