Vulnerabilities / Threats
9/11/2009
03:04 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Google Groups Used To Direct Trojan Malware

Malicious software has been found looking to Google Groups for instructions on how to behave badly.

Google's free online newsgroup Google Groups hosts plenty of harmless user-generated content. But like any service that allows users to post information, it also turns out to be useful for "misuser-generated content."

A Symantec security researcher has found that Trojan malware is using Google Groups to fetch commands for directing its attacks.

"A back door Trojan that we are calling Trojan.Grups has been using the Google Groups newsgroups to distribute commands," said Symantec security researcher Gavin O Gorman in a blog post on Friday. "Trojan distribution via newsgroups is relatively common, but this is the first instance of newsgroup [command and control] usage that Symantec has detected."

The Trojan is designed to request a page from escape2sun, a private newsgroup. The page lists instructions for the malware: an index number, a command line to execute, and, optionally, a file to download. The newsgroup also stores responses from the infected host. Commands and responses are encrypted, to conceal the information.

The Trojan itself doesn't appear to be particularly sophisticated. The fact that the private newsgroup containing the commands is in simplified Chinese and the fact the stored commands include references to the .tw domain suggest the author(s) designed it to operate in Taiwan.

Google, not surprisingly, frowns on this sort of thing.

"Using Google Groups, or any Google product, in this way is a violation of our product policies," said a Google spokesperson in an e-mail. "We take various actions, including shutting down accounts, to enforce these policies."

Indeed, it appears that Google has taken steps to shut the account.

Based on statistics gathered about the Trojan's distribution and the presence of several debugging strings in the malware code, O Gorman speculates that the Trojan is a prototype that's undergoing testing.

"The low numbers imply this is a discreet Trojan, used to subtly gather information and potentially determine future attack targets," he explains. "In addition, there is no attempt within the DLL to maintain persistence on the attacked computer, further evidence of a Trojan attempting to remain undiscovered. Such a Trojan could potentially have been developed for targeted corporate espionage where anonymity and discretion are priorities."


InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on the public cloud, digging into the gritty details of cloud computing services from a dozen vendors. Download the report here (registration required).

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-0485
Published: 2014-09-02
S3QL 1.18.1 and earlier uses the pickle Python module unsafely, which allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via a crafted serialized object in (1) common.py or (2) local.py in backends/.

CVE-2014-3861
Published: 2014-09-02
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in CDA.xsl in HL7 C-CDA 1.1 and earlier allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via a crafted reference element within a nonXMLBody element.

CVE-2014-3862
Published: 2014-09-02
CDA.xsl in HL7 C-CDA 1.1 and earlier allows remote attackers to discover potentially sensitive URLs via a crafted reference element that triggers creation of an IMG element with an arbitrary URL in its SRC attribute, leading to information disclosure in a Referer log.

CVE-2014-5076
Published: 2014-09-02
The La Banque Postale application before 3.2.6 for Android does not prevent the launching of an activity by a component of another application, which allows attackers to obtain sensitive cached banking information via crafted intents, as demonstrated by the drozer framework.

CVE-2014-5136
Published: 2014-09-02
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in Innovative Interfaces Sierra Library Services Platform 1.2_3 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via unspecified parameters.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
This episode of Dark Reading Radio looks at infosec security from the big enterprise POV with interviews featuring Ron Plesco, Cyber Investigations, Intelligence & Analytics at KPMG; and Chris Inglis & Chris Bell of Securonix.