Widespread exploit kit, password stealer and ransomware program mixed into dangerous cocktail

Cybercrime group combines Pony, Angler and CryptoWall 4.0 in a single campaign

An ongoing attack campaign combines a very effective password stealer, the most widespread exploit kit, called Angler, and the latest version of the infamous CryptoWall file-encrypting ransomware program.

The attackers first use the Pony computer Trojan to pilfer passwords from compromised computers, including FTP and SSH credentials that webmasters use to administer websites, according to researchers from Heimdal Security.

The stolen credentials are then used to inject malicious code into legitimate websites with the goal of redirecting their visitors to an installation of the Angler exploit kit. This is a Web-based attack tool that includes exploits for various vulnerabilities in Windows and browser plug-ins, such as Flash Player and Java.

Computers whose software is not up to date are specifically exposed to Angler attacks, which are known as drive-by downloads. If any of the exploits is successful, CryptoWall 4 is deployed on the computer.

CryptoWall is one of the most widespread and successful ransomware programs to date, having earned its creators millions of dollars in ransom payments. The application encrypts files using a strong cryptographic algorithm and then asks victims to pay for the encryption key.

In the absence of offline backups, many victims, including companies and government organizations, have been forced to pay in order to recover critical documents and other irreplaceable data.

This attack campaign is extensive and originates from a bulletproof hosting environment located in Ukraine, the Heimdal security researchers said in a blog post. "Because of the mechanisms involved and the attackers’ objectives, the campaign is prone to achieve large distribution and affect a big number of PCs and their users."

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?