A new computer Trojan that targets users of 450 financial institutions from around the world appears to borrow functionality and features directly from the notorious Zeus and Carberp malware programs.
The new threat, dubbed Zberp by security researchers from IBM subsidiary Trusteer, has a wide range of features. It can gather information about infected computers including their IP addresses and names; take screen shots and upload them to a remote server; steal FTP and POP3 credentials, SSL certificates and information inputted into Web forms; hijack browsing sessions and insert rogue content into opened websites, and initiate rogue remote desktop connections using the VNC and RDP protocols.
The Trusteer researchers consider Zberp a variant of ZeusVM, a recent modification of the widely used Zeus Trojan program whose source code was leaked on underground forums in 2011. ZeusVM was discovered in February and stands out from other Zeus-based malware through its authors' use of steganography to hide configuration data inside images.
The Zberp authors use the same technique, which is meant to evade detection by anti-malware programs, to send configuration updates embedded in an image that depicts the Apple logo. However, the new threat also uses hooking techniques to control the browser that seem to have been borrowed from Carberp, another Trojan program designed for online banking fraud whose source was leaked last year.
"Since the source code of the Carberp Trojan was leaked to the public, we had a theory that it won't take cybercriminals too long to combine the Carberp source code with the Zeus code and create an evil monster," Trusteer researchers Martin Korman and Tal Darsan said last week in a blog post. "It was only a theory, but a few weeks ago we found samples of the 'Andromeda' botnet that were downloading the hybrid beast."
Zberp also uses some other techniques borrowed from ZeusVM to achieve persistence and evade detection, the researchers said. The malware program deletes its start-up registry key when running and adds it back when it detects a system shutdown.
"According to a Virus-Total scan, the Zberp Trojan was able to evade most anti-virus solutions when it was first detected," the Trusteer researchers said.