Security firm Intego on Monday announced that it had discovered a new variant of the Flashback malware called Flashback.S that continues to use a Java vulnerability Apple has already patched. This variant requires no password to install, and it places its files into the user’s home folder in “~/Library/LaunchAgents/com. java.update.plist” and “~/.jupdate.” Once Fashback.S is installed, it will then delete all files and folders in “~/Library/Caches/Java/cache” in order to delete the applet from the infected Mac, and avoid detection. The virus is actively being distributed, although it will not install if it finds Intego VirusBarrier X6, Xcode or Little Snitch installed on the Mac it tries to attack.
The “Flashback” virus discovered to have infected more than 600,000 Mac computers earlier this month originated on a series of WordPress blogs, security experts have determined. According to Alexander Gostev, head of the global research and analysis team at Kaspersky, the virus began as a trojan hidden within a fake Adobe software update. In March, however, the malware’s creators repackaged the virus in a “drive-by attack” that infected users’ Apple computers when they visited one of thousands of compromised WordPress blogs. “Tens of thousands of sites powered by WordPress were compromised,” Gostev wrote on Kaspersky’s SecureList blog. “How this happened is unclear. The main theories are that bloggers were using a vulnerable version of WordPress or they had installed the ToolsPack plug-in.” Apple released a system update earlier this month that patched a Java vulnerability and removed most common iterations of the Flashback virus. As of the middle of last week, however, more than 140,000 Mac computers were still infected with the virus, which is capable of intercepting private data and transmitting it without a user’s knowledge. More →
Security firm Trusteer warned this week of a trojan that is capable of stealing an individual’s credit card information from hotels. The firm’s intelligence team discovered the remote access trojan being sold on underground forums for $280. The malware is designed to capture screenshots from point-of-sale applications that access credit card numbers and expiration dates. These systems are located on front-desk computers at hotels, and they are often unmanaged and do not contain anti-virus protections software that would stop a trojan of this type. The malware’s creators also include instructions on how to use VoIP-based social engineering to trick front-desk clerks into installing the trojan. More →
Apple responded fairly quickly to news that more than 600,000 Mac computers were infected with a trojan virus called “Flashback.” One week after the massive botnet was discovered, Apple issued an update fixing the Java vulnerability that allowed Flashback to infect the machines, as well as a removal tool for affected machines. Despite the company’s efforts, Symantec stated on Tuesday evening that approximately 140,000 OS X PCs were still infected with the virus at that time. “The statistics from our sinkhole are showing declining numbers on a daily basis,” the company wrote on its blog. “However, we had originally believed that we would have seen a greater decline in infections at this point in time, but this has proven not to be the case. Currently, it appears that the number of infected computers has tapered off, but remains around the 140,000 mark.” Symantec offers its own Flashback removal tool separate from the one Apple made available in a system update on April 12th. More →
The “Flashback” trojan virus affecting at least 600,000 Macs was discovered last week that is capable of intercepting passwords and other private data. The discovery prompted Apple to release a Java update for OS X users that removed a number of common variants of the virus. Securelist on Saturday found another Mac trojan that is also spread through Java exploits, however. The malware, called Backdoor.OSX.SabPub, can take screenshots of a user’s current session, execute commands on an infected machine and connect to a remote website to transmit the data. It is not clear how users get infected with the trojan, but because of the low number of instances and the trojan’s backdoor functionality, Securelist speculates that it is most likely used in targeted attacks, possibly launched through emails containing a URL pointing to two one of websites hosting the exploit. More →
Apple on Thursday released Java update for OS X that removes a number of common variants of the Flashback trojan virus. Discovered last week to have infected more than 600,000 Mac computers, Flashback is a trojan that is capable of intercepting sensitive data and transmitting it back to an attacker. Security experts at F-Secure published instructions on how to manually detect and remove the malware, but Apple’s new Java update will handle the process automatically. The update, Java for OS X Lion 2012-003, is available for download immediately from within Apple’s integrated OS X software update utility.
Apple on Friday issued a second software update to address a security flaw on its OS X operating system that has allowed a massive botnet to form. The update, “Java for OS X 2012-002,” is only available for desktop and laptop PCs running OS X Lion 10.7; Apple issued a similar update last week for both Lion and Snow Leopard, and the exploit was seemingly addressed properly the first time on the Snow Leopard OS. Russian anti-virus experts revealed earlier this week that the “Flashback” trojan virus had utilized a Java vulnerability to infect more than 600,000 Mac computers worldwide. The trojan is capable of intercepting sensitive data such as passwords and other personal information, and transmitting the data back to a host. A separate firm later published instructions detailing how to detect and remove the virus, and Apple’s new update should be the last step in protecting its systems from further attacks. Apple had not yet published details surrounding the new update on its website at the time of this writing. More →
The idea that Macs don’t get viruses is now officially a thing of the past. Of course Mac malware has been around for years, but now a massive botnet has been discovered that takes this relatively small issue and makes it a widespread problem. While hackers indeed target Windows PCs far more frequently, a trojan horse virus discovered earlier this year has reportedly now been found to affect more that half a million Mac computers worldwide. Russian anti-virus vendor Dr. Web has discovered that malware called “BackDoor.Flashback.39” is currently present on at least 600,000 Macs. The trojan has the capability to use a java vulnerability to intercept passwords and other private data, and then transmit the information back to the person or group that deployed it. Apple has since patched the vulnerability, but security experts at F-Secure have published a simple guide to help Mac users determine whether or not they are infected, and then remove any malicious files from their computers that are tied to the Flashback trojan. A link to F-Secure’s guide can be found below. More →
Hacker group “Anonymous Operations” has confirmed that the custom Linux-based operating system released under its name earlier this week is not a platform it developed. “The Anon OS is fake,” the group posted on Twitter Wednesday evening. “It is wrapped in trojans.” The desktop operating system was released earlier this week by individuals claiming ties with Anonymous. It is based on popular Linux distribution Ubuntu, and it ships with a number of hacking tools pre-installed. According to Anonymous, it also ships with a variety of malware. The team behind Anonymous-OS responded to the group’s claims, denying that its platform contains any malicious software. “The #anonops on their twitter account say ‘That Anonymous-OS is wrapped in trojans,’ ” the group wrote on its Tumblr blog. “Please people… in our world, in Linux and opensource world, there is not virus. If any user believe that Anonymous-OS ‘is wrapped in trojans’ or ‘backdoored OS by any Law enforcement Company or Hacker’ please don’t download it! But don’t mislead the world that Linux is dangerous and has trojans!” Anonymous-OS has been downloaded more than 25,000 times.
The Carrier IQ scandal has shifted attention from malicious mobile threats to carrier-sourced spyware over the past month, but a new report suggests the threat of more serious mobile malware continues to intensify. More than $1 million was stolen from Android smartphones alone in 2011 according to Lookout Mobile Security, which pulled data from more than a million apps and 15 million handsets around the world to compile its 2012 Mobile Threat Predictions report. The likelihood of an Android user encountering malware grew from 1% to 4% in 2011, and Lookout expects the trend to continue in 2012. Read on for more. More →
A new report recently issued by the security firm McAfee suggests that the number of malware applications targeting Android devices jumped 76% during the second quarter of this year, making Android the “most attacked” mobile operating system. “This year we’ve seen record-breaking numbers of malware, especially on mobile devices, where the uptick is in direct correlation to popularity,” senior vice president of McAfee labs Vincent Weafer said. Android users typically install the malware accidentally and assume the app is from a safe and legitimate developer. The most prevalent malware-infected modified applications were:
- Android/Jmsonez.A – a calendar app that sends SMS texts to a premium rate number.
- Android/Smsmecap.A – a fake comedy app that sends SMS texts to everyone in the user’s address book.
- Android/DroidKungFu – malware that is capable of installing its own software and updates.
- Android/DrdDreamLite – capable of sending data back to the attacker.
McAfee also noted a number of popular Android Trojans that have been making their way through devices. In addition, the company released compelling figures for how much a hacker can sell stolen email addresses for. In the United States, for example, 10,000,000 addresses can be sold to spammers for roughly $300. Read on for McAffee’s full press release, which includes several data points for PCs, too. More →
The small group of hackers known as Lulz Security, or simply “LulzSec,” would never disband without one final round of fun. BGR reported on Monday that the group’s reign of terror was coming to an end after 50 lul-filled days. During that period of time, LulzSec released data stolen in a series of online breaches with targets ranging from Sony to the U.S. Government. In its coup de grâce, LulzSec released a stash of stolen data from a variety of targets, including AT&T, Disney and the U.S. Navy. But data obtained through online breaches wasn’t the only thing LulzSec stuffed into the file; a directory named “BootableUSB” also contained a variety of malware including trojans and worms. While “LulzSec” is no more and its notorious Twitter account now sits dormant, members of the well-known hacktivism group “Anonymous Operations” have confirmed that LulzSec is gone in name only — the six LulzSec members have been absorbed by Anonymous, according to the group’s official Twitter feed. More →
Firm Lookout Mobile Security is warning of a new, sophisticated, Android-focused piece of malware that has been found in China. The security company warns that the trojan, dubbed Geinimi, can “compromise a significant amount of personal data on a user’s phone and send it to remote servers.” The malicious code is, currently, only found in third-party application stores attached to republished versions of legitimate applications.
“Geinimi is the first Android malware in the wild that displays botnet-like capabilities,” reads the post on the company’s blog. “Once the malware is installed on a user’s phone, it has the potential to receive commands from a remote server that allow the owner of that server to control the phone.”
Upon installation, compromised applications containing Geinimi’s payload will prompt users to grant the app far more permissions than the original application. The company notes that the trojan can relay IMEI, IMSI, and location information to remote servers as well as prompt users to install additional applications.
Again, Geinimi is only known to be found on third-party app stores in China, so there is no need to set your personal DEFCON level any lower than 4. All those here in good ol’ North America are safe for the time being, but such is the brave new world of mobile devices. More →