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What You Should Know About the Evolving Emotet Threat

As employees continue working from home, organisations are having concerns about the security of their employees, especially when it comes to their working devices and network.  While both network and devices can be protected by various cybersecurity solutions, ensuring employees remain vigilant while they work from home is a difficult/an ongoing task.

Phishing scams continue to be a big concern for organisations as employees can easily fall victim to tempting offers online. A simple click is all it takes for malware to wreak havoc not only on an employee but the organisation they work for as well. Of all the threats online, one of the most concerning one is Emotet.

Emotet is a piece of malware that can infect your computer by arriving via infected attachments or embedded malicious URLs contained within emails that are designed to look legitimate. It can then access your address book and start sending out fake emails that seem to come from you.

This threat was first identified by security researchers back in 2014 and now, Emotet has surged back, impacting 5% of organisations globally after laying low for about five months in 2020. This is one threat that doesn’t seem to want to go away. Its modular form and ability to drop multiple, changing payloads makes Emotet a significant threat for cybersecurity researchers and IT teams all over the world.

According to the threat intelligent team at Malwarebytes Labs, Emotet botnets started pushing malspam actively on Friday, July 17th, using the same techniques as employed in its last wave of activity. Malicious emails contain either a URL or an attachment that, once clicked on or opened, launches the Emotet payload. One familiar technique is for the document to be sent as a reply within existing email threads.

Originally designed as a banking Trojan aimed at stealing financial data, Emotet has evolved to become a major threat to users everywhere. Today, Emotet has evolved and continues to develop newer capabilities, including the ability to be VM-aware, avoid spam filters and be able to uninstall security programs. With the pandemic being a concern for many, Emotet spam campaigns pretend to be invoices, shipping information, COVID-19 information, resumes, financial documents or scanned documents.
 
Here’s what businesses can do to better protect their employees from the ever-evolving Emotet threat:

  • Training, Assessments and More Training: Ensure employees have continuous training and reminders on how to spot phishing attempts, especially those that are spoofed and how to report them.

  • Make sure employees DO NOT DOWNLOAD suspicious attachments or click on a shady-looking link. 

  • Consistently check for updates and apply patches on any software, systems or browsers that need them.

  • Limit the access towards sensitive workloads especially if they are being accessed from remote working employees.

  • Have stronger passwords with multi-factor authentication or consider rolling out a single password manager for your organisation.

  • Invest in anti-exploit technology that blocks malicious attachments and links from launching their payloads.

 

As one of the leaders in cybersecurity, Malwarebytes, has an Emotet emergency kit that can help businesses protect against malware like Emotet. Malwarebytes also protects against ransomware, malicious websites and other advanced online threats to ensure employees can work from home securely. 

To find out more, Malwarebytes will be organising a webinar on the 12th of November 2020. Businesses will be able to find out how they can better protect both their employees and organisations against threats like Emotet.
Click here to register.

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