Posts Tagged ‘Panda Labs’
Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013
PandaLabs, the antimalware laboratory of Panda Security, the Cloud Security Company, has published its Virus Yearbook for 2012, outlining its picks for the most unique viruses of the past year.
Rather than a ranking of the most widespread viruses, or those that have caused most infections, these viruses are ones that deserve mention for standing out from the more than 24 million new strains of malware that emerged.
- Police virus: This strain of malware caused most headaches for users and IT departments alike. It purports to show a message from the police telling users that their computer has been blocked – which it has – because they have supposedly downloaded illegal material. To recover their systems, users are asked to pay a fine. The most recent versions even show images taken with the user’s webcam, making the scam all the more realistic.
- Flame: A close relative of Stuxnet, Flame is one of the most powerful cyber-war tools created so far, and infections have been focused primarily in the Middle East.
- Flashback: A bot that breaks away from the norm of infecting Windows and targets Apple systems and attacks thousands of Mac computers around the world. Since it appeared, Mac users are no longer quite as relaxed about security as they once were.
- Zeus: A Trojan that steals information from users of online banking services. This family of malware has been known for some time, yet it continues to spread. However this year new variants were detected, which in addition to infecting computers, compromise security on smartphones (Android, BlackBerry, Symbian), targeting those banks that send information via cellphone to customers as an additional security measure.
- Koobface: The most mendacious malware of the year, spent the whole of 2012 spreading endless lies on social networks in order to infect users. In one attack it related a spurious story about President Obama having punched someone who racially insulted him. So beware of sensational stories on social media, this is a favorite trick of cyber-crooks.
- BlackHole Exploit kit: One of the most popular kits for creating malware over the last year. It exploits numerous security holes to install and uses all types of exploits, particularly Java and Adobe.
- DarkAngle: A fake antivirus that poses as Panda CloudAntivirus. It takes advantage of the renown of Panda Security’s free cloud antivirus to infect as many computers as possible.
- Ainslot.L: When it infects, the Ainslot.L bot scans computers and removes any other bots it finds.
- Kuluoz: A worm that refers to things supposedly bought only and then infects computers. The worm arrives in an email that looks as though it has been sent from FedEx, and tells users they have a parcel to collect.
More information is available in the PandaLabs Blog.
Tuesday, August 7th, 2012
In the second quarter of 2012 alone, more than six million new malware samples were created, a similar figure to the first quarter, according to PandaLabs, Panda Security‘s anti-malware laboratory, in its Q2 quarterly report.
The Quarter at-a-Glance
In the report, PandaLabs highlights several top security incidents that occurred during Q2, including the proliferation and evolution of the ‘Police Virus’ from scareware to ransomware, and Flame, a cyber-espionage virus that has become one of the highlights of the year.
The report also covers the latest cases of cyber-crime, such as a hacker attack on Wikipedia users, the exploitation of a major security hole in Iran’s banking system, and the new ways found by law enforcement agencies to fight data theft.
It includes information about the latest attacks on mobile phones and social networking sites, the cyber-espionage operations between nations such as the United States and Yemen, and the traditional cyber-conflict between North and South Korea.
In addition to security trends, PandaLabs provides analysis of all malware samples it received throughout the quarter and details its findings in the Q2 report.
Approximately One Third of Computers Worldwide are Infected
The average number of infected PCs across the globe stands at 31.63 percent, falling almost four percentage points compared to Q1, according to Panda Security’s Collective Intelligence data. Countries in Asia take the top three spots of most infections per country, with South Korea leading (57.30 percent of infected PCs) for the first time ever, up by almost three percentage points compared to Q1. China takes the second spot (51.94 percent), followed by Taiwan and Bolivia.
Nine of the ten least infected countries are in Europe with the only exception being Uruguay. The country with the fewest infections is Switzerland(18.40 of infected PCs), followed by Sweden (19.07 percent), comprising the only nations with fewer than 20 percent of computers infected. Norway, the United Kingdom, Uruguay, Germany, Ireland, Finland, Hungary and Holland are the other eight countries with the fewest malware infections.
“The list of least infected countries is dominated by some of the world’s most technologically advanced nations, with the sole exception of South Korea,” said Luis Corrons, technical director of PandaLabs. “Even though there may be other factors that influence these results, there seems to be a clear connection between technological development and malware infection rates.”
Trojans continued to account for most of the new threats created this quarter (78.92 percent); worms took second place, comprising 10.78 percent of samples; followed by viruses at 7.44 percent. The last place was occupied by adware/spyware at 2.69 percent.
Interestingly, viruses continued their decline, moving from second place in the 2011 Annual Report (14.24 percent) to third place (7.44 percent) this quarter. Worms maintained their second position, rising from 9.30 percent last quarter to almost 11 percent this quarter.
When it comes to the number of infections caused by each malware category, Trojans once again topped the ranking, accounting for more infections than in the first quarter (76.18 percent compared to 66.30 percent).
Viruses came second (7.82 percent), followed by worms (6.69 percent). “It is interesting to note that worms have only caused six percent of infections despite accounting for almost 11 percent of all new malware,” said Corrons.
“The figures corroborate what is well known – massive worm epidemics have become a thing of the past and have been replaced by an increasing avalanche of banking Trojans and specimens such as the Police Virus.”
Thursday, July 19th, 2012
The number of brands targeting by phishing attacks sustained an all-time high of 382 in February and March of this year, while cybercrime gangs deployed a record number of phishing websites during the same quarter.
APWG Secretary General Peter Cassidy said, “The reach and ambition of cybercrime gangs advances apace today, a decade on from when the first phishing attacks were reported.
In the first quarter of the year, reports received by the APWG indicate new record highs in the numbers of attacks on identifiable brands, the numbers of phishing websites to lure Web users – and in the proportion of malware executables comprised of advanced Trojans for cybercrime.”
The APWG reports that February and March 2012 sustained an all-time high of 392 brands targeted by phishers. This was an 8 percent increase from the previous all-time high of 362, recorded in December 2011. The previous high before December was 356, reached in October 2009.
Meanwhile, the number of unique phishing sites detected in a single month by the APWG reached 56,859 in February, which was an all-time high. The February figure eclipsed the previous record high of 56,362, which was recorded in August 2009, by almost 1 percent.
In the first three months of 2012, PandaLabs identified more than six million unique malware samples. Most of the infections were caused by Trojans (80 percent of all new malware samples), setting a new record high.
According to Luis Corrons, PandaLabs Technical Director and APWG Trends Report contributing analyst, “This demonstrates that massive worm epidemics have become a thing of the past, and have been replaced by a silent Trojan invasion.”
Payment services category 2nd most popular
“Phishing measurements are up across the board, with one of the biggest increases we have ever seen in a single quarter, said Ihab Shraim, CISO and VP, AntiFraud Operations and Engineering, MarkMonitor.
“We also observed the payment services category returning to its position as the second-most-popular phishing sector and large increases in activity in the social networking, ISP, and government sectors, too.”
Carl Leonard of Websense Security Labs said, “This quarter, we saw an interesting scam using a pdf attachment as a lure to capture personally identifiable information. The information in that pdf file was a faked signed document from a popular global banking institution.”
The full text of the report is available here: http://apwg.org/reports/apwg_trends_report_q1_2012.pdf
Highlights of the Q1, 2012 report include:
● During the quarter, USA remained the top nation for hosting phishing-based Trojans, and Azerbaijan cracked the top 10 for the first time ever, in March 2012
● The average number of infected PCs across the globe stands at 35.51 percent, which is more than three percentage points lower than in 2011
● China continues to be the most affected country (with 54.10 percent of infected PCs), and remains the only country with an infection ratio over 50 percent
● Brand-Domain Pairs Measurement is up across the board with one of the biggest increases ever seen in a single quarter
● In the first three months of 2012, more than six million unique malware samples were identified
● Financial Services continued to be the most-targeted industry sector in the first quarter of 2012
● Sweden set a new hygienic record with the lowest percentage of PCs infected by malware, with less than 18 percent of its computers so affected
Wednesday, July 6th, 2011
This quarter has been one of the worst on record for cybersecurity breaches, with hacking groups Anonymous and LulzSec causing widespread mayhem and organizations such as RSA Security, the U.S. Defense Department, the International Monetary Fund, the European Space Agency, Sony, Citigroup and SEGA all falling victims to attacks. So says Panda Labs, Panda Security’s anti-malware laboratory, in its Quarterly Report for Q2, analyzing the IT security events and incidents from April through June 2011.
While Media Obsesses over Illegal Stunts, Malware Creation Shows No Signs of Slowing
In the last quarter, malware of all kinds has spread substantially, with PandaLabs observing 42 new malware strains created every minute. Once again, Trojans accounted for most of the new threats, comprising nearly 70 percent of all new malware created, followed by viruses (16 percent) and worms (12 percent).
As recorded by Panda Security’s online scanner, Panda ActiveScan, Trojans were responsible for 69 percent of infections, followed once again by viruses (10 percent) and worms (8.53 percent). Adware, which only represents 1.37 percent of all malware, accounted for more than 9 percent of all the infections, indicating the substantial effort malware writers are taking to promote this type of malicious code. Fake anti-virus programs, which are included in the adware category, have also continued to grow.
A graph of malware infections by type is available at prensa.pandasecurity.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/DISTRIBUTION.jpg.
Asian Countries Lead Infection Rankings
In the ranking of the top 20 countries with the most infections, China, Thailand and Taiwan once again continue to occupy the top three spots. PandaLabs observed Sweden, Switzerland and Norway as being the least infected countries.
Top Security Incidents:
- LulzSec and Anonymous: A new hacker group LulzSec emerged this quarter, specializing in stealing and posting Personally Identifiable Information (PII) from companies with poor security as well as carrying out denial of service attacks (against the CIA website, for example). They also released a full list of PII data they had previously stolen such as email addresses and passwords, which has led to account hijacking and other forms of identity theft. At the end of June, LulzSec teamed up with Anonymous for “Operation: Anti-Security,” encouraging supporters to hack into, steal and publish classified government information from any source. On June 26, LulzSec released a statement on Twitter announcing the end of their activities. Nevertheless, they urged hackers to carry on with operation Anti-Security (#Antisec) and join the Anonymous IRC channel.
- Corporate Breaches: RSA, the security division of EMC Corporation, announced in mid-March it had suffered a breach on its network systems that exposed proprietary information about its two-factor hardware-based authentication system, SecurID. In May, Lockheed Martin, the largest provider of IT services to the U.S. government and military, suffered a network intrusion stemming from data stolen pertaining to RSA. It seems that the cyber-thieves managed to compromise the algorithm used by RSA to generate security keys. RSA will have to replace the SecurID tokens of more than 40 million customers around the world, including some of the world’s biggest companies.
- Sonygate: The most infamous attack that occurred this quarter was the one Sony suffered. Everything started with the theft of data from their PlayStation Network (PSN), affecting 77 million users worldwide. Not only was this the biggest data theft on record, but the situation was also poorly communicated to customers by the company, which hid the problem for days. When Sony finally made it public they simply said there was evidence that some user data could have been compromised, even though they knew the situation was far more serious.
Monday, January 31st, 2011
ORLANDO, FL – Our vigilant friends at Panda Security have discovered two new security exploits taking advantage of popular social media sites Facebook and Twitter. In the last several days, two new malware strains have been wreaking havoc on Facebook users.
The first, Asprox.N, is a Trojan delivered via email informing users their Facebook account is being used to distribute spam and that, for security reasons, the login credentials have been changed. The email includes a fake Word document attachment, supposedly containing the new password, with an unusual icon and the filename Facebook_details.exe.
Deceiving victims by opening a .doc file upon opening the attachment, this file is really a Trojan that downloads another file designed to open all available ports, connecting to mail service providers in an attempt to spam as many users as possible.
The second new malware strain, Lolbot.Q, is distributed across instant messaging applications such as AIM or Yahoo!, with a message displaying a malicious link. Clicking the link downloads a worm designed to hijack Facebook accounts, blocking users’ access while informing that the account has been suspended.
To “reactivate” their account, users are asked to complete a questionnaire, promising prizes such as laptops and iPads. After several questions, users are asked to subscribe and enter their cell phone number, which is in turn charged a fee of $11.60 per week. Victims can restore access to their Facebook account only once they subscribe to the service and receive a new password.
“Once again cybercriminals are using social engineering to trick victims and infect them with malware,” said Luis Corrons, technical director of PandaLabs. “Given the increasing popularity of social media, it is no surprise that it is being exploited to lure victims.”
To avoid security threats such as these, PandaLabs recommends users be wary of any unexpected messages with unusually eye-catching subjects and avoid clicking on external links, running executable files or entering personal data into unknown applications or web forms.
Thursday, January 20th, 2011
ORLANDO, FL – PandaLabs, Panda Security‘s anti-malware laboratory, infiltrated the cyber-crime black market and has released a fascinating report on what it found in the darker back alleys of the Internet.
It discovered a vast network selling stolen bank details along with other types of products in forums and more than 50 dedicated online stores. This is a rapidly growing industry and cyber-criminals are aiding and abetting each other’s efforts to steal personal information for financial profit. After posing as a cyber-criminal to infiltrate the network, PandaLabs made some alarming discoveries which are available in the full report .
The cyber-crime black market, which has traditionally centered on distributing bank and credit card details stolen from users around the world, diversified its business model in 2010, and now sells a much broader range of hacked confidential information including bank credentials, log-ins, passwords, fake credit cards and more. But as openly available as this information is, PandaLabs discovered that it can only be accessed by personally contacting the hackers who are promoting their information for sale on forums and in chat rooms.
Making the Sale
By having access to bank credentials, criminals can easily defraud any bank or credit card account long before the hack is discovered. Alarmingly, this data can be purchased for as little as $2 per card, but this level does not provide additional information or verification of the account balance available. If the buyer wants a guarantee for the available credit line or bank balance, the price increases to $80 for smaller bank balances and upwards of $700 to access accounts with a guaranteed balance of $82,000.
Prices are higher if the accounts have a history of online shopping or use payment platforms such as PayPal. For a simple account without a guaranteed balance, PandaLabs found prices starting at $10 and increasing to $1,500 depending on the platform and the guarantee of available funds. Similarly, these cyber-criminals also offer cloned credit/debit cards (from $180), card cloning machines ($200-1,000), and even fake ATM machines (from $3,500 depending on the model).
Money laundering, other services available
Additional products such as money laundering services (bank transfers or cashing checks) are available for a commission ranging from 10 to 40 percent of the operation. If buyers want to use stolen bank details to buy products online, but are wary of being traced through the delivery address, the cyber-criminals will make the purchase and forward the goods for a fee of between $30 and $300 (depending on the chosen product).
For more sophisticated cyber-criminals who want to set up their own fake online stores and use rogueware techniques to obtain both user details and also reap the money these unsuspecting victims pay for fake antivirus products, there are also teams available to deliver turnkey projects, design, develop and publish the complete store, even positioning it in search engines. In this case, the price depends on the project.
Prices for botnet rental for sending spam (using bot-infected zombie computers, for example) vary depending on the number of computers used and the frequency of the spam, or the rental period. Prices start at $15 and rise to $20 for the rental of a SMTP server or VPN to guarantee anonymity.
Wednesday, January 5th, 2011
ORLANDO, FL – In 2010, cyber-criminals created and distributed one-third of all existing viruses, creating 34 percent of all malware that has ever existed and been classified by the company. So says Panda Labs, the antimalware laboratory of Panda Security, in its annual report for 2010.
Panda Security’s proprietary Collective Intelligence system, which automatically detects, analyzes and classifies 99.4 percent of all malware received, currently stores 134 million unique files, out of which 60 million are malware (viruses, worms, Trojans and other computer threats).
Despite these dramatic numbers, the report highlights some good news. PandaLabs discovered that the speed at which the number of new threats is growing has actually decreased when compared to 2009. Every year since 2003, new threats grew by at least 100 percent every year, but in 2010, the increase was approximately 50 percent.
Banker Trojans still dominate the ranking of new malware that appeared in 2010 (56 percent of all samples), followed by viruses and worms. In addition, a fairly recent newcomer to the malware landscape, rogueware (fake antivirus software) already comprised 11.6 of all the malware gathered in the Collective Intelligence database, and has become a category, that despite appearing only four years ago, has created great havoc among users.
For a visual representation of the breakdown of malware categories, please visit: www.flickr.com/photos/panda_security/5299741783/ .
The countries leading the list of most infections are Thailand, China and Taiwan, with 60 to 70 percent of infected computers (data gathered from the free scanning tool Panda ActiveScan in 2010). To see a graph of how other countries ranked, see: www.flickr.com/photos/panda_security/5299741647/ .
2010 witnessed hackers exploit social media, the positioning of fake websites (BlackHat SEO techniques) and zero-day vulnerabilities as its primary methods of infection. Spam also kept its position as one of the main threats in 2010, despite the fact that the dismantling of certain botnets (like the famous Operation Mariposa or Bredolab) prevented many computers from being used as zombies to send spam. This created a positive effect in spam traffic worldwide. Last year, approximately 95 percent of all email traffic globally was spam, but this dropped to an average of 85 percent in 2010.
2010: Cyber-crime, Cyber-war and Cyber-activism
2010 was truly the year of cyber-crime, cyber-war and cyber-activism. Although cyber-crime has existed for many years, cyber-war became a much more active and aggressive part of the malware landscape. The most notorious was Stuxnet, a new worm that targeted nuclear power plants and managed to infect the Bushehr plant, as confirmed by the Iranian authorities.
Simultaneously, a new worm appeared called “Here you have,” that was created by a terrorist organization known as “Brigades of Tariq ibn Ziyad.” According to this group, their intention was to remind the United States of the 9/11 attacks and call for respect for the Islamic religion as a response to Pastor Terry Jones’ threat of burning the Quran.
And even though some aspects are still to be clarified, Operation Aurora was also in the spotlight. The attack, allegedly launched from China, targeted employees of large multinationals by installing a Trojan on their PCs that could access all their confidential information.
2010 also witnessed the emergence of new phenomenon called cyber-protests or hacktivism. This phenomenon, made famous by the Anonymous group, is not actually new, but grabbed the headlines in 2010 for the coordinated DDoS attacks launched on copyright societies and their defense of WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange.
Social Networks in the Spotlight
Besides offering information about the main security holes in Windows and Mac, the 2010 Annual Security Report also covers the most important security incidents affecting the most popular social networking sites.
Facebook and Twitter were the most affected, but there were also attacks on other sites including LinkedIn and Fotolog.
The full report is available at press.pandasecurity.com/press-room/panda-white-paper/.
Thursday, September 9th, 2010
Hackers are creating 57,000 new websites each week that exploit approximately 375 high-profile brand names worldwide at any time, according to Florida-based Internet security company Panda Labs.
These findings are based on a three-month long study conducted by PandaLabs of its global malware database. Notably, eBay and Western Union-related URLs comprise 44 percent of all malicious sites, with Visa, Amazon, Bank of America and PayPal also heavily targeted by cybercriminals.
The 10 most beleaguered brands, along with the percentage they are targeted among all fake websites tracked by PandaLabs, are as follows:
1. eBay – 23.21 percent
2. Western Union – 21.15 percent
3. Visa – 9.51 percent
4. United Services Automobile Association – 6.85 percent
5. HSBC – 5.98 percent
6. Amazon – 2.42 percent
7. Bank of America – 2.29 percent
8. PayPal – 1.77 percent
9. Internal Revenue Service – 1.69 percent
10. Bendigo Bank – 1.38 percent
In the investigation, PandaLabs found that banks by far comprise the majority of fake websites with 65 percent of the total. Online stores and auction sites are also popular at 27 percent, with eBay taking the spot as the No. 1 most targeted brand on the Web today. Other financial institutions, such as investment funds and stockbrokers, and government organizations encompass 2.3 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively. Payment platforms, led by PayPal, and ISPs are in fifth and sixth place.
To download a graphical representation of the types of most targeted companies, visit http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4093/4972040633_9cfd8f74cc_z_d.jpg.
How it Works
Cybercriminals create fake websites related to well-known brands and organizations so that the URLs appear in phishing campaigns and in search results. When unwary users click on them thinking they are the real company, their computers will either be infected or they will be directed to a landing page that appears legitimate. When they enter personal information on these malicious pages, that data will fall into the hands of criminals, who will then use it to commit financial fraud and other crimes.
According to Luis Corrons, technical director of PandaLabs, “The problem is that when you visit a website through e-mail or search engines, it can be difficult for users to know whether it is genuine or not. Given the proliferation of this technique, we advise consumers to visit banking sites or online stores by typing in the address in the browser directly rather than using search engines or links in an e-mail. Although search engines are making an effort to mitigate the situation by changing indexing algorithms, they have so far been unable to offset the avalanche of new websites being created by hackers every day.”