Feeds

So which miscreants wrote the CosmicDuke info-slurping nasty?

Finnish researchers spot link to long-ago anti-NATO attacks

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Security researchers have uncovered a link between a Trojan and a recently discovered cyber-espionage tool which suggests cyber-spies behind recent attacks on Western governments cut their teeth writing conventional Trojans.

CosmicDuke combines elements from the Cosmu Trojan and a backdoor known as MiniDuke, previously associated with cyberespionage-style attacks.

MiniDuke, first identified in February 2013, cropped up in attacks against NATO and European government agencies.

Recent analysis by Finnish anti-virus firm F-Secure revealed that the long-running Cosmu strain of information stealers was using the same loader as MiniDuke stage three. Compilation timestamps show it was Cosmu - not MiniDuke - which originally used the common shared loader.

"Moreover, we found that the loader was updated at some point, and both malware families took the updated loader into use," a blog post by F-Secure security researcher Timo Hirvonen explains. "Since Cosmu is the first malware known to share code with MiniDuke, we decided to name the samples showing this amalgamation of the MiniDuke-derived loader and Cosmu-derived payload as CosmicDuke."

CosmicDuke infections start by tricking targets into opening either a PDF file which contains an exploit or a Windows executable whose filename is manipulated to make it look like a document or image file. Some of the samples display a decoy document to the user, such as "Ukraine-Gas-Pipelines-Security-Report-March-2014.pdf" in the example cited by F-Secure. Another decoy document poses as a Russian-language receipt for a payment.

Once successfully deployed, CosmicDuke starts collecting information from compromised systems. Its information stealing components include a keylogger, clipboard stealer, screenshot capture, and password-stealers for a variety of popular chat, email and web-browsing programs. CosmicDuke also collects information about the files on compromised systems as well as bundling the capability to export cryptographic certificates and the associated private keys.

Sensitive data hoovered up from compromised systems is uploaded to remote servers via FTP. As well as stealing information, CosmicDuke created a backdoor on compromised networks, allowing miscreants to download secondary malware.

More details on the malware can be found in a more comprehensive technical analysis by F-Secure here (PDF). ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
One HUNDRED FAMOUS LADIES exposed NUDE online
Celebrity women victimised as Apple iCloud accounts reportedly popped
Rubbish WPS config sees WiFi router keys popped in seconds
Another day, another way in to your home router
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NZ Justice Minister scalped as hacker leaks emails
Grab your popcorn: Subterfuge and slur disrupts election run up
HP: NORKS' cyber spying efforts actually a credible cyberthreat
'Sophisticated' spies, DIY tech and a TROLL ARMY – report
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
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.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.