Search This Blog

Showing posts with label Emotet Trojan. Show all posts

Emotet is Evolving with Different Delivery Methods

 

Emotet is a well-known botnet and trojan which distributes follow-on malware via Windows platforms.  After a 10-month pause amid a coordinated law enforcement operation to take down its assault infrastructure, Emotet, the work of a cybercrime organization known as TA542 (formerly known as Mummy Spider or Gold Crestwood), marked its comeback late last year. 

Since then, Emotet campaigns have sent tens of thousands of messages to thousands of clients across many geographic regions, with message volumes exceeding one million in some situations. The threat actor behind the popular Emotet botnet is experimenting with new attack methods on a small scale before incorporating them into larger-scale spam campaigns, possibly in response to Microsoft's decision to deactivate Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) macros by default across all of its products.

According to analysts, the malicious actors behind Emotet, TA542, are experimenting with new approaches on a micro level before deploying them on a larger scale. The current wave of attacks is claimed to have occurred between April 4 and April 19, 2022, when prior large-scale Emotet campaigns were halted. 

Researchers from Proofpoint discovered numerous distinguishing characteristics in the campaign, including the usage of OneDrive URLs rather than Emotet's traditional dependence on Microsoft Office attachments or URLs connecting to Office files. Instead of Emotet's previous use of Microsoft Excel or Word documents with VBA or XL4 macros, the campaign employed XLL files, which are a sort of dynamic link library (DLL) file designed to expand the capability of Excel.

Alternatively, these additional TTPs could mean the TA542 is now conducting more targeted and limited-scale attacks in addition to the traditional mass-scale email operations. The lack of macro-enabled Microsoft Excel or Word document attachments is a notable departure from prior Emotet attacks, implying the threat actor is abandoning the tactic to avoid Microsoft's intentions to disable VBA macros by default beginning April 2022. 

The development came after the virus writers addressed an issue last week which prevented potential victims from being compromised when they opened weaponized email attachments.

The Emotet Malware is Alive and Using TrickBot to Rebuild its Botnet

 

The malicious Emotet botnet, which made a comeback in November 2021 after a 10-month break, is showing indications of steady expansion once again, collecting a colony of over 100,000 infected hosts to carry out its destructive actions. 

In a new round of attacks, Emotet, a Banking Trojan which has evolved into a formidable modular threat, has reappeared with improved features. It has infected devices to carry out additional spam campaigns and install various payloads like the QakBot (Qbot) and Trickbot malware. These payloads would subsequently be utilized to give threat actors, such as Ryuk, Conti, ProLock, Egregor, and others, early access to deploy ransomware. 

"While Emotet has not yet reached the same magnitude as before, the botnet is displaying a strong resurrection with a total of around 130,000 unique bots scattered over 179 countries since November 2021," Lumen's Black Lotus Labs researchers wrote in a report. On April 25th, 2021, German law enforcement used the network to send an Emotet module that removed the malware from afflicted devices. 

The TrickBot malware has begun to dump an Emotet loader on affected devices, according to Emotet research group Cryptolaemus, GData, and Advanced Intel. While Emotet used to deploy TrickBot, the threat actors now use a mechanism called "Operation Reacharound" by the Cryptolaemus group, which rebuilds the botnet utilizing TrickBot's current infrastructure. 

Apart from command-and-control (C2) lists and RSA keys, which change from version to version, Emotet's main payload hasn't changed much, but the list of phrases used to establish a process name for its bot has been renewed. Along with new binaries, words like engine, finish, magnify, resapi, query, skip, and many more are utilized and modified. Researchers may be able to construct signatures to detect Emotet infections on machines once these lists have been secured, but signature-based detection is more challenging if the list changes. 

Abuse.ch has published a list of the new Emotet botnet's command and control servers and strongly advises network administrators to ban the linked IP addresses. Another new feature is the ability to collect extra system information from compromised workstations in addition to a list of running processes. The number of bots and associated dispersion are crucial indicators of Emotet's success in reconstructing its once-vast infrastructure.

Trickbot has Corrupted over 140,000 Devices

 

As per cyber threat intelligence firm Test Level Analysis (CPR), Trickbot, a financial Trojan infection that targets businesses and consumers for personal data, has infected over 140,000 devices belonging to customers of Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and 57 other organizations since November 2020. The investigation focuses on Trickbot, a well-known banking Trojan that was first discovered in 2016 and has since expanded into a botnet, ransomware, and malware ecosystem.

Threat actors have frequently used the bedfellows to mount multiple attacks in the past. TrickBot was frequently provided as a payload in specialized email phishing attacks by Emotet, though TrickBot has also delivered Emotet samples — the hazardous scenario at hand currently.

CPR has detected how Trickbot's writers are targeting high-profile individuals in order to steal and corrupt valuable sensitive data. At the same time, everyone should understand the people in charge of the infrastructure are highly skilled in virus development. Trickbot is mostly used to steal financial information, account credentials, personally identifying information, and even bitcoin. It's a modular malware that can be adapted to a variety of different use scenarios, which makes it far more dangerous.

More than 140,000 devices infected, according to Alexander Chailytko, Check Point's cybersecurity, research, and innovation manager, seem to be mostly computers belonging to the general population, as well as "some companies." The data gathered represents telemetry which has been obtained from its clients, however, it is "greater than" 140,000. As a result, the security vendor may have more or less visibility in specific parts of the world, according to Chailytko. 

"Trickbot has affected one out of every 45 enterprises. Over the previous few months, we've noticed a decrease in Trickbot campaign activity," the cybersecurity researcher stated. Users may defend it against Trickbot by only opening documents from reputable sources, using separate unique passwords profiles, and updating similar functionality and antivirus updated with the latest.  

Emotet Trojan Returns After a Dormant Period: Detected in Japan

 

Emotet Trojan is a highly advanced and sophisticated malware in today’s world. First detected in 2014, it is deemed as one of the most prevalent threats of the decade. After a dormant period,  Emotet Trojan's campaign was found attacking computers in Japan. It commonly functions as a downloader or dropper of other malware on PCs and other devices. 

Emotet got access to various organizations’ email boxes in Japan using phishing methods and around nine types of malware-laced files have been found attached to the emails, according to the reports. 

Emotet Trojan is also known as Heodo -- a Malware strain and a cybercrime operation that was originally designed in the form of a banking Trojan, to infiltrate foreign devices and spy on sensitive data. Due to its effective combination of persistence and network propagation, Emotet is infamous for being able to easily deceive basic antivirus programs as it hides from them. 

Once the system gets infected, the malware spreads like a computer worm and attempts to invade other devices in the network. It's worth noting that it is a very popular delivery mechanism for banking Trojans, such as Qakbot and TrickBot. As soon as the Trojan gets installed, it will either cipher the information on the victim’s computer or prevent the device from functioning appropriately. Moreover, these activities can lead to ransomware deployment or additional spam email campaigns. 

The reports on Emotet discovered that malware is spreading by installing malicious packages using the built-in feature of Windows 10 and even Windows 11. The feature is called installer, and this technique has already been reported in previous Trojan campaigns. 

In a recent report, CISA and MS-ISAC discovered that since august they have noticed a significant increase in malicious cyber operations targeting states and local governments with Emotet phishing emails, enlisting Emotet Trojan as one of the most prevalent ongoing cyber threats.

December 2020’s Most Wanted Malware: Emotet Returns as Top Malware Threat

 

The threat Intelligence arm of Check Point Software Technologies Ltd., a world-leading cybersecurity solutions provider has recently published its Global Threat Index for December 2020. 

Global Threat Index for December 2020 has disclosed that the Emotet trojan, once again ranked at the top of the malware list. According to the sources, currently, the malware is affecting 7% of organizations worldwide following a spam campaign that has targeted over 100,000 people per day in December 2020. 

“In September and October 2020, Emotet was consistently at the top of the Global Threat Index and was linked to a wave of ransomware attacks. But in November it was much less prevalent, dropping to 5th place in the Index. It has now been updated with new malicious payloads and improved detection evasion capabilities: the latest version creates a dialogue box, which helps it evade detection from users. The new malicious spam campaign uses different delivery techniques to spread Emotet, including embedded links, document attachments, or password-protected Zip files,” the report reads. 

This malware was first identified in 2014, according to the data present, ‘Emotet developers’ have updated their tools to organize and maintain its continued effectiveness while executing their malicious motives. The Department of Homeland Security while making an estimation, stated, “each incident involving Emotet costs organizations upwards of 1 million dollars to rectify..” 

Additionally, the research team is also warning organizations against ‘MVPower DVR Remote Code Execution’ “which is the most commonly exploited vulnerability, impacting 42% of organizations globally, followed by ‘HTTP Headers Remote Code Execution (CVE-2020-13756)’ which is affecting 42% of organizations worldwide,” Researchers added. 

At present, ‘Emotet’ will remain on the top of the list as the most dangerous malware with a global impact of 7% on organizations, followed by Trickbot, Formbook, Dridex, XMRig, Qbot, Hiddad, RigEK, Ramnit, Glupteba malware. 

What is Emotet and what it does to your system? 


‘Emotet’ is a dangerously advanced malware, it's a self-propagating and modular Trojan. Originally Emotet had been discovered as a banking Trojan, but it has been modified to function as a distributor for other malware or cyber campaigns, through multiple methods. Operators constantly evaluate the malware for its maintenance, persistence, and evasion techniques to avoid any form of detection with ease. It is also noteworthy that this sophisticated malware can be distributed through phishing spam emails containing malicious attachments or links.

Emotet Returns: Here's a Quick Look into new 'Windows Update' attachment

 

Emotet Malware was first discovered by security researchers in the year 2014, but, the threats by Emotet have constantly evolved over the years. At present, the malware is highly active as its developers continue to evolve their strategies, devising more sophisticated tricks and advancements. Recently, it has been noticed to be delivering several malware payloads and is also one of the most active and largest sources of malspam as of now. 
 
The operators behind Emotet are sending spam emails to unsuspected victims to trick them into downloading the malware; botnet has started to employ a new malicious attachment that falsely claims to be a message from Windows Update asking victims to upgrade Microsoft Word. It begins by sending spam email to the victim containing either a download link or a Word document, now when the victim happens to ‘Enable Content’ to let macros run on their system, the Emotet Trojan gets installed. In their previous malspam campaigns, used by the criminals were said to be from Office 365 and Windows 10 Mobile. 
 

How does the malware works? 

 
Once installed, the malware tries to sneak into the victim’s system and acquire personal information and sensitive data. Emotet uses worm-like capabilities that help it spreading itself to other connected PCs. With add-ons to avoid detection by anti-malware software, Emotet has become one of the most expensive and dangerous malware, targeting both governments as well as private sectors. 

The malware keeps updating the way it delivers these malicious attachments as well as their appearances, ensuring prevention against security tools. The subject lines used in a particular malspam campaign are replaced by new ones, the text in the body gets changed and lastly the ‘file attachment type’ and the content of it are timely revised. 
 
Emotet malware has continuously evolved to the levels of technically sophisticated malware that has a major role in the expansion of the cybercrime ecosystem. After a short break, the malware made a comeback with full swing on October 14th and has started a new malspam routine. 
 
Originally discovered as a simple banking Trojan, Emotet’s roots date back to 2014 when it attempted to steal banking credentials from comrpmised machines. As per recent reports, Emotet also delivers third-party payloads such as IcedID, Qbot, The Trick, and Gootkit.

Emotet Malware Returned with Massive Malspam Campaign


The Emotet authors are popular for capitalizing on trending events and holidays by disseminating customized templates in form of Christmas and Halloween gathering invites, similarly, the malicious gang has started a new campaign taking advantage of the ongoing global pandemic. They are once again spamming corona virus-related emails to U.S businesses.

Earlier this year, in the month of February, the Emotet malware was being spread actively in pandemic ridden countries via COVID-19 themed spam. However, regarding the US businesses, the malware never had the timely chance to attack by exploiting the pandemic, as the virus encapsulated the USA in the month of March. After disappearing in February, Emotet was seen to be back stronger than ever on July 17th, 2020.

Originally designed as a banking malware, Emotet Malware was first discovered by security researchers in the year 2014, but, the threats by Emotet have constantly evolved over the years. It attempts to sneak onto the victim’s system and acquire personal information and sensitive data. Emotet uses worm-like capabilities that help it spreading itself to other connected PCs. With added functionalities to avoid detection by anti-malware software, Emotet has become one of the most expensive and dangerous malware, targeting both governments as well as private sectors. As per recent sources, Emotet also delivers third-party payloads such as IcedID, Qbot, The Trick, and Gootkit.

Emotet has been pushing malspam continually employing the same strategies the authors did in their previous array of attacks. The spam mail consists of an attachment or a link, that on being clicked, launches the Emotet payload. In this particular COVID-19 themed Emotet spam targeting U.S organizations, the malware has been sending an email that appears to be from the ‘California Fire Mechanics’ reaching out with a ‘May Covid-19 update.’ One important thing to note here is that this email is not a template designed by the Emotet authors, but instead, an email stolen from a prior victim and appropriated into the Emotet’s spam campaigns. The malicious attachment linked in this case is titled ‘EG-8777 Medical report COVID-19. Doc’. It makes use of a generic document template that had been used in older campaigns. Once downloaded on the user’s click, the Emotet gets saved to the %UserProfile% folder under a three-digit number (name), such as 745.exe. Upon execution of the same, the user’s computer will become a part of the operation, sending out further infected emails.

While alerting on 17th July, researchers at Microsoft told,“We have so far seen several hundreds of unique attachments and links in tens of thousands of emails in this campaign,”

“The download URLs typically point to compromised websites, characteristic of Emotet operations.” They further wrote.

Emotet expert Joseph Roosen told to BleepingComputer, "So far we have only seen it as part of stolen reply chain emails. We have not seen it as a generic template yet but I am sure it is just around the corner hehe. There was one reply chain I saw yesterday that was sent to 100s of addresses that were referring to the closing of an organization because of COVID-19. I would not be surprised if Ivan is filtering some of those reply chains to focus on ones that are involving COVID-19,"

Botnet Activity Goes Down; Revived Emotet Suffers Hindrances in Operations by A Vigilante Hacker


An anonymous vigilante hacker has been actively involved in obstructing 2019's most widespread cybercrime operation, Emotet that made a comeback recently. He has been sabotaging the malicious affairs and protecting users from getting affected by removing Emotet payloads and inserting animated GIFs at their places. Acting as an intruder, he replaced Emotet payloads with animated GIFs on certain hacked WordPress sites, meaning when victims would open the infected Office files, the malware would not be downloaded and executed on their computers, saving them from the infection.

Emotet is a banking Trojan that was first spotted in the year 2014 by security researchers, it was primarily designed to sneak onto the victim's computer and mine sensitive data. Later, the banking malware was updated; newer versions came up with spamming and malware delivery functionality. Emotet is equipped with capabilities to escape anti-malware detection, it uses worm-like abilities that help it proliferate through connected systems. Mainly, the infection is spread via malspam, however, it may also be sent through malicious scripts, links, or macro-enabled documents.

Started off casually a few days ago, on the 21st of July, the act of sabotaging the operations has become a major concern for the Emotet authors, affecting a significant fragment of the malware botnet’s revived campaign. Essentially, the sabotage has been possible owing to the fact that Emotet authors are not employing the best web shells in the market, it was noted earlier in 2019 also that the criminals involved in Emotet operations were using open-source scripts and identical password for all the web shells, risking the security of its infrastructure and making it vulnerable to hijacks just by a simple guess of password.

While giving insights on the matter, Kevin Beaumont said in 2019, “The Emotet payload distribution method is super insecure, they deploy an open-source webshell off Github into the WordPress sites they hack, all with the same password, so anybody can change the payloads infected PCs are receiving.

Emotet trojan one of the biggest malware

Emotet is a banking Trojan that started out stealing information from individuals, like credit card details. It has been lurking around since 2014 and has evolved tremendously over the years, becoming major threat that infiltrates corporate networks and spreads other strains of malware.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security published an alert on Emotet in July 2018, describing it as “an advanced, modular banking Trojan that primarily functions as a downloader or dropper of other banking Trojans,” and warning that it’s very difficult to combat, capable of evading typical signature-based detection, and determined to spread itself. The alert explains that “Emotet infections have cost SLTT (state, local, tribal, and territorial) governments up to $1 million per incident to remediate.”

Emotet poses a grave risk for individuals and businesses of all sizes. Here's a look at what you can do to safeguard your business against this pernicious Trojan malware.

Emotet infections typically start with a simple phishing email that contains an attachment or a link to download a file. The recipient is persuaded to click the link or open the file and they unwittingly set in motion a macro that downloads a malicious payload. As soon as the device is infected, Emotet starts trying to spread to other devices on the network.

The addition of new capabilities into Emotet, inspired by other successful malware such as WannaCry, has made it a much more potent threat capable of moving laterally and infecting entire networks alarmingly quickly. It’s a modular Trojan that’s often employed as the vanguard of a bigger attack, piercing the outer defenses and then downloading other banking Trojans and spreading them around.

As persistent and pernicious as Emotet is, you can take effective action to guard against it.

First, ensure that you don’t have unsecured devices on your network. Take steps to identify and secure unmanaged devices. Eradicate potential blind spots like internet of things devices. Even if Emotet appears to be confined to an unsecured machine, the threat has not been neutralized because it’s polymorphic, constantly updating itself and working towards spreading further. Given enough time, it has a good chance of finding a weakness in your defenses that can be exploited.

Emotet trojan is back with a bang

Emotet gang takes their operation to a whole new level, showing why they're today's most dangerous malware. It would seem it now has taken on new tactics in the form of hijacking users old email chains and then responding from a spoofed address to portray legitimacy, this additional tactic can heighten a hackers chances when stealing financial information once a victim has been lured into clicking on said malicious content. Targeted emails appears to affect both private and public sectors, including government, particularly those that provide financial and banking services.

Emotet is a known banking Trojan, discovered five years ago, first in Europe and the USA. It started out stealing information from individuals, like credit card details. It has been lurking around since 2014 and has evolved tremendously over the years, becoming major threat that infiltrates corporate networks and spreads other strains of malware.

It injects itself into a user’s device via malspam links or attachments, with the intent to steal financial data. It targets banking emails and can sometimes deploy further attacks once inside a device.

The Emotet malware gang is now using a tactic that has been previously seen used by nation-state hackers.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security published an alert on Emotet in July 2018, describing it as “an advanced, modular banking Trojan that primarily functions as a downloader or dropper of other banking Trojans,” and warning that it’s very difficult to combat, capable of evading typical signature-based detection, and determined to spread itself. The alert explains that “Emotet infections have cost SLTT (state, local, tribal, and territorial) governments up to $1 million per incident to remediate.”

This campaign targeted mainly Chile and used living off the land techniques (LotL) to bypass Virus Total detections. This up and coming tactic uses already installed tools on a users’ device to remain undetected for as long as possible.