Security Experts:

QNAP Devices Targeted in New Wave of DeadBolt Ransomware Attacks

Internet search engine Censys on Monday warned that a new wave of DeadBolt ransomware attacks has been targeting network-attached storage (NAS) devices made by QNAP.

The DeadBolt ransomware is designed to encrypt files stored on vulnerable devices, instructing victims to pay a 0.03 bitcoin ($1,200) ransom in order to recover their files. The malware’s operators are also hoping to obtain 5 bitcoin ($200,000) from QNAP for information related to the vulnerabilities they have exploited, and 50 bitcoin ($2 million) for a master key that can be used to recover the files of all victims.

QNAP warned customers about DeadBolt attacks in January, advising them to immediately update the QTS operating system to the latest version and reduce the exposure of their devices.

In February, it came to light that Deadbolt had also been targeting NAS appliances made by Asustor.

According to Censys, the number of DeadBolt-infected QNAP devices peaked on January 26, when nearly 5,000 of the 130,000 systems accessible from the internet were infected by the malware. QNAP at the time rolled out a forced firmware update to secure devices, which led to a significant drop in the number of infections over the next weeks — there were less than 300 infections at one point in March.

However, there has been a surge in QNAP device infections over the past days. In a blog post published on Monday, Censys said there had been 1,146 hacked devices on March 19. At the time of writing, on March 22, that number had gone up to nearly 1,500.

“At this time, Censys cannot state whether this is a new attack targeting different versions of the QTS operating system, or if it’s the original exploit targeting unpatched QNAP devices,” Censys explained.

“The new infections do not seem to be targeting a specific organization or country, infections seem to be evenly split between various consumer internet service providers,” it added.

QNAP devices have also been targeted by various other ransomware and malware families. As a result of this recent increase in attacks, QNAP announced recently that it would be extending the security update window for some devices that have reached end of life.

Related: QNAP Warns of New Crypto-Mining Malware Targeting NAS Devices

Related: QNAP Warns NAS Users of 'dovecat' Malware Attacks

Related: QNAP Urges Users to Secure NAS Devices as Attacks Surge

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.