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Attacks/Breaches

10/14/2011
10:26 AM
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New Version Of Zeus Leverages Peer-To-Peer Technology

Update could make it more difficult to take down fraud operations, researcher says.

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10 Companies Driving Mobile Security
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The popular Zeus malware has been enhanced with a peer-to-peer technology that allows it to receive orders without going through a central command-and-control (C&C) server--an enhancement that could make it harder to track and take down, researchers say.

According to news reports, the new version of the Murofet Zeus variant could make it harder for researchers and law enforcement to disrupt botnets by finding and disrupting their C&C servers.

"As with any set of tools, many different things can be built or modified--and so it goes with the latest variant of Zeus to make the rounds," said Andy Hayter, anti-malcode program manager at ICSA Labs, which tests security products. "Going from random creation of domain names, this new variant uses hard-coded IP addresses to help spread, update, and infect additional computers."

The new Zeus malware is designed to attack online banking customers with the intent of stealing their data, experts said. With the growing popularity of mobile banking applications, portable devices could be a key target.

"Zeus is the flagship of mobile malware," says Tom Kellermann, CTO at mobile security vendor AirPatrol. "Zeus is ushering in the era of mobile attacks because of the mobile banking phenomenon. This should serve as a cautionary tale to the financial sector. The bank robbers of 2011 have commandeered your armored truck."

Since it now uses P2P, Murofet no longer uses a static URL to download binary updates and configuration files, researchers and news reports say. But it still uses a central domain, so while the new version might be harder to track, it's not unbeatable, they say.

Read the rest of this article on Dark Reading.

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