Rogue US Airways-themed emails distribute ZeuS-based malware

Spam campaign targeting US Airways customers distributes a computer Trojan called GameOver

Cybercriminals are distributing a new piece of malware that's based on the ZeuS computer Trojan through rogue emails that masquerade as US Airways online check-in notifications.

The spam campaign was launched on Mar. 20 and the malicious US Airways-themed emails contain a short description of the airline's online check-in procedure, said Kaspersky Lab security expert Dmitry Tarakanov, in a blog post on Tuesday.

They also include rogue links to view fake flight reservations on the US Airways website that actually point to domain names not connected to the company. Clicking on those links triggers a series of Web redirects that eventually lead to a BlackHole attack page.

BlackHole is a Web attack toolkit commonly used by cybercriminals to infect people's computers with malware. The toolkit exploits vulnerabilities in outdated versions of popular browser plug-ins like Java, Flash Player or Adobe Reader.

In this particular attack, BlackHole is being used distribute an information-stealing Trojan horse called GameOver, which is based on the much older ZeuS malware. The ZeuS source code was leaked on underground forums in May 2011, allowing cyber criminals to use it as a basis for the creation of new computer Trojans.

One particularly interesting aspect of the US Airways-themed attack is the high level of variation of its different elements. "Every object -- domains, links to javascripts, files with exploits, the downloader and ZeuS -- was frequently replaced with a new one," Tarakanov said.

The Kaspersky malware researcher believes that different spam templates might have been used by the attackers, in addition to the US Airways one, in order to target different categories of users.

"Cybercriminals are nothing if not original," Tarakanov said. "And even though this is not the first time they've used a flight-related trick, it's the first time this particular kind of spam has been detected."

As always, users are advised to inspect the destination of links included in email messages before clicking on them, even if the emails appear to originate from people they trust or companies they did business with.

Users should also keep the software installed on their computers up to date at all times, especially popular programs like Adobe Reader, Microsoft Office, Java, Flash Player or the different Web browsers.

Join the newsletter!

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

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

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

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

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.

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?