Kronos banking trojan

A new version of the Kronos banking trojan is making the rounds, according to Proofpoint security researchers, who say they've identified at last three campaigns spreading a revamped version of this old trojan that had its heyday back in 2014.

According to a report published yesterday evening, first samples of this new Kronos variant have been spotted in April, this year.

While initial samples appeared to be tets, real-life campaigns got off the ground in late June, when researchers started detecting malspam and exploit kits delivering this new version to users in the wild.

Campaigns targeted Germany, Japan, Poland

Proofpoint reports spotting three campaigns and one test run, targeting users of German, Japanese, and Polish banks.

Period Campaign type Target C&C
June 27-30, 2018 Malspam, macro-laced Word docs Users of 5 German financial institutions http://jhrppbnh4d674kzh[.]onion/kpanel/connect.php
July 13, 2018 RIG EK Users of 13 Japanese financial institutions http://jmjp2l7yqgaj5xvv[.]onion/kpanel/connect.php
July 15-16, 2018 Malspam, CVE-2017-11882 Users in Poland http://suzfjfguuis326qw[.]onion/kpanel/connect.php
July 20, 2018 Software download site Test run hxxp://mysmo35wlwhrkeez[.]onion/kpanel/connect.php

The malware used in this campaigns is not the original Kronos, but one that received several updates compared to its 2014 edition [1, 2, 3, 4].

Proofpoint reports an extensive code overlap between the 2018 and 2014 versions. Similarities include that the 2018 version uses the same Windows API hashing technique and hashes, the same string encryption technique, the same C&C encryption mechanism, the same C&C protocol and encryption, the same webinject format (Zeus format), and a similar C&C panel file layout.

But the two versions are not identical. The main difference is that the 2018 edition uses Tor-hosted C&C control panels.

Kronos 2018 edition could be new Osiris trojan

Researchers say that at the same time this new Kronos variant started appearing on their radar, a malware author started advertising a new banking trojan on hacking forums that he referred to as Osiris.

Proofpoint researchers did not manage to get their hands on a sample of this new Osiris malware, but they say the ad perfectly described the Kronos 2018 edition.

The biggest clue is that the author of this new trojan claims his trojan is only 350 KB in size, which is close to the (351 KB) size of an early Kronos 2018 edition sample researchers found in April. Coincidentally or not, that sample was named os.exe, presumably from Osiris, albeit not confirmed.

Osiris ad
Osiris ad [Source: Proofpoint]

Kronos' reappearance comes as other banking trojans are also seeing a surge in activity after distribution efforts quieted down in 2017 and early 2018.

Security researchers Marcus Hutchins (aka MalwareTech) is facing legal charges in the US on allegations of having developed the 2014 edition of the Kronos banking trojan.

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