Feeds

Java updates too much of a bother? Maybe online banking's just not for you

There's a Trojan that's got your number, and it's calling its chums to clean you out

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Security researchers have spotted a surge in attacks against online banking customers, thanks to a new strain of Java-exploiting Trojan Caphaw (aka Shylock).

Over the last month or so the malware has targeted customers in at least 24 financial institutions, including Bank of Scotland, Barclays Bank, First Direct, Santander Direkt Bank AG and Capital One Financial Corporation, according to security researchers at cloud security firm Zscaler. There's no word on whether or how successful its attacks have been and which bank's customers have been affected. Caphaw (Shylock) is most active in the UK, Italy, Denmark and Turkey.

"We have detected hundreds of infections, but there is no way to calculate the losses," Zscaler researcher Chris Mannon told El Reg.

The Trojan hooks itself into the browser processes of victims before using a self-signed SSL certificate to trigger encrypted “phone home” communication with remote command and control servers. This encryption is designed to keep the malware under the radar of corporate and ISP-level network security tools. Detection by endpoint security scanners is also low, according to Zscaler.

Caphaw appears to be spreading using a Java exploit from compromised websites as part of a drive-by download attack. However evidence for this theory remains circumstantial, as an advisory from Zscaler explains.

"At the time of research, we were unable to identify the initial infection vector," Mannon and fellow Zscaler researchers Sachin Deodhar explain in a blog post.

"We can tell that it is more than likely arriving as part of an exploit kit honing in on vulnerable versions of Java. The reason we suspect this is that the User-Agent for every single transaction that has come through our Behavioral Analysis (BA) solution has been: Mozilla/4.0 (Windows XP 5.1) Java/1.6.0_07."

Mannon added: "We suspect it is coming from a Java exploit on the version listed in the blog. Other vectors this threat has used in the past include Skype, social media, and email spam."

Caphaw features a domain generation algorithm that generates a large number of quasi-random domain names that are then used to "dial home" and receive/send commands/data. This is far from a new tactic in botnet administration but it's still a successful approach in making life difficult for law enforcement.

"The large number of potential rendezvous points with randomised names makes it extremely difficult for investigators and law enforcement agencies to identify and 'take down' the CnC [command and control] infrastructure,” said Mannon. “Furthermore, by using encryption, it adds another layer of difficulty to the process of identifying and targeting the command and control assets." ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Heartbleed exploit, inoculation, both released
File under 'this is going to hurt you more than it hurts me'
Arts and crafts store Michaels says 3 million credit cards exposed in breach
Meanwhile, Target investigators prepare for long process in nabbing hackers
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.