Trend Micro has spotted a piece of malware in the wild targeting Java-based HTTP servers and Java Servlet containers.
According to Trend Micro, the malware is disguised as a Java Server page (JSP). Once installed, it performs backdoor routines and gains control over vulnerable servers.
"For this attack to be successful, the targeted system must be a Java Servlet container (such as Apache Tomcat) or a Java-based HTTP server," according to a blog post by Trend Micro's researcher team. "Another possible attack scenario is when an attacker checks for websites powered by Apache Tomcat then attempts to access the Tomcat Web Application Manager."
"Using a password cracking tool, cybercriminals are able to login and gain manager/administrative rights allowing the deployment of Web application archive (WAR) files packaged with the backdoor to the server," the company noted. "The backdoor will be automatically added in the accessible Java Server pages."
Aside from gaining access to sensitive information, an attacker that gains control of the infected system through the backdoor can carry out more malicious commands onto the vulnerable server, researchers explained.
According to Trend Micro, the malware impacts systems using Windows 2000, Windows Server 2003, Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. Despite the malware's capabilities, the company classified the malware's threat level as "low."
"There are certain steps that users can do to avoid this threat," according to the company. "First, users should regularly implement security updates issued by software vendors, to prevent exploits affecting software vulnerabilities. Another is to refrain from visiting unknown websites and bookmark trusted ones. Lastly, users should use strong passwords that are resilient to password cracking tools."
The malware is detected by Trend Micro as BKDR_JAVAWAR.JG.