Malware Getting Smarter and More Aggressive

Security Login ScreenThe typical malware bot is injected onto a victim PC, usually by clicking on a link or otherwise visiting a website designed for that purpose. The bot is usually programmed to perform a specific function. For example, a banking bot or banker Trojan is designed to obtain online banking credentials when online banking transactions are performed by the owner of the computer and then use those credentials, such as the banking sign-on name and password, to perform electronic funds transfers to a bank account controlled by the criminal. And all this is done in a matter of seconds after the credentials are obtained.

Enter a powerful new bot called Ainslot.L. Once injected onto the victim computer, it is smart enough to look for other malware bots that may reside on the computer and kill them before it begins to perform it’s own mal-activities. If this is starting to sound like a movie scene involving organized crime “taking over new territory” by bumping off other crooks in order to expand their business…well, I would agree with that assumption. In fact, most Internet criminal activity is controlled by organized crime units located in Russia and other Eastern Bloc countries. So I’m not surprised that they’re acting like organized crime of old.

Back to Ainslot.L. Another way this bot is different from the norm is that the fake email that spreads it is different from the usually sloppy and grammatically incorrect emails used by typical bots of today. This email is well thought out and well written. It informs the reader that they have placed an order for an expensive product that will be charged to their credit card. It includes a link to view the order.

As you might imagine, most people will panic that the order is a mistake and they immediately go into information gathering mode and want to, yes, you guessed it…view the order. Clicking that link loads the bot onto their computer. Once the bot takes control, it begins it’s dastardly tasks. And the poor owner of the PC is, well…poorer.

You can arm your computer and protect your money by doing the following:

1. Keep your virus protection software updated at all times. Use the automatic update feature by turning it on.

2. Check your account transactions recorded by the bank on a regular basis and ensure they’re all valid. If not, notify your bank immediately of the fraudulent transaction. If they find out soon enough, they can take advantage of a built-in lag in EFT transactions to cancel it.

3. If your bank is not already doing so, encourage them to use strong online financial transaction security practices such as placing a security cookie on your computer for verification purposes; and limiting the size of withdrawals and transfers of funds made by your computer. These practices may not prevent the theft, but it may slow them down enough that you or the bank will detect something amiss and allow you to take some action.

Ref: Help Net Security.Com

As always, I appreciate your comments on this subject…so please do. And be careful out there…it’s extremely dangerous these days.

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Home computing is a blast…keep it safe, productive and enjoyable.

Best regards,

Paul

paulshomecomputing(at)yahoo.com

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12 Comments

Filed under Internet, security

12 responses to “Malware Getting Smarter and More Aggressive

  1. Joy and Paul

    Thanks Paul!! Thank you for being a real-life “cyber superhero”. ;)

    • Joy and Paul,
      Thanks very much, I’m glad you like the article. I’m not so sure about my being a cyber superhero, but I do try to help people stay safe on the Internet. Thanks again.
      Best,
      Paul

  2. Hi Robert,

    Happy to help. :)

    Best,

    Bill

  3. Hi Paul,

    Totally agree with your take on this. Great advice as usual.

    As for MSE – it should not be loaded with other AVs operating. MSE covers virtually all areas of the malware spectrum, including rootkits. I’ve used it since its release, and have not yet had to deal with an infection. Highly recommend it.

    Best,

    Bill

    • Hey Bill,
      Thanks for the info on MSE. I should have known you’d have the scoop on it.
      Best,
      Paul

    • robert h

      Bill, thanks a million for sharing your experience and endorsement of MSE, I feel pretty secure having it on my 15yr old’s laptop and not worrying about updates etc that it performs on auto. Thanks for taking the trouble to respond to my inquiry,
      Regards,
      RHH

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  5. robert h

    Thanks, Paul, for the heads up, really scary stuff out there. Underlines the need for protections and back ups. BTW, do you advocate multilayer defenses with multiple AV programs, or a single program with great credentials? One issue I have is putting multiple programs on my son’s laptop vs. just one good one. We like MSE (Microsoft Security Essentials). It’s hard for my son to keep up with school work, much less updating and running numerous AV programs over time. Do you consider MSE adequate? In the past, MSE would not play well with other AV programs, but MSE itself seems pretty comprehensive. I wonder what others think about MSE and if there have been issues/problems depending on MSE exclusively. I can only say that for some months now MSE has been working on my son’s laptop without issues, but it’s hard to know if it has really been tested yet. Many regards,
    Robert H

    • Robert,
      I do advocate a multilayer defense, but mine is designed using only one AV program. My first layer is the physical security of my computer; I don’t let anyone else use it. My second layer is the strong passwords I use. Third layer is the one AV package that I run. The fourth layer is that I run WOT on my computer to alert me of dangerous web pages that I access. And the final layer is that I run a partitioned environment that isolates any malware from getting into my operating system or disk space. I don’t use Microsoft Security Essentials, but I’m told that it’s a good package, greatly improved by Microsoft since it’s inception. I can’t comment on MSE not playing well. I’d go to Microsoft’s MSE page and see if they have a blog where you can ask the question to folks who run MSE everyday.

      Thanks for stopping by my blog.
      Paul

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