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December 2021’s Most Wanted Malware: Trickbot, Emotet and the Log4j plague

Checkpoint

Check Point Research has published its latest Global Threat Index for December 2021. In a month that saw the Apache Log4j vulnerability sweep the internet, researchers reported that Trickbot is still the most prevalent malware, albeit at a slightly lower rate affecting 4% of organizations worldwide (5% in November). The recently resurgent Emotet has swiftly risen from seventh position to second. CPR also reveals that the most attacked industry continues to be Education/Research.

This month “Apache Log4j Remote Code Execution” is the most exploited vulnerability, affecting 48.3% of organizations globally. The vulnerability was first reported on December 9th in the Apache logging package Log4j – the most popular Java logging library used in many Internet services and apps with over 400,000 downloads from its GitHub project. The vulnerability caused a new plague, impacting almost half of all companies worldwide in a very short space of time. Attackers are able to exploit vulnerable apps to execute cryptojackers and other malware on compromised servers. Until now, most of the attacks have focused on the use of cryptocurrency mining at the expense of the victims however, advanced attackers have started to act aggressively and take advantage of the breach on high-quality targets.

“Log4j dominated headlines in December. It is one of the most serious vulnerabilities we have ever witnessed, and due to the complexity in patching it and its easiness to exploit, it is likely to stay with us for many years to come unless companies take immediate action to prevent attacks,” said Maya Horowitz, VP Research at Check Point Software.  “This month we have also seen the Emotet botnet move from the seventh most prevalent malware to the second. Just as we suspected, it has not taken long at all for Emotet to build a strong foothold since it resurfaced in November. It is evasive and is spreading fast via phishing emails with malicious attachments or links. It is now more important than ever to have a robust email security solution in place and to ensure that users know how to identify a suspicious looking message or attachment.”

CPR revealed this month that Education/Research is the most attacked industry globally, followed by Government/Military and ISP/MSP. “Apache Log4j Remote Code Execution” is the most commonly exploited vulnerability, impacting 48.3% of organizations globally, followed by “Web Server Exposed Git Repository Information Disclosure” which affects 43.8% of organizations worldwide. “HTTP Headers Remote Code Execution” remains in third place in the top exploited vulnerabilities list, with a global impact of 41.5%.

Top malware families

This month, Trickbot is the most popular malware impacting 4% of organizations worldwide, followed by Emotet and Formbook, both with a global impact of 3%.

In Kenya, AgentTesla is the most popular malware impacting 19.18% of organizations in the country, followed by Glupteba at 10.96% and Formbook with a country impact of 9.59%.

  1.  AgentTesla AgentTesla is an advanced RAT (remote access Trojan) that functions as a keylogger and password stealer. Active since 2014, AgentTesla can monitor and collect the victim’s keyboard input and system clipboard, and can record screenshots and exfiltrate credentials entered for a variety of software installed on the victim’s machine (including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Outlook email client). AgentTesla is openly sold as a legitimate RAT with customers paying $15 – $69 for user licenses.
  2.  Glupteba – Known since 2011, Glupteba is a backdoor that gradually matured into a botnet. By 2019 it included a C&C address update mechanism through public BitCoin lists, an integral browser stealer capability and a router exploiter.
  3.  Formbook – First detected in 2016, FormBook is an InfoStealer that targets the Windows OS. It is marketed as MaaS in underground hacking forums for its strong evasion techniques and relatively low price. FormBook harvests credentials from various web browsers, collects screenshots, monitors and logs keystrokes, and can download and execute files according to orders from its C&C.

 Top exploited vulnerabilities

This month, “Apache Log4j Remote Code Execution” is the most commonly exploited vulnerability, impacting 48.3% of organizations globally, followed by “Web Server Exposed Git Repository Information Disclosure” which affects 43.8% of organizations worldwide. “HTTP Headers Remote Code Execution” remains in third place in the top exploited vulnerabilities list, with a global impact of 41.5%.

  1. Apache Log4j Remote Code Execution (CVE-2021-44228) – A remote code execution vulnerability exists in Apache Log4j. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability could allow a remote attacker to execute arbitrary code on the affected system.
  2. Web Server Exposed Git Repository Information Disclosure- An information disclosure vulnerability has been reported in Git Repository. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability could allow an unintentional disclosure of account information.
  3. HTTP Headers Remote Code Execution (CVE-2020-10826,CVE-2020-10827,CVE-2020-10828,CVE-2020-13756) – HTTP headers let the client and the server pass additional information with an HTTP request. A remote attacker may use a vulnerable HTTP Header to run arbitrary code on the victim machine.

Top Mobile Malwares

This month, AlienBot takes first place in the most prevalent Mobile malwares, followed by xHelper and FluBot.

  1. AlienBot – AlienBot malware family is a Malware-as-a-Service (MaaS) for Android devices that allows a remote attacker, as a first step, to inject malicious code into legitimate financial applications. The attacker obtains access to victims’ accounts, and eventually completely controls their device.
  2. xHelper – A malicious application seen in the wild since March 2019, used for downloading other malicious apps and display advertisements. The application is capable of hiding itself from the user and can even reinstall itself in the event that it was uninstalled.
  3. FluBot – FluBot is an Android botnet distributed via phishing SMS messages, most often impersonating logistics delivery brands. Once the user clicks the link inside the message, FluBot is installed and gets access to all sensitive information on the phone.

Check Point’s Global Threat Impact Index and its ThreatCloud Map is powered by Check Point’s ThreatCloud intelligence. ThreatCloud provides real-time threat intelligence derived from hundreds of millions of sensors worldwide, over networks, endpoints and mobiles. The intelligence is enriched with AI-based engines and exclusive research data from Check Point Research, The Intelligence & Research Arm of Check Point Software Technologies.


About author

Editor at TechArena. I cover all things technology and review new gadgets as I get them. You can reach me on email: kaluka@techarena.co.ke
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