Waledac malware returns after two years with password-stealing capabilities

A new version of the Waledac malware. capable of stealing passwords and BitCoins, has been detected in the wild

A new version of the Waledac malware has been spotted on the Internet, but unlike previous variants, which were mainly used for spamming purposes, this one steals various log-in credentials and BitCoins, a type of virtual currency.

"The sample was originally detected on Feb 2nd and the first coverage by a major AV was not observed until Feb 13th," researchers from network security firm Palo Alto Networks announced in a blog post on Tuesday.

The original Waledac botnet was one of the top spam sources on the Internet until it got shut down by Microsoft in cooperation with other security vendors in March 2010.

However, the new version's primary goal might no longer be spam, said Wade Williamson, a senior product manager at Palo Alto Networks. That's because it also steals FTP, POP3 and SMTP user passwords, as well as .dat files for BitCoin wallets.

This is the first time that Palo Alto Networks' firewall products have spotted Waledac-related activity since the original botnet was shut down two years ago, Williamson said.

The botnet's two-year inactivity was confirmed by antivirus firm BitDefender. "We have closely monitored the Web space during international events such as the deaths of political leaders and calamities – moments when the Waledac botnet would run at peak capacity before the takedown and did not notice any malicious activity on that front," said BitDefender E-Threats Analyst Bogdan Botezatu.

It's difficult to determine with certainty if the new version is the creation of the original Waledac authors, but its high similarity to the old variant suggests that it is the work of someone with access to the original source code, Williamson said.

"What it is sure is the fact that the newly added functionalities (email and FTP credentials harvesting) will contribute to an explosive development of the new botnet," Botezatu said. "FTP accounts will likely be used to accommodate binary copies of the bots, while the e-mail accounts will be used to propagate spam through not-yet-blacklisted mail servers."

Palo Alto Networks researchers have determined that the new Waledac version is being distributed through Web sessions, probably with the help of exploits hosted on compromised websites. According to Botezatu, BitDefender is also investigating this possibility.

"We recommend users to deploy and update a security solution with antispam and antivirus modules," Botezatu said. "We also advise that users rely on SFTP and SSL when connecting to FTP and mail servers, respectively, in order to minimize the risk of network sniffing."

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

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

Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?