While exploits and vulnerabilities are a common problem for users, zero-day exploits in high-profile applications are relatively rare. That was not the case in the first quarter of 2013. Multiple zero-day exploits were found targeting popular applications like Java and Adobe Flash Player, Acrobat, and Reader.
In addition, as predicted, we saw improvements in already-known threats like spam botnets, banking Trojans, and readily available exploit kits.
Other high-profile incidents include the South Korean cyber attacks in March, which reiterated the dangers targeted attacks pose. On the mobile front, fake versions of popular apps remained a problem though phishers found a new target in the form of mobile browsers.
Whether considered advanced persistent threats (APTs) or malware-based espionage attacks, successful and long-term compromises of high-value organizations and enterprises worldwide by a consistent set of campaigns cannot be ignored. Because “noisier” campaigns are becoming increasingly well-known within the security community, new and smaller campaigns are beginning to emerge.
This research paper documents the operations of a campaign we refer to as “Safe,” based on the names of the malicious files used. It is an emerging and active targeted threat.
* Note that any mention of “SafeNet” in this paper is completely unrelated to and has no association with SafeNet, Inc., a global leader in data protection and a valued partner of Trend Micro. The author of the Safe malware apparently maliciously used the word “SafeNet” as part of this viral campaign, and to the extent the word “SafeNet” appears in this paper, it appears solely as replicated in the attacking author’s malware configuration. There is no correlation between SafeNet Inc. and the Safe campaign and should not be interpreted as such.
APT campaigns aggressively pursue and compromise specific targets to gain control of a company’s computer system for a prolonged period of time. To make a targeted attack successful, the communication channel between a threat actor and the malware inside a network must always remain open and unknown. Know how leveraging threat intelligence can help detect this malicious network traffic by reading this primer.