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SANS Tip-of-the-Day - Thu, 05/14/2015 - 22:43

The Naikon APT

Malware Alerts - Wed, 05/13/2015 - 23:00

Our recent report, “The Chronicles of the Hellsing APT: the Empire Strikes Back” began with an introduction to the Naikon APT, describing it as “One of the most active APTs in Asia, especially around the South China Sea”. Naikon was mentioned because of its role in what turned out to be a unique and surprising story about payback. It was a Naikon attack on a Hellsing-related organization that first introduced us to the Hellsing APT.  Considering the volume of Naikon activity observed and its relentless, repeated attack attempts, such a confrontation was worth looking into, so we did.

The Naikon group was spear-phished by an actor we now call "Hellsing"

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The Naikon APT aligns with the actor our colleagues at FireEye recently revealed to be APT30, but we haven’t discovered any exact matches. It is hardly surprising that there is an element of overlap, considering both actors have for years mined victims in the South China Sea area, apparently in search of geo-political intelligence.

The Naikon group has for 5 years mined victims, apparently in search of geo-political intelligence

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This Naikon report will be complemented by a follow-on report that will examine the Naikon TTP and the incredible volume of attack activity around the South China Sea that has been going on since at least 2010.

Noteworthy operational and logistical characteristics of this APT include:

  • At least five years of high volume, high profile,  geo-political attack activity
  • Geographical  focus – per-country, individual operator assignment and proxy presence
  • Dynamic, well organized infrastructure
  • Reliance on an externally developed, consistent set of tools comprising a full-featured backdoor, a builder, and an exploit builder
  • High success rate in infiltrating national organisations in ASEAN countries
Highly Focused and Effective Around the South China Sea

In the spring of 2014, we noticed an increase in the volume of attack activity by the Naikon APT. The attackers appeared to be Chinese-speaking and targeted mainly 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.

Decoy

An attack typically starts with an email carrying an attachment that contains information of interest to the potential victim. The document may be based on information from open sources or on proprietary information stolen from other compromised systems.

This bait “document”, or email attachment, appears to be a Word document, but is in fact an executable file with a double extension exploiting CVE-2012-0158 so it can execute code without the user’s knowledge or consent. When the executable is launched, spyware is installed on the victim computer at the same time as a decoy document is displayed to the user; fooling them into thinking they have simply opened a document.

Configuration

The Naikon tool of choice generates a special, small, encrypted file which is 8,000 bytes in size, and contains platform-independent code to be injected into the browser along with configuration data. With the help of a start-up module, this whole file is injected into the browser memory and decrypts the configuration block containing the following:

  • C&C server
  • Ports and path to the server
  • User-agent string
  • Filenames and paths to its components
  • Hash sums of the user API functions

The same code then downloads its main body from the C&C server using the SSL protocol, loads it independently from the operating system functions and, without saving it to the hard drive, hands over control to the XS02 function. All functionality is handled in memory.

Payload

The main module is a remote administration utility. Using SSL, the module establishes a reverse connection to the C&C server as follows: it sets up an outgoing connection to the C&C server and checks if there is a command that it should execute. If there is, it executes the command and returns the result to the C&C. There are 48 commands in the module’s repertoire, which a remote operator can use to effectively control the victim computer.  This includes taking a complete inventory, downloading and uploading data, installing add-on modules, or working with the command line.

The main module supports 48 commands, which the attackers can use to control the victim machine

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Here is the complete list of commands:

0 CMD_MAIN_INFO 1 CMD_PROCESS_REFRESH 2 CMD_PROCESS_NAME 3 CMD_PROCESS_KILL 4 CMD_PROCESS_MODULE 5 CMD_DRIVE_REFRESH 6 CMD_DIRECTORY 7 CMD_DIRECTORY_CREATE 8 CMD_DIRECTORY_CREATE_HIDDEN 9 CMD_DIRECTORY_DELETE 10 CMD_DIRECTORY_RENAME 11 CMD_DIRECOTRY_DOWNLOAD 12 CMD_FILE_REFRESH 13 CMD_FILE_DELETE 14 CMD_FILE_RENAME 15 CMD_FILE_EXECUTE_NORMAL 16 CMD_FILE_EXECUTE_HIDDEN 17 CMD_FILE_EXECUTE_NORMAL_CMD 18 CMD_FILE_EXECUTE_HIDDEN_CMD 19 CMD_FILE_UPLOAD 20 CMD_FILE_DOWNLOAD 21 CMD_WINDOWS_INFO 22 CMD_WINDOWS_MESSAGE 23 CMD_SHELL_OPEN 24 CMD_SHELL_CLOSE 25 CMD_SHELL_WRITE 26 CMD_SERVICE_REFRESH 27 CMD_SERVICE_CONTROL 28 CMD_PROGRAM_INFO 29 CMD_UNINSTALL_PROGRAM 30 CMD_REGESTRY_INFO 31 CMD_ADD_AUTO_START 32 CMD_MY_PLUGIN 33 CMD_3RD_PLUGIN 34 CMD_REG_CREATEKEY 35 CMD_REG_DELETEKEY 36 CMD_REG_SETVALUE 37 CMD_REG_DELETEVALUE 38 CMD_SELF_KILL 39 CMD_SELF_RESTART 40 CMD_SELF_CONFIG 41 CMD_SELF_UPDATE 42 CMD_SERVER_INFO 43 CMD_INSTALL_SERVICE 44 CMD_FILE_DOWNLOAD2 45 CMD_RESET 46 CMD_CONNECTION_TABLE 47   48   49 CMD_HEART_BEAT

Several modifications of the main module exist. There are no fundamental differences between modifications; it’s just that extra features get added to the latest versions, such as compression and encryption of transmitted data, or the piecemeal download of large files.

d085ba82824c1e61e93e113a705b8e9a 118272 Aug 23 18:46:57 2012 b4a8dc9eb26e727eafb6c8477963829c 140800 May 20 11:56:38 2013 172fd9cce78de38d8cbcad605e3d6675 118784 Jun 13 12:14:40 2013 d74a7e7a4de0da503472f1f051b68745 190464 Aug 19 05:30:12 2013 93e84075bef7a11832d9c5aa70135dc6 154624 Jan 07 04:39:43 2014 CC-Proxy-Op

C&C server operations are characterized by the following:

  • Low maintenance requirements
  • Organized geo-specific task assignments
  • Different approaches to communication

The C&C servers required only a few operators to manage the entire network. Each operator appears to have focused on their own particular set of targets, because a correlation exists between C&C and the location of targets/victims.

There is a geo-specific correlation between the location of Nikon C&Cs and that of targets/victims

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Communication with victim systems changed depending on the target involved. In some cases, a direct connection was established between the victim computer and the operator system. In other cases, the connection was established via dedicated proxy servers installed on dedicated servers rented in third countries. In all likelihood, this additional setup was a reaction to the network administrators in some targets limiting or monitoring outbound network connections from their organizations.

Here is a partial list of C&C servers and victim locations, demonstrating the geo-specific correlation:

ID Jakarta linda.googlenow.in ID Jakarta admin0805.gnway.net ID Jakarta free.googlenow.in ID   frankhere.oicp.net ID Bandung frankhere.oicp.net ID Bandung telcom.dhtu.info ID Jakarta laotel08.vicp.net JP Tokyo greensky27.vicp.net KH   googlemm.vicp.net KH Phnom Penh googlemm.vicp.net MM   peacesyou.imwork.net MM   sayakyaw.xicp.net MM   ubaoyouxiang.gicp.net MM Yangon htkg009.gicp.net MM   kyawthumyin.xicp.net MM   myanmartech.vicp.net MM   test-user123.vicp.cc MY   us.googlereader.pw MY   net.googlereader.pw MY   lovethai.vicp.net MY   yahoo.goodns.in MY Putrajaya xl.findmy.pw MY Putrajaya xl.kevins.pw PH Caloocan oraydns.googlesec.pw PH Caloocan gov.yahoomail.pw PH   pp.googledata.pw PH   xl.findmy.pw PH   mlfjcjssl.gicp.net PH   o.wm.ggpw.pw PH   oooppp.findmy.pw PH   cipta.kevins.pw PH   phi.yahoomail.pw SG Singapore xl.findmy.pw SG Singapore dd.googleoffice.in VN Hanoi moziliafirefox.wicp.net VN Hanoi bkav.imshop.in VN Hanoi baomoi.coyo.eu VN Dong Ket macstore.vicp.cc VN Hanoi downloadwindows.imwork.net VN Hanoi vietkey.xicp.net VN Hanoi baomoi.vicp.cc VN Hanoi downloadwindow.imwork.net VN Binh Duong www.ttxvn.net VN Binh Duong vietlex.gnway.net VN Hanoi www.ttxvn.net VN Hanoi us.googlereader.pw VN Hanoi yahoo.goodns.in VN Hanoi lovethai.vicp.net VN Hanoi vietlex.gnway.net XSControl – the Naikon APT’s “victim management software”

In the Naikon scheme, a C&C server is essentially  specialized XSControl software running on the operator’s machine. It can be used to manage an entire network of infected clients. In some cases, a proxy is used to tunnel victim traffic to the XSControl server. A Naikon proxy server is a dedicated server that accepts incoming connections from victim computers and redirects them to the operator’s computer. An individual Naikon proxy server can be set up in any target country with traffic tunnelling from victim systems to the related C&C servers.

XSControl is written in .NET with the use of DevExpress. Its main capabilities are:

  • Accept initial connections from clients
  • Provide clients with the main remote administration module
  • Enable them to remotely administer infected computers with the help of a GUI
  • Keep logs of client activity
  • Keep logs of operator activity
  • Upload logs and files to an FTP server

The operator’s activity logs contain the following:

  • An XML database of downloaded files, specifying the time of operation, the remote path and the local path
  • A database of file names, the victim computer registry keys for the folders and sections requested by the operator
  • A history of executed commands
Country X, Operator X

Now let’s do an overview of one Naikon campaign, focusing on country “X”.

Analysis revealed that the cyber-espionage campaign against country X had been going on for many years. Computers infected with the remote control modules provided attackers with access to employees’ corporate email and internal resources, and access to personal and corporate email content  hosted on external services.

Below is a partial list of organizations affected by Naikon’s “operator X’s” espionage campaign in country X.

  • Office of the President
  • Military Forces
  • Office of the Cabinet Secretary
  • National Security Council
  • Office of the Solicitor General
  • National Intelligence Coordinating Agency
  • Civil Aviation Authority
  • Department of Justice
  • Federal Police
  • Executive/Presidential Administration and Management Staff

A few of these organizations were key targets and under continuous, real-time monitoring. It was during operator X’s network monitoring that the attackers placed Naikon proxies within the countries’ borders, to cloak and support  real-time outbound connections and data exfiltration from high-profile victim organizations.

In order to obtain employees’ credentials, operator X sometimes used keyloggers. If necessary, operator X delivered them via the remote control client. In addition to stealing keystrokes, this attacker also intercepted network traffic. Lateral movements included copying over and remotely setting up winpcap across desktop systems within sensitive office networks, then remotely setting up AT jobs to run these network sniffers. Some APTs like Naikon distribute tools such as these across multiple systems in order to regain control if it is lost accidentally and to maintain persistence.

The Naikon group took advantage of cultural idiosyncrasies in its target countries

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Operator X also took advantage of cultural idiosyncrasies in its target countries, for example, the regular and widely accepted use of personal Gmail accounts for work. So it was not difficult for the Naikon APT to register similar-looking email addresses and to spear-phish targets with attachments, links to sites serving malware, and links to google drive.

The empire strikes back

Every once in a while the Naikon group clashes with other APT groups that are also active in the region. In particular, we noticed that the Naikon group was spear-phished by an actor we now call “Hellsing”. More details about the cloak and dagger games between Naikon and Hellsing can be found in our blogpost: “The Chronicles of the Hellsing APT: The Empire Strikes Back”.

Spam and Phishing in the First Quarter of 2015

Malware Alerts - Wed, 05/13/2015 - 08:00

Spam: features of the quarter New domain zones

In January 2014 the New gTLD program of registration for new generic top-level domains designated for certain types of communities and organizations was launched. The main advantage of this program is the opportunity for organizations to choose a domain zone that is clearly consistent with their activities and the themes of their sites. The new business opportunities provided by the New gTLD program were enthusiastically endorsed by the Internet community, and active registration of new domain names is still ongoing.

Spammers and cybercriminals were quick to react: for them new domains are an excellent tool for promoting illegitimate campaigns. As a result, new domain zones almost immediately became an arena for the large-scale distribution of advertising spam, phishing and malicious emails. Cybercriminals either registered domains to spread spam mass mailings, hacked existing sites to place spam pages, or used these and other web resources in chains that redirect users to spam sites.

According to our observations, email traffic in Q1 2015 saw a considerable increase in the number of new domains that sent out spam of different content. In general there wasn’t much connection between the theme of the spam and the domain name, but in some cases there was an evident logical connection between them. For example, emails sent from the .work domains contained offers to carry out various types of work such as household maintenance, construction or equipment installation. Many of the messages from the .science domains were advertising schools that offer distance learning, colleges to train nurses, criminal lawyers and other professionals.

Q1’s spam traffic also featured many emails sent from color domains like .pink, .red, or .black. Basically they were used to advertise Asian dating sites. At the same time, the top-level domains used in mass mailings exploiting the dating theme were generally empty and did not contain any content related to this subject. They were only used in the chain of redirects leading to the main sites. It should also be noted that the first-level domains of the main sites were created recently and are constantly changing, in contrast with their content, which is still designed according to the same typical spam patterns.

The second- and lower-level domains in such messages are usually generated automatically and appear in the form of a random combination of alphanumeric characters. Meanwhile we are still seeing well-known .com, .org, .info, etc. used as domain zones as well as ones from the New gTLD program.

New domains, old themes

As for spam categories on new domains and Q1 spam in general insurance was one of the hottest topics, both in terms of the number of messages and the number of changing domains seen in mass mailings. This covers all types of insurance - life, health, property, cars, animals, and funeral insurance. Spam offering insurance services used newly-created top-level domains as well as compromised or expired ones. And even though the domains were new, spammers continued to use their old tricks, for example, they substituted domains of well-known organizations such as @ amazon.com or @ ebay.com in the From field.

The emails we came across generally followed the same template:

  • very little text (the email generally contains a typical header consisting of several words which is exactly repeated in the body of the message)
  • one or more links which load a brightly decorated picture (sometimes in parts) with all the necessary advertising data (a more detailed advertising text plus contacts: website address, phone number, company name)
  • another long link that leads to a resource that corresponds to the content of the email
  • additional ‘white noise’ text to bulk out the email

The latter consists of random phrases or single words in any language which may not be the same as the language of the mass mailing. This text is generally invisible to the reader of the email as it is written in white or pale color on a standard white background. This technique is used in many types of mass mailing.

The source code of a page containing a random set of words to ‘noise’ an email

Spammer tricks

To bypass antispam filtering scammers often noise emails with the large pieces of text written in white lettering on a standard white background to create the illusion of a non-spam text message.

In Q1 spammers exploited yet another technique, deliberating distorting spammer site addresses by writing them separately or adding extra characters. At the same time the message text always contained the name of a second-level domain where the spammer site is hosted, as well as instructions about how to use it with the domain zone: for example, "remove all the extra characters, and copy to the address bar" or "enter in the address bar without spaces". In fact, the addressee of the email is encouraged to create the address of spam site of his own and enter it in the address bar.

Macros in malicious spam

Spam is getting more and more dangerous for Internet users. Cybercriminals are coming up with new tricks and are also reverting to the well-known but now forgotten methods. Thus, in the first quarter of 2015 the fraudsters used spam to distributed macro viruses, programs written in the macro languages built into data processing systems (text and graphic editors, spreadsheets, etc.).

In the Q1 2015 Trojan-Banker.Win32.ChePro.ink was the malicious program most often distributed via email

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Malicious emails contained attachments with a .doc or .xls extension. These launched the VBA script when the attachment was opened. This script downloaded and installed other malicious programs, such as the banking Trojan Cridex, in the system. The micro viruses registered by Kaspersky Lab belong to the Trojan downloaders: Trojan-Downloader.MSExcel.Agent, Trojan-Downloader.MSWord.Agent and Trojan-Downloader.VBS.Agent.

Basically, malicious attachments imitated various financial documents: notifications of a fine or a money transfer, unpaid bills, payments, orders and complaints, e-tickets, etc.

Among these fraudulent notifications were fake messages written on behalf of public services, stores, hotel, airlines and other well-known organizations.

One interesting example of a fake notification was the confirmation of payment sent allegedly on behalf of the employee of the leading British supplier of water coolers for offices. The design of the fake message was a perfect imitation of an official email containing full contact details, logos and legitimate links.

Earlier this year, we came across a mass mailing that contained malicious attachments in Microsoft Word or Excel. Instead of the promised detailed information, the attachment contained a Trojan downloader (Trojan-Downloader.MSExcel.Agent or Trojan-Downloader.MSWord.Agent) that downloaded and ran other malicious software. The emails in the mass mailing were based on a single template; only the sender address and the amount of money specified in the subject and the body of the message varied.

The content of the document with a macro virus may look like a set of random characters similar to an incorrect display of coding. Fraudsters use this technique as a pretext: under the pretense of correcting the coding they tried to convince their potential victims to enable macros because back in 2007 Microsoft disabled the automatic activation of macros in files for safety reasons.

In addition to the mass mailings in which the malicious script had been inserted as macros we came across emails in which the script had been inserted as an object. The authors of one of these emails informed recipients they should pay a debt within a week or face legal action that would bring additional financial expenses.

The attached file was also in Microsoft Word while the malicious VBS script (according to the Kaspersky Lab verdict - Trojan-Downloader.VBS.Agent.all) had been inserted into it as an object. To deceive the user the inserted script was displayed as an Excel file: the scammers used the icon of this program and added.xls to the name of the file.

The first macro virus was registered in August 1995 in MS Word "Concept" documents and quickly infected tens of thousands of computers around the world. Despite its 20-year history, this type of malware is still popular largely due to the fact that the VBA language developed to create macros is one of the most simple and accessible, but at the same time functional, programming languages.

The Top 3 countries most often targeted by mailshots: Great Britain, Brazil and USA

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Most macro viruses are active not only when opening or closing the infected file but as long as the user is working with the editor (text or table). Macro viruses constitute a threat because they infect not only the initially opened file but any other files that are directly addressed.

The active distribution of macro viruses via email is aided by the simplicity with which they can be created and by the fact that users are constantly working with text and spreadsheet applications – often without being aware of the potential danger of macro viruses.

Malicious email attachments

Top 10 malicious programs sent by email, first quarter of 2015

In the first quarter of 2015 Trojan-Banker.Win32.ChePro.ink was the malicious program most often distributed via email, according to our ranking. This downloader, which was as low as the 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.

Next came Trojan-Spy.HTML.Fraud.gen. 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.

In Q1 2015, the proportion of spam in email traffic was 59.2%, which is 6 p.p. lower than in the previous quarter

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Trojan-Downloader.HTML.Agent.aax and Trojan.HTML.Redirector.ci are in fourth and seventh positions respectively. 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 to download Binbot — a binary option trading bot, which has lately been popular on the net. The two malicious programs spread via email attachments and only difference between them is the link which redirects users to rigged sites.

Sixth comes Trojan.Win32.VBKrypt.sbds. It is just a common Trojan downloader designed to download a malicious file to the victim’s computer and run it.

Eighth and ninth places are occupied by downloaders from the Upatre family - Trojan-Downloader.Win32.Upatre.fbq и 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.

It should be noted that if popular malware families rather than specific malicious programs are ranked, Upatre heads the Q1 rating. In most cases, malware from the Upatre family downloads the Dyre (aka Dyreza, Dyzap) banker, as a result of which this family also leads our rating of most widespread banking threats.

The Andromeda family, which headed last year’s rating, moved down to second position in Q1 2015. As we have mentioned before, these malicious programs allow cybercriminals to secretly control infected computers, which are often made part of a botnet.

The MSWord.Agent family occupies 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 the Q1 2015 the USA remained the biggest source of spam, sending 14.5% of all unwanted mail

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Malware from the ZeuS/Zbot family, which are among the most popular and readily available programs used to steal banking information and therefore users’ money, came only seventh in Q1.

Countries targeted by malicious mailshots

Distribution of email antivirus verdicts by country, Q1 2015

In the first quarter, there were major changes in the Top 3 countries most often targeted by mailshots. Brazil unexpectedly moved up to second place with 7.44% (compared to 3.55% in 2014), pushing Germany down in the ranking. Britain tops the rating (7.85%). The USA is in the third place (7.18%). Germany, which headed the rating for a long time, dropped to fourth position (6.05%).

It is also worth mentioning Australia: it climbed to sixth place in the first quarter with 4.12%.

As for Russia, on the one hand, it dropped two positions in the rating (from 8th to 10th), but on the other hand, the percentage of malicious programs targeting the territory of Russia increased in Q1 (from 3.24% in 2014 to 3 36% in the first quarter of 2015).

Statistics Proportion of spam in email traffic

Proportion of spam in email traffic, October 2014 – March 2015

In Q1 2015, the proportion of spam in email traffic was 59.2%, which is 6 percentage points lower than in the previous quarter. The share of spam gradually decreased: the largest amount of spam was sent in January (61.68%) and the smallest in March (56.17%).

Spam sources by country

Countries that were sources of spam, Q1 2015

In the first quarter of 2015 the USA remained the biggest source of spam, sending 14.5% of all unwanted mail. Russia was in second place with 7.27%. Ukraine came third with 5.56% of the world's spam.

Vietnam (4.82%), China (4.51%) and Germany (4.39%) followed the leaders of the rating. India brought up the rear in the Top 10 with 2.83% of all spam distributed worldwide.

Spam email size

Spam email size distribution, Q4 2014 and Q1 2015

The distribution of spam emails by size remained stable. The leaders were very small emails of up to 2 KB (73.99%), which are easy to handle in mass mailings. The proportion of such emails decreased by 3.28 percentage points.

The proportion of emails in the size range of 2 KB — 5 KB increased by 5.4 percentage points, reaching 16.00%, while the percentage of spam in the 5-10 KB range decreased by 2.28 percentage points to 2.20%. The share of emails sized 10-20 KB saw hardly changed from the previous quarter.

Phishing

In the first quarter of 2015, the Anti-Phishing system was triggered 50,077,057 times on computers of Kaspersky Lab users. This is 1 million times more than in the previous quarter.

For several quarters in a row, the largest percentage of users affected by phishing attacks was in Brazil, although in Q1 of 2015 the number (18.28%) was down by 2.74 percentage points.

Geography of phishing attacks*, Q1 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 18.28 2 India 17.73 3 China 14.92 4 Kazakhstan 11.68 5 Russia 11.62 6 UAE 11.61 7 Australia 11.18 8 France 10.93 9 Canada 10.66 10 Malaysia 10.40

There was a noticeable increase in the proportion of users attacked in India (+1.8 pp). At the same time, we registered a slight decrease in the number of users attacked in Russia (-0.57 pp), Australia (-2.22 pp) and France (-2.78 pp).

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.

Although the share of the “Email and search portals” category in the rating of organizations attacked by phishers diminished considerably in Q3 2014, the category (25.66%) still occupies the top position in the rating in 2015. The share of this category increased by a mere 0.40 percentage points from Q4 2014.

Distribution of organizations affected by phishing attacks, Q1 2015.

In the first quarter of 2015 the share of "Online shops" (9.68%) increased by 2.78 pp. Although the percentage of the "Online games" category (3.40%) rose by 0.54 percentage points, it yielded its place to the “IMS” category (3.92%), which saw its share grow by 1.69 pp.

In Q1 2015, we included a new category, “Delivery companies”, in our rating. Despite the fact that currently the contribution of this category is only 0.23%, it has recently demonstrated a growth (+0.04). In addition, DHL, one of the companies in this category, was among the Top 100 organizations most often attacked by phishers.

Distribution of phishing attacks on delivery companies, Q1 2015

In a number of emails the scammers offer users to purchase goods with delivery provided by a well-known logistics company. If you agree, they require an advance payment for delivery and provide fake invoices with the logo of the relevant delivery company. Having received the money, the fraudsters disappear.

Additionally, phishing messages sent on behalf of logistics firms often contain malicious attachments. Generally, an email includes a delivery notice; to receive the goods the recipients are expected either to open the attachment, which turns out to be malicious, or to go to the website and enter their personal data. The latter method is used to collect valid email addresses and other personal information of users.

Phishing email sent on behalf of FedEx

Phishing page imitating a DHL personal account login page

Phishing page imitating UPS personal account login page

Phishing page imitating FedEx personal account login page

Top 3 organizations attacked

The Top 3 organizations most often attacked by phishers remained the same as in the last quarter of 2014.

  Organization % of phishing links 1 Facebook 10.97 2 Google 8.11 3 Yahoo! 5.21

The top three organizations targeted by phishers are Facebook (+0.63 pp), Google (+1.51 pp) and Yahoo! (5.21%). The percentage of attacks on the latter continues to slowly decrease (-1.37 pp).

Conclusion

The share of spam in email traffic in the first quarter of 2015 was 59.2%, which is 6 percentage points less than in the previous quarter. The percentage of spam gradually declined during the quarter.

Spam traffic in Q1 of 2015 included a large number of mass mailings with Microsoft Word or Excel attachments containing macro viruses. Fraudsters tried to lure users into opening malicious files by disguising them as various documents, including financial. The fake messages often imitated notifications from well-known organizations and services.

In Q1 of 2015 the results of the New gTLD program of registration for new generic top-level domains launched in 2014 became especially noticeable. The new domains are registered daily but not always for legitimate purposes. We expect further growth in the number of new top-level domains used in mass mailings. The increase in the volume of mass mailings sent from new domains which have evident logical connection between the type of goods and services advertised and the domain name is also possible, although this can hardly be considered a trend.

The three leading source countries for spam sent across the world are the USA (14.5%), Russia (7.27%) and Ukraine (5.56%).

In the Q1 2015 the Anti-Phishing system was triggered more than 50 mln times

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In the first quarter of 2015 Trojan-Banker.Win32.ChePro.ink was the malicious program most often distributed via email, according to our ranking. The Upatre downloaders, which are used to download the Trojan banker Dyre/Dyreza, became the most popular malware family of Q1. Britain tops the rating of countries most often targeted by mailshots with 7.85% of all mail antivirus detections.

In Q1 2015, the Anti-Phishing system was triggered on the computers of Kaspersky Lab users 50,077,057 times. The largest percentage of users affected by phishing attacks was in Brazil.

Microsoft Security Updates May 2015

Malware Alerts - Tue, 05/12/2015 - 19:40

Microsoft released a set of thirteen Security Bulletins (MS015-043 through MS015-055) to start off May 2015, addressing 38 vulnerabilities in a wide set of Microsoft software technologies. Three of these are rated critical for RCE and the rest of the May 2015 Security Bulletins are rated Important. Two of the critical Bulletins (043 and 044) are especially risky and address critical RCE vulnerabilities across all versions of supported Windows platforms.

  • Internet Explorer (MS015-043) critical
  • GDI+ drivers handling fonts (MS015-044) critical
  • Windows Journal (MS015-045) critical
  • Microsoft Office
  • Sharepoint Server
  • Silverlight
  • .NET Framework
  • JScript and VBScript Scripting Engines
  • MMC file format
  • Schannel (Microsoft's network crypto libraries)

Most likely, your Windows systems are running at least a couple of those software packages, and will require a reboot after updating.

This round of IE memory corruption vulnerabilities enable remote code execution across all versions of the browser and supported Windows OS, IE6 - IE11. Even Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 8.1 maintains the flawed code, leading many to anticipate Microsoft's new approach to web browser security in the upcoming Microsoft Edge: Building a safer browser.

Another issue enables RCE in Windows Journal, a note-taking application first written for XP Tablet associated with .jnt files. To disable the app, it seems that you can simply disable the "Tablet PC Options Components" Windows Feature on Vista or Windows 7, but you are without the Control Panel option on Windows 8.x. On Windows 8 and above systems, it looks like you can remove the .jnt file association in the registry, or, you can deny access to journal.exe with a couple of shell commands:

takeown.exe /f "%ProgramFiles%\Windows Journal\Journal.exe"
icacls.exe %ProgramFiles%\Windows Journal\Journal.exe" /deny everyone:(F)

And finally, another couple of font handling GDI+ vulnerabilities are patched, this time in the DirectWrite library handling for both OpenType (cve-2015-1670) and TrueType (cve-2015-1671) fonts. It's 1671 that enables RCE on Windows systems running SilverLight, Lync, Live Meeting, Microsoft Office 2007 and 2010, supported .Net framework versions, and all the supported Windows operating system versions, including Windows 2008 and 2012 R2 Server Core. Depending on your OS, the patches can touch on a set of files, not just win32k.sys driver code:

Win32k.sys
Gdiplus.dll
D2d1.dll
Fntcache.dll
Dwrite.dll
D3d10level9.dll
D3d10_1.dll
D3d10_1core.dll
D3d10warp.dll

According to Microsoft, "When this security bulletin was issued, Microsoft had not received any information to indicate that this vulnerability had been publicly used to attack customers". Which may be mincing words, because Microsoft's cve-2015-1671 vulnerability acknowledgement listed the Threat Research Manager at FireEye. That disclosure detail may add urgency to updating this vulnerability for some organizations.

How to mitigate 85% of threats with only four strategies

Malware Alerts - Tue, 05/12/2015 - 07:00

The Australian Signals Directorate Top35 list of mitigation strategies shows us that at least 85% of intrusions could have been mitigated by following the top four mitigation strategies together. These are: application whitelisting, updating applications, updating operating systems and restricting administrative privileges. Kaspersky Lab has technological solutions to cover the first three of these (i.e. all the technology-based strategies) as well as the most of the others from Top35 ASD’s list.

Many respected technology-focused organizations have already developed strategies for coping with targeted attacks. Gartner, for example, has issued guidelines for dealing with social engineering techniques, including keeping pace with an evolving threat landscape through ongoing information security education1. While no ICT infrastructure can ever be 100% secure, there are reasonable steps every organization can take to significantly reduce the risk of a cyber-intrusion.

Among all the available strategies, here at Kaspersky Lab we consider the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) document to be the best publicly available guidelines from a government organization on how to successfully fight APTs. But we don’t just like this list of strategies; we also want to make sure that Kaspersky Lab technologies cover as many of them as possible. Please check the list below.  Bear in mind, of course, that not all technologies have something in common with security software:

The Australia’s Signals Directorate’s full Mitigation Strategies list comprises 35 points.

This list of mitigation strategies can be roughly divided into four logical types, according to the implementation approach:

Measures Brief description Administrative Training, physical security Networking These measures are easier to  implement at  a network hardware level System administration The OS contains everything needed for implementation Specialized security solutions Specialized security software is applicable

Through comprehensive, detailed analysis of local attacks and threats, ASD has found that at least 85 per cent of the targeted cyber-intrusions it responds to could be mitigated by four basic strategies. Three of them are related to specialized security solutions. Kaspersky Lab products include technological solutions to cover these first three major strategies:

  • Use application whitelisting to help prevent malicious software and unapproved programs from running
  • Patch applications such as Java, PDF viewers, Flash, web browsers and Microsoft Office
  • Patch operating system vulnerabilities
  • Restrict administrative privileges to operating systems and applications, based on user duties2.

In addition, over half of the ASD list could be implemented using our specialized information security solutions. Take a look at the strategies (those related to specialized security solutions) mapped to Kaspersky Lab technologies. We have highlighted the ones that ASD believes account for 85% mitigation:

ASD rank Mitigation strategy, short name Kaspersky Lab technologies 1 Application whitelisting Dynamic whitelisting 2 Patching application vulnerabilities Vulnerability Assessment and Patch Management 3 Patching OS vulnerabilities 5 User application configuration hardening Web control (blocking scripts in web-browsers) , Web Anti-Virus 6 Automated dynamic analysis of email and web content Mail Anti-Virus and Web Anti-Virus, Security for Mail Server, Security for Internet Gateway, DLP for Mail and Collaboration add-ons 7 OS generic exploit mitigation Automatic Exploit Prevention 8 HIDS/HIPS System Watcher and Application Privilege Control 12 Software-based application firewall for incoming traffic Advanced Firewall 13 Software-based application firewall for outgoing traffic Advanced Firewall 15 Computer event logging Kaspersky Security Center 16 Network activity logging Kaspersky Security Center 17 E-mail content filtering Kaspersky Security for Mail Sever 18 Web content filtering Web Control 19 Web domain whitelisting Web Control 20 Block spoofed e-mails Anti-Spam 22 AV software using heuristics and automated Internet-based reputation ratings Anti-Malware 26 Removable and portable media control Device Control 29 Workstation inspection of Microsoft Office files Anti-Malware 30 Signature-based AV software Anti-Malware

ASD Strategies that can be implemented effectively using Kaspersky Lab’s product range.

For more detailed data about ASD strategies please consult the mitigation strategies document in the Securelist encyclopedia: part 1, part 2 and part 3. We hope that this information will be useful for system administrators, CIO/CISOs and researchers fighting targeted cyber intrusions.

1 Gartner: Best Practice for Mitigating Advanced Persistent Threats (document ID G00256438). >>>
2 Australian Signals Directorate, Strategies to Mitigate Targeted Cyber Intrusions >>>

IT threat evolution in Q1 2015

Malware Alerts - Wed, 05/06/2015 - 06:00

Q1 in figures
  • According to KSN data, Kaspersky Lab products detected and neutralized a total of 2,205,858,791 malicious attacks on computers and mobile devices in the first quarter of 2015.
  • Kaspersky Lab solutions repelled 469,220,213 attacks launched from online resources located all over the world.
  • Kaspersky Lab's web antivirus detected 28,483,783 unique malicious objects: scripts, exploits, executable files, etc.
  • 93,473,068 unique URLs were recognized as malicious by web antivirus components.
  • 40% of web attacks neutralized by Kaspersky Lab products were carried out using malicious web resources located in Russia.
  • Kaspersky Lab's antivirus solutions detected a total of 253,560,227 unique malicious and potentially unwanted objects.
  • Kaspersky Lab mobile security products detected
    • 147,835 installation packages;
    • 103,072 new malicious mobile programs;
    • 1,527 mobile banking Trojans.
Overview Equation APT – the most sophisticated attacks

The story of the powerful Equation cyberespionage group was perhaps the most talked-about news story of Q1. The group has interacted with other influential groups, such as Stuxnet and Flame, for many years. Attacks carried out by Equation are arguably the most sophisticated of all: one of the group’s modules can be used to modify hard drive firmware. Since 2001, Equation has successfully infected the computers of thousands of victims in Iran, Russia, Syria, Afghanistan, the US and other countries. Its victims come from sectors such as government and diplomatic institutions, telecommunications, energy, etc.

The group uses a variety of malware, some of which is even more sophisticated than the infamous Regin platform. Known methods of dissemination and infection include using the Fanny USB worm (its arsenal included two zero-day vulnerabilities that were later used in Stuxnet), malicious installers on CDROMs, and web exploits.

Carbanak – the most successful cyber campaign

In spring 2014, Kaspersky Lab got involved in a forensic investigation: a bank’s ATMs dispensed cash without the recipient physically interacting with the ATM. This was the start of our investigation into the Carbanak campaign and an analysis of the eponymous malicious program.

Carbanak is a backdoor originally based on Carberp code. It is designed for espionage, data exfiltration and remote control of any computer infected with it. Once the attackers were inside the victim´s network, they performed a reconnaissance of that network with a view to performing lateral movement and compromising critically important systems – processing systems, accounting systems and ATMs.

Kaspersky Lab products detected a total of 2.2 bln malicious attacks in the Q1 2015

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Three methods of cashing out have been identified:

  1. via ATMs,
  2. by transferring money to cybercriminals’ accounts using the SWIFT network,
  3. by altering databases to create fake accounts and subsequently using mule services to collect the money.

Infections were carried out using typical APT-style methods – via spearphishing emails with documents containing exploits. The emails were constructed in such a way as to avoid raising suspicions, in some cases coming from the addresses of employees working for the company under attack.

Kaspersky Lab estimates that about 100 financial organizations, most of them in Eastern Europe, have been hit by the group, with total financial losses approaching $1 billion. This makes Carbanak by far the most successful criminal cyber campaign we have ever seen.

Desert Falcons – attacks in the Middle East

While investigating an incident in the Middle East, Kaspersky Lab experts came across the activity of a previously unknown group carrying out targeted attacks. The group was given the name Desert Falcons. It is the first Arabic speaking group seen conducting full-scale cyberespionage operations, and its work is apparently connected with the political situation in the region.

The first signs of Desert Falcons’ activity were seen in 2011 and the first known infections were carried out in 2013. The group’s activity peaked in late 2014 and early 2015. The group’s members are clearly no newbies: they developed Windows and Android malware from scratch; they also skillfully organized attacks which relied on phishing emails, fake websites and fake social network accounts.

Kaspersky Lab solutions repelled 470 mln attacks launched from online resources located all over the world

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The group’s victims are located primarily in Palestine, Egypt, Israel and Jordan. Victims include political activists and leaders, military and governmental organizations, mass media, financial institutions and other organizations. The group has currently claimed more than 3,000 victims; the attackers have succeeded in stealing over a million files and documents.

In addition to highly sophisticated and carefully planned distribution of spear phishing emails designed to infect the victims, Desert Falcons used social engineering on Facebook. The attackers created dedicated accounts to begin communicating with their intended victims, gain their trust and then use the chat facility to send each victim a malicious program disguised as an image. For infections on a bigger scale, the group used posts containing malicious links, created using compromised or fake accounts of political leaders.

Animal Farm APT

In March 2014 the French newspaper Le Monde published an article on a cyberespionage toolset identified by Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC). The toolset described was used in the Snowglobe operation, which targeted francophone Canadian media, as well as Greece, France, Norway and some African countries. Based on the results of their analysis, CSEC believed that the operation might have been initiated by French intelligence agencies.

In early 2015, researchers published analyses of some malicious programs (1, 2, 3) that had much in common with Snowglobe. In particular the research identified samples that contained the internal name Babar, which was the same as the name of the program mentioned in the CSEC slides.

Kaspersky Lab's web antivirus detected 28,5 mln unique malicious objects in the Q1 2015

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After analyzing the malicious programs used in this campaign and identifying the connections between them, Kaspersky Lab experts gave the group behind them the name Animal Farm. It was discovered that two of the three zero-day vulnerabilities found by Kaspersky Lab in 2014 and used by cybercriminals in their attacks were present in the group’s arsenal. For example, an attack from the compromised website of the Syrian Ministry of Justice using exploits for CVE-2014-0515 led to an Animal Farm tool, known as Casper, being downloaded.

A curious feature of this campaign is that NBOT – one of the malicious programs used by the group – is designed to conduct DDoS attacks. This functionality is not commonly used by typical APT groups. In addition, one of the malicious ‘animals’ has the strange name of Tafacalou – possibly, a word in Occitan, a language spoken in France and some other places.

Upatre – active distribution of the Dyre/Dyreza banker

Last quarter, the most widespread example of a banker Trojan was Upatre – a downloader for the Dyre financial malware, also known as Dyreza. This banker Trojan first appeared in 2014. It targets users from various financial organizations. It uses a technique designed to bypass SSL protection in order to steal payment information. This malware can also be used as a remote administration tool (RAT), enabling attackers to manually carry out transactions on behalf of online banking users.

The Upatre downloader is delivered to users in spam emails, many of which look like legitimate messages from financial institutions. Banks attacked by the banker Trojan Dyre, which is downloaded by Upatre, include Bank of America, Natwest, Citibank, RBS and Ulsterbank. According to researchers, the bulk of Dyre activity is currently taking place in the UK.

PoSeidon – attacks on PoS terminals

A new banker Trojan which attacks PoS terminals has been detected. PoSeidon scans a PoS system’s memory for payment information stored in plain text and sends any information it finds to the attackers.

Researchers from Cisco Security Solutions have identified three malware components that are probably associated with PoSeidon: a keylogger, a loader and a memory scraper that also has keylogging functionality. The keylogger is designed to steal credentials for the LogMeIn remote access application. It deletes encrypted LogMeIn passwords and profiles that are stored in the system registry in order to force users to type them again. The researchers believe this keylogger is potentially used to steal the remote access credentials that are needed to compromise point-of-sale systems and install PoSeidon.

In the Q1 2015 Kaspersky Lab mobile products detected 103 072 new malicious mobile programs

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Once the PoSeidon attackers get access to a PoS terminal, they install a loader. This component downloads another file called FindStr from the group’s command-and-control (C&C) servers. FindStr is used to find strings that match payment card numbers in the memory of running processes. Curiously, the malware only looks for card numbers that begin with specific digits.

Statistics

All the statistics used in this report were obtained using 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 malware is evolving towards monetization – with malware writers trying to render their creations capable of obtaining money and users’ bank data using a variety of techniques.

More and more SMS Trojans are being enhanced with features that enable them to attack victims’ bank accounts. An example of this is Trojan-SMS.AndroidOS.OpFake.cc, which can now attack at least 29 banking and financial applications.

Malware writers are also beginning to build ransomware functionality into their SMS Trojans. For example, in order to obtain victims’ bank card data, Trojan-SMS.AndroidOS.FakeInst.ep uses techniques typical of ransomware programs: windows opened by the malware cannot be closed without entering the data.

What the user sees is a message, purportedly from Google, demanding that the user opens Google Wallet and goes through the ‘personification’ procedure by entering their credit card details (curiously, one of the justifications given for these actions is the need to combat cybercrime). The window cannot be removed until the victim enters credit card details.

Trojan-Spy programs, like SMS Trojans, are modified so that they can attack victims’ bank accounts. For example, Trojan-Spy.AndroidOS.SmsThief.ay is now capable of attacking five different banking and financial applications.

The upshot of this is that the mobile malware used by cybercriminals to hunt for their victims’ money is becoming increasingly versatile. Stealing money from users’ bank accounts by attacking banking applications is now something that can be done not only by dedicated Trojan-Bankers but also by some SMS Trojans and even Trojan-Spies. This may be one of the reasons why relatively few mobile banker Trojans were detected in Q1 2015.

In the Q1 2015 Kaspersky Lab mobile products detected 1,527 mobile banking Trojans

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Overall, mobile malware designed to steal or extort money from users (SMS Trojans, banker Trojans and ransomware Trojans) accounted for 23.2% of new mobile threats in Q1 2015. All three malware types are extremely dangerous and the malware writers' interest in their victims' money provides an incentive for their further development and evolution.

New developments from malware writers
  1. Trojan-Banker.AndroidOS.Binka.d, a banker Trojan, has evolved. Now it can ‘listen in’ to its victim. Sound is recorded using the device’s microphone and written to a file that is transferred to the cybercriminals’ server.
  2. A technique based on patching applications and embedding malicious code into them is now one of the main methods used to distribute Trojans. For example, Trojan-SMS.AndroidOS.Chyapo.a was embedded in the Unity Launcher Free app. The difference between clean and malicious applications is, in this case, manifested only by a new permission requirement – the malicious app requires access to the handling of incoming SMS messages. Another curious thing about this Trojan was that its command-and-control server was hosted on sites.google.com.
  3. The developers of Podec, an SMS Trojan, have mastered a new distribution technique – through the VKontakte social network. A malicious file was uploaded to the popular social network’s content storage servers.  The Trojan made it into the Top Three malicious mobile programs based on the number of users attacked.
  4. Malware that can actively resist security solutions is not a new technology, but it is gaining in popularity. Trojan-Banker.AndroidOS.Svpeng.f, a banker Trojan first detected in Q1, tries to remove the applications of three antivirus vendors: Avast, Eset, and DrWeb.
Mobile threat statistics

In Q1 2015, Kaspersky Lab mobile security products detected 103,072 new malicious mobile programs, a 3.3 fold increase on Q4 2014.

The number of installation packages detected was 147,835 – this is 2.3 times as many as in the previous quarter.

Number of malicious installation packages
and new malicious mobile programs detected (Q3 2014 - Q1 2015)

We have lately seen the ratio of malicious installation packages to new malicious programs diminish. In Q3 2014, there was an average of 6.2 malicious installation packages per malicious program, in Q4 – there were about two installation packages per malicious program. In Q1 2015, the ratio was down to 1.4.

Distribution of mobile malware by type

Distribution of new mobile malware by type, Q1 2015

The ranking of malware objects for mobile devices for the first quarter of 2015 was headed by RiskTool (35.7%). These are legitimate applications that are potentially dangerous for the user – if used carelessly or manipulated by a cybercriminal, they could lead to financial losses.

SMS Trojans came second with 21%. As we wrote in our previous reports, in Q3 2014 the proportion of SMS Trojans to all new mobile threats fell from 22% to 14%. However, this type of malware regained lost ground by the end of 2014. In terms of growth rate, it is in third place: in Q1 2015 the total number of SMS Trojans in our collection increased by 18.7%.

Third place in the rankings was taken by potentially unwanted advertising apps (15.2%). The number of such applications in the overall stream of new mobile threats is gradually declining.

Более 93 млн. опасных ссылок выявили продукты "ЛК" с января по март 2015 года

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The share of banker Trojans among all the mobile malware first detected in Q1 has significantly declined compared to previous quarters and was down to 1.1%. The number of new mobile bankers in our collection grew by 6.5% during the quarter.

One other thing worth noting is that Trojan-Ransom malware, which has not been in the cybercriminals’ arsenal for very long, demonstrated the highest growth rate of all mobile threats. The number of new samples detected in Q1 was 1,113, resulting in a 65% increase in the number of mobile ransomware samples in our collection. This is a dangerous trend: since malware of this type is designed to extort money, it can damage personal data and block infected devices.

Another type of mobile threat which is showing a high growth rate is spyware (Trojan-Spy). The number of such programs in our collection increased by 35% in the first quarter of 2015.

Top 20 malicious mobile programs   Name % of attacks * 1 DangerousObject.Multi.Generic 10.90% 2 AdWare.AndroidOS.Viser.a 9.20% 3 Trojan-SMS.AndroidOS.Podec.a 7.92% 4 RiskTool.AndroidOS.MimobSMS.a 7.82% 5 Trojan-SMS.AndroidOS.OpFake.a 6.44% 6 Trojan.AndroidOS.Mobtes.b 6.09% 7 Adware.AndroidOS.MobiDash.a 5.96% 8 Exploit.AndroidOS.Lotoor.be 4.84% 9 RiskTool.AndroidOS.SMSreg.gc 4.42% 10 AdWare.AndroidOS.Xynyin.a 3.31% 11 AdWare.AndroidOS.Ganlet.a 2.63% 12 Exploit.AndroidOS.Lotoor.a 2.19% 13 AdWare.AndroidOS.Dowgin.l 2.16% 14 Trojan-SMS.AndroidOS.Stealer.a 2.08% 15 AdWare.AndroidOS.Kirko.a 2.04% 16 Trojan.AndroidOS.Rootnik.a 1.82% 17 Trojan.AndroidOS.Pawen.a 1.81% 18 Trojan-SMS.AndroidOS.Gudex.f 1.75% 19 RiskTool.AndroidOS.SMSreg.dd 1.69% 20 AdWare.AndroidOS.Kemoge.a 1.52%

* 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 (10.90%). This is how new malicious applications are detected by Kaspersky Security Network cloud technologies, which help our products to significantly shorten the response time to new and unknown threats.

Potentially unwanted advertising applications accounted for seven positions in the rankings, including second place, which was taken by AdWare.AndroidOS.Viser.a (9.2%).

SMS Trojans continue to lose ground in the Top 20 ranking of mobile threats: while in Q4 2014 they had nine positions in the rankings, in Q1 2015 they only had four.

Nevertheless, Trojan-SMS.AndroidOS.Podec.a (7.92%) has been among the Top Three malicious mobile programs for two quarters in a row due to its active dissemination. As we mentioned above, the malware was uploaded to the file storage servers of VKontakte, Russia’s largest social network. On top of everything else, this Trojan is known to use the most powerful commercial obfuscator available today.

RiskTool malware occupied six positions in the Top 20, with RiskTool.AndroidOS.MimobSMS.a (7.82% of users attacked) ranking fourth.

Mobile banker Trojans

In Q1 2015, we detected 1,527 mobile banker Trojans –a 4.4 fold decline on the previous quarter.

Number of mobile banker Trojans detected (Q1 2014 – Q1 2015)

Geography of mobile banking threats in Q1 2015
(number of users attacked)

96% of attacks involving mobile banker Trojans were against users located in 10 countries.

Top 10 counties attacked by mobile banker Trojans:

  Country % of all attacks* 1 Russia 86.66% 2 Ukraine 2.27% 3 US 2.21% 4 Kazakhstan 1.87% 5 Germany 0.97% 6 Republic of Korea 0.70% 7 Belarus 0.64% 8 UK 0.37% 9 Uzbekistan 0.34% 10 India 0.21%

* Percentage of users attacked per country, relative to all users attacked

Russia retained its traditional top position in the rankings. Ukraine moved up to second place, pushing the US and Kazakhstan down to the third and fourth positions, respectively. Belarus moved two notches down to seventh place.

The geography of mobile threats

In Q1 2015, mobile malicious attacks were detected at least once in 213 countries.

The geography of mobile malware infection attempts in Q1 2015
(percentage of all users attacked)

Top 10 countries attacked by mobile malware:

  Country % of attacks* 1 Russia 41.92% 2 India 7.55% 3 Germany 4.37% 4 Brazil 3.20% 5 Iran 3.12% 6 Kazakhstan 2.88% 7 US 2.84% 8 Ukraine 2.53% 9 Malaysia 2.05% 10 Vietnam 1.87%

*Percentage of users attacked per country, relative to all users attacked

Russia (42%) remained at the top of this ranking, with the other countries lagging far behind. India (7.5%) was in second place.

Vulnerable applications exploited by cybercriminals

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, Q1 2015

The top position in the Q1 2015 rankings was occupied by the Browsers category (64%), which includes exploits targeting Internet Explorer. This category was also at the top of the rankings in the last three quarters of 2014.

In Q1, we saw a significant fall in the number of exploits for Oracle Java (down seven percentage points (p.p.) from Q4 2014). This can be explained by the fact that exploits for these applications were almost completely removed from all exploit packs.

It is worth mentioning the growing number of exploits for Microsoft Office (up two p.p. from Q4 2014) and Adobe Flash Player (up by one p.p.) in Q1 2015.

The increase in the number of malicious flash objects was primarily due to the large number of vulnerabilities discovered in the first quarter of 2015. Virtually all exploit packs now include exploits for Adobe Flash Player vulnerabilities.

Online 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 first quarter of 2015, Kaspersky Lab solutions blocked attempts to launch malware capable of stealing money via online banking on the computers of 929,082 users. This figure represents a 64.3% increase compared to the previous quarter (565,515).

Number of computers attacked by financial malware (Q1 2015)

Attacks using financial malware are on the rise. Note that there was a sharp increase in the number of such attacks in March 2015.

A total of 5,106,804 notifications of malicious activity by programs designed to steal money via online access to bank accounts were registered by Kaspersky Lab security solutions in Q1 2015.

Geography of attacks

Geography of banking malware attacks (Q1 2014)

Top 10 countries by the number of users attacked

  Countries Number of users attacked 1 Brazil 91,893 2 Russia 85,828 3 US 66,699 4 Germany 51,670 5 UK 25,269 6 India 22,085 7 Turkey 21,397 8 Australia 18,997 9 Italy 17,663 10 Spain 17,416

Brazil continued to lead the ranking of countries most affected by banking malware, with the number of attacks increasing by 15% compared to the previous quarter (79,845).

The Top 10 banking malware families

The table below shows the top 10 programs most commonly used to attack online banking users in Q1 2015, based on the number of users attacked:

Name Number of notifications Number of users attacked Trojan-Downloader.Win32.Upatre 3,127,365 349,574 Trojan-Spy.Win32.Zbot 865,873 182,966 Trojan-Banker.Win32.ChePro 355,735 91,809 Trojan-Banker.Win32.Banbra 35,182 16,363 Trojan.Win32.Tinba 94,972 15,719 Trojan-Banker.Win32.Agent 44,640 12,893 Trojan-Banker.Win32.Shiotob 60,868 12,283 Trojan-Banker.Win32.Banker 39,728 12,110 Trojan-Spy.Win32.SpyEyes 57,418 9,168 Backdoor.Win32.Papras 56,273 3,062

The vast majority of malicious programs in the Top 10 ranking use a technique based on injecting arbitrary HTML code into the web page displayed by the browser and intercepting payment credentials entered by the user in original and injected web forms.

In the first quarter of 2015, Zeus (Trojan-Spy.Win32.Zbot), which in 2014 was the most popular malicious program in this category, gave up its top position to Trojan-Downloader.Win32.Upatre. 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.

The third specimen in the banker Trojan Top Three is Trojan-Banker.Win32.ChePro. This malware spreads via spam emails with online banking-related subject strings (e.g., messages can have “Invoice for online banking” as their subject). A word document with an embedded image is attached to such messages; upon clicking on the image, malicious code is executed.

Financial threats

Financial threats are not limited to banker malware that attacks online banking customers.

Financial malware: distribution by malware type

The second most widespread financial threat in Q1 2015 was Bitcoin wallet theft. Another cryptocurrency-related threat was Bitcoin mining, i.e., using victims' computers to generate Bitcoins.

Top 20 malicious objects detected online

In the first quarter of 2015, Kaspersky Lab's web antivirus detected 28,483,783 unique malicious objects: scripts, exploits, executable files, etc.

We identified the 20 most active malicious objects involved in online attacks against users' computers. These 20 accounted for 95.9% of all attacks on the Internet.

Top 20 malicious objects detected online

  Name* % of all attacks** 1 Malicious URL 37.55% 2 AdWare.JS.Agent.bg 36.06% 3 AdWare.Script.Generic 6.58% 4 Trojan.Script.Iframer 4.49% 5 AdWare.NSIS.AnProt.b 3.83% 6 Trojan.Script.Generic 2.91% 7 AdWare.JS.Agent.an 1.06% 8 AdWare.Win32.Yotoon.bfm 0.81% 9 Trojan.JS.Redirector.ads 0.47% 10 Exploit.Script.Blocker 0.33% 11 AdWare.Win32.Eorezo.eod 0.31% 12 Trojan.Win32.Generic 0.24% 13 Trojan-Downloader.Win32.Generic 0.22% 14 AdWare.Win32.ConvertAd.vo 0.17% 15 Trojan-Downloader.Script.Generic 0.16% 16 AdWare.NSIS.Agent.bx 0.16% 17 AdWare.NSIS.Agent.cv 0.13% 18 AdWare.AndroidOS.Xynyin.a 0.13% 19 AdWare.Win32.Yotoon.heur 0.12% 20 AdWare.Win32.SoftPulse.xvm 0.12%

*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 objects used in drive-by attacks, as well as adware programs. 37.55% of all verdicts fell on links that are included in blacklists.

Top 10 countries where online resources are seeded with malware

The following statistics are based on the physical location of online resources that were used in attacks and blocked by antivirus components (web pages containing redirects to exploits, sites containing exploits and other malware, botnet command-and-control 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 were matched up against the actual domain IP addresses, and then the geographical locations of specific IP addresses (GEOIP) were established.

In Q1 2015, Kaspersky Lab solutions blocked 469,220,213 attacks launched from web resources located in various countries around the world. 90% 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, Q1 2015

This Top 10 ranking typically remains unchanged for extended periods of time. However, Q1 2015 saw a change of leader. The top position is now occupied by Russia (with almost 40%), which rose from fourth position. The US, which headed the ranking in the previous quarter, is now in second position with 18%.

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 calculated the percentage of Kaspersky Lab users in each country who encountered detection verdicts on their machines during the quarter. The resulting data provides an indication of the aggressiveness of the environment in which computers work in different countries.

  Country* % of unique users attacked ** 1 Kazakhstan 42.37% 2 Russia 41.48% 3 Azerbaijan 38.43% 4 Ukraine 37.03% 5 Croatia 37.00% 6 Armenia 35.74% 7 Mongolia 33.54% 8 Moldova 33.47% 9 Belarus 33.36% 10 Kyrgyzstan 32.20% 11 Algeria 32.12% 12 Qatar 31.15% 13 Georgia 30.69% 14 UAE 29.36% 15 Latvia 28.69% 16 Tajikistan 28.36% 17 Bosnia and Herzegovina 28.00% 18 Greece 27.55% 19 Tunisia 27,54% 20 Bulgaria 27,44%

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 excluded 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 the first quarter of 2015, the top position in the rankings was occupied by Kazakhstan, which pushed Russia down to second place. Since the previous quarter, Vietnam and Portugal have left the Top 20. The rankings’ newcomers were Bosnia and Herzegovina (28.00%) and Greece (27.55%), which were in 17th and 18th positions, respectively.

The countries with the safest online surfing environments included Japan (12.4%), Denmark (12.7%), Singapore (14.3%), Finland (14.9%), South Africa (14.8%) and the Netherlands (15.2%).

On average, 26.3% 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 user 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 Q1 2015, Kaspersky Lab's file antivirus modules detected 253,560,227 unique malicious and potentially unwanted objects.

Top 20 malicious objects detected on user computers   Name* % of unique users attacked ** 1 DangerousObject.Multi.Generic 22.56% 2 Trojan.WinLNK.StartPage.gena 17.05% 3 Trojan.Win32.Generic 15.06% 4 AdWare.Script.Generic 6.12% 5 WebToolbar.Win32.Agent.azm 4.49% 6 WebToolbar.JS.Condonit.a 4.20% 7 AdWare.Win32.Agent.heur 4.15% 8 RiskTool.Win32.BackupMyPC.a 3.83% 9 Downloader.Win32.Agent.bxib 3.74% 10 Trojan.Win32.AutoRun.gen 3.70% 11 Trojan.VBS.Agent.ue 3.64% 12 Downloader.Win32.MediaGet.elo 3.42% 13 AdWare.Win32.SearchProtect.ky 3.34% 14 Worm.VBS.Dinihou.r 3.31% 15 Virus.Win32.Sality.gen 3.18% 16 AdWare.Win32.DealPly.brj 2.86% 17 Trojan.Script.Generic 2.74% 18 AdWare.Win32.NewNext.a 2.70% 19 WebToolbar.JS.CroRi.b 2.66% 20 AdWare.MSIL.Kranet.heur 2.49%

*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.

This ranking usually includes verdicts issued to adware programs and their components (such as Trojan.VBS.Agent.ue,). In Q1 2015, such verdicts occupied thirteen places in the Top 20.

A newcomer to the rankings, Trojan.WinLNK.StartPage.gena, jumped straight into second position. This is a verdict given to LNK files containing a browser link which specifies the page to be opened. These pages usually have names similar to those of Internet search engines, but they actually redirect users to sites with questionable content. Some of these sites can be dangerous and are even detected by antivirus solutions. Detections of such LNK files peaked in January.

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 Q1 2015, Sality was in 15th place with 3.18%.

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 had been 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 infection

  Country* % of unique users ** 1 Vietnam 60.68% 2 Bangladesh 60.20% 3 Mongolia 57.28% 4 Yemen 55.91% 5 Somalia 55.64% 6 Nepal 55.01% 7 Afghanistan 54.91% 8 Algeria 54.83% 9 Iraq 54.38% 10 Cambodia 52.70% 11 Laos 52.54% 12 Armenia 52.44% 13 Pakistan 51.95% 14 Kazakhstan 51.54% 15 Ruanda 51.36% 16 Ethiopia 50.93% 17 Egypt 50.60% 18 Syria 50.11% 19 India 50.00% 20 Tajikistan 49.80%

These statistics are based on the detection verdicts returned by OAS and ODS antivirus modules, received from users of Kaspersky Lab products who have consented to provide their statistical data. The data includes 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 excluded 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.

For a long time, countries in Africa, the Middle East and South-East Asia took all the positions in this ranking. However, in Q1 2015, the rankings had such newcomers as Armenia (12th position), Kazakhstan (14th position) and Tajikistan (20th position).

Vietnam (60.68%) has headed the rankings for almost two years, while Bangladesh (60.2%) and Mongolia (57.3%) have kept their positions for the third quarter in a row.

In Russia, local threats in Q1 2015 were detected on computers of 49.6% of users.

The safest countries in terms of local infection risks were: Japan (14.7%), Denmark (20.1%), Sweden (21.4%), Hong Kong (21.5%), and Finland (21.6%).

An average of 39.8% of computers globally faced at least one local threat during Q1 2015, which is two p.p. more than in Q4 2014.

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