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New Ransomware Targets Network Attached Storage Devices

By August 2, 2019May 16th, 2022Cybersecurity

Yet another new ransomware family has been found in the wild, discovered independently by researchers at two separate security firms, Anomail and Intezer.  The new strain has been dubbed “QNPCrypt” by Intezer and eCh0raix” by Anomail and is written in the Go programming language.  When it encrypts files, it chances the file extension to “.encrypt” via AES encryption.

The fact that the strain was written using Go is interesting. What makes it truly unique, though, is that it primarily targets Linux-based NAS (Network Attached Storage) devices made by a specific company.  It only seems to impact devices made by Taiwan-based QNAP Systems.

Worst of all though, is that the devices targeted by this new malware strain seldom have antivirus programs on them. Even if they did, there are only a handful of products currently capable of even detecting the strain.  By the time you know it’s there, it’s already too late to matter.

The good news though, is that the security researchers found a flaw in the code. Like most ransomware, after it encrypts your files, it demands payment in Bitcoin in exchange for un-encrypting them.  The authors of the malware designed the software to connect to a command and control server prior to the encryption step in order to receive a unique Bitcoin wallet address.  It relays this address information to the victim after their files are encrypted in order to facilitate payment, but there’s a catch.

The server only had a finite number of wallet addresses available, and if there are no wallet addresses, then the encryption step never occurs.  The researchers created many “fake victims” and simply ran the command and control server out of unique Bitcoin wallet addresses.  It’s a temporary fix, to be sure, but it buys time.

Researchers from both companies offered the same advice in terms of minimizing your risks:

  • Never unnecessarily connect your NAS devices directly to the internet
  • Always enable automatic updates to keep firmware up to date
  • Use strong, unique passwords to secure your devices
  • Make frequent backups just in case.

Those are all good pieces of advice generally.  If you make a habit of all four, you’ll be miles ahead of the game.

Jason Manteiga

Jason J. Manteiga, Vice President of Olmec Systems, has been part of the company for over the past 20 years. He believes that having a great work environment and supportive team, is the ultimate key to success. Since being in the IT realm for over 25 years, Jason, along with Olmec Systems, has been on the Inc. 5000 “List of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies” and Channel Futures MSP 501 “Top Managed Service Providers in North America,” along with other awards and nominations. Jason earned his Bachelor Degree in Information Systems from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He also holds certifications in Microsoft MCSE, VMWare VCP, and Cisco CCNA. In his spare time, Jason is a contributor for The Center for Social & Legal Research (Privacy Exchange) and a member of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce. His hobbies include cycling and kayaking. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife, two daughters and son.