News Column

Sophisticated Malware Poses as Your Favorite News Site, Steals Your Data

February 14, 2014



TEHRAN (FNA)- A new extremely sophisticated malware of totally unknown origin has hit the web. It poses as your favorite news site tempts you to click on intriguing links, then subsequently steals all of your sensitive information.

Nowadays, malware tends to focus on one thing: gaining access to something that isn't already under the malware creator's control. Generally, a piece of malware attempts to gain control of someone else's rig or personal information, Extremetech reported. Sadly, the days of 1995€ēs cyberpunk classic Hackers €“ where the whole point of malware was to be a nuisance and could be thwarted by typing the word "cookie" into a prompt €” are over. For better or worse (mostly worse), malware is no longer disguised as Cookie Monster's face munching around a computer monitor, but are now disguised as your favorite sources of news. Kaspersky Labs released an extensive report (PDF) regarding this new kind of malware. Dubbed Careto, the malware begins life as a phishing attempt, posing as an email from popular news websites. Once you click on the link, you're brought to a website that scans your rig for vulnerabilities, then attempts to inject an infection through one of the newly discovered holes. This time around, Mac users can't deploy their infamous line regarding Macs not getting viruses, because there is a tailored Careto version for each major operating system €” OS X, Windows, and Linux. Kaspersky also suspects that there are iOS and Android versions of Careto on the loose. Careto is able to collect a plethora of sensitive information from an infected system, such as keystrokes, WiFi traffic data, and file operations. It can also capture screenshots and Skype conversations, as well as intercept your email. However, Careto tends to target entities of global or national importance, such as embassies, activists, and government institutions. So, you're most likely safe if you don't hold a position that, if compromised, could endanger society in some way. The creator of the malware has yet to be identified €” the only clue being bits of Spanish left over in Careto's code (careto roughly translates to "mask"). Without any other clues, though, it's entirely possible that the creator of Careto could have just put the Spanish fragments into the malware as a red herring. Kaspersky deems the malware as highly sophisticated, likely built by an organization with a breadth of resources. Luckily, the malware is initiated by a simple phishing attempt, so the best way to avoid it is the oldest trick in the computer security book: don't click on links of unknown origin.      


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Source: FARS News Agency


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