Feeds

Malware removes rival rootkits

Worm wars get stealthy

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Miscreants have created a strain of malware capable of removing rootkits from compromised PCs, only to install almost undetectable backdoor code of its own.

The Pandex Trojan stops previously installed rootkits from working by removing their hooks into system calls. Pandex then installs its own rootkit component, detected by Trend Micro as Pushu-AC.

Rootkits are a type of malware that hide their presence on infected PCs, making them more dangerous than typical viruses. By operating below the level of traditional malware scanning tools, rootkits are able to carry out covert functions, for example keystroke-logging, without detection.

Virus writers have competed for control of vulnerable PCs several times in the past. For example, in 2005 separate groups of hackers released a barrage of worms in a battle to seize control of Windows PCs vulnerable to the then infamous Windows Plug-and-Play (PnP) vulnerability.

The Bozori worm was programmed to remove infections by earlier versions of the Zotob worm and other malware, so it could take control of a compromised computer for itself. A family of IRC bots that exploit the same Microsoft Plug and Play vulnerability likewise tried to remove competing PnP bots.

In early 2004, variants of the Netsky worm designed to remove Bagle and MyDoom infections from compromised PCs were released into the wild amid an ongoing war of words between rival VXers.

More recently, a turf war erupted between the creators of the Storm worm and rival gangs.

The Pandex Trojan updates this dishonourable tradition with code that replaces stealthier malware infections.

More background on the latest twist in the ongoing "virus writers at war" series can be found in an analysis by Trend Micro here. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.