H Hightlight

Dharma: A Malicious Ransomware In The Skin of an Anti-Virus Software



image


A family of ransomware has been infecting organizations around the globe and now has a new trick up its sleeve. A file-locking malware is being distributed disguised as anti-virus software.

“Dharma” happens to be the name of the infamous ransomware which has been linked to tens of cyber-crime episodes.

Dharma’s "executive working team" is all about creating and fabricating state-of –the-art attacks that are lucrative to the highest extent.

And by way of the recent stunt they’ve pulled they stand a handsome chance of extorting ransom payments in exchange for decrypting files and locked networks on the Windows system.

Actually, the ransomware poses to be an anti-virus software and hence the users are tricked into downloading and installing it.

The attacks like many others begin with “phishing emails” that claim to be from Microsoft and stating that the victim’s PC is under some risk, threat or is corrupted.

Luring the user into downloading the anti-virus by assessing a download link, if the user goes through with it, two downloads are retrieved.

According to sources, they are Dharma ransomware payload and an old version of anti-virus software from cyber security company ESET.

After the self-extracting archive runs, Dharma starts the file encrypting process. The user is guided to follow the installation instructions for ESET AV remover.

The interface gets displayed on their desktop but still requires user interaction during the installation process all the while distracting the user from the actual con.

The victim would immediately be confronted with a ransom note, once the installation gets done with, demanding crypto-currency in exchange for unlocking the file.

Malware have usually been hidden under skins of actually legitimate applications and software, in the above scenario an official unmodified ESET AV Remover was made use of.

Any other potential application could be exploited and used in this way to fool the not so well cyber-educated and even tech savvy users.

The file-locking malware is relatively new in the market but powerful nonetheless and with the enhanced tendencies of tactic and work being done on it.

Various cyber-cons still try to upgrade old threats and make use of latest techniques to wreak as much havoc as possible.

Ransomware happens to be an especially costly and dynamic threat which could hit in more than one ways.

The only way to not fall prey to such devastating attacks is securing email gateways, embracing better cyber-security manoeuvres, backing up files and constantly patching and updating.

Read more