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July 2023’s Most Wanted Malware: Remote Access Trojan (RAT) Remcos Climbs to Third Place while Mobile Malware Anubis Returns to Top Spot

August 2023 by Check Point®

Check Point® Software Technologies Ltd. has published its Global Threat Index for July 2023. Researchers found that Remcos moved to third place after threat actors created fake websites last month to spread malicious downloaders carrying the RAT. Meanwhile, mobile banking Trojan Anubis knocked relative newcomer SpinOk from top spot on the mobile malware list, and Education/Research was the most impacted industry.

Remcos is a RAT first seen in the wild in 2016 and is regularly distributed through malicious Microsoft documents or downloaders. It has been most recently observed in a campaign involving the Fruity malware downloader. The objective was to lure the victims to download the Fruity downloader, which ends up installing different RATs such as Remcos, which is known for its ability to gain remote access to the victim system, steal sensitive information and credentials and conduct malicious activity on the user computer.

"This time of year is perfect for cybercriminals. While many take advantage of the holiday season, organizations are left dealing with lower or altered staffing levels, which could impact their ability to monitor threats and minimize risk." said Maya Horowitz, VP Research at Check Point Software. "Introducing automated and consolidated security processes can help businesses maintain good practices during busy vacation periods, in addition to good user education."

CPR also revealed that "Web Servers Malicious URL Directory Traversal" was the most exploited vulnerability, impacting 49% of organizations globally, followed by "Apache Log4j Remote Code Execution" with 45% and "HTTP Headers Remote Code Execution" with a global impact of 42%.

Top malware families

*The arrows relate to the change in rank compared to the previous month.

Qbot was the most prevalent malware this month with an impact of 5% on worldwide organizations, followed by Formbook with a global impact of 4% and Remcos with a global impact of 2%.

↔ Qbot – Qbot AKA Qakbot is a multipurpose malware that first appeared in 2008. It was designed to steal a user’s credentials, record keystrokes, steal cookies from browsers, spy on banking activities, and deploy additional malware. Often distributed via spam email, Qbot employs several anti-VM, anti-debugging, and anti-sandbox techniques to hinder analysis and evade detection. Commencing in 2022, it emerged as one of the most prevalent Trojans.
↔ Formbook – Formbook is an Infostealer targeting the Windows OS and was first detected in 2016. It is marketed as Malware as a Service (MaaS) in underground hacking forums for its strong evasion techniques and relatively low price. FormBook harvests credentials from various web browsers, collects screenshots, monitors and logs keystrokes, and can download and execute files according to orders from its C&C.
↑ Remcos – Remcos is a RAT that first appeared in the wild in 2016. Remcos distributes itself through malicious Microsoft Office documents, which are attached to SPAM emails, and is designed to bypass Microsoft Windows UAC security and execute malware with high-level privileges.

Top Attacked Industries Globally

Last month, Education/Research remained in first place as the most exploited industry globally, followed by Government/Military and Healthcare.


Top exploited vulnerabilities

Last month, "Web Servers Malicious URL Directory Traversal" was the most exploited vulnerability, impacting 49% of organizations globally, followed by "Apache Log4j Remote Code Execution" with 45% and "HTTP Headers Remote Code Execution" with a global impact of 42%.

↔ Web Servers Malicious URL Directory Traversal - There exists a directory traversal vulnerability on different web servers. The vulnerability is due to an input validation error in a web server that does not properly sanitize the URI for the directory traversal patterns. Successful exploitation allows unauthenticated remote attackers to disclose or access arbitrary files on the vulnerable server.
↔ Apache Log4j Remote Code Execution (CVE-2021-44228) - A remote code execution vulnerability exists in Apache Log4j. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability could allow a remote attacker to execute arbitrary code on the affected system.
↔ HTTP Headers Remote Code Execution (CVE-2020-10826, CVE-2020-10827, CVE-2020-10828, CVE-2020-13756) - HTTP headers let the client and the server pass additional information with an HTTP request. A remote attacker may use a vulnerable HTTP Header to run arbitrary code on the victim machine.

Top Mobile Malwares

Last month Anubis took first place in the most prevalent Mobile malware, followed by SpinOk and AhMyth.

Anubis – Anubis is a banking Trojan malware designed for Android mobile phones. Since it was initially detected, it has gained additional functions including Remote Access Trojan (RAT) functionality, keylogger, audio recording capabilities and various ransomware features. It has been detected on hundreds of different applications available in the Google Store.
SpinOk - SpinOk is an Android software module that operates as spyware. It collects information about files stored on devices and is capable of transferring them to malicious threat actors. The malicious module was found present in more than 100 Android apps and downloaded more than 421,000,000 times until May 2023.
AhMyth - AhMyth is a Remote Access Trojan (RAT) discovered in 2017. It is distributed through Android apps that can be found on app stores and various websites. When a user installs one of these infected apps, the malware can collect sensitive information from the device and perform actions such as keylogging, taking screenshots, sending SMS messages, and activating the camera, which usually used to steal sensitive information.

Check Point’s Global Threat Impact Index and its ThreatCloud Map are powered by Check Point’s ThreatCloud intelligence. ThreatCloud provides real-time threat intelligence derived from hundreds of millions of sensors worldwide, over networks, endpoints and mobiles. The intelligence is enriched with AI-based engines and exclusive research data from Check Point Research, the intelligence and research Arm of Check Point Software Technologies.

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