Attacks/Breaches
12/20/2012
04:32 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Of Mayans And Malicious Macros

New attack poses as PowerPoint presentation on the end of the world

Blame it on the Mayans again. A new threat preying on an interpretation of the Mayan calendar that predicts the end of the world tomorrow, Dec. 21, is spreading.

Researchers at SophosLabs stumbled across a PowerPoint presentation called "Will the world end in 2012?" that contains malware. What's interesting about the attack is that it uses macros (remember those?) to do its bidding. This Mayan-themed attack comes on the heels of one SophosLabs revealed yesterday that uses a rigged Microsoft Excel spreadsheet disguised as a tool to generate Sudoku puzzles.

The two attacks appear related, according to SophosLabs. "Like the Excel spreadsheet, this file contained Visual Basic macro code that drops an executable file called VBA[X].exe, where [X] is a random capital letter. In fact, the macro was functionally identical to that found in the Sudoku puzzle," says Chester Wisniewkski, senior security adviser at Sophos. "Also like the Sudoku generator, this sample required the user to enable macros, but didn't include the helpful tip on how to do it or really any good reason you might need a macro to learn about the end times."

Wisniewkski says the macros create a Windows Portable Executable file; a dropper downloads a picture of an owl and then connects to a command-and-control server. From there, it's set to download another piece of malware, but SophosLabs says it didn't do so when it tested the malware.

The researchers say it's likely an automatically generated attack.

"I took a look around and discovered the original, uninfected files that these dangerous macros had been added to. The presentation about the world ending was created by a preacher in the United States who appears to have nothing to do with this booby-trapped version," Wisniewkski says. But don't search for the preso, he says.

The preacher's WordPress blog "has been compromised and is currently performing search engine manipulation duties for Viagra pushers, 'off-shore' casinos, forex fraud, and payday loans," he says.

SophosLabs' full post on the attack is here.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Add Your Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is Executive Editor at DarkReading.com. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading December Tech Digest
Experts weigh in on the pros and cons of end-user security training.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-5395
Published: 2014-11-21
Multiple cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerabilities in Huawei HiLink E3276 and E3236 TCPU before V200R002B470D13SP00C00 and WebUI before V100R007B100D03SP01C03, E5180s-22 before 21.270.21.00.00, and E586Bs-2 before 21.322.10.00.889 allow remote attackers to hijack the authentication of users ...

CVE-2014-7137
Published: 2014-11-21
Multiple SQL injection vulnerabilities in Dolibarr ERP/CRM before 3.6.1 allow remote authenticated users to execute arbitrary SQL commands via the (1) contactid parameter in an addcontact action, (2) ligne parameter in a swapstatut action, or (3) project_ref parameter to projet/tasks/contact.php; (4...

CVE-2014-7871
Published: 2014-11-21
SQL injection vulnerability in Open-Xchange (OX) AppSuite before 7.4.2-rev36 and 7.6.x before 7.6.0-rev23 allows remote authenticated users to execute arbitrary SQL commands via a crafted jslob API call.

CVE-2014-8090
Published: 2014-11-21
The REXML parser in Ruby 1.9.x before 1.9.3 patchlevel 551, 2.0.x before 2.0.0 patchlevel 598, and 2.1.x before 2.1.5 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (CPU and memory consumption) a crafted XML document containing an empty string in an entity that is used in a large number of nes...

CVE-2014-8469
Published: 2014-11-21
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in Guests/Boots in AdminCP in Moxi9 PHPFox before 4 Beta allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the User-Agent header.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Now that the holiday season is about to begin both online and in stores, will this be yet another season of nonstop gifting to cybercriminals?