Monday, September 30, 2013

Beta Bot: A New Trend in Cyber-Attacks

Beta Bot Malware Blocks Users Anti-Virus Programs

A new warning about malware designed to target payment platforms highlights why anti-virus software is increasingly ineffective at preventing account compromises. And while this new Trojan is not yet targeting online-banking accounts, financial institutions should be aware of the threat. The malware is another example of how fraudsters are increasingly getting around standard modes of authentication, such as usernames and passwords.

The Internet Crime Complaint Center and the Federal Bureau of Investigation recently issued an advisory about Beta Bot, the new malware that targets e-commerce sites, online payment platforms and even social networking sites to compromise log-in credentials and financial information.

When Beta Bot infects a system, an illegitimate but official-looking Microsoft Windows message box named "User Account Control" pops up, asking the user to approve modifications to the computer's settings. "If the user complies with the request, the hackers are able to exfiltrate data from the computer," the advisory states. "Beta Bot is also spread via USB thumb drives or online via Skype, where it redirects the user to compromised websites."

Beta Bot defeats malware detection programs because it blocks access to security websites and disables anti-virus programs, according to IC3. "This is a good demonstration of how fraudsters' methods are evolving constantly. They are coming up with sophisticated methods that appear so convincing, even people who typically would not fall for their schemes may do so.

Beta Bot's attacks also resemble the ransomware attacks that coupled the banking Trojan known as Citadel with the drive-by virus known as Reveton, which seized consumers' computers and demanded ransom, purporting to be from the FBI.

IC3 and the FBI warn that if consumers see what appears to be an alert from Microsoft but have not requested computer setting modifications from the company, they have likely been targeted for a Beta Bot attack. If infected, running a full system scan with up-to-date anti-virus software is recommended. And if access to security sites has been blocked, then downloading anti-virus updates or a new anti-virus program is advised.

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