A new Trojan that distributes itself through Facebook instant messaging and Yahoo! Messenger has claimed hundreds of victims.
Computer systems have been infected by the software nasty in the UK, Germany, France, Denmark, Romania, the US and Canada during the past week or so, according to Romanian antivirus firm Bitdefender.
Downloader-167 poses as a message from a friend, and invites the user to view pictures using an app that is packed with malicious code. Once installed, the malware pushes further messages, spreading the scam, as well as compromised systems with more Windows malware.
“After gaining access to users’ contact lists, Gen:Variant.Downloader.167 distributes itself through Facebook’s instant messaging and Yahoo Messenger from one friend to another,” explained Catalin Cosoi, chief security strategist at Bitdefender.
“Besides being wonderfully polite, the Trojan also uses biblical verses as decryption keys for its data.”
The biblical verses include fragments of the first epistle of Paul to the Corinthians. "Thorough research proved the Trojan hides some of its encrypted data between biblical verses. The data is eventually decrypted with numbers generated by an algorithm with a mathematical processor," according to BitDefender.
Use of biblical versus is malware is a new one for El Reg security desk and we're not sure what it means, if anything, other the noting that the crooks behind the scam haven't taken on board the seventh commandment ("Thou shalt not steal"). Downloader-167 is probably designed as a platform for secondary malware distribution and information theft.
"The final aim of the Trojan is probably to make money from reselling sensitive data," BitDefender explains. "After it’s executed on the machine, the Trojan searches for a command and control centre, which may order it to download further malware and eventually send confidential data such as passwords, usernames and banking credentials directly to the attackers."
The malware groomed intended victims with a polite question ostensibly from a Facebook or Yahoo Messenger friend whose system has been infected with the malware. “I want to post these pictures on Facebook, do you think it’s OK?,” the malicious messages read. To add legitimacy, the URLs following the question refer to storage services Dropbox and Fileswap, web lockers frequently frequently used for sharing pictures and files.
Last May a similar piece of malware infected thousands of Facebook users worldwide. The Dorkbot malware posed as a “jpg” image but was actually an executable file, capable of spying browser activities and stealing personal data.
Another scam along the same lines in March this year promised naked videos of Facebook friends but dropped a Trojan instead. ®