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

Games: Ostriv, Back to Bed, EVERSPACE, Hiveswap: Act 1

Openwashing and Microsoft FUD

BlueBorne Vulnerability Is Patched in All Supported Ubuntu Releases, Update Now

Canonical released today new kernel updates for all of its supported Ubuntu Linux releases, patching recently discovered security vulnerabilities, including the infamous BlueBorne that exposes billions of Bluetooth devices. The BlueBorne vulnerability (CVE-2017-1000251) appears to affect all supported Ubuntu versions, including Ubuntu 17.04 (Zesty Zapus), Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) up to 16.04.3, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) up to 14.04.5, and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin) up to 12.04.5. Read more

Security: Updates, 2017 Linux Security Summit, Software Updates for Embedded Linux and More

  • Security updates for Tuesday
  • The 2017 Linux Security Summit
    The past Thursday and Friday was the 2017 Linux Security Summit, and once again I think it was a great success. A round of thanks to James Morris for leading the effort, the program committee for selecting a solid set of talks (we saw a big increase in submissions this year), the presenters, the attendees, the Linux Foundation, and our sponsor - thank you all! Unfortunately we don't have recordings of the talks, but I've included my notes on each of the presentations below. I've also included links to the slides, but not all of the slides were available at the time of writing; check the LSS 2017 slide archive for updates.
  • Key Considerations for Software Updates for Embedded Linux and IoT
    The Mirai botnet attack that enslaved poorly secured connected embedded devices is yet another tangible example of the importance of security before bringing your embedded devices online. A new strain of Mirai has caused network outages to about a million Deutsche Telekom customers due to poorly secured routers. Many of these embedded devices run a variant of embedded Linux; typically, the distribution size is around 16MB today. Unfortunately, the Linux kernel, although very widely used, is far from immune to critical security vulnerabilities as well. In fact, in a presentation at Linux Security Summit 2016, Kees Cook highlighted two examples of critical security vulnerabilities in the Linux kernel: one being present in kernel versions from 2.6.1 all the way to 3.15, the other from 3.4 to 3.14. He also showed that a myriad of high severity vulnerabilities are continuously being found and addressed—more than 30 in his data set.
  • APNIC-sponsored proposal could vastly improve DNS resilience against DDoS