Locky ransomware has already affected thousands of users. Unfortunately, the threat is not nearly done with its infections, as new, more dangerous methods of distribution were just reported by security researchers at TrendMicro.
The new techniques include the already known deployment of the Flash zero-day exploit CVE-2016-1019 (used in Locky’s earlier drive-by download attacks) and an escalation of privileges exploit in Windows – CVE-2015-1701. This exploit was used to bypass sandbox technologies.
|Short Description||The infamous Locky ransomware has employed new distribution and infection techniques.|
|Symptoms||The user’s files are encrypted and a ransom is demanded.|
|Distribution Method||A Flash exploit and a kernel-level faws are leveraged.|
|Detection Tool||Download Malware Removal Tool, to See If Your System Has Been Affected by malware|
|User Experience||Join our forum to discuss Locky Ransomware.|
CVE-2015-1701 Official Description
Win32k.sys in the kernel-mode drivers in Microsoft Windows Server 2003 SP2, Vista SP2, and Server 2008 SP2 allows local users to gain privileges via a crafted application, as exploited in the wild in April 2015, aka “Win32k Elevation of Privilege Vulnerability”.
Analysis of the Attack
One of the discoveries of TrendMicro’s research is a downloader file detected as TROJ_LOCKY.DLDRA. The researchers also captured network traffic and found a steady use of the Flash exploit mentioned in the beginning.
Learn More about Locky Ransomware
Further Analysts of TROJ_LOCKY.DLDRA
TROJ_LOCKY.DLDRA, on the other hand, used the kernel exploit. The downloader was detected to connect to a Command & Control server located at 202[.]102[.]110[.]204:80. It also installed Locky. The interesting part is that the whole procedure would need several kernel-level instruments:
- Work items;
- System threads;
- Asynchronous procedure calls, or APC.
All the above don’t need any files to be created, and as a result, Locky can be installed directly onto a system, evading detection. As with many other malware files, Locky’s downloader uses svchost.exe.
Researchers believe that CVE-2015-1701 kernel-level exploit s used to avoid detection by security vendors and conceal its malicious behavior. The exploit makes the whole infection process more complex and more difficult for sandboxing detection and analysis. Furthermore, other kernel exploits may also be used for later versions of Windows OS.
The malware sample analyzed by TrendMicro’s research team also has various anti-debug tricks and a new packing method, such as decrypted API strings and construction of API addresses at run time.
After the activation of the kernel flaw, the downloader file will handle other techniques to conceal its bad behavior. Overall, the attack is quite complicated and to understand it, you should have above average knowledge of the inner workings of Windows and malicious software.
Is There an Antidote for Locky’s Latest Infection?
Researchers believe that the success of this latest attack is due to the fact that not many people pay attention to kernel exploits. Furthermore, the above-mentioned work items, APCs, and system threads are typically not monitored for malicious behavior. Not only are they disregarded but also monitoring them would be a tough job.
However, the deployment of sxchost.exe is a typical malware routine and is perfect for concealing network traffic.
What should you do to prevent the attack from happening? The very first thing you should do is update your system with the latest version of Adobe Flash. If you’re having difficulties monitoring and updating your software, you can rely on a software inspector program such as Secunia:
To add another layer of protection, consider installing an anti-ransomware utility, such as the ones described in the article below. However, keep in mind that most tools only protect against particular ransomware families.
Another thing you should immediately do is backup all of your data.
If it’s too late and you have already been infected with Locky, have a look at the manual below.
- Guide 1: How to Remove Locky Ransomware from Windows.
- Guide 2: Get rid of Locky Ransomware from Mac OS X.
- Guide 3: Remove Locky Ransomware from Google Chrome.
- Guide 4: Erase Locky Ransomware from Mozilla Firefox.
- Guide 5: Uninstall Locky Ransomware from Microsoft Edge.
- Guide 6: Remove Locky Ransomware from Safari.
- Guide 7: Eliminate Locky Ransomware from Internet Explorer.
How to Remove Locky Ransomware from Windows.
Step 1: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode to isolate and remove Locky Ransomware
Step 2: Uninstall Locky Ransomware and related software from Windows
Here is a method in few easy steps that should be able to uninstall most programs. No matter if you are using Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista or XP, those steps will get the job done. Dragging the program or its folder to the recycle bin can be a very bad decision. If you do that, bits and pieces of the program are left behind, and that can lead to unstable work of your PC, errors with the file type associations and other unpleasant activities. The proper way to get a program off your computer is to Uninstall it.
Step 3: Clean any registries, created by Locky Ransomware on your computer.
The usually targeted registries of Windows machines are the following:
You can access them by opening the Windows registry editor and deleting any values, created by Locky Ransomware there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:
Get rid of Locky Ransomware from Mac OS X.
Step 1: Uninstall Locky Ransomware and remove related files and objects
1. Hit the ⇧+⌘+U keys to open Utilities. Another way is to click on “Go” and then click “Utilities”, like the image below shows:
- Go to Finder.
- In the search bar type the name of the app that you want to remove.
- Above the search bar change the two drop down menus to “System Files” and “Are Included” so that you can see all of the files associated with the application you want to remove. Bear in mind that some of the files may not be related to the app so be very careful which files you delete.
- If all of the files are related, hold the ⌘+A buttons to select them and then drive them to “Trash”.
In case you cannot remove Locky Ransomware via Step 1 above:
In case you cannot find the virus files and objects in your Applications or other places we have shown above, you can manually look for them in the Libraries of your Mac. But before doing this, please read the disclaimer below:
You can repeat the same procedure with the following other Library directories:
Tip: ~ is there on purpose, because it leads to more LaunchAgents.
Step 2: Scan for and remove malware from your Mac
When you are facing problems on your Mac as a result of unwanted scripts, programs and malware, the recommended way of eliminating the threat is by using an anti-malware program. Combo Cleaner offers advanced security features along with other modules that will improve your Mac’s security and protect it in the future.
Remove Locky Ransomware from Google Chrome.
Step 1: Start Google Chrome and open the drop menu
Step 2: Move the cursor over "Tools" and then from the extended menu choose "Extensions"
Step 3: From the opened "Extensions" menu locate the unwanted extension and click on its "Remove" button.
Step 4: After the extension is removed, restart Google Chrome by closing it from the red "X" button at the top right corner and start it again.
Erase Locky Ransomware from Mozilla Firefox.
Step 1: Start Mozilla Firefox. Open the menu window
Step 2: Select the "Add-ons" icon from the menu.
Step 3: Select the unwanted extension and click "Remove"
Step 4: After the extension is removed, restart Mozilla Firefox by closing it from the red "X" button at the top right corner and start it again.
Uninstall Locky Ransomware from Microsoft Edge.
Step 1: Start Edge browser.
Step 2: Open the drop menu by clicking on the icon at the top right corner.
Step 3: From the drop menu select "Extensions".
Step 4: Choose the suspected malicious extension you want to remove and then click on the gear icon.
Step 5: Remove the malicious extension by scrolling down and then clicking on Uninstall.
Remove Locky Ransomware from Safari.
Step 1: Start the Safari app.
Step 2: After hovering your mouse cursor to the top of the screen, click on the Safari text to open its drop down menu.
Step 3: From the menu, click on "Preferences".
Step 4: After that, select the 'Extensions' Tab.
Step 5: Click once on the extension you want to remove.
Step 6: Click 'Uninstall'.
A pop-up window will appear asking for confirmation to uninstall the extension. Select 'Uninstall' again, and the Locky Ransomware will be removed.
Eliminate Locky Ransomware from Internet Explorer.
Step 1: Start Internet Explorer.
Step 2: Click on the gear icon labeled 'Tools' to open the drop menu and select 'Manage Add-ons'
Step 3: In the 'Manage Add-ons' window.
Step 4: Select the extension you want to remove and then click 'Disable'. A pop-up window will appear to inform you that you are about to disable the selected extension, and some more add-ons might be disabled as well. Leave all the boxes checked, and click 'Disable'.
Step 5: After the unwanted extension has been removed, restart Internet Explorer by closing it from the red 'X' button located at the top right corner and start it again.