Researchers at Websense have uncovered an extensive cybercrime campaign using the Mevade malware that appears to be targeting businesses and government agencies in several countries, including the United States.
The malware appears to be originating from Russia and the Ukraine, and was caught targeting the manufacturing, transportation and government sectors in India, Canada, the U.K., the U.S and other countries. Since the campaign began July 23, the largest number of infections has been in the U.S., with smaller numbers recorded in Europe and South America.
The hardest hit sector was business services, which had 44 organizations impacted by attacks. The manufacturing sector was struck hard as well, with 32 organizations impacted. Twenty-eight government organizations were hit as well.
The Mevade malware was linked previously to a sudden surge in the number of Tor users earlier this year. It was eventually discovered that Mevade was downloading a Tor component on infected computers. According to Websense, the group’s command and control infrastructure hosts malware and exploits such as CVE-2012-4681 and the heavy use of Mevade as well as attack infrastructure in Russia and the Ukraine means the cyber-gang behind the attacks is likely operation out of that region.
“The malware analysis of Mevade…shows use of a reverse proxy capability (similar to Shylock), indicating a very flexible dropper that is well suited to rerouting network traffic, targeted theft of information, and facilitating lateral movement through target networks by creating a network-level backdoor,” Websense noted in its analysis of the attack.
The use of the 3proxy tool allows “attackers to tunnel traffic directly through the malware and directly onto a target network,” researchers explained.
“In these cases, the Proxy is configured as a reverse proxy, with the ability to tunnel through NAT (Network Address Translated) environments to create a connection to the attacker’s infrastructure and initiate a backdoor directly into the target network (in this case, using SSL over port 443),” Websense continued. “The use of reverse proxies indicates that the cyber-criminals plan to manually scan a network and move laterally towards more critical apps and information (such as databases, critical systems, source-code, and document repositories) than might exist on the original machine that has been compromised.”