The Internet threat alert status is currently normal. At present, no major epidemics or other serious incidents have been recorded by Kaspersky Lab’s monitoring service. Internet threat level: 1
Latest posting
By rating
By popularity

13 Apr SyScan 2014 Michael

10 Mar RootedCON V Vicente Diaz

03 Mar CODE BLUE in Tokyo Michael

18 Dec Destructive Malware – Five Wipers in the Spotlight Costin Raiu

14 Aug NSAccess Control Lists Roel

20 Mar South Korean 'Whois Team' attacks GReAT

Join our blog

You can contribute to our blog if you have +100 points. Comment on articles and blogposts, and other users will rate your comments. You receive points for positive ratings.


In the first week of April 2014 we were at “The Symposium on Security for Asia Network" (SyScan), a “geeky” single-track conference located in Singapore.

I liked the friendly atmosphere from the very first slides of the event (as is seen above).

The program covered hardware and software attacks like “Car Hacking”, “Defeating SecureBoot”, “Point-of-Sale”-hacks (“Flappy Bird” injected on a mobile POS device was my favorite), “RFID”-hacks, “Anti-Virus Software” flaws, “Phone hacks”, “OS-Hacks” and a “Linux Memory Forensic” case study amongst others.

All of the presentations were of quite high quality in content and most of the speakers did a nice job presenting their content.

Much beer did flow at the “BarCon” at the end of day one ...

Events|RootedCON V

Vicente Diaz
Kaspersky Lab Expert
Posted March 10, 14:40  GMT
Tags: Conferences, Cyber weapon

It was five years ago when a group of computer security enthusiasts decided to gather together and organize a security conference mainly for a Spanish-speaking audience.

Last week RootedCon celebrated its fifth birthday, gathering more than 1000 attendees. It is now firmly established as the most important security event in Spain.


On February 17th (MON) - 18th (TUE), 2014 we were at an event in Tokyo called “CODE BLUE”, a new international information security conference originating from Japan.

Even though this conference was being held for the first time, no less than 400 visitors attended, with people coming from about 10 different countries.

The overall atmosphere at the event was kind and friendly and everything seemed to go smooth and swiftly.

Topics on the first day were the keynote by Jeff Moss, followed by presentations about “The Current State of Automotive Security”, “A Security Barrier Device”, “Remote linux exploits” and hard-/software related hard disk matters.

For the Japanese speakers among you there’s a more detailed review of the event here.


Every single day, Kaspersky Lab processes more than 300,000 new malware samples. The vast majority of these malicious files is what we call crimeware -- computer programs designed for financial profit and used by cyber-criminals to make money. From the remaining percentage, a small amount are designed exclusively for cyber-espionage and used by a variety of advanced threat actors.

What is left is an even smaller percentage of the total and includes rare, unusual things. Wipers, which are highly destructive programs, are some of the rarest kinds of malware, however, their usage has spiked over the last few years.

Back in the old days, most of the malware was written by computer enthusiasts,  cyber-hooligans and pranksters. Hence, destructive viruses, or Trojans, were much more common. Some examples include BadSectors, a computer virus that would mark disk sectors as bad, even if they weren’t, resulting in subtle corruption of data.  Another example was OneHalf, a computer virus that would encrypt the hard drive cylinder-by-cylinder, transparently decrypting it on the fly while active. If one were to remove the virus,that would leave the data on the disk in encrypted format, without an easy way to decrypt it.

Perhaps the best known example is CIH, also known as Chernobyl. CIH, named after the initials of its author, Chen Ing-hau, was a computer virus that had the ability to wipe the BIOS flash memory. Computers affected by CIH couldn’t boot up anymore. This wasn’t a major problem for PCs, which had the BIOS memory in the form of a removal chip that could be reprogrammed on another system; however, for laptop owners, the CIH virus was quite destructive.

Over the last few years, we’ve seen a number of major incidents involving destructive malware.  We’ve decided to put together a brief summary the most important Wiper incidents:

1. The “Wiper”

In late-2011, early-2012, reports emerged about computer systems that were compromised and rendered unbootable.  The extent of the damage to these systems was so big that almost no data was recoverable. Some artefacts from the wiped systems indicated a possible link with Stuxnet and Duqu; however, these were never proven. The malware responsible for these attacks was named the "Wiper"; we wrote about it here.

Events|NSAccess Control Lists

Kaspersky Lab Expert
Posted August 13, 20:31  GMT
Tags: Conferences, DDoS, Cyber weapon, Cyber espionage

Last week, I attended the International Conference on Cyber Security at Fordham University in NYC. This event brought together participants from government, the private sector and academia. The closing session was a panel featuring the directors of the CIA, FBI and NSA which drew a lot of attention.

FBI Director Robert Mueller speaking at the closing panel

Throughout the conference, there was a strong push for more cooperation internationally and between different sectors. While cooperation has come a long way, we still have a long way to go.

The topic of cyber-espionage didn't come up as much as I've been used to in recent times. Instead, there was more talk on cyber-sabotage with several presentations talking about this problem.

Incidents|South Korean 'Whois Team' attacks

Kaspersky Lab Expert
Posted March 20, 12:09  GMT
Tags: Targeted Attacks, Cyber weapon, Wiper

Earlier today, reports of a number of cyberattacks against various South Korean targets hit the news.

The attackers, going by the handle “Whois Team” left a number of messages during the defacements:


You can read our Full Technical Paper on SPE / miniFlame here.

In May 2012, a Kaspersky Lab investigation detected a new nation-state cyber-espionage malware, which we named "Flame". Our research also identified some distinguishing features of Flame’s modules. Based on those features, we discovered that in 2009, the first variant of the Stuxnet worm included a module that was created based on the Flame platform. This confirmed there was some form of collaboration between the groups that developed the Flame and Tilded (Stuxnet/Duqu) platforms.

A more in-depth research conducted in June 2012 resulted in the discovery of another nation state-sponsored and previously unknown malware which we named «Gauss». Gauss used a modular structure resembling that of Flame, a similar code base and system for communicating with command-and-control (C&C) servers, as well as numerous other similarities to Flame.

In partnership with Symantec, ITU-IMPACT and CERT-Bund/BSI, we also published our analysis of the Flame Command and Control servers. The analysis showed that the code can understand several communication protocols to talk to different «clients» or malware:

  • OldProtocol
  • OldProtocolE
  • SignupProtocol
  • RedProtocol (mentioned but not implemented)

Incidents|What was that Wiper thing?

Kaspersky Lab Expert
Posted August 29, 13:00  GMT
Tags: Targeted Attacks, Duqu, Flame, Cyber weapon, Gauss, Wiper

In April 2012, several stories were published about a mysterious malware attack shutting down computer systems at businesses throughout Iran.

Several articles mentioned that a virus named Wiper was responsible. Yet, no samples were available from these attacks, causing many to doubt the accuracy of these reports.

Following these incidents, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) asked Kaspersky Lab to investigate the incidents and determine the potentially destructive impact of this new malware.

After several weeks of research, we failed to find any malware that shared any known properties with Wiper. However, we did discover the nation-state cyber-espionage campaign now known as Flame and later Gauss.

It is our firm opinion that Wiper was a separate strain of malware that was not Flame. Although Flame was a highly flexible attack platform, we did not see any evidence of very destructive behavior. Given the complexity of Flame, one would expect it to be used for long-term surveillance of targets instead of direct sabotage attacks on computer systems. Of course, it is possible that one of the last stages of the surveillance was the delivery of a Wiper-related payload, but so far we haven-t seen this anywhere.


On 20th and 21st of August we had our 2nd Latin American Security Analyst Summit here in Quito, Ecuador.

It was not a closed-door event; we had guests from 13 countries of the region including our panelists from law enforcement agencies who work every day in the fight against cybercrime:

Emerson Wendt from the civil police of Brazil @EmersonWendt
Segundo Mansilla from the Police of investigations of Chile @s_mansilla
Fausto Estrella from Cyber police of Jalisco, Mexico
Santiago Acurio from Catholic University of Ecuador / Lawyer and Doctor of cybercrime Jurisprudence.



Gauss is the most recent cyber-surveillance operation in the Stuxnet, Duqu and Flame saga.

It was probably created in mid-2011 and deployed for the first time in August-September 2011.

Gauss was discovered during the course of the ongoing effort initiated by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), following the discovery of Flame. The effort is aimed at mitigating the risks posed by cyber-weapons, which is a key component in achieving the overall objective of global cyber-peace.

In 140 chars or less, “Gauss is a nation state sponsored banking Trojan which carries a warhead of unknown designation”. Besides stealing various kinds of data from infected Windows machines, it also includes an unknown, encrypted payload which is activated on certain specific system configurations.

Just like Duqu was based on the “Tilded” platform on which Stuxnet was developed, Gauss is based on the “Flame” platform. It shares some functionalities with Flame, such as the USB infection subroutines.

In this FAQ, we answer some of the main questions about this operation. In addition to this, we are also releasing a full technical paper (HTML version and PDF version) about the malware’s functionalities.

What is Gauss? Where does the name come from?

Gauss is a complex cyber-espionage toolkit created by the same actors behind the Flame malware platform. It is highly modular and supports new functions which can be deployed remotely by the operators in the form of plugins. The currently known plugins perform the following functions:

  • Intercept browser cookies and passwords.
  • Harvest and send system configuration data to attackers.
  • Infect USB sticks with a data stealing module.
  • List the content of the system drives and folders
  • Steal credentials for various banking systems in the Middle East.
  • Hijack account information for social network, email and IM accounts.

The modules have internal names which appear to pay tribute to famous mathematicians and philosophers, such as Kurt Godel, Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss and Joseph-Louis Lagrange.

The module named “Gauss” is the most important in the malware as it implements the data stealing capabilities and we have therefore named the malware toolkit by this most important component.

Gauss Architecture

In addition, the authors forgot to remove debugging information from some of the Gauss samples, which contain the paths where the project resides. The paths are:

Variant Path to project files
August 2011 d:\projects\gauss
October 2011 d:\projects\gauss_for_macis_2
Dec 2011-Jan 2012 c:\documents and settings\flamer\desktop\gauss_white_1

One immediately notices “projects\gauss”.

In regards to the “white” part - we believe this is a reference to Lebanon, the country with the most Gauss infections. According to Wikipedia, “The name Lebanon comes from the Semitic root LBN, meaning "white", likely a reference to the snow-capped Mount Lebanon.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebanon#Etymology