Cisco disrupts $60M ransomware biz

Finds Angler servers at a Dallas hosting provider during research

Cisco this week says it disabled a distributor of the Angler ransomware exploit kit, a program that holds victim machines hostage via encryption.

The catch disrupted a global ransomware operation that netted $60 million annually for the perpetrators, Cisco states in a blog post.

+MORE ON NETWORK WORLD: Jane Austen lets the boogie man in: Cisco report+

During research, Cisco's Talos security unit discovered that computers infected with the Angler Exploit Kit were connecting to servers at Limestone Networks, a Dallas hosting provider. Angler encrypts victim machines until the victims pay a sum – a ransom -- to have them decrypted.

Limestone worked with Talos to deliver previously unknown insight into Angler’s data flow, management, and scale. Cisco also collaborated with Level 3 Communications and OpenDNS, a company it is acquiring, to learn more about the activity and devise a defense.

According to the blog, Cisco shut down access for customers by updating products to stop redirects to the Angler proxy servers. The company also released Snort rules to detect and block checks from the health checks, and published protocols and other information so service providers and their customers can protect themselves.

“This is a significant blow to the emerging hacker economy where ransomware and the black market sale of stolen IP, credit card info and personally identifiable information are generating hundreds of millions of dollars annually,” Cisco stated in the blog post.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags securityciscocyber crime

More about CiscoLevel 3 Communications

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Jim Duffy

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