New ZeuS-based modular rootkit offered to cybercriminals

Given the popularity of the Zeus crimeware, and the fact that its source code has been ultimately offered for sale at bargain basement prices, it’s no wonder that every now and then malware based on it gets offered on underground forums.

The latest of these is a bot with rootkit functionality unearthed by Dancho Danchev, and it apparently:

  • encrypts the communication between the C&C servers and the bots so that the botnet’s owner is the only one that can control it
  • uses a Domain Generation Algorithm so that the bot will know which C&C servers to contact if the current ones get blocked or shut down
  • can drop a third-party piece of malicious code onto the affected computer
  • allows the botmaster to set random intervals for the bot to communicate with the C&C servers
  • allows the botmaster to “hide files on the disk, the branches in the registry, inject .dll in a separate process and in all, provides a gateway through which the user applications can get a list of processes currently loaded kernel modules, terminate any process, to hide the list of dll modules loaded process.”

The author of the malware hopes that the modular nature of the bot will be a bonus that will assure good earnings, as new features and plugins can be added every now and then.

Some plugins are already available – a DDoS module, a HOSTS File Modifier module, a Back Connect Hosts module (to allow cybercriminals to connect and abuse hosts behind a NAT), and a module to convert the malware-infected hosts into anonymization proxies. The price? Between $50 and $380.

The bot with the rootkit functionality is sold for $1,500, and the buyer gets a user manual with it. The bot’s control panel is simple, and all the interactions with the admin panel are encrypted.

The malware has a EULA that makes it clear that the tool is meant for testing – the author is obviously trying to void any personal responsibility for compromises made with it.

It’s impossible to tell who the author is, but Danchev points out that he (she?) is only available for a chat on Sundays from 10:00 A.M, Moscow time.

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