Feeds

Dropbox used as command and control for Taiwan time bomb

PlugX trojan gets an upgrade for new attacks

Build a business case: developing custom apps

A remote access trojan (RAT) is using Dropbox for command and control in a targeted attack against the Taiwanese Government, malware analyst Maersk Menrige says.

The upgraded PlugX RAT is the first targeted attack to use Dropbox to update command and control settings, Menrige said, as distinct from other malware and ransomware which used the popular cloud storage platform to fling malicious files at victims.

The trojan logs a victim's keystrokes, maps ports and opens remote shells to facilitate further data theft and exploitation.

"The use of Dropbox aids in masking the malicious traffic in the network because this is a legitimate website for storing files and documents," Trend Micro's Menrige said.

"[The May execution data] is probably done so that users won’t immediately suspect any malicious activities on their systems."

Dropbox had been shown by researcher Jake Williams (DropSmack: Using Dropbox to steal files and deliver malware [pdf]) as a workable platform for malware command and control, but Menrige said it was the first time it had been exploited in malicious attacks.

PlugX variant II messed with anti-virus systems, contained anti-forensics capabilities and hid behind a fake parked domain until the 5 May go live date.

Attackers with command and control links established could migrate laterally within corporate networks using a variety of tools to avoid detection.

The code includes tools such as password recovery, network utilities, port scanners and the common HTran reverse proxy tool used to hide command and control.

The latter Chinese-built connection bouncer tool was first discovered in 2011 by Dell used in the high profile data breach of security company RSA.

PlugX II bore sufficient similarity to version I that enterprise security bods could check for flags on their networks.

The first iteration of the malware was detected in 2008 and had since been used in targeted attacks against a unnamed South Korean company and US engineering firm.

In February Trend Micro senior security researcher Pavithra Hanchagaiah reported PlugX was being foisted through a since fixed Adobe Flash exploit.

More detail on PlugX could be found on the Trend Micro blog. ®

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think

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
Multipath TCP speeds up the internet so much that security breaks
Black Hat research says proposed protocol will bork network probes, flummox firewalls
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
Microsoft's Euro cloud darkens: US FEDS can dig into foreign servers
They're not emails, they're business records, says court
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
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.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?