Feeds

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

Clouds on Mount Olympus

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
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
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Reddit wipes clean leaked celeb nudie pics, tells users to zip it
Now we've had all THAT TRAFFIC, we 'deplore' this theft
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
TorrentLocker unpicked: Crypto coding shocker defeats extortionists
Lousy XOR opens door into which victims can shove a foot
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.