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    Archive for July 30th, 2014

    Recently, I learnt that attackers compromised Gizmodo’s Brazilian regional site. The attackers were able to modify the Gizmodo main page to add a script which redirected them to another compromised website. This second compromised site was hosted in Sweden, and used a .se domain name. The attackers also uploaded a web shell onto this site (the site hosted in Sweden) to keep control of this server.

    Opening the compromised site loads a malicious URL, which contains a fake Adobe Flash download page in Portuguese:

    Figure 1. Fake Flash download page

    This file is actually a backdoor detected as BKDR_GRAFTOR.GHR. (It should also be noted that the current Flash Player version is, a far cry from the version advertised on this page.)

    This backdoor was actually hosted on Google Drive; trying to download it now gives a message that it has reached the download limit.

    Figure 2. Google Drive message

    We can see that attackers used a legitimate service in order to trick users into thinking that the downloaded file was not malicious. Based on our investigation, another website – this one belonging to a logistics firm – was compromised in a similar way. Both Gizmodo and this logistics firm’s site were hosted on UOL, the biggest ISP and content provider in Brazil. We are currently investigating if a vulnerability was used in order to penetrate the web servers.

    Gizmodo Brazil was notified of this threat and immediately removed the compromised code from their servers. In addition, we have notified Google about the malicious file hosted on Google Drive so it can be deleted as well. Trend Micro products already block the various aspects of this threat.

    Update as of 11:25 PM, July 30, 2014

    The hash involved in this attack is :

    • cd9efd3652b69be841c2929ec87f3108571bf285

    Update as of 1:40 PM, August 4, 2014

    The detection BKDR_GRAFTOR.GHR has  been renamed to  BKDR_QULKONWI.GHR.

    Posted in Malware | Comments Off on Gizmodo Brazil Compromised, Leads to Backdoor

    One of the recent triumphs against cybercrime is the disruption of the activities of the Gameover ZeuS botnet. Perhaps what makes this more significant is that one major threat was also affected—the notorious CryptoLocker malware.

    However, this disruption hasn’t deterred cybercriminals from using file-encrypting ransomware. In fact, we saw new crypto-ransomware variants that use new methods of encryption and evasion.

    Cryptoblocker and its Encryption Technique

    Just like other ransomware variants, the Cryptoblocker malware, detected as TROJ_CRYPTFILE.SM, will encrypt files for a specific amount. However, this particular variant has certain restrictions. For one, it will not infect files larger than 100MB in size. Additionally, it will also skip files found the folders C:\\WINDOWS, C:\\PROGRAM FILES, and C:\PROGRAM FILES (X86).

    And unlike other ransomware variants, Cryptoblocker will not drop any text files instructing the victim on how to decrypt the files. Rather, it displays the dialog box below. Entering a transaction ID in the text box will trigger a message stating that the “transaction was sent and will be verified soon.”

    Figure 1. Dialog box

    Another distinction is that its encryption routine. This malware does not use CryptoAPIs, a marked difference from other ransomware. CryptoAPIs are used to make RSA keys, which were not used with this particular malware. This is an interesting detail considering RSA keys would make decrypting files more difficult. Instead, we found that  the advanced encryption standard (AES) is found in the malware code.

    A closer look also reveals that the compiler notes were still intact upon unpacking the code. This is highly interesting as compiler notes are usually removed. This is because this information could be used by security researchers to detect (and thereby block) files from the malware writer. The presence of the compiler notes would suggest that perhaps the bad guy behind Cryptoblocker is new to the creation of ransomware.

    Based on feedback from the Trend Micro Smart Protection Network, the US is the top affected country, followed by France and Japan. Spain and Italy round up the top five affected countries.

    Figure 2. Countries affected by Cryptoblocker

    Critroni and the Use of Tor

    The Tor network has gained a lot of attention due to its association with cybercrime. Cybercriminals have been using the network to mask their malicious activity and hide from law enforcement agencies.

    We recently came across one variant, detected as TROJ_CRYPCTB.A and known as Critroni or Curve-Tor-Bitcoin (CTB) Locker, which uses Tor to mask its command-and-control (C&C) communications. After encrypting the files of the affected machine, the malware changes the computer’s wallpaper to the image below:

    Figure 3. Wallpaper displayed

    It also displays a ransom message. Users must pay the ransom in Bitcoins before the set deadline is done. Otherwise, all the files will permanently remain encrypted.

    Figure 4. Ransom message

    According senior threats researcher Jamz Yaneza, this malware uses the elliptic curve cryptography in comparison to using RSA or AES. To put this into context, the Bitcoin ecosystem relies on one elliptic curve cryptographic schemes, the Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm (ECDSA).

    This isn’t the first time we have seen ransomware take advantage of the anonymity offered by the Tor network. In the last weeks of 2013, ransomware variants called Cryptorbit asked their victims to use the Tor browser (a browser pre-configured for Tor) for ransom payment. We also came across Android ransomware that uses Tor for its C&C communications.

    BAT_CRYPTOR.A Uses Legitimate Apps

    Last June, we reported about POSHCODER, a ransomware variant that abuses the Windows PowerShell feature to encrypt files. We recently spotted yet another ransomware that, like POSHCODER, uses legitimate apps for its encryption routine.

    Detected as BAT_CRYPTOR.A,   this variant uses the GNU Privacy Guard application to encrypt files.  However, based on our analysis, the malware will still execute its encryption routines even if the system does not have GnuPG. As part of its infection chain, the dropper malware will drop a copy of GnuPG to use for encryption. The said routine is written in batch file.

    The malware will delete the %appdata%/gnupg/*, which is the directory wherein generated keys are saved. It will then generate new keys using Two keys will be generated, one public (pubring.gpg) and the other, private (secring.gpg).

    The public key pubring.gpg will be used to encrypt the files on the system. The private key, which can decrypt the files, is left on the affected system. However, this key is also encrypted (using the key, making encryption difficult. The newly-encrypted private key will be renamed to KEY.PRIVATE.

    BAT_CRYPTOR.A renames encrypted files with the file name {file name and extension}.paycrypt@gmail_com. In the ransom note, users are instructed to contact an email address for details on how to decrypt their files.

    The Importance of Caution

    These ransomware variants prove that despite significant takedowns, cybercriminals will continue to find ways to victimize users. Users should remain cautious when dealing with unfamiliar files, emails, or URL links. While it might be tempting to pay the ransom for encrypted files, there is no guarantee that the cybercriminals will decrypt the ransomed files. Users can read other security practices the blog entry, Dealing with CryptoLocker.

    With additional insights from Romeo Dela Cruz, Joselito Dela Cruz, Don Ladores, and Cklaudioney Mesa.

    Update as of Aug 1, 2014, 05:33 PM. PDT:

    The hashes involved in this attack is :


    Posted in Malware | Comments Off on New Crypto-Ransomware Emerge in the Wild


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