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Sunday, 11 March 2018 01:31

CCleaner compromise: keylogger may have been present

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Czech security company Avast says it has found evidence of ShadowPad, a specialised tool used by a specific group of cyber criminals, installed on four computers at Piriform, a company it acquired last year.

Piriform makes CCleaner, a popular application that allows Windows users to perform routine maintenance on their systems. CCleaner was compromised and used to spread malware last year.

The news that CCleaner had been compromised broke on 17 September 2017 through a detailed report from Cisco's Talos Intelligence Group.

The same group published a second analysis, detailing a number of companies that it said were targeted by the malware within CCleaner. Listed were Cisco, Intel, Microsoft, HTC, Samsung, VMware, Akamai, Sony, Singtel, D-Link, O2, Vodafone, German gaming and gambling company Gauselmann, Linksys, Gmail, MSI, Dynamic Network Services and Epson.

Avast chief executive Vince Steckler and chief technology officer Ondřej Vlček published a blog post on 18 September, providing details of the incident. They then put up a second post on 20 September, after the second Talos post was published.

In its latest update, issued on Thursday, Avast said in order to complete its investigation, it had migrated all the Piriform infrastructure to its own set-up.

In the course of this process, it found that ShadowPad had been installed on the four Piriform PCs on 12 April 2017. The installation of ShadowPad was presumed to have been done by the second stage downloader of the malware that was used to compromise CCleaner.

"By installing a tool like ShadowPad, the cyber criminals were able to fully control the system remotely while collecting credentials and insights into the operations on the targeted computer," the Avast post said.

"Besides the keylogger tool, other tools were installed on the four computers, including a password stealer, and tools with the capacity to install further software and plugins on the targeted computer remotely."

The Avast post said that the investigation into the CCleaner compromised was continuing and it would issue further updates as needed.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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