Crisis malware infects VMware virtual machines, researchers say
The Windows version of Crisis also infects Windows Mobile devices and USB drives
IDG News Service - The Windows version of Crisis, a piece of malware discovered in July, is capable of infecting VMware virtual machine images, Windows Mobile devices and removable USB drives, according to researchers from antivirus vendor Symantec.
Crisis is a computer Trojan program that targets Mac OS and Windows users. The malware was discovered by antivirus vendor Intego on July 24 and can record Skype conversations, capture traffic from instant messaging programs like Adium and Microsoft Messenger for Mac and track websites visited in Firefox or Safari.
Crisis is distributed via social engineering attacks that trick users into running a malicious Java applet. The applet identifies the user's OS -- Windows or Mac OS X -- and executes the corresponding installer.
"The threat searches for a VMware virtual machine image on the compromised computer and, if it finds an image, it mounts the image and then copies itself onto the image by using a VMware Player tool," said Symantec researcher Takashi Katsuki in a blog post on Monday. "This may be the first malware that attempts to spread onto a virtual machine."
Security researchers from antivirus vendor Kaspersky Lab, whose products detect the Crisis malware as Morcut, have confirmed the existence of this functionality in the Trojan program.
"This function allows Morcut to steal and intercept data from virtual machines including financial information used for online shopping," said Kaspersky Lab malware expert Sergey Golovanov via email on Tuesday.
Malware authors are putting significant efforts into making sure that new variants of their Trojan programs are not detected by antivirus products when they are released.
In response, some security conscious users are performing online banking, online shopping and other potentially sensitive activities from virtual machines. This allows them to use an OS installation that's unlikely to be altered by malware every time they need to perform such tasks.
Many malware threats contain routines that prevent their own execution inside virtual machines. This is done in order to prevent analysis by security researchers, who commonly use virtualized environments to observe what malicious programs do.
Morcut doesn't do this, Golovanov said. "[Its] aim is to get inside as many systems it can to steal the maximum amount of information."
"This may be the next leap forward for malware authors," Katsuki said.
In addition to infecting VMware virtual machines, the Windows version of Crisis also installs rogue modules on Windows Mobile devices connected to compromised systems.
However, the Symantec researchers don't know what these modules do yet. "We currently do not have copies of these modules and hence we are looking for them so we can analyze them in greater detail," Katsuki said.
- Radicati: Cloud Business Email - Market Quadrant 2013 Google was named the top cloud business email provider in a recent report by research firm Radicati. Out of 14 key players, Google...
- Tablets in the Enterprise: A Checklist for Successful Deployment How can you enterprise manage and secure tablets in order to protect corporate data while providing access to the information and applications employees...
- Enterprise Mobility: A Checklist for Secure Containerization The advantages and disadvantages of the multiple approaches to containerization. Learn More>>
- Enterprise File Sync & Share Checklist File sync and share has changed the way people work and collaborate in today's tech-savvy world. Gone are the email roadblocks, clunky FTP...
- Live Webcast LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users?
- LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users?
- 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... All Security White Papers | Webcasts