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Check Point Research, the Threat Intelligence arm of Check Point® Software Technologies Ltd, a provider of cyber security solutions globally, publishes its latest Global Threat Index for August 2020.

Researchers found that the Qbot trojan, also known as Qakbot and Pinkslipbot, has entered the top ten malware index for the first time, ranking as the 10th most prevalent malware in August, while the Emotet trojan remains in 1st place for a second month, impacting 14% of organizations globally.

Ransomware installation techniques

First seen in 2008, Qbot has been continually developed and now uses sophisticated credentials theft and ransomware installation techniques, making it the malware equivalent of a Swiss Army knife according to researchers. Qbot now also has a dangerous new feature: a specialized email collector module which extracts email threads from the victim’s Outlook client and uploads them to an external remote server.

This enables Qbot to hijack legitimate email conversations from infected users

This enables Qbot to hijack legitimate email conversations from infected users, and then spam itself out using those hijacked emails to increase its chances of tricking other users into getting infected. Qbot can also enable unauthorized banking transactions, by allowing its controller to connect to the victim's computer.

Active malspam campaigns

Check Point’s researchers found several campaigns using Qbot’s new strain between March and August 2020, which included Qbot being distributed by the Emotet trojan. This campaign impacted 5% of organizations globally in July 2020.

Threat actors are always looking at ways to update existing, proven forms of malware and they have clearly been investing heavily in Qbot’s development to enable data theft on a massive scale from organizations and individuals. We have seen active malspam campaigns distributing Qbot directly, as well as the use of third-party infection infrastructures like Emotet's to spread the threat even further.”

Anti-Malware solutions

This month Emotet remains the most popular malware with a global impact of 14% of organizations

Businesses should look at deploying anti-malware solutions that can prevent such content reaching end-users and advise employees to be cautious when opening emails, even when they appear to be from a trusted source,” said Maya Horowitz, Director, Threat Intelligence & Research, Products at Check Point.

The research team also warns that ‘Web Server Exposed Git Repository Information Disclosure’ is the most common exploited vulnerability, impacting 47% of organizations globally, followed by ‘MVPower DVR Remote Code Execution’ which impacted 43% of organizations worldwide. ‘Dasan GPON Router Authentication Bypass (CVE-2018-10561)’ is in third place, with a global impact of 37%. This month Emotet remains the most popular malware with a global impact of 14% of organizations, closely followed by Agent Tesla and Formbook affecting 3% of organizations each.

Maintaining persistence and evasion techniques

  • ↔ Emotet – Emotet is an advanced, self-propagating and modular Trojan. Emotet was originally a banking Trojan, but recently is used as a distributor of other malware or malicious campaigns. It uses multiple methods for maintaining persistence and evasion techniques to avoid detection. In addition, it can be spread through phishing spam emails containing malicious attachments or links.
  • ↑ Agent Tesla - Agent Tesla is an advanced RAT functioning as a key logger and information stealer, capable of monitoring and collecting the victim's keyboard input, system clipboard, taking screenshots, and exfiltrating credentials belonging to of a variety of software installed on a victim's machine (including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Outlook email client).
  • ↑ Formbook - Formbook is an Info Stealer that harvests credentials from various web browsers, collects screenshots, monitors and logs keystrokes, and can download and execute files according to its C&C orders.

Information disclosure vulnerability

A remote attacker can exploit this weakness to execute arbitrary code in the affected router via a crafted request

This month ‘Web Server Exposed Git Repository Information Disclosure’ is the most common exploited vulnerability, impacting 47% of organizations globally, followed by ‘MVPower DVR Remote Code Execution’ which impacted 43% of organizations worldwide. ‘Dasan GPON Router Authentication Bypass (CVE-2018-10561)’ is in third place, with a global impact of 37%.

  • ↑ Web Server Exposed Git Repository Information Disclosure – An information disclosure vulnerability that has been reported in Git Repository. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability could allow an unintentional disclosure of account information.
  • ↓MVPower DVR Remote Code Execution - A remote code execution vulnerability that exists in MVPower DVR devices. A remote attacker can exploit this weakness to execute arbitrary code in the affected router via a crafted request.
  • ↑ Dasan GPON Router Authentication Bypass (CVE-2018-10561) – An authentication bypass vulnerability that exists in Dasan GPON routers. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability would allow remote attackers to obtain sensitive information and gain unauthorized access into the affected system.

Popular mobile malware

This month xHelper is the most popular mobile malware, followed by Necro and Hiddad.

  • xHelper – A malicious application seen in the wild since March 2019, used for downloading other malicious apps and display advertisements. The application can hide itself from the user, and reinstall itself in case it was uninstalled.
  • Necro – Necro is an Android Trojan Dropper. It can download other malware, showing intrusive ads and stealing money by charging paid subscriptions.
  • Hiddad - Hiddad is an Android malware which repackages legitimate apps and then releases them to a third-party store. Its main function is to display ads, but it can also gain access to key security details built into the OS.

Check Point’s Global Threat Impact Index and its ThreatCloud Map is powered by Check Point’s ThreatCloud intelligence, the largest collaborative network to fight cybercrime which delivers threat data and attack trends from a global network of threat sensors. The ThreatCloud database inspects over 2.5 billion websites and 500 million files daily, and identifies more than 250 million malware activities every day.

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