Crafty malware is found targeting U.S. government employees

The GovRAT malware is designed to bypass antivirus tools

A tough-to-detect malware that attacks government and corporate computers has been upgraded, making it more aggressive in its mission to steal sensitive files, according to security firm InfoArmor.

Last November, InfoArmor published details on GovRAT, a sophisticated piece of malware that’s designed to bypass antivirus tools. It does this by using stolen digital certificates to avoid detection.

Through GovRAT, hackers can potentially steal files from a victim’s computer, remotely execute commands, or upload other malware to the system.

Earlier this year, however, the makers of GovRAT came out with a second version, according to a new report from InfoArmor. The malware features an additional function to secretly monitor network traffic over the victim’s computer -- something with scary consequences.

“If you’re downloading something from a particular resource, the hackers can intercept the download and replace it with malware,” said InfoArmor CIO Andrew Komarov on Friday.

Last year, InfoArmor said that earlier versions of GovRAT had attacked more than 15 governments around the world, in addition to seven financial institutions and over 100 corporations.

The number of GovRAT victims, however, is growing, according to InfoArmor. That’s partly because the maker behind the malware has been selling it to other hackers on Hell Forum, a black market website, Komarov said.

Buyers of GovRAT have also been supplied with a stolen database of 33,000 Internet accounts, some of which belong to U.S. government employees, InfoArmor said. It includes email addresses, hashed passwords, full names, and addresses.

Hackers can use the contact information to carry out GovRAT attacks on U.S. government targets, Komarov said. That can be done through phishing emails or drive-by downloads.

The security firm has already alerted government offices that may be affected. It’s been identifying victims by pulling data from the GovRAT malware’s command and control servers.

Komarov declined to name how many U.S. government agencies have been attacked with GovRAT, but InfoArmor’s report said they include defense and military departments.

It’s unclear who developed GovRAT, but the malware was designed for long-term cyberespionage operations, Komarov added.

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.

Michael Kan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

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.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

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.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?