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

Software: LabPlot 2.5, GNU Parallel 20180622 ('Kim Trump'), Ick ALPHA-6

  • LabPlot 2.5 released
    It took much more time to finalize the release than we planned in the beginning after the 2.4 release was done. But we hope the number of features we implemented for 2.5 and their impact on the workflows supported by LabPlot can justify this delay. The source code and the installers for Windows and for Mac OS X can be found on our download page, as usual. In this release we again increased the number of data sources and added the support for the import of data from SQL databases. The user can import either from single tables or import the result of a custom SQL queries.
  • Krita 4.1 Beta Comes with a New Reference Images Tool and Supports Multi-Monitor Workspace Layouts
  • GNU Parallel 20180622 ('Kim Trump') released
    GNU Parallel 20180622 ('Kim Trump') has been released.
  • Ick ALPHA-6 released: CI/CD engine
    It gives me no small amount of satisfaction to announce the ALPHA-6 version of ick, my fledgling continuous integration and deployment engine. Ick has been now deployed and used by other people than myself.

Red Hat News and Disappointing Quarter, Buybacks Initiated

Android Leftovers

GNOME 3.30 Desktop Environment Gets New Milestone, Beta Expected on August 1

In an email announcement received by Softpedia, developer Michael Catanzaro announces the availability of GNOME 3.29.3, the third of four development milestones before the GNOME 3.30 desktop environment enters beta stages of development. Coming almost a month after GNOME 3.29.2, the GNOME 3.29.3 development milestone appears to be the first where all components are buildable. "This is an accomplishment," said Michael Catanzaro, "I hope we can keep this up going forward." Read more