Recently Kaspersky Lab has contributed to an alliance of law enforcement and industry organizations, to undertake measures against the internet domains and servers that form the core of an advanced cybercriminal infrastructure that uses the Shylock Trojan to attack online banking systems around the globe.
Shylock is a banking Trojan that was first discovered in 2011. It utilizes man-in-the-browser attacks designed to pilfer banking login credentials from the PCs of clients of a predetermined list of target organizations. Most of these organizations are banks, located in different countries.
Kaspersky Lab products detect the Shylock malware as Backdoor.Win32.Caphaw and Trojan-Spy.Win32.Shylock.
We detected this malware generically from the end of August 2011, as Backdoor.Win32.Bifrose.fly. Specific detection of this separate family was added in February 2012. Since then we have observed a very few detections – approximately 24,000 attempts to infect PCs protected by Kaspersky Lab products worldwide.
These are very modest numbers, especially in comparison with other infamous banking malware such as ZeuS, SpyEye, Carberp which have generated (and, in the case of some of them, such as ZeuS , still generate) tens or hundreds of thousands of detections. Of course, these numbers don't tell us everything about how widespread or effective Shylock is, because Kaspersky Lab "sees" only a part of the total number of PC users - only those who use our products.
Low popularity doesn't make Shylock less dangerous though. The set of malicious techniques it utilizes is no less dangerous than that used by other similar malware. It is able to inject its body in multiple running processes, has tools to avoid detection by anti-malware software, uses several plugins which add additional malicious functions aimed at bypassing anti-malware software, collects passwords for ftp-servers, spreads itself via messengers and servers, provides remote access to the infected machine, video grabbing and of course web injection.
This last function is used to steal online banking credentials by injecting fake data entry fields into the web page loaded in the victim's browser.
During the entire period we've seen two relatively big peaks in detection rate for this malware.
The first one was in November 2012 and the second one was in December 2013.
The geography of the November 2012 peak was as follows:United Kingdom Italy Poland Russian Federation Mexico Thailand Iran Turkey India Spain
The table above shows the top 10 countries wheremost attacks using the Shylock malware were registered. A little more than a year later, in December 2013, the picture had changed dramatically.Brazil Russian federation Vietnam Italy Ukraine India United Kingdom Belarus Turkey Taiwan
As these tables show, the criminals behind this malware definitely stopped paying so much attention to the developed e-money markets of the UK, Italy and Poland in favor of the actively developing markets of Brazil, Russia and Vietnam. It's slso interesting that both peaks happened in the late autumn to early winter period, a traditional high retail season in many countries around the world.
According to Europol data, this malware has infected more than 30,000 PCs worldwide. This is a big enough scale to cause huge financial damage, so the disruption of the Shylock backbone infrastructure is very good news.
And even better news is that the recent operation, coordinated by the UK's National Crime Agency (NCA), brought together partners from the law enforcement and the private sector, including – besides Kaspersky Lab – Europol, the FBI, BAE Systems Applied Intelligence, Dell SecureWorks and the UK's GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters), to jointly combat the threat. We at Kaspersky Lab were glad to add our modest contribution to this operation. Global action brings positive results – an example being the operation targeting the Shylock malware.
Looking past the 23 Critical Internet Explorer remote code execution vulnerabilities being patched this month by MS14-037 that require immediate attention, most interesting is CVE-2014-2783, the Internet Explorer "Extended Validation (EV) Certificate Security Feature Bypass Vulnerability". The vulnerability itself, reported by Eric Lawrence of "Fiddler" fame, is applicable in a "corner case" situation and can lead to man-in-the-middle (MiTM) attacks.
Let's narrow down the complexity of the issue for everyone's sake. What is an "EV" certificate? Well, it's a special certificate that an organization or individual would pay extra money to a certificate authority like Verisign to create and then use to "secure" their communications. Sites using them are usually handled in a special manner by the major web browsers. The address bar turns green, a special rectangle is set around the address, or some other visual image assures the user that the connection is with the right web site and encrypted. Here is an example of a web browser presenting the green bar EV visualization, please click on the image for a closeup:
The related flaw being patched this month is a tricky one. Internet Explorer versions 7 through 11 all allow for wildcard subdomains with EV Certificates, which should never be allowed. Neither Certificate Authorities nor web browsers should allow for such a flaw, but their compliance is questionable. In the past, CAs like Diginotar, Comodo, Trustwave, TurkTrust, and currently the National Informatics Centre in India, all maintained incidents of major improprieties at the CA level.
So, coupled with this flaw in IE 7,8,9,10 and 11, attackers (whether or not they are state sponsored or more traditional cybercrime organizations) could set up sites with wildcard EV certs to spoof major web properties like at google, twitter, facebook and elsewhere, and steal data from sensitive communications there. The Certificate Authority infrastructure trust model continues to show major cracks as a flawed trust model, and this "corner case" simply enables more situations like it. Potential solutions like Convergence have not been seriously pushed. At the same time, cheers to Microsoft for patching and reporting on the two current issues.
Unfortunately, these sorts of issues find their way into software products all the time. Partly, they are very tricky to understand by QA teams and developers certainly need to narrow the scope of their projects. You can't automate this sort of test, and even if it is found, it is not assigned a severity of 5 or "showstopper" because it doesn't immediately disrupt operation of the product. So they can sit unaddressed in a product for four or five versions or more even if privately known. Only an exposure because of a security researcher's work or a major public incident might push it to the front of the priority list.
All of this discussion of corner cases lays down groundwork for further discussion of the "Internet of Things". Whenever there are cross-disciplinary approaches (like heavy mathematics and communications, or internal network computing and automobiles) to solutions, there is an elevated risk of incident because of practical and theoretical issues. As the industry progresses, and as the startups generating IoT solution code are dealing with their own corner case issues, and as adoption and acquisitions move forward, IoT technologies will demonstrate on a larger scale that we are not learning from past mistakes.