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Security Response
Showing posts tagged with Malicious Code
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Con Mallon | 03 Feb 2010 21:01:06 GMT

Well, it looks that way. We are only just into the second month of 2010 and yet we can now see, in prospect, a whole new raft of innovation coming our way. At CES a lot of the attention was with respect to eBook readers and new slate/tablet based PCs. These new devices are squarely focused on digital content. The success of Amazon and Apple in the digital content arena clearly shows that there is a big market for digital content and that money can be made as a result. We have seen a lot of activity in the eBook reader market, with many companies starting to launch products. Amazon, with the Kindle, has very much been the vanguard of showing how this can all come together.
CES also witnessed a range of announcements with respect to tablet computers. We saw products from HP, Lenovo (interesting cross-over laptop/tablet device), Sony, Archos, etc. Many of these products will start to come to market mid-point this year. Some people commented that these CES...

Liam O Murchu | 02 Feb 2010 14:05:30 GMT

While analyzing W32.Zimuse recently I was surprised to find two different passwords used within the threat: one of these decrypts a Word document that contains information about some members of a Slovakian motorbike forum.

In order to spread via USB drives, W32.Zimuse copies the file zipsetup.exe to removable drives. If zipsetup.exe is run with no parameters it shows the following message box:

The zipsetup.exe dialog box

This is not a real WinZip dialog box, just a password box made to look like the WinZip message box. The user has 10 chances to enter the correct password, after which the application will close. Entering "2008_15_12" (without quotes) decrypts a Word document named zoznam.doc:


Éamonn Young | 29 Jan 2010 21:13:08 GMT


Often when a Trojan arrives on a computer, it saves itself to a specific location. It can save itself on the C: drive, the D: drive, or even somewhere more unusual; for example, in a location with a folder name that it has created itself using random characters. It may then go on to create or modify certain registry entries. It can do this so that it can execute every time your computer starts. Threats may also modify existing registry entries in order to perform devious tasks, such as lowering security settings on the computer by disabling firewalls and antivirus software.

At any rate it is typical for a threat to leave some trace of itself on the computer, which makes it possible to identify that the threat exists. Having said that, some threats may use a rootkit to hide their presence on a computer, thus making them more difficult to locate.

Recently, however, we detected a threat (...

Patrick Fitzgerald | 29 Jan 2010 16:05:48 GMT

If you have been following this series on Trojan.Hydraq over the last week you may have noticed that the blog entries have been well, boring. Because of its profile in the media and varying assessments of the threat posed by and the complexity of Trojan.Hydraq we decided to present the facts of the threat.

Threats make their way into mainstream media for various reasons. Sometimes it’s the effectiveness of a threat or the elegance associated with a particular approach taken by a piece of malware. Some use near impenetrable packers to make analysis extremely difficult and some have novel approaches to make the malware more robust and harder to take down.

2010 saw Trojan.Hydraq hit the media. This incident was dubbed “Operation Aurora”. In case there is still any confusion at this stage, the malware used in the Aurora attack is Trojan.Hydraq.


Parveen Vashishtha | 28 Jan 2010 22:31:48 GMT

The use of search engines to deliver malware is well known. Previously we reported that attackers were using Google-sponsored search results to promote malicious websites. Instead of using techniques such as search engine optimization (SEO) poisoning to get the optimum listing in the search engine results, attackers recently managed to compromise well known site, which is promoted by Google’s sponsored links. Interestingly, up until late last week, was hosting malicious exploits and was blacklisted by Google SafeBrowse. However, at the time of posting this blog the malicious code has been removed from and Google is no longer blocking it.

In this specific example, users who rely on Google’s sponsored links run the risk of their...

Patrick Fitzgerald | 28 Jan 2010 21:25:51 GMT

At this stage we’ve looked at several features of Hydraq, including its obfuscation techniques and how it remains on an infected system. So, what control does the attacker have over a compromised system?

Backdoor Functionality

The ThreatExpert blog on Hydraq provides a comprehensive list of the features of this backdoor. The full article can be found here. The following list summarizes what this backdoor is capable of:

•    Adjust token privileges.
•    Check status of, control, and end processes and services.
•    Download a remote file, save it as %Temp%\mdm.exe, and then execute it.
•    Create, modify, and delete registry subkeys.
•    Retrieve a list of logical drives.
•    Read, write, execute, copy, change...

Patrick Fitzgerald | 26 Jan 2010 16:40:57 GMT

Yesterday’s blog spoke about the obfuscation techniques employed by Trojan.Hydraq.  As it turns out these techniques are not new, had been used by various malware in the past, and are not too tricky to get around.  This entry examines the techniques employed by this threat in order to stay active on a compromised computer and survive a restart.

Hydraq takes advantage of the Svchost.exe process in Windows.  When a Windows system starts up it checks the following registry key:


These entries are referred to as service groups.  The information under this key will have all the information required by the operating system in order to load the service group into memory.  The following screenshot shows the services loaded into a particular instance of svchost on a clean computer:


Patrick Fitzgerald | 25 Jan 2010 17:17:17 GMT

While Trojan.Hydraq has been described as sophisticated, the methods used to obfuscate the code are relatively straight forward to deobfuscate.  Trojan.Hydraq has spaghetti code, which is a technique used to make analyzing the code of program more difficult.  The basic blocks of a function are identified, and then completely rearranged so one cannot easily follow the code in a linear fashion.  The rearranged code blocks are connected by jump instructions that connect them in the proper order during execution.

However, spaghetti code has been used in the past and, due to the simple method of implementation by Hydraq, is easily reversed.  We posted one of the first blogs about spaghetti code in malware back in 2006 in regards to LinkOptimizer.  Most security companies have tools to simply reverse this type of obfuscation in an automated fashion and even off...

Peter Coogan | 21 Jan 2010 17:51:15 GMT

In our last Trojan.Hydraq (Aurora) blog, The Trojan.Hydraq Incident, we mentioned that one of the components of this Trojan is based on VNC code and has the ability to allow an attacker to control and stream a live video feed of a compromised computer’s desktop to a remote computer in real-time. In this blog we will look at these components in more detail and demonstrate them being used.

Once Trojan.Hydraq is installed by means of an exploit, it downloads additional files from a remote location to aid with the attack. Two of the additional files downloaded are named VedioDriver.dll and Acelpvc.dll. These files are placed into the %System% folder on the exploited computer. Analysis of the files and communication protocol suggests that...

Symantec Security Response | 20 Jan 2010 16:12:20 GMT

Symantec Security Response has repeatedly warned that looking for free movies and videos online often results in malware infection, and here we go again with yet another example. We recently became aware of a campaign, centered around the YouTube Web site, to trick users into following malicious links.

YouTube is one of the most popular video sharing sites and therefore is often picked by online criminals hoping for an easy catch. Performing a search using a (generally female) celebrity’s name followed by "sex tape" or a recent movie name yields results such as the following: