Feeds

Dammit Ramnit! Worm slurps 45,000 Facebook passwords

Bank-raid malware is latest nasty to infect social networks

Security for virtualized datacentres

A bank account-raiding worm has started spreading on Facebook, stealing login credentials as it creeps across the site, security researchers have revealed.

Evidence recovered from a command-and-control server used to coordinate the evolving Ramnit worm confirms that the malware has already stolen 45,000 Facebook passwords and associated email addresses. Experts from Seculert, who found the controller node, have supplied Facebook with a list of all the stolen credentials found on the server. Most of the victims are from either the UK or France.

Ramnit differs from other worms, such as Koobface, that have used Facebook to spread because it relies on multiple infection techniques and has only recently extended onto social networks. Koobface, by contrast, only uses Facebook or Twitter to spread.

"Ramnit started as a file infector worm which steals FTP credentials and browser cookies, then added some financial-stealing capabilities, and now recently added Facebook worm capabilities," Aviv Raff, CTO  at Seculert, told El Reg.

"We suspect that they use the Facebook logins to post on a victim's friends' wall links to malicious websites which download Ramnit," he added.

Ramnit first appeared in April 2010. By last July variants of the malware accounted for 17.3 per cent of all new malicious software infections, according to Symantec. A month later Trusteer reported that flavours of Ramnit were packing sophisticated banking login credential snaffling capabilities - technologies culled from the leak of the source code of the notorious ZeuS cybercrime toolkit at around the same time.

The new Ramnit configuration was able to bypass two-factor authentication and transaction-signing systems used by financial institutions to protect online banking sessions. The same technology might also be used to bypass two-factor authentication mechanisms in order to gain remote access to corporate networks, Seculert warns.

Invading Zuckerberg's Reservation

The move onto Facebook by the miscreants behind Ramnit seems designed primarily to expand the malware's distribution network and infect more victims.

"We suspect that the attackers behind Ramnit are using the stolen credentials to expand the malware’s reach," Seculert concludes, adding that capturing the login credentials of Facebook accounts creates a means to attack more sensitive accounts that happen to use the same email address and password combination.

"The cyber-criminals are also taking advantage of the fact that people usually use the same passwords for different web-based services (Facebook, Gmail, Corporate SSL VPN, Outlook Web Access, etc.) to gain remote access to corporate networks," it said.

The Ramnit outbreak on Facebook follows the November outbreak of an earlier worm that tried to infect victims with a variant of ZeuS.

"More and more malware families have started using social networks to reach victims instead of spam," Raff added.

In a statement, Facebook said it was applying security measures to contain the problem.

“Last week we received from external security researchers a set of user credentials that had been harvested by a piece of malware. Our security experts have reviewed the data, and while the majority of the information was out-of-date, we have initiated remedial steps for all affected users to ensure the security of their accounts. Thus far, we have not seen the virus propagating on Facebook itself, but have begun working with our external partners to add protections to our anti-virus systems to help users secure their devices. People can protect themselves by never clicking on strange links and reporting any suspicious activity they encounter on Facebook. We encourage our users to become fans of the Facebook Security Page (www.facebook.com/security) for additional security information.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
NASTY SSL 3.0 vuln to be revealed soon – sources (Update: It's POODLE)
So nasty no one's even whispering until patch is out
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
FBI boss: We don't want a backdoor, we want the front door to phones
Claims it's what the Founding Fathers would have wanted – catching killers and pedos
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
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?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.