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

Profit-Minded Trojans

Majority of Trojan attacks now designed for financial gain, researchers say

The first Trojan horse was designed to win the war and get the girl. But according to new research from PandaLabs, Trojan software makers now have gone commercial.

Sixty-six percent of the new Trojans that emerged in the first quarter of 2007 were designed for financial gain, according to the security company's quarterly research report, which was published Wednesday.

"Trojans help their authors make a financial profit in many different ways, from stealing bank passwords to modifying the server's DNS to redirect users to spoofed Websites," says Luis Corrons, technical director at PandaLabs, the research arm of Panda Software. "In fact, Trojans are currently the most widely used malware, due to their flexibility to carry out these types of crimes."

Other security researchers have also found a strong uptick in financially oriented Trojan traffic. Kaspersky Lab in February said it has spotted a surge in bank Trojans. (See Attackers Take Trojans to the Bank.) RSA in March launched a service specifically targeted toward controlling Trojans. (See RSA Launches Anti-Trojan Service.)

The new Trojans detected by PandaLabs in the first quarter belonged to almost 700 different families and represented 74 percent of the new malware detected during the period, the report says. The most frequently detected Trojan variety was the downloader family, which made up 42 percent of the total.

Over the first quarter of 2007, Trojans were the most active category of malware, according to PandaLabs.

"There are two main reasons for this. Firstly, Trojans are the best tool for stealing confidential data -- bank details, email accounts for spamming, and so forth -- which can then be turned easily into profit," Corrons observes. "They also are a more discreet way of stealing this data than other techniques, such as phishing."

Most new malware is designed to make money, PandaLabs says in its report. "Cyber-criminals want, above all, to earn financial profit from their activities," the report says. "Hackers have turned professional, offering services such as tailor-made malware, etc., to attack companies."

Malware attacks today often involve multiple individuals working together, the report says. "Middlemen are used, just they are in other illegitimate businesses. First, specific malware is created to steal information. Then, the malware is distributed, and information from infected users is compiled.

"Hackers don't use the information directly, they resell it to third parties," the report continues. "Third parties then use mules, attracting them with tricks, such as 'earn easy money from home in a few hours.' Police are more likely to catch the mule than the other participants in the scam. It is therefore very difficult to associate the creator of the Trojan with the crimes committed."

The PandaLabs report can be downloaded by clicking here.

— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading

  • Kaspersky Lab
  • Panda Software
  • RSA Security Inc. (Nasdaq: EMC)

    Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

    Comment  | 
    Print  | 
    More Insights
  • Comments
    Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
    Sodinokibi Ransomware: Where Attackers' Money Goes
    Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  10/15/2019
    Data Privacy Protections for the Most Vulnerable -- Children
    Dimitri Sirota, Founder & CEO of BigID,  10/17/2019
    State of SMB Insecurity by the Numbers
    Ericka Chickowski, Contributing Writer,  10/17/2019
    Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
    White Papers
    Video
    Cartoon
    Current Issue
    7 Threats & Disruptive Forces Changing the Face of Cybersecurity
    This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at the biggest emerging threats and disruptive forces that are changing the face of cybersecurity today.
    Flash Poll
    2019 Online Malware and Threats
    2019 Online Malware and Threats
    As cyberattacks become more frequent and more sophisticated, enterprise security teams are under unprecedented pressure to respond. Is your organization ready?
    Twitter Feed
    Dark Reading - Bug Report
    Bug Report
    Enterprise Vulnerabilities
    From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
    CVE-2019-16404
    PUBLISHED: 2019-10-21
    Authenticated SQL Injection in interface/forms/eye_mag/js/eye_base.php in OpenEMR through 5.0.2 allows a user to extract arbitrary data from the openemr database via a non-parameterized INSERT INTO statement, as demonstrated by the providerID parameter.
    CVE-2019-17400
    PUBLISHED: 2019-10-21
    The unoconv package before 0.9 mishandles untrusted pathnames, leading to SSRF and local file inclusion.
    CVE-2019-17498
    PUBLISHED: 2019-10-21
    In libssh2 v1.9.0 and earlier versions, the SSH_MSG_DISCONNECT logic in packet.c has an integer overflow in a bounds check, enabling an attacker to specify an arbitrary (out-of-bounds) offset for a subsequent memory read. A crafted SSH server may be able to disclose sensitive information or cause a ...
    CVE-2019-16969
    PUBLISHED: 2019-10-21
    In FusionPBX up to 4.5.7, the file app\fifo_list\fifo_interactive.php uses an unsanitized "c" variable coming from the URL, which is reflected in HTML, leading to XSS.
    CVE-2019-16974
    PUBLISHED: 2019-10-21
    In FusionPBX up to 4.5.7, the file app\contacts\contact_times.php uses an unsanitized "id" variable coming from the URL, which is reflected in HTML, leading to XSS.