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.

Cloud

7/19/2016
03:20 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Remote Systems Admin Software Rigged With Lurk Trojan

Website of legitimate and popular application used by banks in Russia and nearby nations faced successive compromises.

An infamous attack group targeting financial institutions and other businesses in Russia apparently put a slightly different spin on the watering-hole attack: using legitimate software to camouflage the download of its malware.

The so-called Lurk cybercrime gang, which in June was arrested in Russia, stole some $45 million from financial firms and other companies in Russia before its members were nabbed. Security researchers at Kaspersky Lab found that the gang had slipped its Lurk Trojan in with the legitimate Ammyy Admin software tool via the software company’s website. So when businesses downloaded the application, they were also silently infected with Lurk.

Black Hat USA returns to the fabulous Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada July 30 through Aug. 4, 2016. Click for information on the conference schedule and to register.

“Although we've seen examples of watering-hole attacks against popular websites, so far, we haven't seen groups targeting financial organizations by attacking widely used software so aggressively,” says Vasily Berdnikov, a malware analyst with Kaspersky Lab.

Kaspersky Lab notified Ammyy Admin of that breach in February, and the firm fixed it. But the same issue persisted on several occasions: Ammyy would fix it, and it would resurface later. A new version of Lurk was spotted in April embedded into the software download, a variant that automatically detected whether the victim machine belonged to a corporate network -- only then would it install.

Why couldn’t Ammyy Admin keep Lurk off its site?  “This is a mystery for us as well, as we don’t have close cooperation with Ammyy. We can only assume that the attackers might have a root access to Ammyy’s IT infrastructure, and the owners of the website couldn’t find it, thus they couldn’t eliminate the infection,” Berdnikov says.

The mystery deepened on June 1, when Kaspersky researchers found another malware family, the user information-stealing Trojan Fareit, on the Ammyy Admin website. That was the day officials announced the Lurk gang arrests. “We can only assume that someone other than the Lurk gang has access to the website and is now using it in order to distribute other malware,” Kaspersky’s Berdnikov says.

Tom Kellermann, CEO of Strategic Cyber Ventures, says he doubts all members of the Lurk gang were arrested, nor all of their hosting resources surrendered. “You must respect the resiliency and organization of East European cybercrime syndicate, as they represent the 'Dons' of cybercrime.  This reality is evidenced in the continual evolution of their tactics and attack capabilities -- which neuter traditional cyber defenses,” Kellermann says.

He says Lurk’s watering-hole method with Ammyy Admin should serve as a warning for future attackes that infest applications, including mobile apps. “In general, the natural progression of these campaigns will be to evolve beyond creating watering holes and toward infesting legitimate mobile apps,” he says.

Related Content:

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
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
EmadM569
50%
50%
EmadM569,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/20/2016 | 3:04:49 AM
thank you
thank you
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 8/10/2020
Pen Testers Who Got Arrested Doing Their Jobs Tell All
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  8/5/2020
Researcher Finds New Office Macro Attacks for MacOS
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  8/7/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal, a Dark Reading Perspective
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
This special report takes a look at how enterprises are using threat intelligence, as well as emerging best practices for integrating threat intel into security operations and incident response. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-7029
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-11
A Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) vulnerability was discovered in the System Management Interface Web component of Avaya Aura Communication Manager and Avaya Aura Messaging. This vulnerability could allow an unauthenticated remote attacker to perform Web administration actions with the privileged ...
CVE-2020-17489
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-11
An issue was discovered in certain configurations of GNOME gnome-shell through 3.36.4. When logging out of an account, the password box from the login dialog reappears with the password still visible. If the user had decided to have the password shown in cleartext at login time, it is then visible f...
CVE-2020-17495
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-11
django-celery-results through 1.2.1 stores task results in the database. Among the data it stores are the variables passed into the tasks. The variables may contain sensitive cleartext information that does not belong unencrypted in the database.
CVE-2020-0260
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-11
There is a possible out of bounds read due to an incorrect bounds check.Product: AndroidVersions: Android SoCAndroid ID: A-152225183
CVE-2020-16170
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-11
The Temi application 1.3.3 through 1.3.7931 for Android has hard-coded credentials.