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.

Threat Intelligence

11/16/2017
02:00 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
Google+
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Terdot Banking Trojan Spies on Email, Social Media

Terdot Banking Trojan, inspired by Zeus, can eavesdrop and modify traffic on social media and email in addition to snatching data.

When is a banking Trojan more than a banking Trojan? When it can be used for cyberespionage.

Terdot, discovered by researchers at Bitdefender, can be used to view and modify traffic on email and social media platforms in addition to collecting victims' financial information. It can also steal credentials, inject HTML code on visited Web pages, and download and execute files.

The malware derives inspiration from the 2011 source code leak of the Zeus banking Trojan. It's not uncommon for banking Trojans to share similarities, however, and Zeus isn't the first to have its code made public. This has also happened with the Mirai, KINS, and Carberp malware families.

Bitdefender first spotted Terdot in October 2016, says senior e-threat analyst Bogdan "Bob" Botezatu. It performs the main functionalities of a banking Trojan: Terdot arrives in a malicious email with a button disguised as a PDF link. When clicked, it infects a machine and creates a Web proxy to modify transactions. Any data that victims send to a bank is intercepted by Terdot and modified in real-time, and the malware intercepts and modifies the bank's response.

The malware packs capabilities enabling hackers to collect far more than financial data. Because it lives in the browser, Terdot has unrestricted access to whatever is posted via that browser.

"The Web proxy is also instructed to steal sensitive information from the computer," says Botezatu. "It's not going after money; it harvests cookies from logged-in sessions and credentials for email accounts and social network accounts."

Terdot uses a chain of droppers, injections, and downloaders to protect the payload. It can bypass restrictions imposed by TLS by generating its own Certificate Authority and creating certificates for every domain visited in a man-in-the-middle attack. By injecting itself into the browser process, it can monitor activity and inject spyware.

Targeted regions include the US, Canada, the UK, Germany, and Australia. Frequently hit websites include Canada's PCFinancial, Desjardins, BMO, Royal Bank, Scotiabank, and CIBC. Affected email providers include Microsoft's live.com, Yahoo Mail, and Gmail; social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and YouTube.

Terdot is specifically instructed not to collect data from Russian social media platform VK, which suggests Eastern European actors may be behind it.

Detection and Defense

Botezatu says Terdot poses a significant risk to businesses because of the way it's delivered and the damage a Trojan could inflict. However, its social media interception module adds a consumer spin to the malware.

"I don't think the guys in accounting would spend too much time on Facebook," he notes.

Terdot is extremely difficult to detect and remove, he continues. "It has modules that ensure persistence. It injects itself into every process on that machine, and these processes act like a watchdog to one another."

Because Terdot uses both phishing and man-in-the-middle to attack, businesses with breach prediction systems to cover all attack vectors are better prepared to defend themselves, says Manoj Asnani, vice president of product and design at Balbix.

"It should be noted that most of today's detection solutions are single attack vector-focused," he says. "A multi-vector system is needed in this case - and would have proactively flagged users that are at risk of phishing, in addition to compromised or spoofed certificates."

Unexpected Trend

This discovery is part of a growing trend of malware targeting financial institutions.

"We have started to see the reemergence of banker Trojans," he explains, adding that they had previously experienced a heyday between 2012 and 2016. "But we could have sworn the trend was otherwise."

It's curious to see banking Trojans resurface because they require several players and are difficult to launch and monetize, unlike comparatively easy attacks like ransomware. Botezatu blames their return on earlier Trojan code leaks and oversaturation of the ransomware market.

To this point, researchers at Trend Micro recently discovered a new iteration of banking malware Emotet with a few changes to its original behavior. This version of Emotet has been updated to evade detection and analysis; for example, it swapped its RunPE dropper for a Windows API to make it harder to find. Another anti-analysis tactic is checking when the scanner monitors activities to evade detection. It can also detect when it's inside a sandbox.

Related Content:

Join Dark Reading LIVE for two days of practical cyber defense discussions. Learn from the industry’s most knowledgeable IT security experts. Check out the INsecurity agenda here.

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
7 Truths About BEC Scams
Ericka Chickowski, Contributing Writer,  6/13/2019
DNS Firewalls Could Prevent Billions in Losses to Cybercrime
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  6/13/2019
Cognitive Bias Can Hamper Security Decisions
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  6/10/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Building and Managing an IT Security Operations Program
As cyber threats grow, many organizations are building security operations centers (SOCs) to improve their defenses. In this Tech Digest you will learn tips on how to get the most out of a SOC in your organization - and what to do if you can't afford to build one.
Flash Poll
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
Your enterprise's cyber risk may depend upon the relationship between the IT team and the security team. Heres some insight on what's working and what isn't in the data center.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-12855
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-16
In words.protocols.jabber.xmlstream in Twisted through 19.2.1, XMPP support did not verify certificates when used with TLS, allowing an attacker to MITM connections.
CVE-2013-7472
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-15
The "Count per Day" plugin before 3.2.6 for WordPress allows XSS via the wp-admin/?page=cpd_metaboxes daytoshow parameter.
CVE-2019-12839
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-15
In OrangeHRM 4.3.1 and before, there is an input validation error within admin/listMailConfiguration (txtSendmailPath parameter) that allows authenticated attackers to achieve arbitrary command execution.
CVE-2019-12840
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-15
In Webmin through 1.910, any user authorized to the "Package Updates" module can execute arbitrary commands with root privileges via the data parameter to update.cgi.
CVE-2019-12835
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-15
formats/xml.cpp in Leanify 0.4.3 allows for a controlled out-of-bounds write in xml_memory_writer::write via characters that require escaping.