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Tuesday, 16 October 2018 08:34

New Windows malware campaign escapes detection by A-V software

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New Windows malware campaign escapes detection by A-V software Pixabay

A new malware campaign, that uses a modified exploit of a vulnerability in Microsoft Office to download the trojan Agent Tesla and other malware such as the Loki information stealer, can avoid detection by most common anti-virus solutions, the Cisco Talos Intelligence Group claims.

In a blog post, researchers Edmund Brumaghin and Holger Unterbrink said the attackers behind this malware campaign - which has not been given a name as yet - used a well-known exploit chain but modified it so that anti-virus software would not be able to detect it.

Agent Tesla can steal user login information from the following applications: Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Yandex, Opera, Outlook, Thunderbird, IncrediMail, Eudora, FileZilla, WinSCP, FTP Navigator, Paltalk, Internet Download Manager, JDownloader, Apple keychain, SeaMonkey, Comodo Dragon, Flock and DynDNS.

It can also be used to capture screenshots, record webcams, and allow attackers to install additional malware on infected systems.

The malware uses a remote code execution vulnerability in Office to download an RTF document from within a DOCX file.

Brumaghin and Unterbrink said other malware besides Agent Tesla and Loki were also being downloaded to infected Windows computers - malicious apps like Gamarue which can take over an infected machine and is a typical information stealer.

"The actor(s) behind this malware used the RTF standard because of its complexity, and used a modified exploit of a Microsoft Office vulnerability to download Agent Tesla and other malware," the two researchers said.

"It is not completely clear if the actor changed the exploit manually, or if they used a tool to produce the shellcode.

"Either way, this shows that the actor or their tools have ability to modify the assembler code in such a way that the resulting opcode bytes look completely different, but still exploit the same vulnerability. This is a technique that could very well be used to deploy other malware in a stealthy way in the future."

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Sam Varghese

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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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