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.

Perimeter

8/6/2008
08:20 AM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Malicious Botnet Stole Bank, Credit Union Credentials

New report says the 50 GB of data stolen were only one fourth of the data harvested

BLACK HAT USA, LAS VEGAS -- The researcher who first discovered a motherlode of stolen enterprise user names and passwords in June has found that nearly 9,000 of them are bank and credit-card account credentials from around the world that were grabbed by an old but crafty botnet. And it turns out the initial 50 gigabytes' worth of data that included 463,582 passwords on the crime server is only about one-fourth of the total number of accounts stolen by the so-called Coreflood botnet. (See Researchers Raise Alarm Over New Iteration of Coreflood Botnet and SecureWorks Finds Massive Cache of Stolen Data.)

Coreflood is an unusual botnet in that it’s closely held by its operators, who use the data themselves rather than sell it like other botnets do, and also use their own Trojan malware for the botnet. Joe Stewart, director of malware research for SecureWorks, today revealed in a new report some key details of the type and amount of data stored on the crimeware server, which has since relocated to Russia after being shut down in Wisconsin, he says.

Stewart said he has been able to discern how the command and control server was configured, as well as glean clues of the identities of the bad guys behind Coreflood: he says he believes they are directly connected to the Joe Lopez case of 2004, where Miami businessman sued his bank after his account was compromised by the Coreflood Trojan.

“Coreflood is trying to steal financial information, and has stayed under the radar pretty well. It’s not in-your-face sending out emails,” Stewart says.

Stewart says 50 gigabytes of stolen user data were left behind on the crime server he first discovered, but about four times that amount of additional stolen data had been harvested and deleted, according to some new investigation he did via scripts the bad guys left on the server. He says Coreflood stole a gigabyte or more of data each day from all the users combined and also lifted PKI certificates and cookie files.

He was able to verify that the Coreflood operators used the command-and-control server as their base of operations. Among the organizations victimized by Coreflood were a major U.S. university hospital, with nearly 5,000 infected machines; a county school system, with 31,000 bots; a hotel chain, with over 14,000 bots; as well as mortgage, pharmaceutical, oil, and chemical companies. Coreflood even infected 315 machines in a state policy agency in the U.S., according to Stewart’s new data.

“[Coreflood’s operators] are very interested in the name of your company and the copy your Windows machine is registered to. They are very aware of who they are infecting,” Stewart says.

But interestingly, they left behind some evidence of their infecting the state policy agency, which means they may not be fully aware of all of the victims and their data. “They are getting police officers logging into law enforcement databases doing criminal investigations. There’s a lot more data than they realize in there,” he says.

Aside from some drive-by infections, the Coreflood botnet sets a trap inside an organization by infecting the domain administrator’s account -- either directly, or via an infected client machine he logs into. “Then the bot does an administrative rollout of itself to the enterprise” to automatically infect as many machines as it can, Stewart says. “It sits there and waits, setting a trap for the domain admin… they are very patient.”

The less-malicious but pervasive Storm botnet, meanwhile, is apparently trying out some new things, which Stewart will outline in a presentation here today. “For the first time we’re starting to see Storm use peer-to-peer like BitTorrent to get new users, then it can steal their address books and get more” potential victims, he says.

Stewart says he’s also seen Storm conducting more distributed denial-of-services attacks. “We saw that happening in the middle of last year, but then it just stopped. A month ago, we started to see it picking up again, with DDOS commands with specific targets,” Stewart says.

“I was surprised how little the actual protocols and encryption had changed over time… I would expect them to change up the encryption key at least,” he says.

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.

  • SecureWorks Inc. 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
    6 Top Nontechnical Degrees for Cybersecurity
    Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  11/21/2019
    Anatomy of a BEC Scam
    Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  11/21/2019
    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-2019-11287
    PUBLISHED: 2019-11-23
    Pivotal RabbitMQ, versions 3.7.x prior to 3.7.21 and 3.8.x prior to 3.8.1, and RabbitMQ for Pivotal Platform, 1.16.x versions prior to 1.16.7 and 1.17.x versions prior to 1.17.4, contain a web management plugin that is vulnerable to a denial of service attack. The "X-Reason" HTTP Header ca...
    CVE-2019-11291
    PUBLISHED: 2019-11-22
    Pivotal RabbitMQ, 3.7 versions prior to v3.7.20 and 3.8 version prior to v3.8.1, and RabbitMQ for PCF, 1.16.x versions prior to 1.16.7 and 1.17.x versions prior to 1.17.4, contain two endpoints, federation and shovel, which do not properly sanitize user input. A remote authenticated malicious user w...
    CVE-2019-15593
    PUBLISHED: 2019-11-22
    GitLab 12.2.3 contains a security vulnerability that allows a user to affect the availability of the service through a Denial of Service attack in Issue Comments.
    CVE-2019-16285
    PUBLISHED: 2019-11-22
    If a local user has been configured and logged in, an unauthenticated attacker with physical access may be able to extract sensitive information onto a local drive.
    CVE-2019-16286
    PUBLISHED: 2019-11-22
    An attacker may be able to bypass the OS application filter meant to restrict applications that can be executed by changing browser preferences to launch a separate process that in turn can execute arbitrary commands.