Feeds

Zeus bot found using Amazon's EC2 as C&C server

Clouds on Mount Olympus

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

Add Amazon's EC2 to the roster of cloud-based services being exploited to do the bidding of malware gangs.

Over the past few days, a new variant of the Zeus banking trojan has been spotted using the popular Amazon service as a command and control channel for infected machines. After marks get tricked into installing the password-logging malware, their machines began reporting to EC2 for new instructions and updates, according to researchers from CA's internet security business unit.

"We believe this was a legitimate service that was purchased and compromised via a vulnerability" such as a weak password, Don DeBolt, CA's director of threat research, told The Reg. "It could have been any vulnerable system on the internet."

Over the past few months, accounts on Twitter, Google's app engine, and Facebook have also been transformed into master control channels for machines under the spell of surreptitious malware. In addition to their high availability and low cost, the sites are attractive because they don't set off alarms when infected machines are observed connecting to them.

While it's relatively easy to block channels located in China or based on internet relay chat, blacklisting some of the world's most popular online destinations is another matter completely.

According to analysis from Zero Day blogger Dancho Danchev, the cybercriminals behind Zeus appear to have plugged into Amazon's Relational Database Service as a backend alternative in case they lose access to their original domain.

DeBolt said the EC2 channel was disconnected after it was brought to the attention of Amazon officials. People who want to report future abuse of cloud-based services offered by the online retailer can use this link. An Amazon spokeswoman didn't respond to an email requesting comment. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
'Speargun' program is fantasy, says cable operator
We just might notice if you cut our cables
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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 and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.