Trojan data-stealer hijacks ICMP traffic

A Trojan has been discovered that attempts to evade detection by sending stolen data back to its criminal creators using the ICMP (Internet Control Message Protocol) back channel.

Detected by security company Websense, the unnamed Trojan is a relatively conventional data-stealer up to the point it communicates back to its host.

Once a PC has become infected, the Trojan installs itself as an Internet Explorer browser helper object (BHO), and then waits quietly for the user to access one or more target online banking websites.

If a target site is accessed, it logs the field keystrokes, inserting them into the data part of ICMP ping packets after performing a simple XOR encryption routine on them.

The effect is, Websense claims with some justification, to make the data stream very hard to detect because ICMP is the last place one would normally look to find pilfered data. ICMP packets are normally used to send feelers out to Internet hosts, for example by utilities such as Traceroute or Ping, and are a routine occurrence.

Data and password-stealing Trojans more commonly use conventional channels such as email or HTTP mail to send information out of a network or PC, but this is something that can be blocked.

Websense reports that the Trojan works, after testing it out while entering data on the SSL-based website of Deutsche bank using an infected PC. The Websense website offers an eerie screen grab of the results of this, before and after encoding by the BHO.

Despite being an old criminal pastime, the steady evolution of malware to automate phishing continues. Password stealers still plague Internet users, using every technique going, while others come as a consequence of rapidly-expanding botnet networks.

From being a high-profile crime that depended on social engineering of the gullible, phishing has retreated into a world of automated botnets, and exploits based on subterfuge and stealth. Anyone suffering at the bleeding edge of an ICMP Trojan would never be aware anything was amiss until their bank account suddenly emptied one day.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John E. Dunn

Techworld.com
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Skywatcher Dobsonian 8″ Collapsible Telescope

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Whodunnit™ Duo-Scope MFL-007 Microscope Kit

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Logitech Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Scan at 1 Photo per second!

Quickly organise your entire photographic history. Automatically color correct and restore poor condition and even faded photos. And, most importantly easily share your memories with friends and family using your favourite social media applications such as Instagram, Twitter, and more.

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?