Feeds

Israeli cops penetrated by army of fake generals with trojans

Syrian rebels also hit, Iran's name murmured

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Israeli police departments were pulled offline last Thursday following the discovery of a Trojan especially targeted at law enforcement networks in the Jewish state.

The malware was distributed using spammed messages, spoofed so that they appeared to come from the head of the Israel Defense Forces, Benny Gantz. The malicious emails contained the subject line "IDF strikes militants in Gaza Strip following rocket barrage", and a compressed .RAR file was attached. Opening the dodgy attachment on Windows machines leads to infection by the XTRAT-B Trojan (AKA Benny Gantz-59).

Samples of the malware obtained by Trend Micro suggest that the initial target of the attack was systems within the Israeli Customs agency.

"Based on our analysis, this backdoor is an Xtreme remote access Trojan (RAT) that, like all RATs, can be used to steal information and receive commands from a remote attacker," Ivan Macalintal, a threat research manager at Trend Micro explains. "The Xtreme RAT appears to have been used in previous attacks targeting Syrian anti-government activists."

The Trojan features Windows 8 compatibility, improved audio and desktop capture capabilities as well as better routines for grabbing passwords saved in Chrome and Firefox.

Antivirus firms are adding detection for both the spammed message and the malicious file but the damage may already have been done. Roni Bachar, head of Israeli security firm Avnet, told the Times of Israel that police servers might have been compromised for up to a week before the outbreak was detected, and quarantine procedures were applied.

"It was only late Wednesday night that police realized what happened and ordered that computers be taken offline," Bachar said. "Apparently the virus was also distributed to other government departments."

Police forces re-established limited internet connectivity by Sunday but it's unclear when full access will be restored, the Times of Israel adds.

It's also unclear who created the malware or why, although Iran has (unsurprisingly) emerged as a likely suspect.

"Benny Gantz-55 may have been a prank," the DigitalIntifada blog speculates.

"It may also have been generated by Iran's burgeoning cyber warfare centres which have been rapidly expanded since Tehran's nuclear programme was hit by the Stuxnet virus in 2010." ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
Ello? ello? ello?: Facebook challenger in DDoS KNOCKOUT
Gets back up again after half an hour though
Desperate VXers enslave FREEZERS in DDoS bot
Updated Spike malware targets Asia
Heatmiser digital thermostat users: For pity's sake, DON'T SWITCH ON the WI-FI
A stranger turns up YOUR heat with default password 1234
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
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.