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    Author Archive - Jon Oliver (Senior Architect)

    Last week’s Java zero-day vulnerability has been exploited by many exploit kits in the wild, including the familiar Blackhole Exploit Kit.

    In this blog entry, we thought we would describe some of the outbreaks related to this attack we’ve seen in the past week or so. Our automated processes that are a part of the Trend Micro™ Smart Protection Network™ started detecting and blocking these attacks as soon as they were spotted in the wild.

    A number of methods have been used to direct Internet users to the landing pages hosting these attacks, including:

    The usage of multiple ways to direct users to malicious sites definitely increase the chances of users stumbling into them, thus increasing the risk. In terms of the spam runs, we also saw several types of lures used:

    • Fake LinkedIn messages
    • Fake antivirus notifications
    • Faxes purporting to come from eFax
    • Fake Western Union money transfers

    The spammed messages contained links that would redirect users to compromised websites – which would then redirect to malicious landing pages. Landing pages are meant for two purposes: to scan the systems for any vulnerabilities, and to redirect to a corresponding exploit once a vulnerability is found.

    Looking at just one of the attacks using this new Java exploit, we were able to identify more than 300 malicious domains hosting landing pages, which were hosted on more than 100 servers.

    Almost half of the domains seen were hosted on the most well-recognized top-level domains: .com, .org and .net.

    Another finding is that almost half of the sites were hosted in the United States, with Russia hosting more than a fourth:

    Seems like most of the victims were also situated where the sites were hosted, as two-thirds of the victims we found were from the United States, with European countries making up the bulk of the remaining third.

    Trend Micro users are already protected from this through the Smart Protection Network. Furthermore, we advice users to consider if Java is necessary on their systems; if it is not, we recommend uninstalling it as it can pose a serious security risk. If it is needed, it must be kept up to date with the latest versions that are downloadable from Oracle.

    Trend Micro Deep Security users are also recommended to apply the rule 1005178 – Java Applet Remote Code Execution Vulnerability – 2 to protect from threats seen exploiting this Java vulnerability.

    Coming Soon: The TrendLabs Security Intelligence Blog will be the new Malware Blog

    Posted in Bad Sites, Exploits, Malware, Spam, Vulnerabilities | Comments Off

    Over the past month we’ve been investigating several high-volume spam runs that sent users to websites compromised with the Black Hole exploit kit. Some of the spam runs that were part of this investigation used the name of Facebook, and US Airways. Other spam runs involved LinkedIn, as well as USPS. The most recent campaign we’ve seen that was part of this wave of attacks used the name of CareerBuilder:

    We’ll look at the campaign that used Facebook specifically, but our conclusions about these each of these attacks are broadly similar:

    • Phishing messages using the names of various organizations spread via email to targets predominantly in the United States. The content of these phishing e-mails were practically indistinguishable from legitimate messages.
    • Links in these messages led to multiple compromised websites that redirected the user to various malicious sites. Collectively, these compromised sites numbered in the thousands.
    • Users were eventually directed to sites containing the Black Hole exploit kit.

    Now, let’s discuss the spam attack that used Facebook as the lure. This particular spam run consists of a fake friend request sent to the victim, as can be seen below:

    The link goes to various compromised web sites. We have identified more than 2,000 distinct URLs used in this attack, distributed over 374 domains. On average, each compromised domain hosted 5 separate malicious landing pages.

    As we mentioned earlier, this particular campaign was not the only spam run we investigated. We found clear evidence that all these attacks were linked. In many cases, the same sets of compromised URLs were used by multiple spam runs. This suggests that at least some of the parties responsible for these attacks were identical, if it was not the same group altogether.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Bad Sites, Malware, Spam | Comments Off

    The controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) has received a lot of attention of late, with parties ranging from the White House to Rupert Murdoch. Opposition to SOPA has been particularly fierce online, with many sites “blacking out” on January 18 as a form of protest against the bill. The biggest site that will take part in these protests is Wikipedia. Google is also taking part; they have indicated that they will display a link on their front page showing the tech giant’s opposition to the bill.

    We reiterate our position on this matter, which we first stated on this blog a month ago. We remain concerned about provisions in the law that could seriously compromise DNSSEC, which will play a key part in future cybersecurity strategy. At the very least, by ensuring the secure transfer of DNS data from servers to end users, DNSSEC will make man-in-the-middle and cache poisoning attacks much more difficult. DNSSEC may also be used as the foundation for further tools and techniques that will aid in greater online security

    We endorse the position of the White House, which we quote below:

    We must avoid creating new cybersecurity risks or disrupting the underlying architecture of the Internet. Proposed laws must not tamper with the technical architecture of the Internet through manipulation of the Domain Name System (DNS), a foundation of Internet security. Our analysis of the DNS filtering provisions in some proposed legislation suggests that they pose a real risk to cybersecurity and yet leave contraband goods and services accessible online. We must avoid legislation that drives users to dangerous, unreliable DNS servers and puts next-generation security policies, such as the deployment of DNSSEC, at risk.



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