Feeds

Malware made which can share a smartcard over the internet

'Use a bank or ID card as though you had it with you'

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Security researchers have developed proof-of-concept malware that allows attackers to obtain remote access to smart card readers attached to compromised Windows PCs.

The experimental malware developed by Itrust Consulting allows hackers to share a USB-based smart card reader over the internet. As such the attack goes one step further than previous assaults, such as a recent variant of the Sykipot Trojan that hijacked US Department of Defense smart cards in order to access restricted resources. This so-called 'smart card proxy' attack was software specific, targeting PCs attached to smart card readers running ActivClient, the client application of ActivIdentity.

The experimental malware developed by Itrust Consulting ought to work with any type of smart card and USB-based smart card reader, at least in theory, so it promises to be both more flexible and powerful than that abused by the Sykipot Trojan.

The attack is due to be demonstrated by Paul Rascagneres, a security consultant at Luxembourg-based Itrust Consulting, at the MalCon security conference in New Delhi, India, on 24 November. A summary of the upcoming Smartcards Reloaded - Remotely! presentation sets the scene.

We showcase a new kind of malware that uses a self made driver that make USB over TCP/IP. So the malware shares the smartcard connected in USB of the victim directly to the command and control (c&c) server in raw. The attacker can use the smartcard as if it is directly connected to his machine!

Smart cards are normally used in tandem with PIN codes or passwords for two factor authentication (secure login using something you have - the token, and something you know, a PIN). The prototype malware comes bundled with a key-logging component capable of stealing such login credentials, providing they are entered into an infected PC attached to a smart card reader.The credential stealing attack would not work in cases where users enter their PIN into a physical keyboard included with a smart card reader, IDG reports.

Rascagneres and his team tested their malware prototype with smart cards issued by Belgian banks and the electronic identity card (eID) issued in Belgium.

The drivers created by the researchers are not digitally signed, one way that the attack might be detected. However bad guys might be able to get around detection by either using stolen digital certificates or using malware (such as the TDL4 rootkit) capable of disabling the driver-signing policy on 64-bit versions of Windows 7. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
Why did it take antivirus giants YEARS to drill into super-scary Regin? Symantec responds...
FYI this isn't just going to target Windows, Linux and OS X fans
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Home Office: Fancy flogging us some SECRET SPY GEAR?
If you do, tell NOBODY what it's for or how it works
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described
'A degree of technical competence rarely seen'
Syrian Electronic Army in news site 'hack' POP-UP MAYHEM
Gigya redirect exploit blamed for pop-rageous ploy
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.