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February 2019’s Most Wanted Malware: Coinhive Quits While Still at the Top

Check Point’s researchers confirm Coinhive holds the top position in February’s Top Malware index for 15th consecutive month before it is shut down, while GandCrab distribution campaigns increase

Check PointCheck Point Research, the Threat Intelligence arm of Check Point Software Technologies has published its latest Global Threat Index for February 2019. The index reveals that, despite shutting down on March 8th 2019, Coinhive has once again led the Global Threat Index, marking the 15thconsecutive month at the top of the list.

Check Point researchers have also discovered several widespread campaigns distributing the GandCrab ransomware that have targeted Japan, Germany, Canada and Australia, among others. These operations have emerged over the last two months, and Check Point’s researchers noticed a new version of the ransomware being distributed in one of the latest campaigns. The new version, Gandcrab V5.2, includes most of the features of the last, but with a change in the encryption method that renders the decryption tool ineffective.

 In February, the most prevalent malware variants were cryptominers. Coinhive remains the top malware, impacting 10% of organizations worldwide. This follows a downward trend in Coinhive’s global impact, from 18% in October 2018, to 12% in January 2019, and now with a 2% drop this month. This decrease has been caused by the rising cost of mining along with the decline in Monero’s value. Cryptoloot rose to second place in February replacing XMRig, and was followed by Emotet, an advanced, self-propagate and modular Trojan, which replaced Jsecoin in third place in the index.

Maya Horowitz, Threat Intelligence and Research Director at Check Point commented,  “As we saw in January, threat actors continue to exploit new ways to distribute malware while creating new and more dangerous variants of existing malware forms. GandCrab’s new version proves once again that although there are seemingly static malware families that stay in the top malware list for several months, they are actually evolving and developing to evade detection.  To effectively combat this, our researchers continuously trace them based on their malware family DNA – so it’s essential that organizations keep their security solutions fully updated.”

 February 2019’s Top 3 ‘Most Wanted’ Malware:

 *The arrows relate to the change in rank compared to the previous month.

  1. ↔ Coinhive– Crypto Miner designed to perform online mining of Monero cryptocurrency when a user visits a web page without the user’s knowledge or approval the profits with the user. The implanted JavaScript uses a great deal of the computational resources of end users’ machines to mine coins, and may crash the system.
  2. Cryptoloot – Crypto-Miner that uses the victim’s CPU or GPU power and existing resources for crypto mining – adding transactions to the blockchain and releasing new currency. It is a competitor to Coinhive, trying to pull the rug under it by asking a smaller percentage of revenue from websites.
  3. ↑ Emotet– Advanced, self-propagate and modular Trojan. Emotet once used to employ as a banking Trojan, and recently is used as a distributer to 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.

This month Lotoor is the most prevalent Mobile malware, replacing Hiddad at first place in the top mobile malware list. Triada remains in third place.

February’s Top 3 ‘Most Wanted’ Mobile Malware:

  1. Lotoor– Hack tool that exploits vulnerabilities on Android operating system in order to gain root privileges on compromised mobile devices.
  2. Hiddad – Android malware which repackages legitimate apps and then released them to a third-party store. Its main function is displaying ads, however it is also able to gain access to key security details built into the OS, allowing an attacker to obtain sensitive user data.
  3. Triada – Modular Backdoor for Android which grants super user privileges to downloaded malware, as helps it to get embedded into system processes. Triada has also been seen spoofing URLs loaded in the browser.

Check Point’s researchers also analyzed the most exploited cyber vulnerabilities. CVE-2017-7269 is still leading the top exploited vulnerabilities with 45%. OpenSSL TLS DTLS Heartbeat Information Disclosure is the second most prevalent vulnerability with a global impact of 40%, followed by Web servers PHPMyAdmin Misconfiguration Code Injection exploit, impacting 34% of organizations worldwide.

February’s Top 3 ‘Most Exploited’ vulnerabilities:

  1. ↔ Microsoft IIS WebDAV ScStoragePathFromUrl Buffer Overflow (CVE-2017-7269)– By sending a crafted request over a network to Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 through Microsoft Internet Information Services 6.0, a remote attacker could execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service conditions on the target server. That is mainly due to a buffer overflow vulnerability resulted by improper validation of a long header in HTTP request.
  2. ↑ OpenSSL TLS DTLS Heartbeat Information Disclosure (CVE-2014-0160; CVE-2014-0346)– An information disclosure vulnerability exists in OpenSSL. The vulnerability is due to an error when handling TLS/DTLS heartbeat packets. An attacker can leverage this vulnerability to disclose memory contents of a connected client or server.
  3. ↑ Web servers PHPMyAdmin Misconfiguration Code Injection – A code injection vulnerability has been reported in PHPMyAdmin. The vulnerability is due to PHPMyAdmin misconfiguration. A remote attacker can exploit this vulnerability by sending a specially crafted HTTP request to the target.

Check Point’s Global Threat Impact Index and its ThreatCloud Map is powered by Check Point’s ThreatCloud intelligence. The ThreatCloud database holds over 250 million addresses analyzed for bot discovery, more than 11 million malware signatures and over 5.5 million infected websites, and identifies millions of malware types daily.

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Niloy Banerjee

A generic movie-buff, passionate and professional with print journalism, serving editorial verticals on Technical and B2B segments, crude rover and writer on business happenings, spare time playing physical and digital forms of games; a love with philosophy is perennial as trying to archive pebbles from the ocean of literature. Lastly, a connoisseur in making and eating palatable cuisines.

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