Bulletin

An indispensable source of reference for anyone concerned with computer security, the Bulletin is the forum through which leading security researchers publish the latest security research and information in a bid to share knowledge with the security community. Publications cover the latest threats, new developments and techniques in the security landscape, opinions from respected members of the industry, and more. The Bulletin archives offer informative articles going back to 1989. Our editorial team is happy to hear from anyone interested in submitting a paper for publication.

VB2017 paper: Browser attack points still abused by banking trojans

Peter Kálnai (ESET)
Michal Poslušný (ESET)

With the ever-increasing use of banking-related services on the web, browsers have naturally drawn the attention of malware authors. They are interested in adjusting the behaviour of the browsers for their purposes, namely intercepting the content of…

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Does malware based on Spectre exist?

It is likely that, by now, everyone in computer science has at least heard of the Spectre attack. Since many excellent explanations of the attack already exist, this article focuses on the probability of finding Spectre being exploited on Android…

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EternalBlue: a prominent threat actor of 2017–2018

Pradeep Kulkarni (Quick Heal Security Labs)
Sameer Patil (Quick Heal Security Labs)
Prashant Kadam (Quick Heal Security Labs)
Aniruddha Dolas (Quick Heal Security Labs)

At the centre of last year's infamous WannaCry ransomware attack was an NSA exploit leaked by the Shadow Brokers hacker group, known as ‘EternalBlue’. The worm-like functionality of the exploit made a deadly impact by propagating to interconnected…

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VB99 paper: Giving the EICAR test file some teeth

Randy Abrams (Microsoft)

There are situations that warrant the use of live viruses. There are also situations where the use of live viruses is unwarranted. Specifically, live viruses should not be used when safer and equally effective methods can be used to obtain the…

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Powering the distribution of Tesla stealer with PowerShell and VBA macros

Aditya K. Sood (SecNiche Security)
Rohit Bansal (SecNiche Security)

Since their return more than four years ago, Office macros have been one of the most common ways to spread malware. In this paper, Aditya K Sood and Rohit Bansal analyse a campaign in which VBA macros are used to execute PowerShell code, which in…

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VB2017 paper: Android reverse engineering tools: not the usual suspects

Axelle Apvrille (Fortinet)

In the Android security field, all reverse engineers will probably have used some of the most well-known analysis tools such as apktool, smali, baksmali, dex2jar, etc. These tools are indeed must‑haves for Android application analysis. However, there…

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VB2017 paper: Exploring the virtual worlds of advergaming

Chris Boyd (Malwarebytes)

As adverts in gaming (‘advergaming’) ecosystems continue to become more sophisticated, so the potential complications grow for parents, children and gamers, who just want to play without having to worry about where their data is going (and how it is…

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Distinguishing between malicious app collusion and benign app collaboration: a machine-learning approach

Irina Mariuca Asavoae (Swansea University)
Jorge Blasco (Royal Holloway, University of London)
Thomas M. Chen (City University London)
Harsha Kumara Kalutarage (Queen's University Belfast)
Igor Muttik (Cyber Curio)
Hoang Nga Nguyen (Coventry University)
Liam O’Reilly (Swansea University)
Markus Roggenbach (Swansea Univeristy)
Siraj Ahmed Shaikh (Coventry University)

Two or more mobile apps, viewed independently, may not appear to be malicious - but in combination, they could become harmful by exchanging information with one another and by performing malicious activities together. In this paper we look at how…

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VB2016 paper: Wild Android collusions

Prof. Igor Muttik (Intel Security)
Prof. Markus Roggenbach (Swansea University)
Dr Jorge Blasco (City University, London)
Prof. Thomas M. Chen (City University, London)

Mobile operating systems support multiple communication methods between apps. Unfortunately, these handy inter-app communication mechanisms also make it possible to carry out harmful actions in a collaborative fashion. Two or more mobile apps, viewed…

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VB2017 paper: The life story of an IPT – Inept Persistent Threat actor

Adam Haertlé (BadCyber.com)

This paper describes the ability of an amateur attacker with no technical skills to achieve success in his criminal enterprise. We will follow a Polish threat actor, known as ‘Thomas’, in his career as a wannabe cybercriminal from late 2011 until…

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