World's most sophisticated Trojan uncovered

SecureWorks explains the SpamThru trojan

Security experts have discovered new spambot software that installs its own antivirus scanner to eliminate competition, alongside a number of other sophisticated features.

SecureWorks has described the Trojan, which it calls SpamThru, in detail. Others vendors have come up with different names for the software. One of the signs of its sophistication though is that few antivirus scanners are aware of it, SecureWorks said.

"SpamThru is a money-making operation, and the author takes great care to make sure that detection by the major vendors is avoided by frequently updating the code," said SecureWorks' Joe Stewart in the company's analysis.

SpamThru is a Trojan that turns a system into part of a network of bots designed to send out spam, a type of operation that's been around for several years. While the Trojan's network doesn't seem especially large so far - at a couple of thousand of bots - SpamThru shows that criminals are now able to treat spam software development just like any other commercial development endeavor, Stewart said.

"The complexity and scope of the project rivals some commercial software," he wrote. "Clearly the spammers have made quite an investment in infrastructure in order to maintain their level of income." The company has come across previous Trojans that attempt to switch off other malware, in order to maximize system resources, but SpamThru installs a pirated version of Kaspersky AntiVirus for WinGate, customized to skip files known to be part of SpamThru itself, naturally.

"It patches the license signature check in-memory in the Kaspersky DLL in order to avoid having Kaspersky refuse to run due to an invalid or expired license," Stewart wrote. It uses a custom peer-to-peer protocol to control communication with the network, which makes the bot network harder to kill. "Control is still maintained by a central server, but in case the control server is shut down, the spammer can update the rest of the peers with the location of a new control server, as long as he/she controls at least one peer," Stewart wrote.

Each client has its own spam engine, creating spam from a template that's transmitted using AES encryption to avoid giving access to competing spammers, SecureWorks said.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matthew Broersma

Techworld.com
Comments are now closed.

Latest News Articles

Most Popular Articles

Follow Us

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Resources

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Compare & Save

Deals powered by WhistleOut
WhistleOut

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?