Menu
Encryption goof fixed in TorrentLocker file-locking malware

Encryption goof fixed in TorrentLocker file-locking malware

A new variant of TorrentLocker fixes a problem that allowed encrypted files to be freed

The developers of a type of malicious software that encrypts a computer's files and demands a ransom have fixed an error security experts said allowed files to be recovered without paying.

The malware, called TorrentLocker, popped up last month, targeting users in Australia, according to iSight Partners, a security consultancy. It now appears to be also geo-targeting victims in the U.K.

TorrentLocker's developers ironically made a similar mistake as the creators of another ransomware program, CryptoDefense. Researchers found earlier this year that CryptoDefense left a decryption key on a person's computer, although the error was soon fixed.

Earlier this month, researchers with the consultancy Nixu found that TorrentLocker used the same keystream to encrypt all of a computer's files. That was a mistake, as a keystream should never be used more than once, according to a writeup on the SANS Institute blog.

"As the encryption was done by combining the keystream with the plaintext file using the XOR operation, we were able to recover the keystream used to encrypt those files by simply applying XOR between the encrypted file and the plaintext file," they wrote.

With the error out in the open, it was only a matter of time before it was fixed.

Richard Hummel, a senior technical analyst with iSight, wrote that a variant of TorrentLocker without that bug has now been found, which shows the "extremely high pace of innovation of our collective adversaries."

The latest version also scans profiles in the Thunderbird email client for email addresses and passwords, he wrote. "This will almost certainly be used to further the spam campaign for TorrentLocker," he wrote.

TorrentLocker asks for US$500 to unlock the files, payable in bitcoin. Hummel wrote that although the percentage of people who pay is low, a look at the bitcoin address associated with TorrentLocker showed that the attackers are making "many bitcoins," he wrote.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags securitymalwareSANS InstituteiSight PartnersNixu

Featured

Slideshows

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel

Reseller News honoured the leading female front runners of the New Zealand channel at the 2018 Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA) in Auckland. The awards honoured standout individuals across seven categories, spanning Entrepreneur; Innovation; Rising Star; Shining Star; Community; Technical and Achievement.

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel
Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners

Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners

Microsoft honoured leading partners across the channel following a year of customer innovation and market growth in New Zealand. The 2018 Microsoft Partner Awards recognised excellence within the context of the end-user, spanning a host of emerging and established providers.

Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners
Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch

Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch

Introducing the Reseller News Innovation Awards, launched to the channel at the 2018 Judges’ Lunch in Auckland. With more than 70 judges now part of the voting panel, the new-look awards will reflect the changing dynamics of the channel, recognising excellence across customer value and innovation - spanning start-ups, partners, distributors and vendors.

Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch
Show Comments