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This advisory was prepared in collaboration with the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC), United States Secret Service (USSS), Financial Sector Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC), and Trustwave Spiderlabs, a trusted partner under contract with the USSS. The purpose of this release is to provide relevant and actionable technical indicators for network defense against the PoS malware dubbed "Backoff" which has been discovered exploiting businesses' administrator accounts remotely and exfiltrating consumer payment data.


Recent investigations revealed that malicious actors are using publicly available tools to locate businesses that use remote desktop applications. Remote desktop solutions like Microsoft's Remote Desktop [1], Apple Remote Desktop [2], Chrome Remote Desktop [3], Splashtop 2 [4], and LogMeIn [5] offer the convenience and efficiency of connecting to a computer from a remote location. Once these applications are located, the suspects attempted to brute force the login feature of the remote desktop solution. After gaining access to what was often administrator or privileged access accounts, the suspects were then able to deploy the point-of-sale (PoS) malware and subsequently exfiltrate consumer payment data via an encrypted POST request.

The forensic investigations of compromises of retail IT/payment networks indicate that the network compromises allowed the introduction of memory scraping malware to the payment terminals. Information security professionals recommend a defense in depth approach to mitigating risk to retail payment systems. While some of the risk mitigation recommendations are general in nature, the following strategies provide an approach to minimize the possibility of an attack and mitigate the risk of data compromise:

Now, with over 25 million new types of malware registered since the beginning of 2022 alone, there is no better time to step up your malware protection and overall cybersecurity than now. Use this ultimate guide to understand how malware works, the different types of malware seen on the internet, and malware attack prevention tips that can help keep your personal information and devices safe.

Little to no space could mean that malicious software was able to compromise multiple files, as malware expands as it goes deeper into your system. An excess of space may indicate that the malware was able to complete its work since some infectionscan delete important files and software.

A cybersecurity trick many people use is monitoring their network traffic for signs of suspicious activity. If you shut down all your connected devices and still see continued activity, a hacker may have snuck malware onto one of yourdevices.

Hackers are smart enough to know that most people equip their devices with some type of malware protection. Their workaround was designing malware that can disable antivirus software or other types of security extensions that alertusers of potential threats.

Trusted antivirus software could help provide your devices with 24/7 protection against the malware attacks threatening your Cyber Safety. Often equipped with password managers and threat detection software, security software could help you browse more confidently knowing you have the right cybersecurity tools working to keep you safe.

Malware is one of the original cyberthreats, which means we've been able to learn a lot about cyberattackers' tactics and can use that against them. Use these malware protection tips and warning signs to stay ahead of hackers and boost your malware security.

Malware (malicious software) is a program or code that is created to do intentional harm to a computer, network, or server. Cybercriminals develop malware to infiltrate a computer system discreetly to breach or destroy sensitive data and computer systems. Common types of malware include viruses, ransomware, keyloggers, trojans, worms, spyware, malvertising, scareware, backdoors, and mobile malware.

Advanced malware protection uses a unique and integrated combination of methods to prevent and detect known malware, unknown malware, and fileless malware. These methods include machine learning, exploit blocking, behavioral analysis, and blacklisting.

The key to removing malware from your device is installing and running next-generation antivirus (NGAV) software. Upon detecting malware, NGAV can help identify and remediate malicious artifacts left behind from malicious activity.

For most businesses, deploying a breach prevention solution or platform that continuously monitors for malware attacks will be the first line of defense. Here are a few more tips to help you and your organization minimize the risks of a malware attack:

In the years since the Morris Worm debuted, adversaries have applied a great deal of creativity to the concept of malware, coming up with new types of attacks as enterprise technology has evolved. The most common types of malware today are:

There are many important distinctions between malware and viruses. Learn about the characteristics of these two cyber threats, how a user can identify the type of attack, and how to best resolve it. Read: Malware vs Virus

Malware is any software or mobile application specifically designed to harm a computer, a mobile device, the software it's running, or its users. Malware exhibits malicious behavior that can include installing software without user consent and installing harmful software such as viruses. Website owners sometimes don't realize that their downloadable files are considered malware, so these binaries might be hosted inadvertently.

Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) has identified evidence of a destructive malware operation targeting multiple organizations in Ukraine. This malware first appeared on victim systems in Ukraine on January 13, 2022. Microsoft is aware of the ongoing geopolitical events in Ukraine and surrounding region and encourages organizations to use the information in this post to proactively protect from any malicious activity.

While our investigation is continuing, MSTIC has not found any notable associations between this observed activity, tracked as DEV-0586, and other known activity groups. MSTIC assesses that the malware, which is designed to look like ransomware but lacking a ransom recovery mechanism, is intended to be destructive and designed to render targeted devices inoperable rather than to obtain a ransom.

On January 13, Microsoft identified intrusion activity originating from Ukraine that appeared to be possible Master Boot Records (MBR) Wiper activity. During our investigation, we found a unique malware capability being used in intrusion attacks against multiple victim organizations in Ukraine.

The malware resides in various working directories, including C:\PerfLogs, C:\ProgramData, C:\, and C:\temp, and is often named stage1.exe. In the observed intrusions, the malware executes via Impacket, a publicly available capability often used by threat actors for lateral movement and execution.

The two-stage malware overwrites the Master Boot Record (MBR) on victim systems with a ransom note (Stage 1). The MBR is the part of a hard drive that tells the computer how to load its operating system. The ransom note contains a Bitcoin wallet and Tox ID (a unique account identifier used in the Tox encrypted messaging protocol) that have not been previously observed by MSTIC:

The malware executes when the associated device is powered down. Overwriting the MBR is atypical for cybercriminal ransomware. In reality, the ransomware note is a ruse and that the malware destructs MBR and the contents of the files it targets. There are several reasons why this activity is inconsistent with cybercriminal ransomware activity observed by MSTIC, including:

Stage2.exe is a downloader for a malicious file corrupter malware. Upon execution, stage2.exe downloads the next-stage malware hosted on a Discord channel, with the download link hardcoded in the downloader. The next-stage malware can best be described as a malicious file corrupter. Once executed in memory, the corrupter locates files in certain directories on the system with one of the following hardcoded file extensions:

If a file carries one of the extensions above, the corrupter overwrites the contents of the file with a fixed number of 0xCC bytes (total file size of 1MB). After overwriting the contents, the destructor renames each file with a seemingly random four-byte extension. Analysis of this malware is ongoing.

MSTIC and the Microsoft security teams are working to create and implement detections for this activity. To date, Microsoft has implemented protections to detect this malware family as WhisperGate (e.g., DoS:Win32/WhisperGate.A!dha) via Microsoft Defender Antivirus and Microsoft Defender for Endpoint, wherever these are deployed on-premises and cloud environments. We are continuing the investigation and will share significant updates with affected customers, as well as public and private sector partners, as get more information. The techniques used by the actor and described in the this post can be mitigated by adopting the security considerations provided below:

Every day, the AV-TEST Institute registers over 450,000 new malicious programs (malware) and potentially unwanted applications (PUA). These are examined and classified according to their characteristics and saved. Visualisation programs then transform the results into diagrams that can be updated and produce current malware statistics.

The top graph ("Total Malware") shows the numbers accumulated since 1984. The next graphic ("New Malware") contains the monthly newly discovered malicious programs. Many malware samples are only active for a short period of time and only a few pose a permanent threat.

You shouldn't often see a lot of pop-up windows when using your computer, so if they suddenly start cluttering your browser or desktop, malware is likely to blame. The most common reasons for pop-ups are adware, scareware, and ransomware. 041b061a72


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