Attacks/Breaches

1/11/2018
12:41 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

RIG EK Remains Top of Heap, Turns to Cryptomining

Popular exploit kit turns its sights to drive-by cryptomining in what security researchers believe will be a trend to follow in 2018.

Even after a precipitous drop in activity last quarter, security researchers say that the RIG Exploit Kit (RIG EK) still leads the pack when it comes to overall malicious campaigns. And some of them have found that the crooks are expanding their moneymaking horizons by using RIG to take advantage of the cryptocurrency craze bubbling the market for Bitcoin and other currencies. The exploit kit is being used by the bad guys in a new malicious campaign to distribute coin miners through drive-by downloads that they say likely signals another wide-scale evolution in the cybercriminal enterprise.

"There isn’t a day that goes by without a headline about yet another massive spike in Bitcoin valuation, or a story about someone mortgaging their house to purchase the hardware required to become a serious cryptocurrency miner," writes Jérôme Segura, lead malware intelligence analyst for Malwarebytes Labs in a new report this week. "As cryptocurrencies become more and more popular, we can only expect to see an increase in malicious coin miners, driven by the prospect of financial gains and increased anonymity."

According to Segura, the bad guys are leveraging RIG in a new campaign called Ngay that distributes droppers containimg one or more coin miner malware for cryptocurrencies like Monero and Electroneum. While some might write off these kinds of exploit kit payloads as less risky than a banking Trojan, Segura says their long-term impact is still serious.

"Not only can existing malware download additional payloads over the course of time, but the illicit gains from cryptomining contribute to financing the criminal ecosystem, costing billions of dollars in losses," he says.

Overall, RIG remains one of the most prevalent exploit kits to distribute any kind of malicious payload online, not just coin miners. According to a report out today by Zscaler, this leading position was maintained in spite of a pretty sizable drop in activity last quarter. 

"We saw an approximate drop in weekly activity of 63% between October and November 2017. RIG EK has been active at about the same volume of activity into January 2018 since the end of October," Derek Gooley, senior security researcher for Zscaler told Dark Reading. "RIG maintained a fairly constant level of activity throughout the summer (of 2017), which is what made this recent drop of observed activity stand out."

The Ngay campaign is not necessarily the first to have RIG EK or other exploit kits distribute coin miners, but it does offer an anecdotal touchstone for where researchers expect things to go in the next year.  

"Cryptocurrency mining payloads delivered by exploit kits are becoming increasingly common," Gooley wrote in his report. "Earlier this fall we observed a one-off RIG campaign that used a different malicious redirect structure than the common RIG campaigns to deliver the exploit kit. This campaign infected victims with the Dofoil Trojan, which then installed the malicious BitCoinMiner cryptocurrency mining tool."

Related Content:

Ericka Chickowski specializes in coverage of information technology and business innovation. She has focused on information security for the better part of a decade and regularly writes about the security industry as a contributor to Dark Reading.  View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
The Year in Security 2018
This Dark Reading Tech Digest explores the biggest news stories of 2018 that shaped the cybersecurity landscape.
Flash Poll
How Enterprises Are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How Enterprises Are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
Data breach fears and the need to comply with regulations such as GDPR are two major drivers increased spending on security products and technologies. But other factors are contributing to the trend as well. Find out more about how enterprises are attacking the cybersecurity problem by reading our report today.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-3906
PUBLISHED: 2019-01-18
Premisys Identicard version 3.1.190 contains hardcoded credentials in the WCF service on port 9003. An authenticated remote attacker can use these credentials to access the badge system database and modify its contents.
CVE-2019-3907
PUBLISHED: 2019-01-18
Premisys Identicard version 3.1.190 stores user credentials and other sensitive information with a known weak encryption method (MD5 hash of a salt and password).
CVE-2019-3908
PUBLISHED: 2019-01-18
Premisys Identicard version 3.1.190 stores backup files as encrypted zip files. The password to the zip is hard-coded and unchangeable. An attacker with access to these backups can decrypt them and obtain sensitive data.
CVE-2019-3909
PUBLISHED: 2019-01-18
Premisys Identicard version 3.1.190 database uses default credentials. Users are unable to change the credentials without vendor intervention.
CVE-2019-3910
PUBLISHED: 2019-01-18
Crestron AM-100 before firmware version 1.6.0.2 contains an authentication bypass in the web interface's return.cgi script. Unauthenticated remote users can use the bypass to access some administrator functionality such as configuring update sources and rebooting the device.