Posts Categorized: Threat Research


Commercial Windows-based compromised Web shells management application spotted in the wild – part two

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Sticking to good old fashioned TTPs (tactics, techniques and procedures), cybercriminals continue mixing purely malicious infrastructures with legitimate ones, for the purpose of abusing the clean IP reputations of networks, on their way to achieving positive ROI (return on investment) for their fraudulent activities. For years, this mix of infrastructures has lead to the emergence of the ‘malicious economies of scale’ concept, in terms of efficient abuse of legitimate Web properties, next to the intersection of cybercriminal online activity, and cyber warfare. In a series of blog posts, we’ve been emphasizing on the level of automation and QA (Quality Assurance) applied by […]

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Managed Web-based 300 GB/s capable DNS amplification enabled malware bot spotted in the wild

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Opportunistic cybercriminals continue ‘innovating’ through the systematic release of DIY (do-it-yourself), Web-based, botnet/malware generating tools, seeking to monetize their coding ‘know-how’ and overall understanding of abusive/fraudulent/malicious TTPs (tactics, techniques and procedures) - all for the purpose of achieving a positive ROI with each new release. We’ve recently spotted a newly released, Web-based DNS amplification enabled DDoS bot, and not only managed to connect it to what was once an active DDoS attack, but also, to the abuse of a publicly accessible open DNS resolver which has been set up for research purposes. Let’s discuss some of its features and take a peek at the […]

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Solving the mystery of incidence response

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The threat landscape today is very different from a few years ago. With an increasingly creative number of threat vectors through which to launch an attack, it has never been more challenging to secure our data and devices in all the ways we connect. In today’s hyper-dynamic landscape, well over 8 million malware variants are discovered each month. The majority are financially motivated, very low in volume and very sophisticated. On the mobile front, cybercriminals have shown a clear focus on compromising devices made evident by an explosion in the discovery of malicious mobile apps and websites. Also on the […]

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Deceptive ads expose users to PUA.InstallBrain/PC Performer PUA (Potentially Unwanted Application)

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Deceptive ads continue to represent the primary distribution vector for the vast majority of Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUAs) that we track. Primarily relying on ‘visual social engineering’ tactics, gullible end users fall victims to these privacy-violating applications, largely due to the fact that they instantaneously agree to the terms in the End User’s Agreement presented to them. We’ve recently spotted yet another variant of the InstallBrain family of Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUA’s), tricking users into installing a bogus PC performance boosting application. Let’s assess this campaign and provide actionable intelligence on the domains/IPs and related privacy-violating MD5s known to have shared the […]

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Can Security Survive in an Increasingly Insecure World?

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2013 was not a good year in terms of cyber security. Despite companies spending an increasingly significant percent of revenue on security technology – systems designed to thwart, detect and prevent hackers from gaining access to their networks and sensitive data – attacks continue to succeed. Recently, the trend has shifted to attacking point of sale (POS) systems. While Target is the largest example, similar attacks have occurred in industries ranging from department stores to hospitals to hotel chains. Basically anywhere large scale financial transactions take place. The focus on POS systems doesn’t come as a surprise. Cybercriminals have always […]

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Spamvertised ‘You received a new message from Skype voicemail service’ themed emails lead to Angler exploit kit

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We’ve just intercepted a currently circulating malicious spam campaign that’s attempting to trick potential botnet victims into thinking that they’ve received a legitimate Voice Message Notification from Skype. In reality though, once socially engineered users click on the malicious link found in the bogus emails, they’re automatically exposed to the client-side exploits served by the Angler exploit kit. More details:

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Spamvertised ‘Image has been sent’ Evernote themed campaign serves client-side exploits

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Cybercriminals continue to populate their botnets, with new infected hosts, through the persistent and systematic spamvertising of tens of thousands of fake emails which impersonate popular and well known brands – all in an attempt to socially engineer prospective victims into interacting with the scam. We’ve recently intercepted a currently circulating malicious spam campaign, impersonating Evernote, serving client-side exploits to prospective victims who click on the links found in the fake emails. More details:

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DoubleClick malvertising campaign exposes long-run beneath the radar malvertising infrastructure

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Today, at 2014-02-12 12:16:20 (CET), we became aware of a possible evasive/beneath the radar malvertising based g01pack exploit kit attack, taking place through the DoubleClick ad network using an advertisement featured at About.com.  Investigating further, we were able to identify the actual domains/IPs involved in the campaign, and perhaps most interestingly, managed to establish a rather interesting connection between the name servers of one of the domains involved in the attacks, and what appears to be a fully operational and running Ukrainian-based ad platform, Epom in this particular case.

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‘Hacking for hire’ teams occupy multiple underground market segments, monetize their malicious ‘know how’

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In a series of blog posts published throughout 2012, we’ve been highlighting the existence of a vibrant underground market segment, namely, that of ‘hacking for hire’ services, email hacking in particular. Commercially available as a service for years, the practice’s growth was once largely fueled by the release of DIY Web-based popular email provider hacking tools, which once acquired by prospective cybercriminals, quickly became the foundation for a successful business model. How have things changed nowadays, in terms of tactics, techniques and procedures? Profoundly. Case in point, we’ve been tracking two such ‘hacking for hire’ services, both of which offer […]

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Malicious campaign relies on rogue WordPress sites, leads to client-side exploits through the Magnitude exploit kit

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In a cybercrime ecosystem populated by commercially available WordPress brute-forcing and mass vulnerable WordPress installation scanning tools, cybercriminals continue actively capitalizing on the platform’s leading market share within the Content Management System’s market segment. Successfully exploiting tens of thousands of installations on a daily basis, for the purpose of utilizing the legitimate infrastructure to achieve their fraudulent/malicious campaign objectives, the tactic is also largely driven by the over-supply of compromised/accounting data, usually embedded within sophisticated Web-based attack platforms like the ones we’ve profiled in the past. We’ve recently intercepted a malicious campaign exclusively relying on rogue WordPress sites, ultimately serving client-side exploits to users […]

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