Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Triple-Barreled Trojan Attack Builds Botnets

Filed under
Security

Anti-virus researchers are sounding the alert for a massive, well-coordinated hacker attack using three different Trojans to hijack PCs and create botnets-for-hire.

The three-pronged attack is being described as "unprecedented" because of the way the Trojans communicate with each other to infect a machine, disable anti-virus software and leave a back door open for future malicious use.

"This is so slick, it's scary," said Roger Thompson, director of malicious content research at Computer Associates International Inc. "It clearly points to a very well-organized group either replenishing existing botnets or creating new ones."

According to Thompson, the wave of attacks start with Win32.Glieder.AK, dubbed Glieder, a Trojan that downloads and executes arbitrary files from a long, hardcoded list of URLs.

Glieder's job is to sneak past anti-virus protection before definition signatures could be created and "seed" the infected machine for future use. At least eight variants of Glieder were unleashed on one day, wreaking havoc across the Internet.

On Windows 2000 and Windows XP machines, Glieder.AK attempts to stop and disable the Internet Connection Firewall and the Security Center service, which was introduced with Windows XP Service Pack 2.

The Trojan then quickly attempts to connect to a list of URLs to download Win32.Fantibag.A (Fantibag) to spawn the second wave of attacks.

With Fantibag on the compromised machine, Thompson said the attackers can ensure that anti-virus and other protection software is shut off. Fantibag exploits networking features to block the infected machine from communicating with anti-virus vendors. The Trojan even blocks access to Microsoft's Windows Update, meaning that victims cannot get help.

Once the shields are down, a third Trojan called Win32.Mitglieder.CT, or Mitglieder, puts the hijacked machine under the complete control of the attacker.

Once the three Trojans are installed, the infected computer becomes part of a botnet and can be used in spam runs, distributed denial-of-service attacks or to log keystrokes and steal sensitive personal information.

A botnet is a collection of compromised machines controlled remotely via IRC (Inter Relay Chat) channels.

According to CA's Thompson, the success of the three-pronged attack could signal the end of signature-based virus protection if Trojans immediately disable all means of protection.

"These guys have worked out that they bypass past signature scanners if they tweak their code and then release it quickly. The idea is to hit hard and spread fast, disarm victims and then exploit them," Thompson said in an interview with Ziff Davis Internet News.

He said he thinks the attack, which used virus code from the Bagle family, is the work of a very small group of organized criminals. "There's no doubt in my mind we are dealing with organized crime. The target is to build a botnet or to add to existing ones. Once the botnets reach a certain mass, they are rented out for malicious use."

Full Story.

More in Tux Machines

Deepin 2014.1, One of the Most Beautiful Distros in the World, Has Been Released – Gallery

Deepin developers have been hard at work on their new operating system and it looks like they managed to get a lot of fans. This system is one of the most interesting ones that have surfaced in the last couple of years. One of the reasons for its success is the implementation of a new desktop environment that is somewhat different from what other operating systems provide. Read more

Fedora 21 Will Try To Release Before Thanksgiving

Today was another FESCo meeting but fortunately no further Fedora 21 delay was announced today, but it could happen with the F21 alpha change deadline being today and the developers trying to get an approved build. Read more

Free Android Apps August 2014: Google Play Store Titles for This Week

There are actually good new Android apps in the Google Play Store that seemed to slide off under the radar. In this news, we're going to mention some of the best, often ignored, Free Android Apps that you might want to check out. Perfect for those who are actually bored or disappointed with their present apps. Read more

The KDE Randa 2014 meeting, in easy-digestible video format!

In case you were wondering what was going on in Randa, here are some first hand impressions. The video was produced by Françoise Wybrecht (alias Morgane Marquis) and Lucie Robin, and the people in it are the actual participants of the event. It was also created using KDenlive, one of the awesome Free Software tools a team has been working on at the Randa meeting itself. The video introduces the faces and personalities of the contributors and their different backgrounds and origins. Many thanks to our brand new ad-hoc media team for producing this video! Read more