The spread of malware through apps being downloaded by users in the name of ‘the latest information and instructions about COVID-19’ is amongst one of the most prevalent threats that have been observed since the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus. As a result, users were forced to download apps such as COVID19Tracker or Covid Lock from a website, the app locked victims outside their smartphones and asked for a ransom of $100 in Bitcoin for the release of their data. Consequently, attackers threatened them to leak all their contacts, media, and social media accounts online in case they failed to pay the ransom in due time.
Users are being severely targeted amid the COVID-19 themed malware and data exploit attacks, another example resides in the discovery of a new type of attack that is targeting home routers. It redirects victims to an infected website after altering the DNS settings and then drops a file-encrypting malware ‘Oski’ that encrypts the important files on a victim’s system. It employs a sophisticated algorithm to encrypt the files and append .Osk extension to each file. After successfully carrying out the encryption process, the malware leaves a ransom note in all the folders containing encrypted, reading, “HOW TO RECOVER ENCRYPTED FILES.TXT.’
“To make the file seem legitimate (as if the filename is any indication of legitimacy), attackers named it “runset.EXE”, “covid19informer.exe”, or “setup_who.exe”.” states the Bitdefender’s report on the subject.
Attackers with the malicious intent of compromising the routers go around the internet searching for the exposed home routers that are consequently subjected to ‘password brute-forcing attack’ with DNS IP settings being altered alongside.
DNS is an internet service that plays a crucial role in translating domain names to IP addresses and as it assists browsers in loading internet resources if the cybercriminals alter the DNS IP address from a vulnerable router they are meaning to attack, they resolve the victim’s request to any website under their control. The targeted domains in this campaign include aws.amazon.com, tidd.ly, goo.gl, bit.ly, fiddler2.com, washington.edu, winimage.com, imageshack.us, ufl.edu, disney.com, cox.net, xhamster.com, pubads.g.doubleclick.net and redditblog.com. As per sources, most of the aforementioned routers that made to the attacker’s target list are based in France, Germany, and the US.
“It’s recommended that, besides changing the router’s control panel access credentials (which are hopefully not the default ones), users should change their Linksys cloud account credentials, or any remote management account for their routers, to avoid any takeovers via brute-forcing or credential-stuffing attacks,” Bitdefender warns.