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    Archive for May 26th, 2014

    Ransomware continues to make waves, especially with the rise of file-encrypting ransomware like CryptoLocker. However, we are seeing yet another alarming development for this malware: it is now targeting mobile devices.

    Reveton Makes a Comeback

    In early May, it was reported that this mobile ransomware was the product of the Reveton gang. Reveton was one of the many cybercrime groups that spread police ransomware, which hit Europe and the U.S. and consequently spread to the other parts of the world.

    It now appears that these cybercrime groups have decided to include mobile users in their intended victims. Our earlier efforts  resulted in some of those behind these attacks being arrested, but not all of these cybercriminals are now behind bars – and some have expanded their efforts into mobile malware.

    This is detected as ANDROIDOS_LOCKER.A and can be downloaded through a specific URL. The domain contains words like “video” and “porn,” which can give an idea of how users wound up on the site.

    The malware will monitor the screen activity when a device is active or running. Based on the analysis of its code, it tries to put its UI on top of the screen when the device is unlocked. People will not be able to uninstall the malicious app by traditional uninstall means as one would normally do because the system or even the AV UI is always “covered” by the malware’s UI.

    It also tries to connect to several URLs that are its command-and-control servers. These are currently inaccessible. However, one URL was found to display pornographic content.  The ransomware appears to be capable of sending information to these C&C servers albeit a limited function because it only has few permissions.

    These URLs are hosted in two IP addresses located in the U.S. and in the Netherlands. Further analysis reveals that these IP addresses also host other malicious URLs, though not related to this particular malware.

    The Continued Migration to Mobile and Best Practices

    Over the last couple of years, “desktop” malware have continued to make their way to mobile endpoints. We reported last March that we encountered Bitcoin-mining malware that targets Android devices. To avoid these threats, we strongly suggest that you disable your device’s ability to install apps from sources outside of Google Play and double check the developer of the app you want to download and be very meticulous of the app reviews to verify apps’ legitimacy.

    This setting can be found under Security in the system settings of Android devices. On-device security solutions (like Trend Micro Mobile Security) provide an additional layer of protection that detects even threats which arrive outside of authorized app stores.

    With additional analysis from Yang Yang and Paul Pajares


    Earlier this week the US government announced the arrest of more than 100 individuals linked to the Blackshades remote access Trojan (RAT). While most of those arrested were merely users of this RAT, the arrests included its co-creator, a 24-year-old Swede named Alex Yücel. Also arrested was a 23-year-old American named Brendan Johnston, who was involved in marketing the RAT to various hacker forums and provided support to “customers”.

    Blackshades was sold as a toolkit, which was used to create the actual malware, detected as WORM_SWISYN.SM. The actual capabilities of the malware itself are fairly similar to other RATs: it can steal keystrokes and passwords, launch denial-of-service attacks, and download and run malware onto the affected system. It can also be configured by the attacker to spread via USB drives, if desired.

    Blackshades, however, is particularly infamous for being used by would-be stalkers and other such unsavory elements to spy on women. Blackshades allows the remote attacker to turn on the victim PC’s microphone and/or webcam. It’s not the first malware family to include this behavior, but it appears to be one of Blackshade’s most commonly used “features”.


    Figure 1. The Blackshades remote access trojan’s UI

    The scale of the arrests—rarely have so many cybercriminals been arrested in one go—is entirely due to Blackshades’ ease of use. It was easy to acquire; it had its own easily accessible website with its own domain (now seized by the FBI).

    There were relatively few barriers to entry— in contrast with, say, the Russian underground, where it is not always easy to earn the trust of would-be sellers of malware. The damage the users of Blackshades caused was real, but that was not necessarily because they were particularly skillful.

    This was both good and bad. The relative lack of skill (and caution) by Blackshades users not only meant that law enforcement was able to apprehend them, but it also means that the barriers to entry are sufficiently low that anyone can now be a cybercriminal should one want to do so.

    This case should serve as a warning to all would-be low level cybercriminals: law enforcement has the capability and willingness to go after cybercriminals of all capabilities and skills, and you are not too far from the long arms of the law.

    Trend Micro protects users from this threat by detecting the created RATs, as well as blocking the main site that sold Blackshades.


    Posted in Malware | Comments Off on The Blackshades RAT – Entry-Level Cybercrime


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