Feeds

Malware devs embrace open-source

Blackhatters desperate for props from pals, says security firm

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Cybercrooks have embraced the open-source model in the development of banking Trojans following the release of source code for the infamous ZeuS cybercrime toolkit last year.

Multiple variants of a Zeus Trojan called Citadel have emerged over recent weeks as VXers have embraced a new development lifecycle - dubbed open-source malware.

Net security firm Seculert reports that the main developers of the software have also created forums where customers of Citadel (other cybercriminals) can suggest new features and modules for the malware, report bugs and other errors, or enter into discussion with their fellow e-banking fraudsters.

The approach is fuelling development of extremely well-developed malware, Seculert reports.

"Because of the new development lifecycle, this malware evolves quickly, and since late December we have seen over five new versions released by the Citadel authors, with new modules and features added to each version," Aviv Raff, CTO at Seculert, told El Reg.

New modules and features include support for AES Encryption of malware configuration files, support for security vendor websites blacklisting and technology designed to keep off the radar of Zeus tracking websites.

Cybercriminals have embraced open-source malware with the creation of 20 unique botnets using the new Citadel malware, which is starting to become the FreeBSD of e-banking fraudsters. Several of those botnets have infected more than 100,000 machines, Raff reports.

Cybercrooks have embraced trends from the legitimate business world for some years. For example, the Citadel authors provide their customers with a user manual, release notes and a licence agreement.

"We suspect that the open-source model may be the next growing trend," Seculert concludes. "The cybercrime world is characterised by rapid development, cutting-edge technology, and hackers’ constant cravings for recognition. By looking at the developments in the software world, the open-source model may be well accepted in the cybercrime ecosystem as well."

A blog post from Seculert, showing admin panels for the malware and a pie-chart illustrating Citadel infections per country, can be found here. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Tor attack nodes RIPPED MASKS off users for 6 MONTHS
Traffic confirmation attack bared users' privates - but to whom?
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.