Fireball – the inferno within



There are very few countries which emanate threats globally, with China being one of them. Fireball is a legitimate software since it is digitally signed by the very organization which has developed it, however it also bundles up malicious binaries and browser extensions.

Traditionally, ad-wares were never considered to be malicious, since their sole intention was to redirect traffic and bombard the user with advertisements, and furthermore, these ad-wares were always bundled with other legitimate software, so that unsuspecting users ended up installing them too. Besides, there exists Pay-Per-Install (PPI) revenue sharing model between the developers and the bundled software providers. Due to the fact that they piggyback on a popularity of legitimate software, this association is profitable for all the stakeholders.

Fireball, not just installs an ad-ware, but also manipulates the victims default browser search engine to fake ones, which in turn redirect the search query to or However, these fake search engines do a lot more than simple redirect, they track the users and they can spy on their victims too by dropping and executing malwares.

The concern around Fireball is that the adware it installs after downloaded to a device, is capable of installing malwares using backdoor. This in turn could be used by cyber criminals to exploit and use to push malicious codes or exploits to create large scale attacks or disruptions. Though adware installation by various software download applications are seen as an accepted practice by the end-users, however the Fireball issue could be different than what meets the eye, which is a huge concern with its largest install base of more than 250 million devices worldwide.

eScan’s Advisory suggests the below precautions to be implemented for such attacks in the ever growing complex cyber threat landscape:

  • eScan recommends using an adware scanner to scan if there is anything wrong with the browser
  • Once you found the adware in the system, go to Programs and Features list in the Control panel of Windows OS to uninstall the program
  • MacOS users should user finder to locate and uninstall the application. After that empty the trash to delete the compromised file
  • Go to your browsers and explore tools and extensions to uninstall anything suspicious
  • Do a regular check for any unauthorized or suspicious browser extensions and plug-ins to make sure your homepage and search engine are the ones that you have set
  • Always opt for custom installation and then de-select anything that is unnecessary or unfamiliar

The information provided above will help you to protect your system from being victim of Fireball malware.

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Ransomware threat found in using Google’s RailWire free Wi-Fi service

The smart city dream is making everyone enthusiastic. However, this comes with security breaches and malware attacks that can have a detrimental effect on the entire nation. Public Wi-Fi networks are not very safe as they may seem. Even if they have a security password or OTP, there is sharing of data which is constantly happening via these platforms. This means your data is at risk and you may become an easy target to cybercrime.

Due to the mayhem caused by WannaCry Ransomware, we saw a surge and emergence of Ransomware as the top-most attack vectors in the threat landscape. According to the statistics made available, India was one of the top most affected countries in the world.

Moreover, based on the information collected from our telemetry servers, we observe that the most infected state within India was Madhya Pradesh with 32.63%, followed by Maharashtra at 18.84% with Delhi coming in at number three position with 8.76%.

There are numerous ISPs operating within India, and Google’s Railwire, the free Wi-Fi service launched by Railtel, is one of them. It was observed to be the top-most network where WannaCry and other Ransomware have been detected within India is the RailTel with 32.14% of the entire share.

Based on the figures, we can gauge the popularity of this Free Wi-Fi Service and also the density of population which can get affected. We have every reason to believe that majority of the Ransomware attacks which happened during the last week, within India, would have been averted had Railtel implemented the stop-gap measure of blocking SMB traffic.

While the Government is installing free Wi-Fi spots at various spots all over India, there is need to validate the internal security of these networks and there is also a need to ensure that all the consumers who are using RailTel’s free Wi-Fi service should do so with some caution. Moreover caution is to be exercised whenever using any free Wi-Fi service.

We, at eScan, believe that it is our duty to be proactive in alerting the users about the potential attacks, which will help them to take necessary precautions. Sharing out statistics is one such aspect. Here are some of the tips to stay safe from Ransomware, phishing, etc. while using open Wi-Fi at public places:

  • Avoid doing financial transactions like online shopping, banking etc. while using public Wi-Fi networks
  • Do not share any confidential/personal information via public Wi-Fi
  • Use Virtual Private Network (VPN) Apps on your device to keep data secure
  • Do not let the device to connect automatically to public Wi-Fi
  • Turn off file sharing while using Wi-Fi
  • Connecting to unsecure networks can leave your device vulnerable
  • Protect your system with Security Suite, which not just blocks malicious traffic but would also protect your system harmful activity.


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Ransomware variants vying for the top slot

eScan Threat Assesment

eScan Threat Assessment

WannaCry Ransomware is a game changer at all levels in the arena ruled by the likes of Reveton, CryptoLocker, CryptoWall, Locky etc. WannaCry has not just utilized the encryption capabilities but also exploited vulnerabilities to propagate. WannaCry gained prominence due to its worm-like propagation method and also due to sheer fact that the Eternal Blue vulnerability used by it was in fact found in the arsenal of NSA.

However, for the past week, WannaCry wasn’t the only Ransomware which wreaked havoc; Wallet and JAFF have also dominated, although the focus was on WannaCry.

Our R&D team has released the breakdown of the various Ransomware attacks in the past week, and added that in the coming few weeks there would be an increase in such attacks. However, we also observed increased activity amongst the various variants and families of different Ransomware, vying for the top position.


From the available statistics, it is apparent that Wallet/Jaff Ransomware commanded 32% of the total Ransomware incidents, while WannaCry was at 28%. There are other families of Ransomware which have continued to maintain their onslaught, however; these are intermittent attempts which just add up to the numbers. Furthermore, it is to be noted that Ransomware, be it any variant of any family, is the most destructive piece of malware to have ever been created.

The cyber-crime ecosystem thrives on:

  • Fame
  • The depth of the attack
  • Stability of the infection
  • Reliability of the Malware
  • The most important of all, the ability of the authors to provide FUD (Fully Undetectable) at a very fast pace.

Cyber Criminals are aware of these facts and in order to increase their revenue and grab their share of spoils are working hard to unleash a new wave of destruction. This reinstates the fact the perils of Ransomware are still to be ascertained in terms of the damages it would cause. Apart from that, the attacks are going to be more aggressive and stealth in their ways and means, than before.  The future is also uncertain, due to the fact that the anonymity offered by Crypto-Currencies has been embraced by cyber-criminals and till the crypto-currencies are not in check, criminals will elude the law by staying anonymous.

There is also stiff competition amongst the various families of Ransomware, as to who is the best and better of all and as we can observe, the fight for the top place has already begun. This creates another larger threat in terms of proving who is bigger; the attackers would compete with each other wreaking havoc worldwide. In view of such possibilities, it is imperative that every user of technology takes utmost precautions and remain alerted towards the outbreaks, so as to stop the evils of Ransomware.

Moreover, this competition would ensure that Ransomware would occupy the topmost position across the entire Threat-Landscape for years to come.

Readers are invited to visit the Threat-Assessment, so as to keep themselves informed about the various on-going attacks happening across the globe.

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eScan decimates Ransomware Hoax News

Wanna Cry Hoax

Wanna Cry Hoax

WannaCry Ransomware has attacked computers as many as in 150 countries, all over the world and earned a payment of about 300$ in return to unlock the stolen data. Post this, social media and instant messaging applications were flooded with hoax texts/news to safeguard the audience against attacks. Some of the texts may have been intentional while many of them turned to be untrue.

Following the carnage and mayhem caused by WannaCry, we were pleasantly surprised to find all sorts of advisories making rounds in the social networking circles. Many of them were outrageous, while others tickled our funny bone. Here are some of the clarifications to ensure you do not fall prey to these texts:

  • RBI orders Shutdown of ATMs until they are patched and safe

Status: Hoax

RBI has issued clarification that they haven’t issued such orders.

  • Avoid using ATMs and Do not do any online transaction

Status: Hoax

Any computer system infected with Ransomware would display the message that it has been infected. Hence, the moment Ransomware Message is displayed on the ATM Screen; the entire system is rendered useless.

  • Don’t do any online transaction. Don’t open any Shopping cart.

Status: Hoax

Webserver infected with Ransomware would simply be not able to serve the pages. Shopping carts do not store Ransomware.

However, while browsing and downloading software make sure that these executables are scanned by an antivirus.

  • Except Africa all countries IT companies are hacked.

Status: Hoax

No explanations required cause its 100% fake news. When IT organizations get hacked, the information is published all over the internet, TV channels etc. These news pieces aren’t just limited to your limited group of friends.

  • Dance of the Hillary video

Status: Hoax.

We even received an advisory in our inbox which says:

  • Power off smart TVs, tablets, and every other smart device.
  • Turn off Bluetooth, WiFi, tethering (also known as Hotspot) on your mobile phones.
  • Switch off your servers (or any other computers that you may leave on 24×7.
  • Disconnect LAN (network, CAT6, CAT5) cable plugging computers or laptops in the network. If it is a laptop, it may have a physical slide switch or button press to switch off WiFi card inside the laptop – Switch That Off.
  • if possible, wait for news from eastern world

Status: Outright funny

This simply means that we should lead the life of an ascetic.

Keep Antivirus On:

Status: 100% True.

No matter what, buy a good antivirus, keep it updated, keep your operating system updated, take precautions, never divulge your personal information, are some of the things one should remember.

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