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ZeuS baddies copy Conficker tactics

Malware phone-home ploy gets recycled

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Variants of the infamous ZeuS cybercrime toolkit have begun using the tactics of the infamous Conficker worm in a bid to get ahead of security defences.

The so-called Licat worm, which is "strongly linked" to ZeuS, represents a likely attempt to reinforce botnets following recent arrests of suspected bank fraud money mules, as well as hackers tied to ZeuS in the UK, US and Ukraine over the last month or so.

Licat infects .EXE, .DLL and .HTML files on infected systems. The malware also generates around 800 pseudo-random domains a day, which it contacts in order to attempt to download new malware code.

Rik Ferguson, a security consultant at Trend Micro, told El Reg that the latter phone-home technique was most notably applied by Conficker and new for variants of ZeuS. "It's Conficker tactics but applied to ZeuS," Ferguson told El Reg.

The Licat-A malware strain targets a number of UK banks, including Barclays, HSBC and Alliance & Leicester. Infections by the malware have happened worldwide and are by no means confined to the UK.

More details on the malware can be found in a blog post by Ferguson here. ®

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