Endpoint
2/2/2016
08:00 AM
Connect Directly
Twitter
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Macro Malware Resurgence Highlighted By Kasidet Outbreak

Also known as Neutrino, this piece of malware is another case of Office macro malaise.

The Neutrino bot is getting a new boost of rejuvenation from a retro form of distribution that's been making a huge comeback lately. According to research last week out from Zscaler, Neutrino--also known as Kasidet--has spiked again in the wild with the help of malicious Microsoft Office macros. This latest example of VBA-related malware is another piece of evidence that a once forgotten class of malware has roared back to life in the last 18 months.

The delivery of Kasidet backdoors is the continuation of a months-long series of campaigns to drop the Dridex banking malware on victim computers using malicious macros, Zscaler reseachers say.

"Over the past two weeks we are seeing these malicious VBA macros leveraged to drop Kasidet backdoor in addition to Dridex on the infected systems," Zscaler's researchers wrote. "These malicious Office documents are being spread as an attachment using spear phishing emails."

The variant of Kasidet identified in this latest campaign features two main information-stealing features. The first is through browser hooking. And the second is through the point-of-sale (POS) system memory scraping functionality Kasidet is starting to increasingly employ. Once known primarily for its distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) arsenal, its POS targeting features began popping up in earnest last spring.

"Upgrading old malware to include PoS RAM-scraping capabilities is a new technique in the threat landscape, but it’s not surprising given how lucrative stolen payment card data is. It shows that more and more cybercriminals are putting two and two together to make more money," wrote TrendMicro researchers  in an explanation last fall of the phenomenon.

Zscaler researchers say that the inclusion of Kasidet in an ongoing push for Dridex shows how much cyber crooks share underlying infrastructure and delivery mechanisms. As such, infosecurity professionals should expect to see more macro malware in 2016.

According to the most recent McAfee Labs Threat Report Office macro malware has reached a crescendo over the last 18 months. Barely making a dent  in 2013, it started coming back gradually in 2014 until it spiked at the end of that year. Since then, criminals have been on a tear taking advantage of macro vulnerabilities. At the end of third quarter in 2015, year over year growth in macro threats tripled. And McAfee says it has reached its highest level since 2009. 

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
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
The Changing Face of Identity Management
Mobility and cloud services are altering the concept of user identity. Here are some ways to keep up.
Flash Poll
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-7445
Published: 2015-10-15
The Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) subsystem in the Linux kernel through 4.x mishandles requests for Graphics Execution Manager (GEM) objects, which allows context-dependent attackers to cause a denial of service (memory consumption) via an application that processes graphics data, as demonstrated b...

CVE-2015-4948
Published: 2015-10-15
netstat in IBM AIX 5.3, 6.1, and 7.1 and VIOS 2.2.x, when a fibre channel adapter is used, allows local users to gain privileges via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2015-5660
Published: 2015-10-15
Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in eXtplorer before 2.1.8 allows remote attackers to hijack the authentication of arbitrary users for requests that execute PHP code.

CVE-2015-6003
Published: 2015-10-15
Directory traversal vulnerability in QNAP QTS before 4.1.4 build 0910 and 4.2.x before 4.2.0 RC2 build 0910, when AFP is enabled, allows remote attackers to read or write to arbitrary files by leveraging access to an OS X (1) user or (2) guest account.

CVE-2015-6333
Published: 2015-10-15
Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) 1.1j allows local users to gain privileges via vectors involving addition of an SSH key, aka Bug ID CSCuw46076.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio

The cybersecurity profession struggles to retain women (figures range from 10 to 20 percent). It's particularly worrisome for an industry with a rapidly growing number of vacant positions.

So why does the shortage of women continue to be worse in security than in other IT sectors? How can men in infosec be better allies for women; and how can women be better allies for one another? What is the industry doing to fix the problem -- what's working, and what isn't?

Is this really a problem at all? Are the low numbers simply an indication that women do not want to be in cybersecurity, and is it possible that more women will never want to be in cybersecurity? How many women would we need to see in the industry to declare success?

Join Dark Reading senior editor Sara Peters and guests Angela Knox of Cloudmark, Barrett Sellers of Arbor Networks, Regina Wallace-Jones of Facebook, Steve Christey Coley of MITRE, and Chris Roosenraad of M3AAWG on Wednesday, July 13 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time to discuss all this and more.