Trickbot has formed a partnership with another banking Trojan, IcedID, to help distribute each other’s malware more widely — and possibly co-develop new capabilities.

A July 2018 Fortinet investigation into recent attacks using Trickbot showed that it was not only infecting victims’ networks to steal information, but also sending commands via its command and control (C&C) server to download the latest versions of IcedID. IcedID, a banking Trojan that spreads spam via email, was first discovered by IBM X-Force researchers late last year.

Trickbot, meanwhile, has been downloaded by IcedID in other campaigns.

When Two Trojans Are Worse Than One

Cybercriminals were once relatively territorial in how they worked. For instance, one of the first steps a banking Trojan might take upon penetrating an organization’s defenses would be to kill or remove competitive malware. The collaboration between Trickbot and IcedID suggests greater cooperation among groups of hackers who are subjecting victims to several exploits at once.

The researchers also noted that the two bots are now working similarly in some ways. IcedID, for instance, has added file name obfuscations and file content encryption — just like Trickbot. If banking Trojans are serving as a distribution channel for each other, it’s possible they are also giving each other ideas on how to become even more potent as they develop their next variant.

How “Least Privilege” Can Offer Greater Security

Trickbot and IcedID are not alone, and it may be difficult for even the most robust defenses to keep out every banking Trojan. Instead, IBM Security experts suggest expanding the way security teams think about the principle of least privilege.

By making sure employees can only make use of the applications and other resources they need on a daily basis — not just by role but by specific activities — it can make it more difficult for the likes of Trickbot and IcedID to get access to more credentials if they manage to break in.

Segmenting the network into areas where certain data or resources are under more strict control, meanwhile, could mean cybercriminals would have to work even harder to penetrate further and do damage. It might even be easier to spot them when they try to do so.

Source: Fortinet

More from

The White House on Quantum Encryption and IoT Labels

A recent White House Fact Sheet outlined the current and future U.S. cybersecurity priorities. While most of the topics covered were in line with expectations, others drew more attention. The emphasis on critical infrastructure protection is clearly a top national priority. However, the plan is to create a labeling system for IoT devices, identifying the ones with the highest cybersecurity standards. Few expected that news. The topic of quantum-resistant encryption reveals that such concerns may become a reality sooner than…

Contain Breaches and Gain Visibility With Microsegmentation

Organizations must grapple with challenges from various market forces. Digital transformation, cloud adoption, hybrid work environments and geopolitical and economic challenges all have a part to play. These forces have especially manifested in more significant security threats to expanding IT attack surfaces. Breach containment is essential, and zero trust security principles can be applied to curtail attacks across IT environments, minimizing business disruption proactively. Microsegmentation has emerged as a viable solution through its continuous visualization of workload and device communications…

CEO, CIO or CFO: Who Should Your CISO Report To?

As we move deeper into a digitally dependent future, the growing concern of data breaches and other cyber threats has led to the rise of the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). This position is essential in almost every company that relies on digital information. They are responsible for developing and implementing strategies to harden the organization's defenses against cyberattacks. However, while many organizations don't question the value of a CISO, there should be more debate over who this important role…

Malware-as-a-Service Flaunts Its Tally of Users and Victims

As time passes, the security landscape keeps getting stranger and scarier. How long did the “not if, but when” mentality towards cyberattacks last — a few years, maybe? Now, security pros think in terms of how often will their organization be attacked and at what cost. Or they consider how the difference between legitimate Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) brands and Malware-as-a-Service (MaaS) gangs keeps getting blurrier. MaaS operators provide web-based services, slick UX, tiered subscriptions, newsletters and Telegram channels that keep users…