Security Experts:

Improved Neverquest Trojan Targeting Bank Customers in Japan, US

Ever since its existence came to light in November 2013, the Neverquest banking Trojan has been enhanced with new features that make it an efficient tool for cybercriminals that are after sensitive information.

According to Symantec, whose products detect Neverquest as Trojan.Snifula, an evolution of the Snifula malware family that has been around since 2006, over half of the infections detected since December 2013 have been seen in the United States (38%) and Japan (18%). However, victims have also been spotted by the security firm in Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Australia, India and Italy.

Neverquest is capable of logging keystrokes, capturing screenshots, extracting stored credentials, and stealing digital certificates. The malware also gives its masters control over infected devices, and enables them to launch man-in-the-browser (MitB) attacks.

After infecting a device, the Trojan makes contact with its command and control (C&C) server from which it downloads a configuration file containing code that's used for MitB attacks. The malware is designed to inject this code into targeted Web pages in an effort to turn them into phishing websites on which victims are asked to hand over personal information such as PINs, one-time passwords, telephone banking passwords, transaction authentication numbers, and answers to security questions, Symantec said.

The configuration files, which are different for each targeted country, also contain and a list of strings that tell the threat which types of websites it should monitor. Neverquest scans the URLs and content of websites visited by the victim in search for strings related to webmail, social networking, messaging, cloud computing, financial , storage, photo sharing, gaming and other online services that could help the attackers make a profit.

The configuration file for Germany contains a list of ten financial institutions that are of interest, while the one for the United States includes more than 50 such organizations. In Japan there are eight targeted organizations, but experts believe this number will likely increase in the upcoming period.

Neverquest isn't the only piece of malware targeting the financial information of Japanese users recently. In May, the country's National Police Agency reported that more than $14 million had already been stolen this year as a result of cybercrime.

Other information-stealing forms of malware that have helped cybercriminals with this task are Infostealer.Torpplar and Infostealer.Bankeiya. On Wednesday, ESET reported that Infostealer.Bankeiya, which the company detects as, Win32/Aibatook  has been distributed in Japan through compromised adult websites, some of which are highly popular in the country.

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.