Monday, November 03, 2008

Modified Zeus Crimeware Kit Gets a Performance Boost

Oops, they did it again - modifying an open source crimeware kit like Zeus in order to improve its performance, fix previously known bugs, and release the improved administration script for free at the end of October.

It's important to point out that both of these modifications haven't been released by the original author of Zeus, but by third parties filling in the gaps he has left open. The very nature of open source web based malware exploitation kits is one of the key factors for the ongoing convergence of traffic management, exploits serving, ddos, and cybercrime as a service features into a simplified cybercrime platform available on demand.

Following the discovery of a remotely exploitable flaw within Zeus in June -- a flaw affecting Pinch leaked out two months later -- allowing cyberciminals to inject their own credentials and hijack the botnet of other cybercriminals, this modified version claims to have fixed three vulnerabilities within the original Zeus release, namely, a remote file inclusion flaw and two SQL injections within the administration panel. Here's the new CHANGELOG :

"- code improvements and optimizations
- internal data checkings added
- exit() function instead of die()
- echo() function instead of print()
- mysql_affected_rows () changed to mysql_num_rows () everywhere
- all queries are fixed in system or mod .php files
- no text password in the database and clear text password in $_SESSION, cookies authentication is gone and md5 hashes are everywhere
- Geo IP support has been added
- umask () bug fixed, the file has been created (chmoded) with different permissions
- language improvements and pre-installation checks
- checking for php version/safe_mod/open_basedir as you're required to run php 5.1.0 or higher to run it successfully
- fixed sql injection in credentials checking
- GetUserData () function has been rewritten - possible sql injection fixed
- possible remote file inclusion fixed
- socket error definition changed
- gcnt () function has been rewritten so you can use geolication - GeoIP which is free and GeoIPCity which is paid
- ip address checking improved through validIP() function improvement
- all queries are now fixed, input data has been sanitized
- fs () function has been fixed in order to improve the quality of the log names
- formatFilePath () function has been added for file upload purposes
- arbitrary file upload bug has been fixed so that you can now upload only images with original names
- the Log2SQL () function has been changed and stricter data checking/sanitizing is added
- internal file sorting mechanism is improved so that files/dirs are sorted by file modification time
"

As it's becoming increasingly clear that what once used to be a proprietary crimeware kits whose business model got undermined by their open source nature and the fact that they've started leaking for average cybercriminals and script kiddies to take advantage of, are today's "open source projects" - and therefore maintaining static lists of exploits and features included within a particular kit is getting even more irrelevant these days. In the long term, the quality assurance processes applied within crimeware kits courtesy of third party cybercriminals, is prone to shift from performance to improving the infection rates.