Friday, March 5, 2010

Exploiting Google

SEO : Search Engine Optimization.

No, it's not another buzz word. It's a technique used by malware authors to propagate their malware. They use one of the most respected search engines today (Google) to make their way into the user's machine. Piggybacking on a prestigious, and highly trusted search engine is an efficient and effective way to reach out to billions of users worldwide.

Rogue AVs usually use this method. They create fraudulent sites (site A) which redirects to another site (site B) which in turn downloads Rogue AVs into the system. The malware industry makes sure that Site A gets a hit during Google search by targeting search queries that are sensational or new, for example, the Haiti earthquake.

In light of this, users are advised to be vigilant when accessing sites. When even Google is used as a medium by malwares, blind trust on returned links is unacceptable.

Virus.Virut takes the spotlight

In this era of spywares, file infectors have little exposure left. But nevertheless, they are still a challenge to antimalware engineers. Years ago, the names Nimda and CIH were famous in both the malware and antimalware industry. These past few years, the spotlight is on Virut.

Last year we saw an influx of Virus.Virut infected samples. Virus.Virut is, in my opinion, one of the best viruses in a while. Despite the fact that viruses are harmful, I cannot help but admire the work done to create such a virus.

Virut is a polymorphic file infector. What makes Virut different is the fact that it employs all known infection routines: Entry-Point Obscuring, appending, prepending, cavity. Not only does it employ all these techniques, it can combine them (e.g. EPO appending, EPO + cavity + appending, cavity + appending). It also has decryption layers, the algorithm of which can change from ADD/ SUB/ XOR, etc. Both detection and analysis pose as a challenge, but is one that the antimalware industry has met head-on.


Disasterware strikes again, as they call it!

The magnitude 6.4 earthquake does not only rattle Taiwan but even the internet users as well. It is another opportunity for Malware writers to poison returned results from searches about this disaster. It now became a constant attack every time there is major news, earthquake, tsunami or any other event that would call the attention of the people. It seems now it guarantees every news has equivalent virus site. This abused infection vector by fake AVs serve as a warning.

Once unsuspecting users click the malicious site, it will be redirected to fake AV online scan page and shows different annoying pop-ups warning the user that his system is infected and vulnerable to attacks. This might lead the user to download and install the Rogue Antispyware such as Security Antivirus. They have used multiple malicious domain names to prevent them to be easily identified. This infection routine is the same with other reports as you might have read from the previous blogs. But despite of awareness campaign, there are still an increasing number of victims fallen to this scam and worst, lost their money.

I have seen few malicious searched results which start with comma (,) and dash (-) such as above screen shot and from this blog. It is advisable to prevent from visiting these kinds of searched results. Internet users should be very careful in picking which sites to read the latest news. It is much better to read from reputable sources.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Chilling rogues on Chile

Shortly after the Haiti earthquake incident, the world is rocked again with the news of the Chile earthquake. And with the wave of searches on google about the Chile earthquake, malware authors have once again taken this opportunity to proliferate rogue antipsyware.

Searches returned from google are generally not suspect, especially if they bear URLs that seem normal. But one particular site ( when accessed will redirect you to

This site will display a fake system scan using an HTML page, and clicking anywhere on the page will prompt the user to download the INST.EXE file (SecurityTool fake AV). It also displays annoying popups that feeds FUD to users (FUD: Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt).

INST.EXE is just another Security Tool installer. Shortly after executing, it will display a fake scan showing some bogus results. Attempting to activate it will lead you to a page where they offer you a 2 year software license of $49.95, and a lifetime software license of $79.95. Looks tempting, but it's just a ploy to part you with your money. In truth, it's one hell of a hefty price to pay for such a useless and annoying scareware.