Microsoft Word 0-day used to push dangerous Dridex malware on millions

Enlarge / A sample e-mail from Dridex campaign exploiting Microsoft Word zero-day. (credit: Proofpoint)

Booby-trapped documents exploiting a critical zero-day vulnerability in Microsoft Word have been sent to millions of people around the world in a blitz aimed at installing Dridex, currently one of the most dangerous bank fraud threats on the Internet.

As Ars reported on Saturday, the vulnerability is notable because it bypasses exploit mitigations built into Windows, doesn't require targets to enable macros, and works even against Windows 10, which is widely considered Microsoft's most secure operating system ever. The flaw is known to affect most or all Windows versions of Word, but so far no one has ruled out that exploits might also be possible against Mac versions. Researchers from security firms McAfee and FireEye warned that the malicious Word documents are being attached to e-mails but didn't reveal the scope or ultimate objective of the campaign.

In a blog post published Monday night, researchers from Proofpoint filled in some of the missing details, saying the exploit documents were sent to millions of recipients across numerous organizations that were primarily located in Australia. Proofpoint researchers wrote:

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Microsoft Word 0-day used to push dangerous Dridex malware on millions

Enlarge / A sample e-mail from Dridex campaign exploiting Microsoft Word zero-day. (credit: Proofpoint)

Booby-trapped documents exploiting a critical zero-day vulnerability in Microsoft Word have been sent to millions of people around the world in a blitz aimed at installing Dridex, currently one of the most dangerous bank fraud threats on the Internet.

As Ars reported on Saturday, the vulnerability is notable because it bypasses exploit mitigations built into Windows, doesn't require targets to enable macros, and works even against Windows 10, which is widely considered Microsoft's most secure operating system ever. The flaw is known to affect most or all Windows versions of Word, but so far no one has ruled out that exploits might also be possible against Mac versions. Researchers from security firms McAfee and FireEye warned that the malicious Word documents are being attached to e-mails but didn't reveal the scope or ultimate objective of the campaign.

In a blog post published Monday night, researchers from Proofpoint filled in some of the missing details, saying the exploit documents were sent to millions of recipients across numerous organizations that were primarily located in Australia. Proofpoint researchers wrote:

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Google stops AdSense attack that forced banking trojan on Android phones

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Google has shut down an operation that combined malicious AdSense advertisements with a zero-day attack exploiting Chrome for Android to force devices to download banking fraud malware.

Over a two-month span, the campaign downloaded the Banker.AndroidOS.Svpeng banking trojan on about 318,000 devices monitored by Kaspersky Lab, researchers from the Moscow-based anti-malware provider reported in a blog post published Monday. While the malicious installation files weren't automatically executed, they carried names such as last-browser-update.apk and WhatsApp.apk that were designed to trick targets into manually installing them. Kaspersky privately reported the scam to Google, and engineers from the search company put an end to the campaign, although the timing of those two events wasn't immediately clear.

"So far, those behind Svpeng have limited their attacks to smartphone users in Russia," Kaspersky Lab researchers Nikita Buchka and Anton Kivva wrote in Monday's post. "However, next time they push their 'adverts' on AdSense they may well choose to attack users in other countries; we have seen similar cases in the past. After all, what could be more convenient than exploiting the most popular advertising platform to download their malicious creations to hundreds of thousands of mobile devices?"

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As we speak, teen social site is leaking millions of plaintext passwords

A social hangout website for teenage girls has sprung a leak that's exposing plaintext passwords protecting as many as 5.5 million user accounts. As this post went live, all attempts to get the leak plugged had failed.

Operators of i-Dressup didn't respond to messages sent by Ars informing them that a hacker has already downloaded more than 2.2 million of the improperly stored account credentials. The hacker said it took him about three weeks to obtain the cache and that there's nothing stopping him or others from downloading the entire database of slightly more than 5.5 million entries. The hacker said he acquired the e-mail addresses and passwords by using a SQL injection attack that exploited vulnerabilities in the i-Dressup website.

The hacker provided the 2.2 million account credentials both to Ars and breach notification service Have I Been Pwned?. By plugging randomly selected e-mail addresses into the forgotten password section of i-Dressup, both Ars and Have I Been Pwned? principal Troy Hunt found that they all were used to register accounts on the site. Ars then used the contact us page on i-Dressup to privately notify operators of the vulnerability, but more than five days later, no one has responded and the bug remains unfixed.

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