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Watch Out For New Ransomware Called Phobos

By February 9, 2019May 19th, 2022Cybersecurity

There’s a new strain of ransomware making the rounds, and it’s a nasty piece of work. Called Phobos by its creators, the latest threat on the ransomware scene first made an appearance in December of 2018.

While details are sketchy, what we know so far about it is grim indeed.

Researchers at CoveWare have been dissecting and sifting through the code, and they’re finding a number of similarities with the Dharma strain of ransomware, which has plagued businesses around the world in recent years.

It would be a mistake, however, to call it a Dharma clone.  Phobos also contains elements of the CrySiS ransomware.  While CrySiS is itself a relative of Dharma, Phobos deserves recognition as its own variant, as it combines features and functionality in a new way.

At the end of the day though, it still spells bad news for business owners.  Anyone unfortunate enough to have their system infected by the malware will find all their files encrypted, their extensions changed to .phobos, and will receive a popup message demanding payment in Bitcoin to get their files back.

Dharma has the distinction of having been named one of the most damaging families of ransomware in 2018, so the Phobos strain is something that needs to be taken seriously.

As ever, vigilance is the best defense against these types of attacks, which generally find their way into corporate systems due to a momentary lack of awareness on the part of an employee.  In addition to education and awareness, IT managers can also take the step of securing their RDP ports and ensuring that all business-critical files are backed up on a regular basis.

Last but not least, it’s essential that your IT staff tests those backups at regular intervals to ensure they can get your system back up and running fast.  While none of the above will outright prevent an attack, taken together, they will serve to minimize the impact of a successful attack against your company.

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.