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Emotet is back!

After a summer of silence from the infamous banking Trojan there has been a huge upsurge in reports during September.  Emotet can be incredibly damaging, causing a rapid network wide infection.  Now is a good time for a quick recap of the key features of Emotet, how it spreads, what your team should look out for and what you can do to prevent an attack.

What is Emotet?

Emotet was first designed as a banking malware, which attempted to steal private information. As a polymorphic malware, it morphs into changing forms as it moves from one machine to the next.  This makes detection extremely difficult and it often evades anti-malware products.

In its current incarnation, Emotet’s infrastructure is used to distribute another banking Trojan (Trickbot) and then ransomware (Ryuk).  This method of attack is called the triple threat.  The combination affords maximum infiltration of the network, stealing some valuable data while encrypting the rest – for use in extortion.

How is it spread?

Emotet is primarily spread through spam emails, with infected attachments.  These emails are designed to look genuine; they urge the user to click on a link to see an invoice, or payment detail etc.  It then uses the contact lists of infected users to spread to other networks.   Emotet often jumps into the middle of email conversations.  It will go through an inbox replying to messages and sending a malicious attachment.  This is very effective method and it is a tactic they using increasingly. Around 25% of their emails now use this delivery method.   It also uses a list of common passwords to brute force attack itself into connected networks.

How to defend your business?

The polymorphic nature of Emotet means one line of defence will not work.  We always recommend a multi-layered approach to cyber security. Businesses need a suite of effective and complementary cyber security products to create a robust defence.   As email is the first line of attack, Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection should be a key component of your defence, as it should identify and block malicious attachments.  Staff training on Security Awareness is also essential, as their ability to identify a malicious email is vital to protect the company from attack.

Our Technical Consultants can advise your business on all aspects of cyber security.  We can complete an audit on your network to identify vulnerabilities and make recommendations on how you can improve your cyber defense.  We offer Security Awareness Training for staff and we can run ‘phishing campaigns’, where we send out malicious emails and check the response of your team.  If you would like further information on any of these services, contact us today.

RedMosquito provides IT Support and IT Security Services to SMEs in Glasgow, Edinburgh and throughout Scotland.

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