Paper: Invading the core: iWorm's infection vector and persistence mechanism

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Oct 30, 2014

Malware spreads through infected torrent, then maintains persistence on the system.

A month ago, security firm Dr.Web reported it had discovered a new malware variant targeting Mac OS X, that was subsequently dubbed 'iWorm'.

Apart from the fact that malware for OS X, though becoming more common, is still a bit of a novelty, most reports focused on iWorm's unique way of obtaining a list of command and control servers: the malware performed a search on Reddit for a particular string, which was used by the owners of the botnet to post C&C addresses and ports.

Today, we publish a paper by Patrick Wardle, Director of Research at Synack, in which he performs a tactical study of iWorm, focusing on both the infection vector and the way the malware maintains persistence on an infected system.

Despite its name, iWorm is a backdoor and not a worm, and thus didn't spread automatically. Patrick explains how torrents of pirated versions of Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Office were spread - which, apart from the promised program, also installed iWorm on the side.

Once installed, the malware is executed automatically by the operating system every time the computer is restarted. There are many persistence methods on OS X, and iWorm uses a relatively simple method, by installing as a launch daemon.

Thankfully, removing the malware is rather trivial and requires the execution of just three simple commands.

You can read the paper here in HTML format or here as a PDF. As always, papers published by Virus Bulletin are available free of charge and do not require registration.

If you are interested in the subject of persistence methods of OS X malware, you should read Patrick's VB2014 paper on the subject "Methods of malware persistence on Mac OS X", which we published this week. In it, he describes various persistence methods and also presents the KnockKnock tool, which one can use to find programs persistently installed on OS X.

Posted on 30 October 2014 by Martijn Grooten

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

 

Latest posts:

New additions complete the VB2020 localhost programme

The programme for VB2020 localhost - the first virtual, and entirely free to attend VB conference - is now complete, with new additions to both the live programme and the on-demand programme.

VB2020 localhost call for last minute papers: a unique opportunity

Why VB2020 localhost presents a unique opportunity for you to share your research with security experts around the globe.

VB2020 localhost call for last-minute papers now open!

The call for last-minute papers for VB2020 localhost is now open. Submit before 17 August to have your paper considered for one of the nine slots reserved for 'hot' research!

Announcing... VB2020 localhost

Announcing VB2020 localhost: the carbon neutral, budget neutral VB conference!

VB2019 paper: APT cases exploiting vulnerabilities in region-specific software

At VB2019, JPCERT/CC's Shusei Tomonaga and Tomoaki Tani presented a paper on attacks that exploit vulnerabilities in software used only in Japan, using malware that is unique to Japan. Today we publish both their paper and the recording of their…

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.