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.


Single Trojan Accounted For More Than 10 Percent Of Malware Infections In First Half 2010

Top two threats both exploit the Windows Autorun feature, BitDefender study says

When something works, hackers keep doing it. And as a vehicle for delivering malware, Microsoft's Autorun.INF utility is still working just fine, according to researchers at BitDefender.

In a study issued earlier this week, BitDefender reported that the top two malware offenders during the first six months of 2010 -- Trojan.AutorunINF.Gen and Win32.Worm.Downadup.Gen -- both exploit Autorun.INF.

Trojan.AutorunINF.Gen alone accounted for 11 percent of all the malware infections detected by BitDefender in the first half, according to the report.

"The autorun technique is massively used by worm writers as an alternate method of spreading their creations via mapped network drives or removable media," BitDefender says.

Initially designed to simplify the installation of applications located on removable media, the Windows Autorun feature has been used large scale as a means of automatically executing malware as soon as an infected USB drive or an external storage device has been plugged in, the report states. Unlike legitimate autorun.inf files, those used by miscellaneous malware are usually obfuscated, the researchers say.

"Before the arrival of the second service pack for Vista, Windows-based operating systems would follow any autorun.inf file instructions and blindly execute any binary file the autorun file pointed to," the report says. "Because of the risk the users were exposed to, Microsoft subsequently deactivated the autorun feature for all the removable devices except for the drives of type DRIVE_CDROM4."

MBR worms made a comeback in early 2010, with upgraded viral mechanisms, BitDefender states. Late January saw the emergence of Win32.Worm.Zimuse.A, a deadly combination of virus, rootkit, and worm.

Regionally, China and Russia are the world's top malware distributors, the report says. "During the last six months, China [31 percent] has been the most active country in terms of malware propagation, followed by the Russian Federation [22 percent]. Both countries are known for their lax legislation regarding cybercrime, as well as for the plethora of 'bulletproof hosting' companies," such as the Russian Business Network, which has been officially terminated but remains extremely active in practice, the researchers say.

PayPal remains the top phishing target in the world, acting as the subject for 53 percent of attacks, BitDefender says. PayPal's parent, eBay, finished second with 16 percent.

Spam continues to be a problem for most companies, according to BitDefender. Most spam messages are used to sell pharmaceuticals -- in fact, medicine-related spam jumped from 50 percent to 66 percent in the first half, according to the report.

While Web-borne malware remains strong, cybercriminals are moving more toward Web 2.0 exploits, focusing on social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, while also expanding their attacks on instant messaging systems, the researchers say.

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

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
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
7 Tips for Infosec Pros Considering A Lateral Career Move
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  1/21/2020
For Mismanaged SOCs, The Price Is Not Right
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  1/22/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
IT 2020: A Look Ahead
Are you ready for the critical changes that will occur in 2020? We've compiled editor insights from the best of our network (Dark Reading, Data Center Knowledge, InformationWeek, ITPro Today and Network Computing) to deliver to you a look at the trends, technologies, and threats that are emerging in the coming year. Download it today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How Enterprises are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
Organizations have invested in a sweeping array of security technologies to address challenges associated with the growing number of cybersecurity attacks. However, the complexity involved in managing these technologies is emerging as a major problem. Read this report to find out what your peers biggest security challenges are and the technologies they are using to address them.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-27
CRLF injection vulnerability in Zend\Mail (Zend_Mail) in Zend Framework before 1.12.12, 2.x before 2.3.8, and 2.4.x before 2.4.1 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary HTTP headers and conduct HTTP response splitting attacks via CRLF sequences in the header of an email.
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-27
A Local Privilege Escalation issue was discovered in Avast Secure Browser 76.0.1659.101. The vulnerability is due to an insecure ACL set by the AvastBrowserUpdate.exe (which is running as NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM) when AvastSecureBrowser.exe checks for new updates. When the update check is triggered, the...
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-27
PostgreSQL before 9.0.19, 9.1.x before 9.1.15, 9.2.x before 9.2.10, 9.3.x before 9.3.6, and 9.4.x before 9.4.1 allows remote authenticated users to obtain sensitive column values by triggering constraint violation and then reading the error message.
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-27
The Scribunto extension for MediaWiki allows remote attackers to obtain the rollback token and possibly other sensitive information via a crafted module, related to unstripping special page HTML.
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-27
The to_char function in PostgreSQL before 9.0.19, 9.1.x before 9.1.15, 9.2.x before 9.2.10, 9.3.x before 9.3.6, and 9.4.x before 9.4.1 allows remote authenticated users to cause a denial of service (crash) or possibly execute arbitrary code via a (1) large number of digits when processing a numeric ...