Home Security Defray ransomware spreads through Microsoft Word documents

Microsoft Word documents containing executables are being used to attack the healthcare and education industries, with the ransomware being transmitted known as Defray.

The Defray campaign is a low-key one, according to Proofpoint, the company which analysed the ransomware and found it to be also targeting the manufacturing and technology industries.

The attachments masquerade as patient reports, presentations or quotes, to try and get an intended victim to click in order that the executable can be launched.

Once this is accomplished, the process is as it is with any ransomware: a ransom note is generated. In the case of Defray, this note is stored in several places as files.txt.

The ransom demanded is US$5000 but the attacker(s) provide email addresses using which the victims can negotiate to lower the price.

"After encryption is complete, Defray may cause other general havoc on the system by disabling start-up recovery and deleting volume shadow copies," Proofpoint said in its analysis.

"On Windows 7 the ransomware monitors and kills running programs with a GUI, such as the task manager and browsers. We have not observed the same behaviour on Windows XP."


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the sitecame into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.


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