Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Attacks/Breaches

9/16/2011
12:53 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Cyberespionage Attackers Buying Crimeware-Infected Machines

Some APT actors are forgoing the zero-day by buying infected bots, machines from mainstream cybercriminals, FireEye CEO and CTO says

Nation-state cyberespionage attackers are buying already-infected machines from cybercriminals as a more streamlined way to infiltrate a targeted organization, according to FireEye.

Ashar Aziz, CEO and CTO of FireEye, says his firm has spotted such conspiracy between traditional cybercriminals who infect machines for profit, and so-called advanced persistent threat (APT)-type attackers who infiltrate targeted organizations to steal intellectual property or other intelligence.

"[The] crimeware infection got promoted to an APT infection," Aziz says. "We are seeing collusion between the criminal element and the nation-state. Rather than launch a targeted attack ... they choose to come back to an existing infection" to get inside more easily and faster, he says.

"The malware itself ... can be on sale and acquired by a more sophisticated enemy to perform a much deeper infiltration on the back of an initial crime infection," Aziz says. "Why not simply buy access to an already-compromised system and save those expensive zero-days?"

Once the APT-type attacker purchases an infected machine, all he has to do is send it more malware: "They are able to download more malware and binaries. Now you have a platform for distributing more malware," he says.

FireEye researchers first spotted this trend when they saw a specific APT class of malware associated with Ghostnet on a machine also carrying a primary infection of more mainstream crimeware malware. "We saw it downloading a Trojan we know is affiliated with the command-and-control servers of Ghostnet," Aziz says.

"This is the warning: You'd better take all infections seriously," he says.

While the industry is currently classifying threat actors in three main categories -- crimeware, hactivists, and APTs -- there's sometimes a blurred line between them, he says.

Meanwhile, malware is slipping past most network security infrastructures, according to a new report from FireEye.

Malware and targeted attacks are bypassing firewalls, intrusion prevention systems, antivirus, and Web and email gateways, with 99 percent of enterprises having had malware get inside their networks each week -- even after spending some $20 billion per year on security, and 80 percent with more than 100 malware attacks hitting per week, the report says.

"[The malware got past] a few dozen next-generation firewalls, too, because under the hood it's still signature-based. They have the same infiltration rate as previous-generation firewalls," Aziz says.

Nearly 95 percent of malicious programs and domains change within a 24-hour period in order to evade detection by signature-based technology, with 90 percent of them altered within a few hours, according to FireEye. And the top 50 malware families are responsible for 80 percent of malware infections.

A full copy of the FireEye Advanced Threat Report For 1H 2011 is available here (PDF).

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Add Your Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
I 'Hacked' My Accounts Using My Mobile Number: Here's What I Learned
Nicole Sette, Director in the Cyber Risk practice of Kroll, a division of Duff & Phelps,  11/19/2019
TPM-Fail: What It Means & What to Do About It
Ari Singer, CTO at TrustPhi,  11/19/2019
Ransomware Surge & Living-Off-the-Land Tactics Remain Big Threats
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  11/19/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Navigating the Deluge of Security Data
In this Tech Digest, Dark Reading shares the experiences of some top security practitioners as they navigate volumes of security data. We examine some examples of how enterprises can cull this data to find the clues they need.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-19227
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-22
In the AppleTalk subsystem in the Linux kernel before 5.1, there is a potential NULL pointer dereference because register_snap_client may return NULL. This will lead to denial of service in net/appletalk/aarp.c and net/appletalk/ddp.c, as demonstrated by unregister_snap_client, aka CID-9804501fa122.
CVE-2019-10203
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-22
PowerDNS Authoritative daemon , all versions pdns 4.1.x before pdns 4.1.10, exiting when encountering a serial between 2^31 and 2^32-1 while trying to notify a slave leads to DoS.
CVE-2019-10206
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-22
ansible-playbook -k and ansible cli tools, all versions 2.8.x before 2.8.4, all 2.7.x before 2.7.13 and all 2.6.x before 2.6.19, prompt passwords by expanding them from templates as they could contain special characters. Passwords should be wrapped to prevent templates trigger and exposing them.
CVE-2018-10854
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-22
cloudforms version, cloudforms 5.8 and cloudforms 5.9, is vulnerable to a cross-site-scripting. A flaw was found in CloudForms's v2v infrastructure mapping delete feature. A stored cross-site scripting due to improper sanitization of user input in Name field.
CVE-2019-13157
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-22
nsGreen.dll in Naver Vaccine 2.1.4 allows remote attackers to overwrite arbitary files via directory traversal sequences in a filename within nsz archive.