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!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
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

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

This Holiday Season, protect yourself and your loved ones with the best. Buy now for Holiday Savings!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?