The CobInt Trojan is a newly devised malware that has been identified in several ongoing attacks. It is an upgraded version of a previous weapon that has the potential of infecting whole networks of computers. A dangerous characteristic of it is its ability to deploy various modules according to the victim type. Our article illustrates the typical strain behavior and shows infected computers may be recovered.
|Short Description||The CobInt Trojan is a computer virus that is designed to silently infiltrate computer systems, active infections will spy on the victim users.|
|Symptoms||The victims may not experience any apparent symptoms of infection.|
|Distribution Method||Freeware Installations, Bundled Packages, Scripts and others.|
|Detection Tool|| See If Your System Has Been Affected by CobInt Trojan |
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|User Experience||Join Our Forum to Discuss CobInt Trojan.|
CobInt Trojan – Distribution Methods
The CobInt Trojan is the latest malware threat coming it from the Cobalt hacking collective. It is believed that this is merely a next-generation updated threat based on their previous weapons.
The newly updated version was initially discovered in an attack campaign in August focusing on Russian and Romanian banks and financial institutions. Previous versions of it were configured to act against companies such as telecom providers, the manufacturing industry, health care organizations and etc.
The most prominent distribution method used by the criminals appears to be sending of phishing email messages orchestrated by a special kit used by the hackers. They can spread virus files, infected documents and other payload carriers directly or hyperlink them in the body contents. The emails are designed to appear as being sent by a popular Internet service or
In August four attack campaigns have been observed, most of the leverage an exploit that takes advantage of an vulnerability in the Microsoft Office applications. An analysis of the captured samples indicate that the particular threat is the one described in the CVE-2018-8174 advisory. It reads the following:
A remote code execution vulnerability exists in the way that the VBScript engine handles objects in memory. The vulnerability could corrupt memory in such a way that an attacker could execute arbitrary code in the context of the current user. An attacker who successfully exploited the vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the current user. If the current user is logged on with administrative user rights, an attacker who successfully exploited the vulnerability could take control of an affected system. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights.
In a web-based attack scenario, an attacker could host a specially crafted website that is designed to exploit the vulnerability through Internet Explorer and then convince a user to view the website. An attacker could also embed an ActiveX control marked “safe for initialization” in an application or Microsoft Office document that hosts the IE rendering engine. The attacker could also take advantage of compromised websites and websites that accept or host user-provided content or advertisements. These websites could contain specially crafted content that could exploit the vulnerability.
As such upon interaction with malicious documents of any popular kind the CobInt Trojan: rich text documents, spreadsheets, presentations and databases. Whenever they are opened a notification box will appear asking the users to enable the built-in scripts, if this is done the infection will follow.
Three other Office related vulnerabilities that are being used are the following:
- CVE-2017-8570 — A remote code execution vulnerability exists in Microsoft Office software when it fails to properly handle objects in memory. An attacker who successfully exploited the vulnerability could use a specially crafted file to perform actions in the security context of the current user. For example, the file could then take actions on behalf of the logged-on user with the same permissions as the current user.
- CVE-2017-11882 — Microsoft Office 2007 Service Pack 3, Microsoft Office 2010 Service Pack 2, Microsoft Office 2013 Service Pack 1, and Microsoft Office 2016 allow an attacker to run arbitrary code in the context of the current user by failing to properly handle objects in memory.
- CVE-2018-0802 — Equation Editor in Microsoft Office 2007, Microsoft Office 2010, Microsoft Office 2013, and Microsoft Office 2016 allow a remote code execution vulnerability due to the way objects are handled in memory.
Related scripts that can help deliver the Trojan threat to the target computers include also web scripts — they can cause the dangerous behavior and can make use of various interactive elements: banners, pop-ups, ads and etc.
As the ongoing attacks target financial institutions the Trojan installation code can be embedded in application installers — they are hacker-created setup files of popular software that the clients or company employees might use. They can uploaded to hacker-controlled download portals that mimic the official vendor download pages. By using similar sounding domain names and security certificates the users can be fooled into downloading the malicious installer packages.
CobInt Trojan – Detailed Description
The CobInt Trojan infection follows a complex infection pattern– that is generally broken into three main stages.
The first stage of infection is the payload delivery itself. Depending on the method of infection this can be done via a script or an application dropper. It would connect to a predefined download server from where on the second stage modules are downloaded. The entire CobInt Trojan is modular in nature and it can interact with components that are downloaded in different stages, this allows the criminals to devise custom parameters according to each individual campaign or target itself. This step acquires the main malicious module and any components that are required during the forthcoming installation.
The CobInt Trojan then be started which is the second step as defined in the behavior pattern. Like other typical strains it will connect to a specific hacker-controlled server. This is done via a secure, stable and encrypted connection which allows the operators to spy on the users, take over control of their machines and deploy other threats.
During its execution the various processes are disguised as Windows functions by employing an advanced protection stealth protection module. It is able to hook up to system processes and impersonate them. By comparing it to other similar threats it can also include a data harvesting process which can harvest information that can be grouped into two main categories:
- Private User Data — The malicious engine can hijack sensitive information that can be used to expose the identity of the victims. An example list includes their name, address, location, interests, location and any stored account credentials.
- Campaign Metrics — The malicious engine can harvest data that can be used to optimize the campaigns. This includes a report of all installed hardware components, operating system values and user settings.
The third step in the infection process is the deployment of all additional modules. They can be different depending on the ongoing campaign instructions.
Future versions can be configured to run several processes such as the following:
- Windows Registry Modifications — A delivered module can be configured into applying various changes to the Windows Registry. If they are made against the operating system then overall performance may degrade. Modifications to individual applications can result in the inability to run certain functions.
- Persistent Installation — The CobInt Trojan can be installed as a persistent threat which will automatically start the engine once the computer is powered on. This can alo disable certain system services and access to the recovery boot menu.
- Delete Commands — The engine can identify and delete Shadow Volume Copies and System Restore points. This can make system restore very difficult.
- Additional Modules Deployment — Infected host can be ordered into downloading other threats automatically.
We anticipate that the Trojan will be updated in the future with additional functionality.
Remove CobInt Trojan Trojan
If your computer system got infected with the CobInt Trojan Trojan, you should have a bit of experience in removing malware. You should get rid of this Trojan as quickly as possible before it can have the chance to spread further and infect other computers. You should remove the Trojan and follow the step-by-step instructions guide provided below.
Note! Your computer system may be affected by CobInt Trojan and other threats.
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