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Dick O'Brien | 26 Feb 2014 09:57:19 GMT
One of the most problematic areas in mobile security today is “grayware.” The dividing line between legitimate software and malware is not clearly drawn and grayware often occupies this murky middle ground. Grayware is applications that may not have any recognizable malware concealed within them but can nevertheless be in some way harmful or annoying to the user. For example, it might track their location, Web browsing habits or serve up unwanted ads. In many cases, grayware authors often maintain a veneer of legitimacy by outlining the application’s capabilities in the small print of the software license agreement. 
Grayware is not a new phenomenon and it first began to attract attention well over a decade ago when unwanted extras, such as spyware, were often packaged with free...
Symantec Security Response | 25 Feb 2014 17:47:20 GMT

Earlier this month we blogged about a new Internet Explorer 10 zero-day vulnerability that was targeted in a recent watering hole attack. The attackers took advantage of a previously undiscovered zero-day flaw known as the Microsoft Internet Explorer Use-After-Free Remote Code Execution Vulnerability (CVE-2014-0322). At the time, the attackers delivered the exploit code for the zero-day vulnerability through compromised sites, intending to target a limited audience. Since then, we have continued to closely monitor attacks focusing on CVE-2014-0322. We’ve observed trends suggesting that attacks targeting this vulnerability are no longer confined to advanced persistent threats (APT) — the zero-day attacks are expanding to attack average Internet users as well. We refer to these attacks as drive-by downloads....

Candid Wueest | 25 Feb 2014 09:57:34 GMT
Figure. A brief history of mobile malware
2014 marks the tenth anniversary of mobile malware. It all began in 2004, when the first variant of SymbOS.Cabir was submitted to security researchers. The analysis revealed that this worm targeted Symbian OS, which was a very popular mobile operating system at the time. Infected phones would search for nearby Bluetooth devices that had activated discovery mode and then the worm would try to push itself onto them. The user had to manually accept the file transfer and also had to agree to the worm’s installation before the malware could infect the device. This limited the spread of the worm, as the victim had to be in close proximity to...
Laura O'Brien | 24 Feb 2014 01:22:26 GMT


Mobile World Congress is set to take place this year between February 24 and 27. The event promises to showcase smartphone and tablet innovations that will become a reality over the next 12 months. However, as mobile manufacturers and app developers have upped their game each year, so too have malware authors. Symantec discovered an average of 272 new malware variants and five new malware families per month targeting the Android mobile operating system in 2013. These threats have taken aim at mobile devices in several ways, such as by attempting to steal personal and financial information, track users, send premium rate SMS messages, and display intrusive adware. We have seen some notable threats that could pave the way for what’s next in mobile malware:

More aggressive financial Android threats
Consumers have been increasingly turning to their...

Symantec Security Response | 21 Feb 2014 23:01:00 GMT

Watering hole attacks using zero-day vulnerabilities are becoming more common. Last week we announced an Internet Explorer 10 zero-day being used in a watering hole attack and today, just one week later we have an Adobe Flash zero-day, Adobe Flash Player and AIR CVE-2014-0502 Remote Code Execution Vulnerability (CVE-2014-0502), also being used in a watering hole attack. This new attack has been dubbed “Operation GreedyWonk” in various media and is reported to be targeting the websites of three non-profit institutions. Symantec telemetry shows even more sites being targeted in this watering hole attack using this new zero-day.


Figure 1....

Eric Park | 18 Feb 2014 18:34:22 GMT

In this blog detailing how spammers continue to change their messages in order to increase their success rate, we looked at the evolution of the same spam campaign from missed voicemail messages to spoofing various retailers, and then spoofing utility statements. Clicking on the link led the users to a download for a .zip file containing Trojan.Fakeavlock. Attackers may have realized that those attack vectors no longer entice recipients, so spammers have introduced two new schemes for this campaign that appear to be random and unrelated at first, but they do share a common goal.

The first scheme spoofs various courts around the country:


Symantec Security Response | 14 Feb 2014 23:58:13 GMT

In an earlier blog, Symantec highlighted that we were investigating reports of a zero-day exploit affecting Internet Explorer 10 in the wild. Now we have further details on the attack leveraging this new zero-day, Microsoft Internet Explorer CVE-2014-0322 Use-After-Free Remote Code Execution Vulnerability (CVE-2014-0322).

IE 0 day edit.png

Figure. Watering hole attack using IE 10 0-day

Anatomy of the attack

The target of this watering hole attack was the (Veterans of Foreign Wars) website. While this attack was active, visitors to the site would encounter an IFrame which was inserted by the attackers in order to...

Symantec Security Response | 14 Feb 2014 00:30:09 GMT

Symantec is currently investigating reports of a potential zero-day exploit affecting Internet Explorer 10 in the wild. This appears to be a watering hole attack that was hosted on a compromised website in the United States. The watering hole attack website redirected unsuspecting users to another compromised website that hosted the zero-day attack.

We continue to analyze the attack vector and associated samples for this potential zero-day. Our initial analysis reveals that the Adobe Flash malicious SWF file contains shell code that appears to be targeting 32-bit versions of Windows 7 and Internet Explorer 10. We have identified a back door being used in this attack that takes screenshots of the victim’s desktop and allows the attacker to take control of the victim’s computer. We identify and detect this file as Backdoor.Trojan.

Symantec also has the following IPS...

Satnam Narang | 12 Feb 2014 18:59:14 GMT

In the latest Snapchat spam developments, an increasing number of the photo-sharing app’s users have been sending out spam pictures of fruits or fruit-based drinks to their contacts, which directs them to websites called “Frootsnap” and “Snapfroot”.

Snapchat Fruit 1 edit.png

Figure 1. Fruit spam on Snapchat

While Symantec has been tracking Snapchat spam for months, this is the first case in which the spam does not originate from fake accounts, but those belonging to real users. These accounts have been compromised to push diet spam.

Instagram users might recall similar...

Dinesh Theerthagiri | 11 Feb 2014 19:49:38 GMT

Hello, welcome to this month's blog on the Microsoft patch release. This month the vendor is releasing seven bulletins covering a total of thirty-one vulnerabilities. Twenty-five of this month's issues are rated ’Critical’.

As always, customers are advised to follow these security best practices:

  • Install vendor patches as soon as they are available.
  • Run all software with the least privileges required while still maintaining functionality.
  • Avoid handling files from unknown or questionable sources.
  • Never visit sites of unknown or questionable integrity.
  • Block external access at the network perimeter to all key systems unless specific access is required.

Microsoft's summary of the February releases can be found here:

The following is a breakdown of the issues being...