Targeted ransomware takes aim at QNAP NAS drives, warns vendor: Get your updates done pronto

Nasty demands hefty Bitcoin ransom

QNAP has urged NAS users to act "immediately" to install its latest updates and enable security protections after warning that product-specific ransomware called Deadbolt is targeting users' boxen.

"DeadBolt has been widely targeting all NAS exposed to the internet without any protection and encrypting users' data for Bitcoin ransom," warned the Taiwanese company in a statement late yesterday.

The ransomware leaves a note demanding payment of 0.03 Bitcoins.

Security advice from QNAP includes disabling port-forwarding and UPnP port forwarding if your NAS is internet-facing.

Lex Fridman, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor and podcast host, fell victim to the attack:

Concerningly, at least one user claimed (on QNAP's support forum) that he has the latest version of their firmware installed but his NAS is still infected with Deadbolt – though this may be a simple case of a pre-existing infection persisting after an upgrade. Other users have posted on the same forum that factory resets of their devices don't delete the ransomware either.

A post on the QNAP user forums suggests the ransomware targets a large number of common filetypes, including CSV, various database formats such as DBF and DBX, Word DOCX, PDF files, JPG images and so on. Forcible encryption of such filetypes will generate big problems for users relying on their contents.

QNAP has long been a target of crooks looking to extort money out of people using its products. Last year a similar alert was issued after two ransomware strains named Qlocker and eCh0raix were seen targeting QNAP boxen. The company did itself no favours after letting a disclosure deadline expire, meaning previously notified remote code execution and arbitrary write vulns entered the public domain.

Two years ago QSnatch malware proved so troublesome the US and UK cyber security authorities issued formal bulletins about it, warning owners to protect themselves, while back in 2019 yet another malware strain was seen altering targeted systems' hosts files as a means of ensuring persistence.

If you have a QNAP NAS, the steps to follow are outlined here. ®

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