Posts Categorized: Threat Research


Google Results Tarnished Again to Push Rogues

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It’s been a few months since Google implemented new ways that it displays search results, and in that time, it’s been difficult to find the kinds of hijacked search results we saw in huge numbers a year ago. But if you thought the search engine manipulators were laying down on the job, you’d be wrong. A new campaign seems to have hijacked Google search terms of not just products or words, but of people’s names, towns, and phrases in both English and Spanish to lure victims into a trap. One of our Threat Research analysts stumbled upon the new scheme […]

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New Year’s Drive-By Brings a Recursive Rogue

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On the morning of January 2nd, still bleary eyed, I checked my email to find a charming notification informing me that I’d received an electronic greeting card. Yay! I thought to myself: The first targeted malware of 2011 plopped right into my lap. I immediately pulled up my research machine, browsed to the URL in the message (don’t try this at home, kids), and found my test system swamped in malware. After classifying the files and their source URLs into our definitions — I didn’t want this to happen to you, after all — I turned the computer back off […]

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10 Threats from 2010 We’d Prefer Remain History

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With 2010 finally behind us, and an unknown number of cyberattacks likely to come in the new year, I thought I’d run down a brief list of the malicious campaigns criminals pulled off last year that I’d really dread to see anyone repeat. Now that they’re in the past, they should stay there. Operation Aurora: Google’s accusation (with Adobe, Juniper Networks, Rackspace, Yahoo! and Symantec) that China hacked its servers, allegedly stealing private emails stored on the company’s servers. The big surprise wasn’t that it was happening, but that companies were publicly talking about it. Abused ccTLDs: 2010 saw lots […]

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Christmas IE Zero-Day Thwarted. Ho ho ho.

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Yesterday, two different 0 day exploits against Internet Explorer were published, just in time for the holidays when most of you (and many security researchers as well) are taking time off from work. The exploit, named CVE-2010-3971, is fairly serious, affecting the latest builds of IE versions 6 through 8. Well, I’d normally get all hot and bothered about the fact that this kind of event might force some of our research team to spend their precious vacation time working the problem and coming up with a comprehensive solution. Normally, but not this time. This time we headed the Black […]

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Fake Firefox Update is a Social Engineering Triple Fail

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Where’s the work ethic, malware geniuses? If this latest example of shenanigans is the best you can deliver, you’re not even trying to generate convincing scams — or even something that makes sense — anymore. One of our Threat Research Analysts pointed me to a Web page hosting a fake update program for Firefox the other day, and the only thing it was useful for was a pretty good laugh. In replicating the Firefox “you’re now running…” page, the malware distributor managed only to build something that looks remarkably similar to a more sophisticated, and ultimately more plausible, scam we […]

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Chinese Trojan Turns Infected PCs Into Web Servers

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A complex and elaborately conceived family of malware that originates in China installs the Apache Web server, as well as half a dozen keylogger and downloader payloads, disguised as components of legitimate apps. We and a few other antivirus vendors are calling this type of malware Taobatuo. It just so happens that I’ve been setting up a Windows virtual machine with the latest versions of Apache, MySQL, and PHP for an unrelated project. I hadn’t installed these apps onto a Windows box before, and Apache in particular is notoriously finicky about Windows installations, so after several days of trial and […]

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Troublesome Trojan Trammels Torrent Sites

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We spotted an interesting behavior from a Trojan dropper that belongs to a family of malware named Ponmocup. The file, update.exe (MD5 89f4ea9f0240239e0d97f202d22af325) leaves behind a payload that, among other things, modifies the Hosts file on infected computers to prevent users from visiting popular Bittorrent sites, including The Pirate Bay. It’s an odd behavior for several reasons. We don’t see many Trojans modify the Hosts file anymore because such modifications are so easily reversed. But more to the point: Why would a criminal care whether anyone else be able to browse The Pirate Bay, a Web site known to host […]

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Karagany Isn’t a Doctor, but Plays One on Your PC

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A Trojan that pulls a sly performance of now-you-see-me-now-you-don’t disguises itself on an infected system as the Adobe Updater, a real program that’s installed alongside such mainstay applications as the Adobe Reader. This method of hiding in plain sight means the downloader, Trojan-Downloader-Karagany, may remain active on an infected system for an extended period of time, reinfecting PCs even after the more obvious payloads have been cleared up. During the initial infection, subtlety is this Karagany’s strong suit. When executed, it pulls an act I find slightly more interesting than the conventional file copies itself from one place to another, […]

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Rogue AV Spam Invades Multiply, Yahoo Mail

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While nowhere near the size of the mammoth Facebook, the social network Multiply is no slouch. Based in Boca Raton, Florida, the site is designed around not only sharing photos and videos with friends and family, but also a relatively novel concept called social shopping, which permits users of the site to shop together in a virtual marketplace, or even set up an Internet storefront. At last count, according to Multiply’s blog, the site has over 12 million users, which means that the Multiply Market may be one of the largest single shopping Web sites in Southeast Asia, where most […]

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Search Hijacker Adds Files to Firefox Profile

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In September, I posted an item about a dropper which we call Trojan-Dropper-Headshot. This malware delivers everything including the kitchen sink when it infects your system. It has an absolute ton of payloads, any of which on their own constitute a serious problem. All together, they’re a nightmare. Among the payloads, we’ve seen this monstrosity drop downloaders (Trojan-Agent-TDSS and Trojan-Downloader-Ncahp, aka Bubnix), adware (Virtumonde, Street-Ads, and Sky-banners), keyloggers (Zbot and LDpinch), clickfraud Trojans (Trojan-Clicker-Vesloruki and at least three other generic clickers), and a Rogue AV called Antivir Solution Pro. So this is one nasty beast that has no qualms about using […]

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