Friday, February 4, 2011

Trusteer: Zeus Continues to Evolve

Via Trusteer Blog -

Despite having been around for four years, Zeus continues to be a thorn in the side of the IT security industry and its business users, mainly because of its constantly evolving profile. This evolving profile is driven in part by the ease with which black hat hackers can develop the malware for new and varied applications.

Our ongoing research here at Trusteer confirms the evolution of Zeus, with a growing number of Web sites that host Zeus variants, as well as the rising volume of networks hosting Command & Control servers for the Zeus botnet swarms. Over the last four months Trusteer's research teams have been analysing the geographical IP distribution of sites hosting Zeus configurations.

Our research shows that the US (39.8 per cent), Russia (21.6 per cent) and Ukraine (6.5 per cent) were the top three countries, with Eastern Europe accounting for 32.0 per cent of Zeus configs. That doesn't mean other countries are off the hook, as China, Malaysia, Iraq and Canada - along with Germany, the UK and the Netherlands in the EU territories - are also responsible for Web sites with hosted Zeus environments.

Our research team have also analysed which organisations/service providers have the dubious distinction of ranking high in the Zeus Command & Control (C&C) site stakes. Analysing 20 of the organisations that account for over half of the C&C controllers reveals that five of the 20 service providers - Informex, PAN-SAM Ltd.,S.Point, LLC Management, and informationaland Delta-X LTD - are on the Ukrainian networks and responsible for 16 per cent of Zeus C&C servers.


More than anything, these detailed statistics show that the `global Internet' is fast becoming highly diversified, but the increasing usage of automated registration and servicing systems on the Internet means that human operator monitoring of hosted systems is become less frequent in those countries with good Internet access.

As well as driving the cost of hosting downwards, this has the worrying effect of making it all too easy to register and set up a C&C and/or Zeus-infected Web site plus allied systems, and using the platform to infect the general Internet user community.

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