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TSPY_ZBOT.NTW
Malware type: Spyware
Destructive: No
Platform: Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003
Encrypted: Yes
In the wild: Yes

Overview


Infection Channel: Downloaded from the Internet, Dropped by other malware

This malware is reported to be involved with a malicious campaign concerning the 2012 US Presidential Election. Users affected by this malware may find their online banking credentials stolen.

To get a one-glance comprehensive view of the behavior of this Spyware, refer to the Threat Diagram shown below.

This spyware arrives on a system as a file dropped by other malware or as a file downloaded unknowingly by users when visiting malicious sites.

It is injected into all running processes to remain memory resident.

It modifies the Internet Explorer Zone Settings.

As of this writing, the said sites are inaccessible.

It deletes the initially executed copy of itself.

Technical Details


File size: 330,240 bytes
File type: EXE
Memory resident: Yes
Initial samples received date: 10 Oct 2012
Payload: Downloads files, Steals information

Arrival Details

This spyware arrives on a system as a file dropped by other malware or as a file downloaded unknowingly by users when visiting malicious sites.

Installation

This spyware drops the following copies of itself into the affected system:

  • %User Profile%\Application Data\{random1}\{random}.exe

(Note: %User Profile% is the current user's profile folder, which is usually C:\Documents and Settings\{user name} on Windows 2000, XP, and Server 2003, or C:\Users\{user name} on Windows Vista and 7.)

It drops the following files:

  • %User Profile%\Application Data\Microsoft\Address Book\winxp.wab

(Note: %User Profile% is the current user's profile folder, which is usually C:\Documents and Settings\{user name} on Windows 2000, XP, and Server 2003, or C:\Users\{user name} on Windows Vista and 7.)

It creates the following folders:

  • %User Profile%\Application Data\{random1}
  • %User Profile%\Application Data\Microsoft\Address Book

(Note: %User Profile% is the current user's profile folder, which is usually C:\Documents and Settings\{user name} on Windows 2000, XP, and Server 2003, or C:\Users\{user name} on Windows Vista and 7.)

It is injected into all running processes to remain memory resident.

Autostart Technique

This spyware adds the following registry entries to enable its automatic execution at every system startup:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\
Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
{random CLSID} = "%User Profile%\Application Data\{random1}\{random}.exe"

Other System Modifications

This spyware adds the following registry keys:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\
{random}

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\
WAB

It creates the following registry entry(ies) to bypass Windows Firewall:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\
Services\SharedAccess\Parameters\
FirewallPolicy\StandardProfile\AuthorizedApplications\
List
%Windows%\explorer.exe = "%Windows%\explorer.exe:*:Enabled:Windows Explorer"

Web Browser Home Page and Search Page Modification

This spyware modifies the Internet Explorer Zone Settings.

Download Routine

This spyware connects to the following URL(s) to download its configuration file:

  • http://{pseudorandom alpha characters}.biz
  • http://{pseudorandom alpha characters}.org
  • http://{pseudorandom alpha characters}.info
  • http://{pseudorandom alpha characters}.net
  • http://{pseudorandom alpha characters}.ru
  • http://{pseudorandom alpha characters}.com

As of this writing, the said sites are inaccessible.

Other Details

This spyware connects to the following URL(s) to check for an Internet connection:

  • http://www.google.com/
  • http://www.bing.com/

It deletes the initially executed copy of itself

NOTES:

The URL where it connects to is randomly generated using a randomizing function, which is computed based on the system's current date. The download file is the configuration file that contains the list of sites to be monitored.

The configuration file may contain URLs where it downloads an updated copy of itself and where it sends its gathered information. It may also contain URLs of its target online banking and finance-related sites from where it steals the information.

Solution


Minimum scan engine: 9.200
First VSAPI Pattern File: 9.454.02
First VSAPI Pattern Release Date: 10 Oct 2012
VSAPI OPR Pattern Version: 9.455.00
VSAPI OPR Pattern Release Date: 12 Oct 2012

Step 1

Before doing any scans, Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 users must disable System Restore to allow full scanning of their computers.

Step 2

Restart in Safe Mode

[ Learn more ]

Step 3

Delete this registry key

[ Learn more ]

Important: Editing the Windows Registry incorrectly can lead to irreversible system malfunction. Please do this step only if you know how or you can ask assistance from your system administrator. Else, check this Microsoft article first before modifying your computer's registry.


  • In HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft
    • WAB

Step 4

Delete this registry value

[ Learn more ]

Important: Editing the Windows Registry incorrectly can lead to irreversible system malfunction. Please do this step only if you know how or you can ask assistance from your system administrator. Else, check this Microsoft article first before modifying your computer's registry.


  • In HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run
    • {Random CLSID} = "%User Profile%\Application Data\{random1}.exe"
  • In HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\SharedAccess\Parameters\FirewallPolicy\StandardProfile\AuthorizedApplications\List
    • %Windows%\explorer.exe = "%Windows%\explorer.exe:*:Enabled:Windows Explorer"

Step 5

Search and delete these folders

[ Learn more ]
Please make sure you check the Search Hidden Files and Folders checkbox in the More advanced options option to include all hidden folders in the search result.
  • %User Profile%\Application Data\{random1}
  • %User Profile%\Application Data\Microsoft\Address Book

Step 6

Reset Internet security settings

[ Learn more ]

Step 7

Restart in normal mode and scan your computer with your Trend Micro product for files detected as TSPY_ZBOT.NTW. If the detected files have already been cleaned, deleted, or quarantined by your Trend Micro product, no further step is required. You may opt to simply delete the quarantined files. Please check this Knowledge Base page for more information.

NOTES:

The created registry key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\{random} cannot be identified by the user since there are no reference values in the created key. The only way it can be identified is by comparing the present keys with a backup if the users have one. Note that the key need not to be deleted since it won't cause the user system any harm.


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Analysis By: Cris Nowell Pantanilla

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