Dimitri Bestuzhev, a security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, found traces of a malware that significantly ups the ante in how attacks can be distributed.

In the past, malware coders had to first decide what flavor of OS they will target in their criminal efforts. But the new Java malware is based on a Java archive (JAR), which can be run on OS X, Linux and Windows. Worse, it may even be able to run on mobile devices under special circumstances.

Softpedia summed it up this way: “By packing malware as a JAR file, crooks are practically making sure their content will be executed on all targets regardless of operating system, something that’s not possible today.”

The Attack Method

Bestuzhev claimed the malware originated in Brazil. The Banloader, as it is called, is usually introduced by a phishing method the researcher said Brazilians are experts at. Victims have been found in Brazil, Spain, Portugal, the U.S., Argentina and Mexico.

The Banloader is activated by the victim clicking on a poisoned link. The specifics of what happens next will depend on which criminal gang is using it, but the phish may either cause the downloading of the JAR file or the file may be embedded, which removes the need to download it. The JAR files can be encrypted to hide their true nature.

The dropper can also use proxy auto-config (PAC) files that contain JavaScript functions. PACs can redirect users to specific URLs, including fake or modified bank sites. These loaders are truly cross-platform and can be executed on any machine that has a Java Runtime Environment installed.

The Current State of Java Malware

While the initial components of the overall Trojan are written in JAR, the actual Java malware remains Windows-centric for the moment.

“The final components [dropped malware] are still designed to run in Windows, or they use a Windows system in the case of PAC abusing,” Bestuzhev said. “However, it’s clear the first step to cross-platforming has just been made. So it’s a matter of time till we will find Brazilian bankers running on all platforms.”

Bestuzhev also noted “the general detection rate for ALL AV vendors is extremely low.”

The game has changed: The first step for a cross-platform Trojan has been written and deployed. This dropped malware payload needs only to be rewritten to take advantage of each major system.

The problem is not going to go away. Security defenders will have to adjust defenses for the new threat.

More from

Data Privacy: How the Growing Field of Regulations Impacts Businesses

The proposed rules over artificial intelligence (AI) in the European Union (EU) are a harbinger of things to come. Data privacy laws are becoming more complex and growing in number and relevance. So, businesses that seek to become — and stay — compliant must find a solution that can do more than just respond to current challenges. Take a look at upcoming trends when it comes to data privacy regulations and how to follow them. Today's AI Solutions On April…

Why Zero Trust Works When Everything Else Doesn’t

The zero trust security model is proving to be one of the most effective cybersecurity approaches ever conceived. Zero trust — also called zero trust architecture (ZTA), zero trust network architecture (ZTNA) and perimeter-less security — takes a "default deny" security posture. All people and devices must prove explicit permission to use each network resource each time they use that resource. Using microsegmentation and least privileged access principles, zero trust not only prevents breaches but also stymies lateral movement should a breach…

5 Golden Rules of Threat Hunting

When a breach is uncovered, the operational cadence includes threat detection, quarantine and termination. While all stages can occur within the first hour of discovery, in some cases, that's already too late.Security operations center (SOC) teams monitor and hunt new threats continuously. To ward off the most advanced threats, security teams proactively hunt for ones that evade the dashboards of their security solutions.However, advanced threat actors have learned to blend in with their target's environment, remaining unnoticed for prolonged periods. Based…

Third-Party App Stores Could Be a Red Flag for iOS Security

Even Apple can’t escape change forever. The famously restrictive company will allow third-party app stores for iOS devices, along with allowing users to “sideload” software directly. Spurring the move is the European Union’s (EU) Digital Markets Act (DMA), which looks to ensure open markets by reducing the ability of digital “gatekeepers” to restrict content on devices. While this is good news for app creators and end-users, there is a potential red flag: security. Here’s what the compliance-driven change means for…