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21 May Big Brother Dmitry Tarakanov

17 Oct SpyEye vs. Tracker Dmitry Tarakanov

21 Sep Kaspersky Lab... also in my list of DDoS attacks! [by SpyEye] Jorge Mieres

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Research|Big Brother

Dmitry Tarakanov
Kaspersky Lab Expert
Posted May 21, 14:10  GMT
Tags: SpyEye

It seems that development of the main module of SpyEye stopped with last autumn’s version 1.3.48 – and this is now the dominant strain of SpyEye malware.

SpyEye distribution by versions for the period since 1 January 2012*
* Others (7%) includes: 1.2.50, 1.2.58, 1.2.71, 1.2.80, 1.2.82, 1.2.93, 1.3.5, 1.3.9, 1.3.25, 1.3.26, 1.3.30, 1.3.32, 1.3.37, 1.3.41, 1.3.44.

But just because the authors are not developing this platform further, it doesn’t mean that SpyEye is no longer getting new functions. The core code allows anyone to create and attach their own plugins (DLL libraries). I’ve been analyzing SpyEye samples since the start of the year, and I’ve counted 35 different plugins. Below you can see a table with those plugins and the corresponding number of samples in which they were included:

Research|SpyEye vs. Tracker

Dmitry Tarakanov
Kaspersky Lab Expert
Posted October 17, 16:02  GMT
Tags: Botnets, Spyware, ZeuS, SpyEye

It has become clear that the creator of the banking Trojan SpyEye have added plugin support to their code. In this new design, these plugins can be used by third parties to add extra functions to the core bot. The plugins are DLLs stored in the bot’s configuration file. Among the core plugins created for SpyEye is customconnector. As its name implies, this supports the bot’s communications with the botnet C&C or its collector. The collector is a malicious server which receives data harvested from the victim’s computer; it can be distinct from the C&C server. Since the creator of SpyEye has outsourced the botnet’s links to the C&C server, different SpyEye operators can create unique protocols governing communications between bot and server. Naturally, these protocols could make it more difficult to track the activity of SpyEye botnets. Despite this, cybercriminals have not, so far, rushed to take advantage of this opportunity: SpyEye’s old protocol in the basic customconnector.dll is still in use. Even so, we have recently spotted some changes related to this plugin.

Each plugin has a configuration file attached. If the plugin is customconnector.dll, its configuration file will be customconnector.dll.cfg. Cybercriminals can insert plain-text fragments into this config file containing settings for the plugin’s functions. Since customconnector.dll is a communication plugin, its config file has always identified the botnet’s C&C servers. The botnet operator could easily switch to a new C&C server by introducing the new URLs into the text file and updating the configuration file in the botnet.

Here is a sample configuration file:

Figure 1. A configuration file for customconnector.dll


The title of this post suggests that I’ve been thinking of one of the cyber-criminals that uses SpyEye, maybe in admiration! But actually his cyber-criminal actions overshadow anything else.

The truth is that, following my post highlighting the tactic of using as C&C one of the Cloud Computing services offered by Amazon, I found a sample of SpyEye that is somewhat interesting: among its goals is an attack DDoS directed against the Kaspersky Lab website.

The SpyEye configuration file, which is basically a compressed file and password protected (usually MD5), stores the resources involved in the planned attack. The surprise came when I looked at the configuration file of the plugin (ddos.dll.cfg). The following image shows the parameters set in this file: