Shopping for malware: $260 gets you a password stealer. $90 for a crypto-miner...

The Register - Sat May 14 00:47

A Tor-hidden website dubbed the Eternity Project is offering a toolkit of malware, including ransomware, worms, and – coming soon – distributed denial-of-service programs, at low prices.

According to researchers at cyber-intelligence outfit Cyble, the Eternity site's operators also have a channel on Telegram, where they provide videos detailing features and functions of the Windows malware. Once bought, it's up to the buyer how victims' computers are infected; we'll leave that to your imagination.

The Telegram channel has about 500 subscribers, Team Cyble documented this week. Once someone decides to purchase of one or more of Eternity's malware components, they have the option to customize the final binary executable for whatever crimes they want to commit.

"Interestingly, individuals who purchase the malware can utilize the Telegram Bot to build the binary," the researchers wrote. "The [threat actors] provide an option in the Telegram channel to customize the binary features, which provides an effective way to build binaries without any dependencies."

Malware sales and subscriptions are alive and well in the cybercriminal world, with popular malware types – from ransomware to DDoS and phishing programs, as illustrated by the detection of the Frappo phishing-as-a-service tool late last month – being peddled by developers. Some miscreants also are offering paths into compromised networks via stolen credentials or direct access.

With malware-as-a-service, the programmer has various opportunities to make money from their work. They can use their malware themselves to bag ill-gotten gains; bring in cash by leasing or selling the code; and charge for support and related services. At the same time, crooks who don't have the skills or time to develop their own malicious code can simply buy it from someone else.

"It's not talked about that commonly, but it's also not a surprise," Casey Ellis, founder and CTO of cybersecurity firm Bugcrowd, told The Register.

"This is one of many examples of a criminal enterprise taking cues from technology companies and business growth and increasing their customer value through feature flexibility and SaaS-like business models."

Budget prices

The list of malware that can be bought from the Eternity Project is extensive. For a $260 annual subscription, they can buy the Eternity Stealer, which can snaffle passwords, cookies, credit cards and cryptocurrency wallets from a victim's infected PC and send the info to a Telegram Bot. It can attack more than 20 kinds of browser, including Chrome, Edge and Firefox, plus password managers, VPN and FTP clients, gaming software, email clients, and messengers.

The Eternity Stealer exemplifies why individuals need to be aggressive in protecting their systems, according to Ron Bradley, vice president of third-party risk management vendor Shared Assessments.

"Web browsers and other tools not purpose-built for identity and password management are akin to using an umbrella in a hurricane," Bradley told The Register.

"The days of being cyber-complacent are over. Find and use a good password manager. Pay for the premium versions, which cost less than a cup of coffee and a bagel for a one-year subscription."

The Eternity Miner, which sells for $90 for an annual subscription and is used to siphon resources from compromised systems to mine for cryptocurrency, delivers the ability to hide from the computer's Task Manager, and to automatically restart it when it's been killed. Another cryptomining tool, the Eternity Clipper, is available for $110 and is used to monitor the clipboard of an infected system for mentions of cryptocurrency wallets and replace them with the fraudster's crypto-wallet addresses.

The ransomware can be had for $490 and not only can encrypt all data – documents, photos, and databases – but also can do so offline as it doesn't require a network connection. It uses AES and RSA encryption algorithm, and includes the option of a time limit for paying the ransom.

"If victims fail to pay the ransom within the time limit, the encrypted files can't be decrypted," the Cyble researchers wrote. "This is set as a default feature while compiling a ransomware binary."

There also is worm malware for $390 that spreads from system to system via USB and cloud drives, infected files, and network shares, and will send Telegram and Discord spam messages to channels and contacts to fool people into also downloading and running the thing. The DDoS bot is still being built, according to Cyble.

"We suspect the developer behind the Eternity project is leveraging code from the existing GitHub repository and then modifying and selling it under a new name," they wrote. "Our analysis also indicated that the Jester Stealer could also be rebranded from this particular Github project, which indicates some links between the two threat actors."

They also said they have seen a significant uptick in cybercrime on Telegram channels and dark-web forums. That doesn't surprise John Bambenek, principle threat hunter for cybersecurity vendor Netenrich.

"Threat actors have been shifting to Telegram channels," Bambenek told The Register.

"While it's new that you can use a Telegram bot to build or acquire commodity malware, it is just the latest path to market for commodity and low-end malware for the script kiddie crowd. From the prices they are charging, I wouldn't expect to see this often in enterprise attacks, but certainly attacks against consumers and SMBs who lack the tools to protect themselves from even basic threats would be the most frequent victims of these tools." ®