Risk
7/26/2010
03:46 PM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Zeus Malware Anti Piracy Measures Thwarts Competitors, Researchers

Zbot financial malware only works when executed on one specific machine and from one specific path, similar to hardware-based licensing systems employed by major software companies.

Security software vendor Sophos reports that it's discovered a new form of the Zeus -- aka Zbot -- financial malware kit that uses anti-piracy techniques to make it impossible to run the code for uses other than which it was intended.

"These Zbot samples have been crafted to ensure that they only work when executed on one specific machine and from one specific path. Any attempt to execute the sample on a different machine or from a different path will result in early termination of the malware and no impact on the target system," said James Wyke at SophosLabs UK.

"This sophisticated technique is very similar to hardware-based licensing systems employed by major software companies to protect their products from piracy," he said. "But until now I had not seen the technique used to protect malware binaries from analysis."

The advance is likely aimed at preventing rival botnet developers from stealing the Zeus code or exploiting Zeus installations for their own purposes. But it also helps stop security researchers from unraveling precisely how the code works, although many antivirus programs will block it.

Zeus is perhaps the best known of all financially oriented botnets, which aim to exploit individual PCs and harness their power en masse to launch phishing attacks, relay spam, launch denial of service attacks or just steal people's bank account information.

According to managed security services provider SecureWorks, Zeus is available starting at $3,000 on the black market. It can also be customized with a variety of a la carte offerings, including the ability to make financial transactions from zombie PCs, and a plug-in for using instant messaging to send and receive stolen data in real time. According to SohphosLabs' Wyke, the software's creators are nothing if not market-driven. "They appear to respond to customer requests and add new features just like a real software company." For example, Firefox support, formerly a $2,000 add-on by some accounts, is now built in. In addition, the software also allows for multiple infections by different versions of the bot, meaning that "more of the Zeus creators' customers -- the various bot-herders -- can infect the same machine and make money from it," he said.

The prevalence of botnets, as well as the widespread use of spam for distributing botnet-related malware or advertising lucrative online pharmacies, illustrates how most Internet attacks today are after one thing: money. But it's a sign of the times that Zeus's creators may not even be users themselves, but rather distributors.

"This is clear indication of how professional the Zeus operation has become," said Wyke. "The way their business model works -- sell the kit itself and let the buyer worry about getting the bot onto users' machines -- means that they can put all their efforts into development, without spending time and resources on distributing the bot files and infecting machines."

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-2014-2963
Published: 2014-07-10
Multiple cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in group/control_panel/manage in Liferay Portal 6.1.2 CE GA3, 6.1.X EE, and 6.2.X EE allow remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the (1) _2_firstName, (2) _2_lastName, or (3) _2_middleName parameter.

CVE-2014-3310
Published: 2014-07-10
The File Transfer feature in WebEx Meetings Client in Cisco WebEx Meetings Server and WebEx Meeting Center does not verify that a requested file was an offered file, which allows remote attackers to read arbitrary files via a modified request, aka Bug IDs CSCup62442 and CSCup58463.

CVE-2014-3311
Published: 2014-07-10
Heap-based buffer overflow in the file-sharing feature in WebEx Meetings Client in Cisco WebEx Meetings Server and WebEx Meeting Center allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via crafted data, aka Bug IDs CSCup62463 and CSCup58467.

CVE-2014-3315
Published: 2014-07-10
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in viewfilecontents.do in the Dialed Number Analyzer (DNA) component in Cisco Unified Communications Manager allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via an unspecified parameter, aka Bug ID CSCup76308.

CVE-2014-3316
Published: 2014-07-10
The Multiple Analyzer in the Dialed Number Analyzer (DNA) component in Cisco Unified Communications Manager allows remote authenticated users to bypass intended upload restrictions via a crafted parameter, aka Bug ID CSCup76297.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Marilyn Cohodas and her guests look at the evolving nature of the relationship between CIO and CSO.