Fortinet(R)'s FortiGuard Threat Landscape Research Team Reports Four Samples of Money Making Malware to Watch for in 2013
SUNNYVALE, CA, Feb 04, 2013 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) --
Fortinet(R) (NASDAQ: FTNT) -- a world leader in high-performance
network security -- today announced the findings of its FortiGuard
threat landscape research for the period of October 1 - December 31,
2012. FortiGuard(R) Labs has highlighted malware samples that show
four typical methods cyber criminals are using today to extract money
from their victims. In addition, the report shows increasing activity
in mobile malware variants of the Android Plankton ad kit as well as
in hacktivist Web server vulnerability scanning.
Four Money Making Malware to Watch for in 2013
In the last three
months, FortiGuard Labs has identified four pieces of malware that
spiked, showing high levels of activity within a very short period of
time (from a day to a week). The following examples reflect four
typical methods cyber criminals are using today to monetize their
1. Simda.B: This sophisticated malware poses as a Flash update in
order to trick users into granting their full installation rights.
Once installed, the malware steals the user's passwords, allowing
cybercriminals to infiltrate a victim's email and social networking
accounts to spread spam or malware, access Website admin accounts for
hosting malicious sites and siphoning money from online payment
2. FakeAlert.D: This fake antivirus malware notifies users via a
convincing-looking pop-up window that their computer has been
infected with viruses, and that, for a fee, the fake antivirus
software will remove the viruses from the victim's computer.
3. Ransom.BE78: This is ransomware, a frustrating piece of malware
that prevents users from accessing their personal data. Typically the
infection either prevents a user's machine from booting or encrypts
data on the victim's machine and then demands payment for the key to
decrypt it. The main difference between ransomware and fake antivirus
is that ransomware does not give the victim a choice regarding
installation. Ransomware installs itself on a user's machine
automatically and then demands payment to be removed from the system.
4. Zbot.ANQ: This Trojan is the "client-side" component of a version
of the infamous Zeus crime-kit. It intercepts a user's online bank
login attempts and then uses social engineering to trick them into
installing a mobile component of the malware on their smartphones.
Once the mobile element is in place, cybercriminals can then
intercept bank confirmation SMS messages and subsequently transfer
funds to a money mule's account.
"While methods of monetizing malware have evolved over the years,
cybercriminals today seem to be more open and confrontational in
their demands for money -- for faster returns," said Guillaume Lovet,
senior manager of FortiGuard Labs' Threat Response Team. "Now it's
not just about silently swiping passwords, it's also about bullying
infected users into paying. The basic steps users can take to protect
themselves, however, have not changed. They should continue to have
security solutions installed on their computers, update their
software diligently with the latest versions and patches, run regular
scans and exercise common sense."
Android Mobile Advertising Malware
In the last threat landscape
report, FortiGuard Labs detected a surge in the distribution of the
Android Plankton ad kit. This particular piece of malware embeds a
common toolset on a user's android device that serves unwanted
advertisements in the user's status bar, tracks the user's
International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number and drops icons
on the device's desktop.
In the last three months, the kit's activity plunged. In its place,
FortiGuard Labs has detected the rise of ad kits that appear to be
directly inspired by Plankton and have approached the same elevated
activity level Plankton was operating at three months ago.
"The ad kits we've monitored suggest that Plankton's authors are
trying to dodge detection. Either that, or competing ad kit
developers are trying to take a piece of the lucrative adware cake.
Either way, the level of activity we're seeing with ad kits today
suggests that Android users are highly targeted and thus should be
especially vigilant when downloading apps to their smartphones," said
Users can protect themselves by paying close attention to the rights
asked by an application at the point of installation. It is also
recommended to download mobile applications that have been highly
rated and reviewed.
Hacktivist Scanning Tool Goes Into Overdrive
In the third quarter of
2012, FortiGuard Labs detected high activity levels of ZmEu, a tool
that was developed by Romanian hackers to scan Web servers running
vulnerable versions of the mySQL administration software (phpMyAdmin)
in order to take control of those servers. Since September, the
activity level has risen a full nine times before finally levelling
off in December.
"This activity spike suggests a heightened interest by hacktivist
groups to facilitate various protests and activist movements around
the world. We expect such scanning activity to remain high as
hacktivists pursue an ever-increasing number of causes and publicise
their successes," Lovet continued.
To secure Web servers against this threat, FortiGuard Labs recommends
updating to the latest version of PhPMyAdmin.
Visit the Fortinet FortiGuard Researchers at RSA
Fortinet will be
participating at the upcoming RSA security conference, which is
taking place February 25 - March 1 at San Francisco's Moscone Center.
Stop by booth #2025, meet the members of the FortiGuard research
team, see a demonstration of the lab's latest threat intelligence
services and receive a free USB wristband.
About FortiGuard Labs
FortiGuard Labs compiled threat statistics and
trends for this threat period based on data collected from
FortiGate(R) network security appliances and intelligence systems in
production worldwide. Customers who use Fortinet's FortiGuard
Services should be protected against the vulnerabilities outlined in
this report as long as the appropriate configuration parameters are
FortiGuard Services offer broad security solutions including
antivirus, intrusion prevention, Web content filtering and anti-spam
capabilities. These services help protect against threats on both
application and network layers. FortiGuard Services are updated by
FortiGuard Labs, which enables Fortinet to deliver a combination of
multi-layered security intelligence and zero-day protection from new
and emerging threats. For customers with a subscription to
FortiGuard, these updates are delivered to all FortiGate,
FortiMail(TM) and FortiClient(TM) products.
Ongoing research can be found in the FortiGuard Center or via
FortiGuard Labs' RSS feed. Additional discussion on security
technologies and threat analysis can be found at the FortiGuard Blog.
Follow Fortinet Online: Twitter at: www.twitter.com/fortinet;
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About Fortinet (www.fortinet.com)
Fortinet (NASDAQ: FTNT) is a
worldwide provider of network security appliances and a market leader
in unified threat management (UTM). Our products and subscription
services provide broad, integrated and high-performance protection
against dynamic security threats while simplifying the IT security
infrastructure. Our customers include enterprises, service providers
and government entities worldwide, including the majority of the 2012
Fortune Global 100. Fortinet's flagship FortiGate product delivers
ASIC-accelerated performance and integrates multiple layers of
security designed to help protect against application and network
threats. Fortinet's broad product line goes beyond UTM to help secure
the extended enterprise -- from endpoints, to the perimeter and the
core, including databases and applications. Fortinet is headquartered
in Sunnyvale, Calif., with offices around the world.
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