Language:
SEARCH

trojan

Virus warning

Monday, February 5th, 2018

If you receive an email with the subject: “URGENT – CCMA Final Reminder: Case GAJK0238819-18 (GAJK) is scheduled for ‘Arbitration’…” allegedly sent by the CCMA, and with an attachment with a .DOC.gz extension, DO NOT try to open it. The attachment is a rather nasty Trojan-variant of a Crypto virus.

This virus opens the “back door” of your computer to hackers once it infects your PC. The trojan is programmed to run at every start-up, giving the hackers, who originated the program, access to your hard drive. In addition, this trojan can re-create itself, making it hard to remove it completely.

If you received this email or any similar ones, please it to the Information Technology Security Team using the following method:

Send the spam/phishing mail to help@sun.ac.za and sysadm@sun.ac.za

Attach the phishing or suspicious mail on to the message if possible. There is a good tutorial on how to do this at the following link (Which is safe) : http://stbsp01.stb.sun.ac.za/innov/it/it-help/Wiki%20Pages/Spam%20sysadmin%20Eng.aspx

  1. Start up a new mail addressed to sysadm@sun.ac.za (CC: help@sun.ac.za)
  2. Use the Title “SPAM” (without quotes) in the Subject.
  3. With this New Mail window open, drag the suspicious spam/phishing mail from your Inbox into the New Mail Window. It will attach the mail as an enclosure and a small icon with a light yellow envelope will appear in the attachments section of the New Mail.
  4. Send the mail.

IF YOU HAVE FALLEN FOR THE SCAM:

If you did click on the link of this phishing spam and unwittingly give the scammers your username, e-mail address and password you should immediately go to http://www.sun.ac.za/useradm and change the passwords on ALL your university accounts (making sure the new password is completely different, and is a strong password that will not be easily guessed.) as well as changing the passwords on your social media and private e-mail accounts (especially if you use the same passwords on these accounts.)

IT have set up a website page with useful information on how to report and combat phishing and spam. The address is: http://blogs.sun.ac.za/it/en/2017/11/reporting-spam-malware-and-phishing/

 

[Article by David Wiles]

 

 

The history of malware,Trojans and worms (part 3)

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

Two weeks ago we explored lesser known malware, Trojans and worms, after 1985. This time around, we look at more recent threats, starting with zombies…

2003 Zombie, Phishing
The Sobig worm gave control of the PC to hackers, so that it became a “zombie,” which could be used to send spam. The Mimail worm posed as an email from Paypal, asking users to confirm credit card information.

2004 IRC bots
Malicious IRC (Internet Relay Chat) bots were developed. Trojans could place the bot on a computer, where it would connect to an IRC channel without the user’s knowledge and give control of the computer to hackers.

2005 Rootkits
Sony’s DRM copy protection system, included on music CDs, installed a “rootkit” on users’ PCs, hiding files so that they could not be duplicated. Hackers wrote Trojans to exploit this security weakness and installed a hidden “back door.”

2006 Share price scams
Spam mail hyping shares in small companies (“pump-and-dump” spam) became common.

2006 Ransomware
The Zippo and Archiveus Trojan horse programs, which encrypted users’ files and demanded payment in exchange for the password, were early examples of ransomware.

2006 First advanced persistent threat (APT) identified 
First coined by the U.S. Air Force in 2006 and functionally defined by Alexandria, Virginia security firm Mandiant in 2008 as a group of sophisticated, determined and coordinated attackers. APTs are equipped with both the capability and the intent to persistently and effectively target a specific entity. Recognized attack vectors include infected media, supply chain compromise and social engineering.

2008 Fake antivirus software
Scaremongering tactics encourage people to hand over credit card details for fake antivirus products like AntiVirus 2008.

2008 First iPhone malware
The US Computer Emergency Response Team (US-CERT) issues a warning that a fraudulent iPhone upgrade, “iPhone firmware 1.1.3 prep,” is making its way around the Internet and users should not be fooled into installing it. When a user installs the Trojan, other application components are altered. If the Trojan is uninstalled, the affected applications may also be removed.

2009 Conficker hits the headlines
Conficker, a worm that initially infects via unpatched machines, creates a media storm across the world.

2009 Polymorphic viruses rise again
Complex viruses return with a vengeance, including Scribble, a virus which mutates its appearance on each infection and used multiple vectors of attack.

2009 First Android malware
Android FakePlayerAndroid/FakePlayer.A is a Trojan that sends SMS messages to premium rate phone numbers. The Trojan penetrates Android-based smartphones disguised as an ordinary application. Users are prompted to install a small file of around 13 KB that has the standard Android extension .APK. But once the “app” is installed on the device, the Trojan bundled with it begins texting premium rate phone numbers (those that charge). The criminals are the ones operating these numbers, so they end up collecting charges to the victims’ accounts.

2010 Stuxnet
Discovered in June 2010 the Stuxnet worm initially spreads indiscriminately, but is later found to contain a highly specialized malware payload that is designed to target only Siemens supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems configured to control and monitor specific industrial processes. Stuxnet’s most prominent target is widely believed to be uranium enrichment infrastructure in Iran.

2012 First drive-by Android malware
The first Android drive-by malware is discovered, a Trojan called NotCompatible that poses as a system update but acts as a proxy redirect. The site checks the victim’s browser’s user-agent string to confirm that it is an Android visiting, then automatically installs the Trojan. A device infected with NotCompatible could potentially be used to gain access to normally protected information or systems, such as those maintained by enterprise or government.

2013 Ransomware is back
Ransomware emerges as one of the top malware threats. With some variants using advanced encryption that makes recovering locked files nearly impossible, ransomware replaces fake antivirus as malicious actors’ money-soliciting threat of choice.

Take note that information below is an extract from the Sophos Threatsaurus, compiled by Sophos, a security software and hardware company.

Trojans still dangerous in modern times

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

horse-220321_960_720Trojans are malicious programmes pretending to be legitimate software, but they actually carry out hidden, harmful functions.

It pretends to do one thing, but actually does something different, without your knowledge. Popular examples are video codecs that some sites require to view online videos.

When a Trojan codec is installed, it may also install spyware or other malicious software. Another example is a malicious link that says “Cool Game.” When you download and install the game program, it turns out not to be a game, but a harmful Trojan that compromises your computer or erases the data on your hard drive.

Trojans are often distributed with pirated software applications and keygens that create illegal license codes for downloadable software. (See Backdoor Trojan)

A backdoor Trojan allows someone to take control of a user’s computer without their permission.

It may pose as legitimate software to fool users into running it. Alternatively—as is increasingly common—users may unknowingly allow Trojans onto their computer by following a link in spam email or visiting a malicious webpage.

Once the Trojan runs, it adds itself to the computer’s startup routine. It can then monitor the computer until the user is connected to the Internet. When the computer goes online, the person who sent the Trojan can perform many actions—for example, run programs on the infected computer, access personal files, modify and upload files, track the user’s keystrokes, or send out spam email.

Well-known backdoor Trojans include Netbus, OptixPro, Subseven, BackOrifice and, more recently, Zbot or ZeuS.

To avoid backdoor Trojans, you should keep your computers up to date with the latest patches (to close down vulnerabilities in the operating system), and run anti-spam and antivirus software. 

Take note that information below is an extract from the Sophos Threatsaurus, compiled by Sophos, a security software and hardware company.

History of malware, Trojans and worms (Part 2)

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

Last time we explored the more unknown viruses, Trojans and worms, up to 1985. Now we start off in 1986, where most histories do, with the first PC virus.

1986 The first virus for PCs
The first virus for IBM PCs, Brain, was allegedly written by two brothers in Pakistan, when they noticed that people were copying their software. The virus put a copy of itself and a copyright message on any floppy disk copies their customers made.

1987 The Christmas tree worm
This was an email Christmas card that included program code. If the user ran it, it drew a Christmas tree as promised, but also forwarded itself to everyone in the user’s address book. The traffic paralyzed the IBM worldwide network.

1988 The Internet Worm
Robert Morris, a 23-year-old student, released a worm on the US DARPA Internet. It spread to thousands of computers and, due to an error, kept re-infecting computers many times, causing them to crash.

1989 Trojan demands ransom
The AIDS Trojan horse came on a floppy disk that offered information about AIDS and HIV. The Trojan encrypted the computer’s hard disk and demanded payment in exchange for the password.

1991 The first polymorphic virus
Tequila was the first widespread polymorphic virus. Polymorphic viruses make detection difficult for virus scanners by changing their appearance with each new infection.

1992 The Michelangelo panic
The Michelangelo virus was designed to erase computer hard disks each year on March 6 (Michelangelo’s birthday). After two companies accidentally distributed infected disks and PCs, there was worldwide panic, but few computers were infected.

1994 The first email virus hoax
The first email hoax warned of a malicious virus that would erase an entire hard drive just by opening an email with the subject line “Good Times.”

1995 The first document virus
The first document or “macro” virus, Concept, appeared. It spread by exploiting the macros in Microsoft Word.

1998 The first virus to affect hardware
CIH or Chernobyl became the first virus to paralyze computer hardware. The virus attacked the BIOS, which is needed to boot up the computer.

1999 Email viruses
Melissa, a virus that forwards itself by email, spread worldwide. Bubbleboy, the first virus to infect a computer when email is viewed, appeared.

2000 Denial-of-service attacks
“Distributed denial-of-service” attacks by hackers put Yahoo!, eBay, Amazon and other high profile websites offline for several hours. Love Bug became the most successful email virus yet.

2000 Palm virus
The first virus appeared for the Palm operating system, although no users were infected.

2001 Viruses spread via websites or network shares
Malicious programs began to exploit vulnerabilities in software, so that they could spread without user intervention. Nimda infected users who simply browsed a website. Sircam used its own email program to spread, and also spread via network shares.

If this history timeline hasn’t satisfied your curiosity, the recently launched Malware Museum might peak your interest. 

Take note that information below is an extract from the Sophos Threatsaurus, compiled by Sophos, a security software and hardware company.

History of malware, Trojans and worms (Part 1)

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

We’re always warning you against phishing, viruses and other nasty software which might harm your PC and data. For a change, let’s look at the history of these nasties. Where do they come from? How long have they been around for? Are they a recent phenomenon?

It seems not. Viruses have been doing the rounds for more than 50 years.

1949 Self-reproducing “cellular automata”
John von Neumann, the father of cybernetics, published a paper suggesting that a computer program could reproduce itself.

1959 Core Wars
H Douglas McIlroy, Victor Vysottsky, and Robert P Morris of Bell Labs developed a computer game called Core Wars, in which programs called organisms competed for computer processing time.

1960 “Rabbit” programs
Programmers began to write placeholders for mainframe computers. If no jobs were waiting, these programs added a copy of themselves to the end of the queue. They were nicknamed “rabbits” because they multiplied, using up system resources.

1971 The first worm
Bob Thomas, a developer working on ARPANET, a precursor to the Internet, wrote a program called Creeper that passed from computer to computer, displaying a message.

1975 Replicating code
A K Dewdney wrote Pervade as a sub-routine for a game run on computers using the UNIVAC 1100 system. When any user played the game, it silently copied the latest version of itself into every accessible directory, including shared directories, consequently spreading throughout the network.

1978 The Vampire worm
John Shoch and Jon Hupp at Xerox PARC began experimenting with worms designed to perform helpful tasks. The Vampire worm was idle during the day, but at night it assigned tasks to under-used computers.

1981 Apple virus
Joe Dellinger, a student at Texas A&M University, modified the operating system on Apple II diskettes so that it would behave as a virus. As the virus had unintended side-effects, it was never released, but further versions were written and allowed to spread.

1982 Apple virus with side effects
Rich Skrenta, a 15-year-old, wrote Elk Cloner for the Apple II operating system. Elk Cloner ran whenever a computer was started from an infected floppy disk, and would infect any other floppy put into the disk drive. It displayed a message every 50 times the computer was started.

1985 Mail Trojan
The EGABTR Trojan horse was distributed via mailboxes, posing as a program designed to improve graphics display. However, once run, it deleted all files on the hard disk and displayed a message.

Take note that information above is an extract from the Sophos Threatsaurus, compiled by Sophos, a security software and hardware company.

 

© 2013-2018 Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author(s) and content contributor(s). The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by Stellenbosch University.