Malware Emotet makes a comeback

K V Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on August 22, 2020

Beware of mails with suspicious attachments: Sophos

Malware families, which were developed to cause damage to targets, come and go. Hackers hang on to the most successful ones, while withdrawing outdated or unsuccessful malwares. Cyber security experts have found that Emotet, a malware highly prevalent and widely distributed in the past, has made a come back.

“It has reawakened after a prolonged absence. Emotet, the ubiquitous botnet that arrives in the guise of any of a thousand different bogus email messages, never really went away when it suddenly stopped appearing in our internal records and feeds of spam emails in February,” a cyber security expert at Sophos Labs has said.

In February 2020, Emotet ceased production – its botnets stopped activity and the waves of spam campaigns went silent, Richard Cohen, senior threat researcher and manager of SophosLabs’ Abingdon, UK, detection team, said. “This isn’t the first time Emotet has vanished off the radar, only to rise again months later – and that’s exactly what we saw again last Friday,” he said.

The sudden disappearance of the malware gave rise to a lot of rumours that the creators had been arrested, or simply had retired. “But these theories were squashed on July 17th, when we saw a new wave of Emotet attacks swing back into action,” he added.

Take precautions

The cyber security solutions firm has asked the users to be cautious while opening attachments.

“If you receive an email from an unknown source, or unexpectedly from a known source, with a Microsoft Office file attached, be extremely careful about opening it,” Sophos Labs said.

“If you receive an email that tells you to download such a file attachment in order to receive some sort of invoice or statement, be extremely suspicious,” it points out.

“It is always safe to check with the sender (if they are known to you) to ensure the file is legitimate before you open it,” it warns.

Published on August 22, 2020

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