Feeds

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

Clouds on Mount Olympus

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Rupert Murdoch says Google is worse than the NSA
Mr Burns vs. The Chocolate Factory, round three!
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Germany 'accidentally' snooped on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton
Dragnet surveillance picks up EVERYTHING, USA, m'kay?
Know what Ferguson city needs right now? It's not Anonymous doxing random people
U-turn on vow to identify killer cop after fingering wrong bloke
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.