The New Reality of Stealth Crimeware

The New Reality of Stealth Crimeware

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Anyone who has been in information security recently knows that it has gotten easier for cybercriminals to build stealth crimeware. The malware we deal with on a regular basis grows ever more difficult to find, while high-end targeted attacks such as Stuxnet and other advanced persistent threats (APTs, the abbreviation I hate) are using ever more advanced rootkit techniques to avoid detection.

Cybercriminals use clever stealth techniques to evade detection because it allows their malware to be more effective, live on a machine or network longer, and thus maximize the compromise. McAfee Labs is now at the point where we detect more than 110,000 new unique rootkits per quarter.

To make matters worse, there is another issue that many fail to recognize:

Today’s current OS-based security model is not adequate; cybercriminals know how to get past these defenses every time.

The security industry has to find a new vantage point on cybercriminal behavior to stop and uncover their stealth techniques. It is time for our industry to start looking at security beyond the operating system to gain a more effective view of how cybercriminals operate.

We delve into these and many other issues in our latest report: “The New Reality of Stealth Crimeware,” written by myself and Thom Sawicki of Intel. Download it here.

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Introduction

Stealth is the art of travelling undetected, of being invisible. Stealth technology allows military aircraft,
Ninjas, and malware to sneak up on the enemy to launch an attack, gain intelligence, or take over
systems and data.

Although stealth techniques are used in sophisticated attacks like Conficker and Operation Aurora, the
Stuxnet attack offers a new blueprint—and benchmark—for how committed criminals can use stealth
techniques to steal data or target computing systems. Stuxnet innovations included a combination of
five zero-day vulnerabilities, three rootkits, and two stolen digital certificates. Powerful toolkits, like what is available in the Zeus Crimeware Toolkit, make stealth malware development a “point- and-click” endeavor, no longer restricted to the most knowledgeable programmers. While there are no definitive industry figures, McAfee Labs estimates that about 15 percent of malware uses sophisticated stealth technique to hide and spread malicious threats that can cause significant damage.1 These attacks form the cornerstone—the “persistent” part—of advanced persistent threats (APTs).

Malware being sent in job applications

Malware being sent in job applications

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If you’re in any kind of business there’s a good chance you have to deal with resumes on a daily basis, especially if you’re a manager or Human Resources professional. While you probably delete that Viagra ad and ignore the promise of Nigerian riches, when a resume hits your inbox, you read it.

Spammers know this and have been increasingly presenting Malware as if it were a resume, hoping that the recipient will be so curious about a potential applicant that they open or run something that they shouldn’t. This practice of using rigged document files goes back to the early 2000’s where exploits for Microsoft’s document format existed even before Office 2000.

Let’s not forget when we could encoded Malware into a MIME header or .eml file and make IE/Outlook execute it… without even opening it. 🙂

These waves of Malware use obfuscation and “dropper” payloads to avoid detection. A dropper serves only to pull a payload, and a backdoor down for Botnet control. It rarely is detected as malicious because of its simple nature. The Antivirus products may continuously delete the Malware payloads, but as time passes with the dropper alive and well. The Malware creators are given the opportunity of changing the package and evading detection.

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is reporting that businesses have received Bredolab variants in email attachments masquerading as job applications.

“Recent FBI analysis reveals that cyber criminals engaging in ACH/wire transfer fraud have targeted businesses by responding via e-mail to employment opportunities posted online,” IC3 said in a news release.

They also said: “The FBI recommends that potential employers remain vigilant in opening the e-mails of perspective employees. Running a virus scan prior to opening any e-mail attachments may provide an added layer of security against this type of attack. The FBI also recommends that businesses use separate computer systems to conduct financial transactions.”

It’s called “spear phishing” – malicious code sent specifically to someone in a company who would be expecting that type of email (job applications in attachments in this case.)

“Recently, more than $150,000 was stolen from a US business via unauthorized wire
transfer as a result of an e-mail the business received that contained malware. The
malware was embedded in an e-mail response to a job posting the business placed on
an employment website and allowed the attacker to obtain the online banking credentials
of the person who was authorized to conduct financial transactions within the company.
The malicious actor changed the account settings to allow the sending of wire transfers,
one to the Ukraine and two to domestic accounts. The malware was identified as a
Bredolab variant, svrwsc.exe. This malware was connected to the ZeuS/Zbot Trojan,
which is commonly used by cyber criminals to defraud US businesses.”

“Anyone who believes they have been a target this type of attack should immediately
contact their financial institutions and local FBI office, and promptly report it
to the IC3’s website at www.IC3.gov. The IC3’s
complaint database links complaints together to refer them to the appropriate law
enforcement agency for case consideration. The IC3 also uses complaint information
to identify emerging trends and patterns.”

Trusteer Rapport – Protects Online Banking against Botnets

Trusteer Rapport – Protects Online Banking against Botnets

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Rapport is a lightweight security software solution that protects web communication between enterprises, such as banks, and their customers and employees. The product is free for the customers of over 70 different banks, AND can also be downloaded independently of those services for FREE. You can protect any web site you choose outside of the network, and also use the tool with Chrome, IE and Firefox.

Rapport implements a completely new approach to protecting customers and employees. By locking down customer browsers and creating a tunnel for safe communication with the online website, Rapport prevents Man-in-the-Browser malware and Man-in-the-Middle attacks. Rapport also prevents phishing via website authentication to ensure that account credentials are passed to genuine sources only.

Rapport’s unique technology blocks advanced Trojans including Zeus, Silon, Torpig and Yaludle without the need to constantly update and chase the different variants of these Trojans. Its proprietary browser lockdown technology simply prevents unauthorized access to information that flows between customer and employee websites regardless of whether these attempts were generated by new or known Trojan variants. Rapport is also capable of preventing very targeted and under the radar phishing attacks.

Enterprises such as banks can easily configure the system to protect customers and employees and begin offering them Rapport software for quick download from their website. Following a simple one time installation process, Rapport begins securing browsers, works in the background and does not call for a change in user behavior – customers and employees can bank and use the internet as usual – thus enabling fast adoption. Rapport comes with a rich management application that enables enterprises to effectively trigger alerts, view and analyze data as well as manage security.

Rapport is focused on preventing online fraud committed by financial malware and differs from Anti-Virus because it:

* Locks down access to financial and private data instead of looking for malware signatures

* Communicates with your online banking website to provide feedback on security level and report unauthorized access attempts

* Allows for immediate action to be taken against changes in the threat landscape.

Features

* Blocks Zeus, Torpig, Silent Banker and other Man-in-the-Browser attacks
* Blocks Keyloggers and screen grabbing
* Blocks Man-in-the Middle attacks
* Blocks Phishing attacks
* Works on both Windows and Mac
* Protects immediately upon install
* Complements other security software
* Transparent to customers and employees unless a threat is detected
* Delivers advanced reporting on current and new threats including zero-day attacks
* Comes with pre-packaged marketing tools and materials
* 24×7 support option

Benefits

* Prevents wire and ACH fraud
* Protects against account takeover attacks
* Deployment within weeks, requires no change to enterprise applications
* Fast notification of threats affecting your customers and employees
* Fast adoption by customers using proven tools
* Added security with no change in user behavior
* Proactive rather than reactive to threats and incidents

Browser Lockdown – This technology specifically prevents unauthorized access to sensitive information in the browser. Before launching the browser, Rapport verifies its integrity, preventing unauthorized modifications to the browser’s executable. Rapport locks down all programmatic interfaces to sensitive information inside the browser while it is connected to a protected website. This prevents browser add-ons and other pieces of software from accessing login information, financial information and transactions based on customized policy created with the enterprise. Additionally, Rapport protects the browser’s memory and prevents any pieces of code injected into the browser’s memory from capturing or modifying sensitive information.

Keystroke Lockdown – Rapport prevents tampering and reading of data by encrypting sensitive information from the moment it is typed into the keyboard until it reaches the browser. Trusteer encrypts keystrokes very low in the operating system’s kernel and keeps them encrypted inside the kernel and user space to achieve this goal.

Communication Lockdown – This technology enables Rapport to verify the legitimacy of the website that the customer or employee is currently using, preventing the submission of sensitive information to fraudulent websites. What’s more, verification of a direct connection with the website and assurance of encryption are also confirmed to prevent Man-in-the-Middle attacks. This technology prevents many ACH FRAUD transactions and efforts of trojans such as Torpig & Zeus.

Actionable Intelligence – All policy violations, such as attempts to read password fields and change web page content are reported to the Trusteer cloud-based fraud analysis service. Trusteer’s team of fraud analysts works 24×7, analyzing information from customers all over the world in order to identify new attack patterns. Advanced automatic update mechanisms allow Trusteer to react immediately to new threats. Organizations are immediately alerted regarding new attacks as they occur, instead of days, weeks, and even months after the fact.

These are not the days of the Nimda Virus, so get protected!

PC users: https://download.trusteer.com/Gcur4Wtnu/RapportSetup.exe

Mac users: https://download.trusteer.com/Gcur4Wtnu/leopard/Rapport.dmg

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