New IcoScript variant uses Gmail drafts for C&C communication

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Oct 29, 2014

Switch likely to make modular malware even stealthier.

Researchers at Shape Security have found a new variant of the IcoScript RAT that makes use of draft emails stored in Gmail, Wired writes.

This summer, we published a paper by G Data researcher Paul Rascagnères, who had discovered the malware, which was most notable for using a Yahoo! Mail box for command and control communication.

We have not seen many details on this new variant, but the fact that IcoScript switched to a new C&C method isn't surprising: the malware is very modular and, as Paul predicted, "it would be easy to switch to another webmail such as Gmail".

The use of email drafts rather than actual email makes detection by the webmail provider even harder. Of course, using email drafts in a shared mailbox for communication isn't a new technique and isn't unique to malware: this is how the 9/11 attackers appear to have communicated, and it is also how US General David Petraeus communicated with his lover.

While indeed very hard to detect, I think it is unlikely that C&C methods like this one will scale to large botnets. For such cases, cybercriminals would need to resort to techniques such as proxy networks.

Posted on 29 October 2014 by Martijn Grooten

twitter.png
fb.png
linkedin.png
hackernews.png
reddit.png

 

Latest posts:

New paper: Collector-stealer: a Russian origin credential and information extractor

In a new paper, F5 researchers Aditya K Sood and Rohit Chaturvedi present a 360 analysis of Collector-stealer, a Russian-origin credential and information extractor.

VB2021 localhost videos available on YouTube

VB has made all VB2021 localhost presentations available on the VB YouTube channel, so you can now watch - and share - any part of the conference freely and without registration.

VB2021 localhost is over, but the content is still available to view!

VB2021 localhost - VB's second virtual conference - took place last week, but you can still watch all the presentations.

VB2021 localhost call for last-minute papers

The call for last-minute papers for VB2021 localhost is now open. Submit before 20 August to have your paper considered for one of the slots reserved for 'hot' research!

New article: Run your malicious VBA macros anywhere!

Kurt Natvig explains how he recompiled malicious VBA macro code to valid harmless Python 3.x code.

We have placed cookies on your device in order to improve the functionality of this site, as outlined in our cookies policy. However, you may delete and block all cookies from this site and your use of the site will be unaffected. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to Virus Bulletin's use of data as outlined in our privacy policy.