Next generation banking malware emerges after Zeus

After much debate, it appears Zeus and the SpyEye banking malware are merging

The rumored combination of two pieces of advanced online banking malware appears to be fully underway after several months of speculation.

What appears to be a beta version of a piece of malware that has bits of both Zeus and SpyEye is now in circulation, albeit among just a few people, said Aviv Raff, CTO and cofounder of Seculert.

Seculert has published screen shots of the new malware, which has two versions of a control panel used for managing infected computers. One of those control panels resembles one in Zeus, and the other resembles that in SpyEye. Both of the control panels are connected to the same back-end command-and-control server, he said.

Raff said the reason for the dual control panels is "because many of the criminals are used to the look-and-feel of the Zeus administration panel and will find it easier to migrate to the new version."

For some time vendors including Trend Micro and McAfee as well as security writer Brian Krebs have written about rumors that the Russian hacker who wrote Zeus was getting out of the business.

The source code for Zeus was rumored to have been transferred to the creator of SpyEye, and it was anticipated that the two pieces of malware would be combined. That evidence has just emerged now, Raff said.

It doesn't bode well for banks. Zeus, which is tailored to evade security software, grab online banking credentials and execute transactions on the fly, has been more than an annoyance.

Zeus has been used by several highly organized criminal rings to transfer money out of victims' accounts. Last year, dozens of people were arrested in the U.S. and U.K. and accused of being money mules for the gangs.

The new malware also has at least a couple of new features. One of those is designed to defeat Rapport, a browser add-on from the security vendor Trusteer that intends to protect connections between a client and a bank server and resist man-in-the-middle attacks. Previously, the anti-Rapport feature was a separate module for Zeus, but now it has been baked in, Raff said.

The malware writers have also added a way to remotely connect to a victim's computer using the Remote Desktop Protocol, a Microsoft protocol that allows a remote user to access a computer using the normal Windows graphical interface rather than a command line.

So far, Raff said it appears that only a few cybercriminals are using the new version. He declined to say how Seculert obtained the malware or how much it might be selling for on the malware market.

"It seems to be still under development, with bug fixes released almost daily," Raff said.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags online safetysecuritydata breachSeculertExploits / vulnerabilitiesdata protectionmalwarefraud

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

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?