Dual-pronged CryptoWall 3.0 ransomware twice as successful in ANZ as elsewhere

Companies in Australia and New Zealand are proving to be the world's most susceptible to the latest version of CryptoWall, security vendor Trend Micro has warned as analysis of the new ransomware strain found that victims now face having their data stolen as well as their systems locked.

Discussing their analysis of the new malware in a recent blog, Trend Micro security researchers found that CryptoWall 3.0 – which debuted in January after a two-month hiatus – appears to incorporate the FAREIT data-theft malware, using it to steal potentially valuable data from infected systems whether or not the owner pays the specified ransom.

“Perhaps people are refusing to pay the ransom or they have become more savvy in protecting their files,” the blog's authors speculate. “Regardless of the reason, the threat actors are using an 'old business model' as their back-up plan.”

“Even if the victim refuses to pay the Bitcoin ransom, the cybercriminals can still get money by stealing existing Bitcoin wallets and by selling/using any stolen information.”

Australia and New Zealand users accounted for 50.38 percent of all infections by CryptoWall to date, according to figures derived from analysis of data from the company's Smart Protection Network.

That put local infection rates at twice those of North American users, who accounted for just 24.18 percent of all CryptoWall 3.0 infections, and Europeans, at 14.27 percent. The Middle East and Africa (5.88 percent), Asia (4.53 percent) and South America (0.76 percent) were still relatively free of the malware.

Australians have long been punching well above their weight when it comes to being hit by ransomware, with more than 9000 PCs in this country hit by the successful TorrentLocker ransomware.

Judging by its success to date, the latest version of CryptoWall could be on track to set records of its own. Architectural refinements – for example, replacing the previous version's use of Tor to anonymise its command-and-control servers with hardcoded and encrypted URLs – have made it harder to block while its move to delete the target system's previous 'shadow copy' backups prevents users from restoring to a previous state.

While it is more virulent than its predecessors, the new version of CryptoWall has ironically been noted to be more user-friendly, guiding victims through the process of paying the ransom.

Ransomware has been consistently identified as a growing threat to Australia in particular, with Kaspersky Labs and WatchGuard Technologies among those warning of a looming ransomware explosion given the apparent success of CryptoLocker.

This article is brought to you by Enex TestLab, content directors for CSO Australia.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags FAREITsecurity vendorsCryptoWall 3.0data-theft malwarecybercriminalsTorrentLockerransomwaremalwareBitcoin ransomCSO Australiatrend microANZ

More about CSOEnex TestLabKasperskySmartTrend Micro

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by David Braue

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place