Feeds

Trojan smuggles out nicked blueprints as Windows Update data

Malware backdoors government-targeted kit 'using Adobe 0-days'

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Security watchers have uncovered a new highly targeted email-borne attack that uses a supposed conference invitation as a lure - and disguises extracted data as Microsoft Update traffic.

The spearphishing attempts, which have been levied against several government-related organisations worldwide, try to use alleged unfixed security flaws in Adobe software to implant a Trojan on compromised machines - ultimately opening a backdoor for hackers to take over systems.

Once loaded, the malware also cunningly attempts to escape detection by posing as a benign Windows Update utility. The attack was independently discovered by security researchers from Seculert and Zscaler, who issued a joint warning about the so-called MSUpdater Trojan assault on Tuesday.

"We were able to track similar attacks, from the same group of attackers, back to 2009," Aviv Raff, CTO at Seculert told El Reg.

"The method of operation of many of the attacks is similar – a spearphishing email is sent with a PDF attachment of a fake industry related 'Conference Invitation'. The PDF file exploits zero-day vulnerabilities in Adobe Reader, and then installs the RAT [Remote Access Trojan] malware. The malware tries to stay under the radar of security products by pretending to be a 'Microsoft Windows Update' - hence the name 'MSUpdater' Trojan."

"One variant is using Windows Update-like HTTP requests to communicate with the command-and-control server. The other drops a file named msupdate.exe," he added. "The attacks' purpose was indeed industrial espionage, mainly for stealing intellectual property. One of the main functions of a variant of this malware was to steal specific files and upload them to the C&C server."

Analysis of the attack is ongoing, and Raff is yet to form a clear opinion on the likely perpetrators of the assault.

"We don't have information about the people behind those attacks, however as all of them are targeting government-related organisations, it is highly reasonable to suspect that the attackers are high profile, maybe even a country," he concluded. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
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
'Speargun' program is fantasy, says cable operator
We just might notice if you cut our cables
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
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.