FUD: fully undetectable malware.

Computers: The most modern pieces of malware are today undetectable - Comment on 2013 April 2 (2)

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Some products are marketed as "FUD": fully undetectable, by either software or user. A piece of malware will be sold for far more money than a competing product if it's undetectable by current anti-malware products. The majority of organisations certainly wouldn't have the capability to detect whether they were infected by RATs. Read more:

Two weeks ago we had the webpage 2013 Mar 15 (3) Infecting computers of private persons, spying them out systematically, observing per webcam and pinching its data and today I again read something about this and also about something even more interesting.

Here some extracts:

 

How hackers can switch on your webcam and control your computer

A malicious virus known as Remote Administration Tools (RATs) can be used by hackers to switch on your webcam and control the machine without your knowledge.

The 14-year-old couldn't believe his eyes. The virtual currency he'd worked so hard to amass in the online role-playing game Runescape had vanished. He'd lost the equivalent of $700 in the blink of an eye, after investing his pocket money into the game's economy for months. All that remained was an instant message dialogue box: "Haha, you got RATted!"

Sitting in his bedroom the teenager wrote back: "What does that mean?" He didn't know at the time that his machine had been compromised by a Remote Administration Tool (RAT), an aggressive form of malware that allows hackers to access a victim's entire computer. It was too late. The thief had disappeared. "He ran away with my money, like a girl," laments Alex (not his real name).

Weeks later, his desolation and rage had been replaced by joy. After researching RATs and spending an entire day spreading an innocuous link using Runescape's in-game chat function, in the hope that someone would visit the page and run the Javascript application embedded within, Alex had his mark.

Within a few clicks, the teenager had access to a stranger's entire computer, without their knowledge. "I was the happiest kid in the whole entire world," he says. "I could see their desktop, what they typed, the history of what they'd typed, stored passwords, files everything."

His victim didn't have a webcam, so Alex wasn't sure of their gender or their appearance, although he assumes they were male. But he knew that they played Runescape, so he got straight to work on what mattered: looting their gold, just as he'd recently experienced himself.

After emptying the stranger's account, the teenager watched, intrigued, as his mark realised that he'd been hacked, and began trying to close the connection. Fifteen minutes later, Alex's first "slave" hacker shorthand for a compromised user had disconnected himself.

The RATted had become the RATter. "I felt unstoppable," says Alex, now 17 and studying Year 11. "I was really insecure about myself at the time. I felt like the most powerful person on Runescape."

The senior security manager at antivirus software company Trend Micro has another name for RAT: Remote Access Trojan. "It's a piece of software loaded onto somebody's computer that allows it to be controlled or accessed from a third-party location," says Adam Biviano.

Many modern laptops will display a green light when the webcam is in use; however, RAT developers have long since worked out how to disable that tell-tale sign on some computers.

Remote access technology is not new Windows has had this functionality in-built for many years but the malware form of delivery is a constant headache for security companies such as Trend Micro, especially since some of these products are marketed as "FUD": fully undetectable, by either software or user.

"That's the unfortunate part of the business we're in," says Biviano. "For a malware writer, we're part of their quality assurance process. A piece of malware will be sold for far more money than a competing product if it's undetectable by current anti-malware products. That's the sad reality of life right now."

Trend Micro's labs deal with RAT infections on a daily basis, not just on personal computers, but increasingly, mobile devices. "This year alone, we're anticipating that we'll see nearly one million forms of malware just on [the] Android [mobile operating system]. A lot of these will have RAT built in. It's very rare these days that we see malware that doesn't have some sort of remote access capabilities."

RATs have a long history of legitimate, non-malicious uses: IT departments throughout the world benefit daily from the ability to view their colleagues' screens when troubleshooting, as do workers who wish to access files on their home computer from the office.

" the majority of organisations certainly wouldn't have the capability to detect whether they were infected by RATs, if [the software] was being used by attackers correctly."

 

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