New cyber threat tracks online banking
SECURITYBy BiztechAfrica - Aug. 9, 2012, 8:25 p.m.
Kaspersky Lab has announced the discovery of ‘Gauss’, a new cyber-threat targeting users in the Middle East. Gauss is a complex, nation-state sponsored cyber-espionage toolkit designed to steal sensitive data, with a specific focus on browser passwords, online banking account credentials, cookies, and specific configurations of infected machines.
The online banking Trojan functionality found in Gauss is a unique characteristic that was not found in any previously known cyber-weapons.
Gauss was discovered during the course of the ongoing effort initiated by the ITU following the discovery of Flame. The effort is aimed at mitigating the risks posed by cyber-weapons, which is a key component in achieving the overall objective of global cyber-peace.
ITU, with expertise provided by Kaspersky Lab, is taking important steps to strengthen global cyber-security by actively collaborating with all relevant stakeholders such as governments, the private sector, international organizations and civil society, in addition to its key partners within the ITU-IMPACT initiative.
Kaspersky Lab’s experts discovered Gauss by identifying commonalities the malicious program share with Flame. These include similar architectural platforms, module structures, code bases and means of communication with command & control (C&C) servers.
Analysis indicates that Gauss began operations in the September 2011 timeframe. It was first discovered in June 2012, resulting from the knowledge gained by the in-depth analysis and research conducted on the Flame malware.
The Gauss C&C infrastructure was shutdown in July 2012 shortly after its discovery. Currently the malware is in a dormant state, waiting for its C&C servers to become active.
Since late May 2012, more than 2,500 infections were recorded by Kaspersky Lab’s cloud-based security system, with the estimated total number of victims of Gauss probably being in the tens of thousands. This number is lower compared to the case of Stuxnet but it’s significantly higher than the number of attacks in Flame and Duqu.
Gauss steals detailed information about infected PCs including browser history, cookies, passwords, and system configurations. It is also capable of stealing access credentials for various online banking systems and payment methods.
Analysis of Gauss shows it was designed to steal data from several Lebanese banks including the Bank of Beirut, EBLF, BlomBank, ByblosBank, FransaBank and Credit Libanais. In addition, it targets users of Citibank and PayPal.
Another key feature of Gauss is the ability to infect USB thumb drives, using the same LNK vulnerability that was previously used in Stuxnet and Flame. At the same time, the process of infecting USB sticks is more intelligent. Gauss is capable of “disinfecting” the drive under certain circumstances, and uses the removable media to store collected information in a hidden file. Another activity of the Trojan is the installation of a special font called Palida Narrow, and the purpose of this action is still unknown.
Alexander Gostev, Chief Security Expert, Kaspersky Lab, commented: “Gauss bears striking resemblances to Flame, such as its design and code base, which enabled us to discover the malicious program. Similar to Flame and Duqu, Gauss is a complex cyber-espionage toolkit, with its design emphasizing stealth and secrecy; however, its purpose was different to Flame or Duqu. Gauss targets multiple users in select countries to steal large amounts of data, with a specific focus on banking and financial information.”
MORE SECURITY NEWS
Cloud, security event set for Zimbabwe in JulyThe Cloud Computing & Information Security Conference, CCISC 2013, will go ahead in Harare in July. Read More
Yahoo reported to be latest hack victimYahoo is reported to have become the latest high profile hacking victim, with reports suggesting up to 22 million login names may have been stolen by hackers. Read More
Compliance vital for biometric systemsWith the growing demand for biometrics in Identity Management and Know Your Customer strategies, the issue of compliance should be considered a priority, says Ideco. Read More
Companies fail to control 3rd party applicationsA survey by Kaspersky Lab finds that 57% of companies do not effectively control the third party applications used by their employees. Read More
Lagos to establish forensic laboratoryThe Lagos State government says its world class IT forensic laboratory project is on course. Read More
Commonwealth Parliamentarians focus on cyber crimeCommonwealth Parliamentarians meeting in Cameroon have agreed on the need for closer collaboration on fighting cyber crime. Read More
Ethiopia to Host Banking and ICT Summit 2013The Ethiopia Banking and ICT Summit will be staged on 2 August, 2013 at the Sheraton Hotel, Addis Ababa Ethiopia. Read More
JMR Infotech, Oracle, stage Ghana risk conferenceJMR Infotech, together with Oracle, will stage a conference on risk, AML and compliance in Ghana this week. Read More
How strong are your social media passwords?Special care should be taken to strengthen the security of social media accounts, says Panda. Read More
FEATURED STORYICT opens doors for Kenyan slum dwellers
A Nairobi based group is equipping high school girls from Nairobi's slums with ICT skills to help them participate meaningfully in building the economy.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHDollar-a-month broadband can change Africa
The Microsoft-led 4Afrika TV white spaces project, taking broadband to rural people for as little as a dollar a month, is now expanding in Kenya and launching in Tanzania.
COMPANY NEWSBotswana innovates with SAP Business One
The Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH) has appointed local SAP Business One specialists 4most to implement an affordable, easy-to-use business management software application.Samsung puts the spotlight on enterprise solutions
Samsung Electronics South Africa has announced its support of the upcoming Enterprise Mobility Forum.Sage Pastel Evolution: the modern ERP tool for the modern Kenyan business
This week’s Sage East Africa Conference, entitled Innovation Beyond Boundaries, attracted over 100 existing and potential customers to the Sankara Hotel in Nairobi.