Ransomware attack using NSA arsenal of cyber weapons

This is a follow up post from last May 12 Ransomware attack “WannaCry” that you probably know by now. Systems Affected Microsoft Windows operating systems Overview According to numerous open-source reports, a widespread ransomware campaign is affecting various organizations with reports of tens of thousands of infections in over 150 countries, including the United States, United…

Impact

Ransomware not only targets home users; businesses can also become infected with ransomware, leading to negative consequences, including

  • temporary or permanent loss of sensitive or proprietary information,
  • disruption to regular operations,
  • financial losses incurred to restore systems and files, and
  • potential harm to an organization’s reputation.

Paying the ransom does not guarantee the encrypted files will be released; it only guarantees that the malicious actors receive the victim’s money, and in some cases, their banking information. In addition, decrypting files does not mean the malware infection itself has been removed.

Solution

Recommended Steps for Prevention

  • Apply the Microsoft patch for the MS17-010 SMB vulnerability dated March 14, 2017.
  • Enable strong spam filters to prevent phishing emails from reaching the end users and authenticate in-bound email using technologies like Sender Policy Framework (SPF), Domain Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance (DMARC), and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) to prevent email spoofing.
  • Scan all incoming and outgoing emails to detect threats and filter executable files from reaching the end users.
  • Ensure anti-virus and anti-malware solutions are set to automatically conduct regular scans.
  • Manage the use of privileged accounts. Implement the principle of least privilege. No users should be assigned administrative access unless absolutely needed. Those with a need for administrator accounts should only use them when necessary.
  • Configure access controls including file, directory, and network share permissions with least privilege in mind. If a user only needs to read specific files, they should not have write access to those files, directories, or shares.
  • Disable macro scripts from Microsoft Office files transmitted via email. Consider using Office Viewer software to open Microsoft Office files transmitted via email instead of full Office suite applications.
  • Develop, institute, and practice employee education programs for identifying scams, malicious links, and attempted social engineering.
  • Run regular penetration tests against the network, no less than once a year. Ideally, run these as often as possible and practical.
  • Test your backups to ensure they work correctly upon use.

QUE.com.CyberSecurity.Hacked.Pixabay

Recommendations for Network Protection 

Apply the patch (MS17-010). If the patch cannot be applied, consider:

  • Disabling SMBv1 and
  • blocking all versions of SMB at the network boundary by blocking TCP port 445 with related protocols on UDP ports 137-138 and TCP port 139, for all boundary devices.

Note: disabling or blocking SMB may create problems by obstructing access to shared files, data, or devices. The benefits of mitigation should be weighed against potential disruptions to users.

Review US-CERT’s Alert on The Increasing Threat to Network Infrastructure Devices and Recommended Mitigations and consider implementing the following best practices:

  1. Segregate networks and functions.
  2. Limit unnecessary lateral communications.
  3. Harden network devices.
  4. Secure access to infrastructure devices.
  5. Perform out-of-band network management.
  6. Validate integrity of hardware and software.

Recommended Steps for Remediation

  • Contact law enforcement. We strongly encourage you to contact a local FBI field office upon discovery to report an intrusion and request assistance. Maintain and provide relevant logs.
  • Implement your security incident response and business continuity plan. Ideally, organizations should ensure they have appropriate backups so their response is simply to restore the data from a known clean backup.

Defending Against Ransomware Generally

Precautionary measures to mitigate ransomware threats include:

  • Ensure anti-virus software is up-to-date.
  • Implement a data back-up and recovery plan to maintain copies of sensitive or proprietary data in a separate and secure location. Backup copies of sensitive data should not be readily accessible from local networks.
  • Scrutinize links contained in emails, and do not open attachments included in unsolicited emails.
  • Only download software—especially free software—from sites you know and trust.
  • Enable automated patches for your operating system and Web browser.” via Indicators Associated With WannaCry Ransomware — QUE.com

Sources: 


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EM @QUE.COM

Founder, QUE.COM Game Studios. Founder | Yehey.com a Shout for Joy! | MAJ.COM Management of Assets and Joint Venture. | More at KING.NET Ideas to Life | Network of Innovation

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