Feeds

Trojan pokes Facebook for zombie commands

Anti-social networking

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Crimeware distributors have begun using Facebook as a command and control channel for a Trojan that turns compromised Windows PCs into zombie drones.

Zombie clients poll the Notes section of the mobile version of Facebook for instructions. Compromised clients might be instructed to download further code from a specified web site or told to wait for commands, for example.

The Trojan spreads via booby-trapped email attachments that take advantage of well-known PDF or Office flaws to infect unpatched systems. These messages pose as email from courier firms and the like.

This has become a very common strategy for targeted attacks, which have replaced mass mailing worms as the main malware danger to business. What distinguishes this Trojan from run of the mill malware is its (experimental) use of Facebook to receive commands instead of traditional botnet control channels such as Internet Relay Chat (IRC). Most of the heavy lifting - such as uploading stolen data - is still done through a web server, however, Symantec researcher Andrea Lelli explains.

"The Trojan is using a Facebook account to receive URLs to contact, and it may post some timedate stamps back to the account, but nothing more than that," Lelli writes. "The real command and data processing is done through the remote URL that was received from the notes, and this URL may point anywhere."

"It [the Trojan] simply uses the standard Facebook functionalities, which in no way are malicious, dangerous or faulty. This particular Trojan is quite limited and seems to be a targeted attack, but it can be considered a precursor of a botnet using a social network as a C&C [command and control] server."

Symantec found the mobile Facebook account associated with the Trojan, established 16 October, showed very little signs of activity. Either hackers have deleted handshakes from compromised boxes that ought to have been exchanged or else the malware is yet to infect anything.

Virus writers have begun experimenting with varied means of controlling botnet clients over recent months. In August, for example, security researchers at Arbor Networks discovered a botnet that used Twitter to relay commands to compromised hosts. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Google recommends pronounceable passwords
Super Chrome goes into battle with Mr Mxyzptlk
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
THREE QUARTERS of Android mobes open to web page spy bug
Metasploit module gobbles KitKat SOP slop
'Speargun' program is fantasy, says cable operator
We just might notice if you cut our cables
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.