The Times They Are a-Changin’

sozeBob Dylan was right. The times are changing, especially in the web security war. It turns out that the hacker group behind the Coreflood Trojan have stolen at least 463,582 usernames and passwords while flying under the radar. How did they accomplish this? Instant messaging worm? Emailing malware out, via a botnet, to everyone and their dog? According to SecureWorks Director of Malware Research Joe Stewart, it all started with a drive-by attack:

According to Stewart, it was by not targeting things like instant messaging or e-mail, which get a lot of attention from security vendors. Instead, the hackers relied on drive-by attacks, and would pick a hosting provider and do a mass hack of every single Web page on that particular server. Then they would wait for users—particularly domain administrators with high-level rights.

So basically, the attackers plan is to put an infected website up, let one user access it and get infected, and then wait for the domain administrator to log into that workstation. After the administrator has logged in, and the malware has privileges, it propagates like an update to all other systems on the network.

Also, the group “did not rely on zero-day attacks, just standard exploits that one can get from various underground forums“.

According to Stewart:

“Their trick is not in getting that initial infection—their trick is being patient and waiting for the right person to log into that workstation and then (taking) over that whole network,” he said.

Ah, the old Keyser Soze trick – The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist. And like that… he is gone.

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