by CIO Staff

Password-Stealing Trojan Arrives in German Spam

May 30, 20062 mins

A fresh round of spam with a password-stealing Trojan horse detected on Sunday uses a German-language pitch, saying the malicious attachment is an official Microsoft Windows update.

The attached malware, called “Trojan-PSW.Win32.Sinowal.u” by antivirus software developer Kaspersky Lab, is a next-generation Trojan that’s on the rise, said Roel Schouwenberg, a senior research engineer with the company. The Sinowal family of malware was first detected in December, and first seeded on malicious websites.

If a user visited the site and did not have a properly patched browser, the software would install itself, allowing it to harvest log-in and password information for some European banks’ websites, Schouwenberg said. The Sinowal family of malware may have been created in Russia, since the malware code contains some Russian, he said.

The latest spam messages have a “.de” e-mail address. Rather than depending on a browser exploit to install itself, the latest version of Sinowal tries to trick users into installing it. The message, written in German, claims that a new worm is on the loose, and that the recipient should run the attached file to protect the system.

Schouwenberg said the malware writers may have decided to send it by mass e-mail if the browser exploit approach wasn’t working as well.

The Sinowal Trojan is a type of “man-in-the-middle” malware. Even if a user has started an SSL transaction with a bank, the Sinowal Trojan can insert HTML code that causes a pop-up window asking for a user name and password. It is programmed to react to certain bank websites.

“This is something we are going to see more and more and really make life hard,” Schouwenberg said.

It’s unique, since it then sends that information immediately to the hacker’s server rather than storing the information for periodic transmission, Schouwenberg said. The Trojan is also capable of checking for updates of itself.

-Jeremy Kirk, IDG News Service

For related news coverage, read Trojan Horse Lurks in World Cup Tournament E-Mail, Yahoo Messaging Worm Installs Bogus Browser, and CIO sister publication CSO’s New Trojan Targets Word.

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