New cyber threat tracks online banking
SECURITY| 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
Keep both critical infrastructure and security top of mindHackers involved in terrorism and cyber-warfare are increasingly attacking industrial control systems (ICS) and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems. Read More
The great non-divide between cyber security and geopoliticsGeopolitics, in which national security and strategy are often rooted, is just as relevant as ever in the face of threats related to cybersecurity. Read More
RSA announces RSA NetWitness SuiteRSA, The Security Division of EMC, has unveiled the RSA NetWitness Suite, an advanced threat detection and response solution that helps security teams detect and understand the full scope of a compromise like never before. Read More
Women treasure images on connected devices more than men, yet fail to protect themOver half (59%) of women in South Africa value the photos and videos they store on their phones more than anything else on the device - compared to 43% of men, according to a survey by Kaspersky Lab and B2B International. Read More
Nowhere to hideHow cyber-security needs to move from hopeful attempts at outright prevention, to real-time detection and neutralization. Read More
Beware of the free livestreamNot all livestreaming sites are created equal when it comes to their inherent security measures, warns Networks Unlimited. Read More
Arbor Cloud wins gold at Network Product Guide IT World AwardsNetwork Products Guide, the industry's leading technology research and advisory guide, has named Arbor Cloud a gold winner in the 2016 IT World Awards for Best Security Services. Read More
Networks Unlimited invests in securing Africa’s Wi-Fi connectionsNetworks Unlimited is focusing its efforts on securing its customers wireless access, and has started to create awareness through hosting training and roadshows across South Africa. Read More
Cisco report predicts next generation of ransomwareCisco’s 2016 Midyear Cybersecurity Report predicts the next generation of ransomware and new tactics emerging to maximise profit. Read More
Arbor Networks releases global DDoS attack data for first half of 2016Arbor Networks Inc., the security division of NETSCOUT, has released global distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack data for the first six months of 2016, which shows a continuing escalation in both the size and frequency of attacks. Read More
FEATURED STORYFinancial services sees AI as both opportunity and threat
Banking is already a key area where technology is having an impact throughout Africa, and a new survey assesses the impact artificial intelligence will have on this sector.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHAccess and Use of ICT stats released
Statistics Botswana has released the first results of the 2014 Information and Communication Technology Household Survey.
COMPANY NEWSTigo explores options to give customers a greater choice for 4G services in Ghana
Following her recent visit to Ghana, Cynthia Gordon, the CEO of Millicom Africa, has emphasized the remarkable growth opportunities in data and Tigo’s commitment to giving customers ...