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 Senior 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 Magazine, ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Flash Poll
Current Issue
Cartoon
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-2227
Published: 2014-07-25
The default Flash cross-domain policy (crossdomain.xml) in Ubiquiti Networks UniFi Video (formerly AirVision aka AirVision Controller) before 3.0.1 does not restrict access to the application, which allows remote attackers to bypass the Same Origin Policy via a crafted SWF file.

CVE-2014-5027
Published: 2014-07-25
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in Review Board 1.7.x before 1.7.27 and 2.0.x before 2.0.4 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via a query parameter to a diff fragment page.

CVE-2014-5100
Published: 2014-07-25
Multiple cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerabilities in Omeka before 2.2.1 allow remote attackers to hijack the authentication of administrators for requests that (1) add a new super user account via a request to admin/users/add, (2) insert cross-site scripting (XSS) sequences via the api_key_...

CVE-2014-5101
Published: 2014-07-25
Multiple cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in WeBid 1.1.1 allow remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the (1) TPL_name, (2) TPL_nick, (3) TPL_email, (4) TPL_year, (5) TPL_address, (6) TPL_city, (7) TPL_prov, (8) TPL_zip, (9) TPL_phone, (10) TPL_pp_email, (11) TPL_authn...

CVE-2014-5102
Published: 2014-07-25
SQL injection vulnerability in vBulletin 5.0.4 through 5.1.3 Alpha 5 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary SQL commands via the criteria[startswith] parameter to ajax/render/memberlist_items.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Sara Peters hosts a conversation on Botnets and those who fight them.