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.

Vulnerabilities / Threats

Mylobot Malware Brings New Sophistication to Botnets

The malware pulls together a variety of techniques to gain a foothold and remain undiscovered.

Cybercriminals looking to maximize their investments are using evermore sophisticated software techniques and increasingly aggressive steps against their fellow malware authors. Those are among the conclusions by researchers at Deep Instinct about a new strain of malware found within the last two months.

The new malware, dubbed Mylobot, pulls together a variety of techniques to gain a foothold and remain undiscovered. Among the strategies employed are:

  • Anti-VM techniques
  • Anti-sandbox techniques
  • Anti-debugging techniques
  • Wrapping internal parts with an encrypted resource file
  • Code injection
  • Process hollowing (a technique where an attacker creates a new process in a suspended state and replaces its image with the one that is to be hidden)
  • Reflective EXE (executing EXE files directly from memory, without having them on disk) 
  • A 14-day delay before accessing its C&C servers. 

"On a daily basis we come across dozens of highly sophisticated samples, but this one is a unique collection of highly advanced techniques," says Arik Solomon, vice president of R&D at Deep Instinct. "Each of the techniques is known and used by a few malicious samples, but the combination is unique."

Solomon noted that Mylobot — named for a researcher's dog — is a downloader: It can be purposed to download and install any type of payload, from spambot or DDoS engine to keylogger or banking Trojan. "I think that what we see here is the productization or even industrialization of malware techniques," says Tom Nipravsky, security researcher at Deep Instinct.

That industrialization aspect fits with what Solomon sees as the driving force behind this new malware. "It always comes down to money," he says. And that's especially true given one of Mylobot's behaviors: It seeks out and shuts down competing botnet software.

"We see the capability to make sure you have no competition," Solomon says, noting that in the highly unregulated world of malware, having more infected systems at your disposal than the competition can offer might be a matter of millions of dollars.

Mylobot leverages several techniques to make sure no other botnet is active on a machine it infects. "Usually we see this behavior when malware tries to shut down defensive software," Solomon notes. "In this case, it's fighting against its competition."

Though the researchers have been looking at Mylobot for several weeks, they aren't yet ready to say who the author is. There are some clues, though, including the fact that Mylobot scans for keyboard layout of an infected machine and doesn't execute if it finds an Asian character set and layout in use. Nipravsky says this could have to do with encryption algorithms, but it might well speak to the geographical nexus of the malware.

The researchers say it's important to note that Mylobot was found in the wild, at a Tier 1 data communication and telecommunication equipment manufacturer, not in a proof-of-concept demonstration.

"It's a relatively good representative of what we see on the Dark Web where people are selling platforms for others to use," Solomon says. Customers of the botnet can rent time to download and run their own payloads, making this a very efficient use of malware technology.

One thing the researchers are confident about is the sophistication of the malware's authors. "This presents itself as a product that we all could be envious of," Nipravsky says. "The integration, how it operates, how it was developed by different teams around the world, the different layers all combine to create a single malicious product."

Related Content:

Why Cybercriminals Attack: A DARK READING VIRTUAL EVENT Wednesday, June 27. Industry experts will offer a range of information and insight on who the bad guys are – and why they might be targeting your enterprise. Go here for more information on this free event.

Curtis Franklin Jr. is Senior Editor at Dark Reading. In this role he focuses on product and technology coverage for the publication. In addition he works on audio and video programming for Dark Reading and contributes to activities at Interop ITX, Black Hat, INsecurity, and ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
Why Cyber-Risk Is a C-Suite Issue
Marc Wilczek, Digital Strategist & CIO Advisor,  11/12/2019
Unreasonable Security Best Practices vs. Good Risk Management
Jack Freund, Director, Risk Science at RiskLens,  11/13/2019
Breaches Are Inevitable, So Embrace the Chaos
Ariel Zeitlin, Chief Technology Officer & Co-Founder, Guardicore,  11/13/2019
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-2019-16761
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-15
A specially crafted Bitcoin script can cause a discrepancy between the specified SLP consensus rules and the validation result of the [email protected] npm package. An attacker could create a specially crafted Bitcoin script in order to cause a hard-fork from the SLP consensus. All versions >1.0...
CVE-2019-16762
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-15
A specially crafted Bitcoin script can cause a discrepancy between the specified SLP consensus rules and the validation result of the slpjs npm package. An attacker could create a specially crafted Bitcoin script in order to cause a hard-fork from the SLP consensus. Affected users can upgrade to any...
CVE-2019-13581
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-15
An issue was discovered in Marvell 88W8688 Wi-Fi firmware before version p52, as used on Tesla Model S/X vehicles manufactured before March 2018, via the Parrot Faurecia Automotive FC6050W module. A heap-based buffer overflow allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service or execute arbitrary ...
CVE-2019-13582
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-15
An issue was discovered in Marvell 88W8688 Wi-Fi firmware before version p52, as used on Tesla Model S/X vehicles manufactured before March 2018, via the Parrot Faurecia Automotive FC6050W module. A stack overflow could lead to denial of service or arbitrary code execution.
CVE-2019-6659
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-15
On version 14.0.0-14.1.0.1, BIG-IP virtual servers with TLSv1.3 enabled may experience a denial of service due to undisclosed incoming messages.