Mortgage Software Solutions Blog

Cerber Ransomware Poses a Huge Risk for Mortgage Companies

cerber_ransomware_.jpgInternational criminals are cyber-attacking American companies at unprecedented rates. Worse, many victims don't even announce they paid money to these gangsters, so the FBI doesn't actually know the precise numbers. However, the threat undoubtedly continues to grow.

Mortgage companies need to protect themselves now, before these criminal hackers use the latest sophisticated software program, called Cerber Ransomware, together with NSA-level, unbreakable encryption, to hold your company's data for ransom. This includes personal financial information on your customers.

How many of your customers would be upset to discover you allowed foreign cyber criminals into your firm's database?

Don’t let your mortgage company be another victim of ransomware. Here’s what you need to know about Cerber ransomware and the risks it poses to your business.

What is Cerber Ransomware?

Ransomware is a form of software virus that infects your computers and networks. It encrypts all your data files, then tells you they will remain encrypted until you pay the hacker in bitcoins. Cerber is the latest version.

What’s Different About Cerber?

First, Cerber talks to its victims. After it has completed encrypting all of your documents, pictures, videos, archives, audio files, and backups with a strong AES 256 algorithm that, so far, cannot be decrypted, it changes the original file extensions to .cerber. It also encrypts the file's name.

Then, it puts three files on your desktop: a .txt file, an .html file, and a Visual Basic Scripting file. They contain the same basic message, telling you about how to send the bitcoin ransom they demand in return for a decryption key. The VBS file actually speaks the message. If you fail to pay the original amount demanded in seven days, the ransom doubles. The program includes a timer in case you lose track of the time.

Secondly, Cerber comes from a website in Russia where it's sold as Ransomware as a Service. That means the criminals don't even program their own viruses. They just rent it from the real programmers, who receive a percentage of the money it brings in.

Thirdly, at the bottom of the message, it adds in Latin, "Quod me non necat me fortiorem facit," which is a famous quote from the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. In English, it translates to  "That which does not kill me makes me stronger." Who knew Russian cybercriminals were so interested in motivational quotes?

Ways to Defend Yourself Against Cerber

This article offers a variety of technical ways to set up your network to defend yourself against Cerber and other ransomware. Note what the fourth expert says: Cerber spreads through macro-enabled Microsoft Word documents attached to email.

Businesses should require their employees to use only the default macro setting. That is, the user must actively allow the macro to run. If the user refuses to allow the macro to run, the macro cannot install Cerber. And, of course, nobody should open any file attached to an email if they don't know the email's sender.

Bleeping Computer has a lot more technical information about Cerber in this article, but unfortunately, there is still no way to decrypt files without paying the ransom.

One of the commenters at the end of the article said they got infected with Cerber through Craig's List. They received an email from someone replying to their post about a job.

Also beware of peer-to-peer networks such as Torrent. Be certain any software you download is only from trusted sites, and do not click on links in spam emails.

Ransomware is becoming a greater threat than ever, according to Computerworld. Many companies pay up, then shut up to avoid the embarrassment and bad publicity. Therefore, their incidents don't show up in the FBI statistics.

Access Business Technologies Can Help

Cerber ransomware is a threat to everybody, and it's especially serious to mortgage companies. They have access to money, but don't have the IT staff and equipment to protect themselves from ransomware and other data breaches major banks can afford.

However, DeviceGuardian™ from ABT protects and secures your data and ensures your mobile security at the device level. It makes all the hardware that accesses your network compliant with Consumer Financial Protection Bureau regulations. ABT provides 1Tb of backup data per user. This is important because having a backup that Cerber ransomware cannot reach is an essential part of your defense.

Access Business Technologies’ mortgage company security services provide full virus and malware protection, as well as mobile management software, to protect businesses and their customers and ensure complete security compliance. Contact us today to learn how to protect your company from the huge security threat Cerber ransomware poses.

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Topics: DeviceGuardian ransomware