Mpack installs ultra-invisible Trojan
'Srizbi' is new malware that digs its roots into the Windows kernel
Computerworld - The notorious Mpack hacker tool kit is installing malware that carries out all its chores -- including spewing spam -- from within the Windows kernel, making it extremely difficult for some security software to detect, Symantec Corp. said today.
The Trojan horse that Symantec has dubbed "Srizbi" is being dropped onto some PCs by the multi-exploit Mpack, a ready-to-use attack application that until recently has been selling for around $1,000. Responsibility for a large-scale attack launched from thousands of hijacked Web sites last month was pinned on Mpack, as was a follow-up campaign waged from compromised Internet porn sites.
Although Mpack can force-feed any malicious code to a commandeered PC, Symantec researchers said Srizbi stands out. Rather than follow the current practice of hiding only some activities with rootkit cloaking technologies, Srizbi goes completely undercover. The new Trojan, said Symantec, works without any user-mode payload and does everything from kernel-mode, including its main task: sending spam.
"When Trojans go to spam, they go out to userland," said Dave Cole, director of Symantec's security response team, referring to malware writers injecting their code into visible Windows processes to carry out spam-sending tasks. "Srizbi, though, is basically using kernel libraries [to send spam]," said Cole. "It's calling the kernel libraries it needs."
A blog entry by Kaoru Hayashi, a senior security response engineer at Symantec, spelled out the technical details. "Srizbi seems to move a step forward by working totally in kernel-mode without the need to inject anything into user-mode," wrote Hayashi. "To manipulate the network connection directly in kernel-mode, it attaches NDIS and TCP/IP drivers and gets all the Ndis* and Zw* functions that it needs. This technique also allows the Trojan to bypass firewall and sniffer tools, and to hide all its network activities."
Translation: Only advanced security tools will detect Srizbi.
It's also the first full-kernel malware spotted in the wild. "It's evolutionary, not revolutionary, but it's indicative of what we see in the threat landscape," Cole said. "And if your security software is relying only on [Windows'] APIs to detect malware, you won't be protected. You need something that uses modern, anti-rootkit techniques."
Cole added other information to the Srizbi story, in particular his suspicion that its author is probably the same hacker who created Rustock, a dangerous polymorphic Trojan from 2006 that also relied on rootkit technology to avoid detection. "It appears to be from the same author," said Cole. "He's been quiet for a while, and everyone has been waiting for Rustock 2.0. Some thought he'd maybe went away, but [Srizbi] uses some of the same components as Rustock."
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- The 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements addressed by Peer 1 Hosting This handy quick reference outlines the 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements, who needs to be compliant and how Alert Logic solutions address the...
- Defense Throughout the Vulnerability Life Cycle This whitepaper provides insight into how to leverage threat and log management technologies to protect your IT assets throughout their vulnerability life cycle.
- Mobile Policy Checklist Here's what to consider when putting together a mobile policy designed to support a highly productive workforce.
- Securing BYOD Mobile computing is becoming so ubiquitous that people no longer bat an eye seeing someone working two devices simultaneously. Individuals and organizations are...
- Live Webcast On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Live Webcast Endpoint Backup & Restore: Protect Everyone, Everywhere Arek Sokol from the bleeding-edge IT team at Genentech/Roche explains how he leverages cross-platform enterprise endpoint backup in the public cloud as part...
- Streamline Software Asset Management, Compose a software Management Symphony Keeping track of your organization's software is easy with effective software management solutions from CDW. View the videos in our software solutions channel
- Druva inSync: Endpoint Data Protection & Governance CLICK HERE to watch this video about protecting corporate data on laptops and mobile devices, sponsored by Druva. All Security White Papers | Webcasts