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Notes from AfricaHackOn: Bank IT Security in Kenya.

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Botnets: The Advanced Malware Threat in Kenya’s Cyberspace

Paula Musuva-Kigen
Research Associate Director, Centre for Informatics Research and Innovation (CIRI). Lecturer in Cyber-security and Digital Forensics, USIU, MSc, CCSP, CISA

Christian Kisutsa
Information Security Consultant – Serianu Limited, Computer Forensics & Cyber Crime Graduate (USIU)

Introduction: What is a bot(net)

Bot – type of malicious software

  • Places the infected machine (zombie) under the control of an attacker (bot herder or bot master)
  • Zombie connects to a Command and Control (C&C) server
  • Initially Internet Relay Chat (IRC) used to connect to C&C
  • These days use HTTP to connect to C&C because its NOT blocked on firewalls

Botnet – Network of machines infected with a particular bot

  • Common Command and Control (C&C) server
  • Often infected machines are designed to use automated infection vectors to infect other machines on the network

Introduction: Worldwide Statistics

Top Banking Botnets of 2013 – Released Feb 2014

Dell Secure Works Counter Threat Unit (CTU)

  • Over 900 financial institutions around the globe are being targeted
  • Banks and Corporate Finance providers
  • Also providers of corporate payroll services, stock trading, social networking, email services, mail delivery services, employment portals, entertainment and dating portals

Top Banking Botnets of 2013

top-Banking-Botnets

 

Top Botnets in Kenya – 2013 [exclusive statistics]

Check out Kenya Cyber Security Report 2014 by Serianu

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What do Botnets Do?

  • Theft of Information (keyloggers)
  • Login credetials leading to Identity Theft
  • Financial data especially Credit Card data
  • IP/Trade secrets on espionage basis and Identity theft
  • Financial fraud: E-banking and Mobile banking
  • Consumer Accounts – Online shopping (Jambopay/Jumia/Pesapal)
  • Business Accounts – Online Banking (Corporate/Retail)
  • Spam/Phishing: Infected machines relay spam
  • Click Fraud: Automated clicks of Web advertising links for revenue
  • DDoS: Zombies can be co-ordinated to launch massive attacks
  • Pay per Install: malware distribution. Bot masters get paid for every 1,000 infected machines
  • Botnets for hire: Crime as a Service(CaaS)

 

Tactics for Botnet malware delivery

  • Cracked softwares or Free wares
  • Clicking links to infected sites e.g link on email/social media
  • Drive by downloads: visiting site with malicious scripts, automatic download through browser without user’s interaction/knowledge
  • Malicious PDFs’
  • Malicious images/photos e.g. on social media
  • Creating FUD (Fully Undetectable) files by use of cryptors that evade anti-virus detection
  • Executable flash disks
  • Malicious mobile applications

Botnets on the Network

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Background of Zeus, Citadel and Spyeye

  • Zeus creator called Slavik aka Monstr
  • Released 2007. Zeus code publicly leaked in May 2011 (Many variants thereafter
  • SpyEye creator called Gribodemon, aka Harderman
  • Released 2009. Initially a competitor to Zeus (removed Zeus)
  • Author Aleksander Panin arrested in Jan 2014
  • Citadel and Ice IX considered by-products of Zeus
  • Released in 2011
  • Citadel’s creator called Aquabox
  • Improved ZeuS’s code by making its control panel more user-friendly
  • Very good customer support network for buyers in underground
  • Ice IX creator called nvidiag
  • Gameover – P2P Zeus variant released in 2011. Highest infection. P2P
  • ZitMO – Zeus in The Mobile since 2010. Intercepts SMS and 2F authentication
  • KINS – latest Zeus variant since 2013

 

Timeline of Zeus and its variants

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http://securityblog.s21sec.com/2013/11/zeus-timeline-i.html

ZEUS AND CITADEL

Building the botnet

  • Builder – Bot preparation and compilation
  • Configuration file – Contains settings for the Bot
  • Web injects – Man-in-the-Browser customizations. These show extra fields in the log-in screens
  • Control Panel – Bot Master’s screen where they control all the Bots under their control.
  • Remote Scripts – The Bot Master’s tools to send commands to the infected machines

 

WHERE IS EAST AFRICA?

Online Services

Measures Taken to Secure Online Banking in East Africa

  • Virtual Keyboards
  • Randomized Keys
  • Hover-mode
  • Encryption
  • SSL over HTTP – HTTPS
  • Client Side Encryption
  • 2 page authentication

Measures Taken to Secure Online Payment and Shopping

  • Encryption
  • SSL over HTTP – HTTPS

 

Statistics: Online Banking – Kenya

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Bank using virtual keyboards – 6/33 banks Bank using 2PG – 4/33 banks

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Banks with client side encryption – 2/33 Banks Banks with NO client side encryption : 31/33

Online Banking – East Africa

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Banks using virtual keyboards – 9/46 Banks using 2PG – 6/46 Banks

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Banks with NO client side encryption : 40/46 Banks Banks with client side encryption: 6/46 Banks

Banks Online Payment and Shopping

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Top Online Payment Sites in Kenya with NO Top Online Shopping Sites in Kenya with NO client side encryption 4/4 client side encryption : 6/6

 

Mobile Malware

ZitMo for Mobile banking

  • Version of Zeus that infects Mobile Phones
  • Mobile Banking is the new “thing” in Kenya hence users exposed to this Mobile Trojan and other mobile malware.
  • M-pesa users at risk as Android malware is on the rise.
  • Only a matter of time before a custom malware is made that targets M-pesa.

 

Botnet Evolution

  • Domain Generation Algorithms (DGA)
  • Tor Botnets – Anonymized
  • P2P botnets – Zeus P2P/Gameover etc

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REMEDIATION. WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO?

Prevention

  • Patch systems: bots exploit known vulnerabilities for infection especially browsers and Windows OS
  • Anti-malware tools: antivirus makers have signatures for the well known bot types
  • Use Browser protection
  • Use latest anti-malware updates and signatures
  • User Information Security Education, Training and Awareness Program (SETA)
  • Use reports like those by Serianu and Tespok Cyberusalama to know latest trends and how to avoid common vectors of infection

 

How do I know I’m Infected

  • Process Monitoring: e.g. use of CrowdInspect and Sysinternals TCP View
  • Registry Entries with sdra64.exe

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Strange UDP and TCP ports

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  • CrowdInspect – highly recommended for Microsoft users
  • Multiple sources of information, including VirusTotal, Web of Trust (WOT), and Team Cymru’s Malware Hash Registry

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  • Host-based process inspection for Forensic analysis
  • Tells you which network connections are open to which IP addresses, processes

 

Remediation: Network Side

  • Detecting C&C traffic
  • Examine networktrafficforcertain known patterns
  • Use logging information from IDS/IPS, Firewalls, e.g BotHunter and BotSniffer
  • Honeypots/Honeybots: www.honeynet.org Dionaea, Spam traps, Open Proxies, URL analysis
  • Correlate using SIEM tools

 

Sinkholing

  • Hijacking Botnet traffic, redirecting it to analysis servers
  • Done by CERTs and Security Researchers in collaboration with ISPs and Domain Registrars
  • E.g. by Microsoft (Mar 2012) , Polish CERT, Team Cymru
  • Study the Botnet then take down Domain Names and C&C Servers

 

Remediation: Network Side

  • Zeus Tracker and SpyEye Tracker (abuse.ch)

Provide domain- and IP-blocklist of known ZeuS Command&Control servers (hosts) around the world

Including Kenya

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Authors:

Paula Musuva-Kigen: pmusuva@usiu.ac.ke

Christian Kisutsa: christian.kisutsa@serianu.com

 

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