December 2021’s Most Wanted Malware: Trickbot, Emotet and the Log4j plague

Check Point Research reveals that Emotet has risen from seventh to second place in the most prevalent malwares index while Trickbot remains on top. Apache Log4j is the most exploited vulnerability.

Our latest Global Threat Index for December 2021 reveals Trickbot is still the most prevalent malware, albeit at a slightly lower rate affecting 4% of organizations worldwide (5% in November). The recently resurgent Emotet has swiftly risen from seventh position to second. CPR also reveals that the most attacked industry continues to be Education/Research.

This month “Apache Log4j Remote Code Execution” is the most exploited vulnerability, affecting 48.3% of organizations globally. The vulnerability was first reported on December 9th in the Apache logging package Log4j – the most popular Java logging library used in many Internet services and apps with over 400,000 downloads from its GitHub project. The vulnerability caused a new plague, impacting almost half of all companies worldwide in a very short space of time. Attackers are able to exploit vulnerable apps to execute cryptojackers and other malware on compromised servers. Until now, most of the attacks have focused on the use of cryptocurrency mining at the expense of the victims however, advanced attackers have started to act aggressively and take advantage of the breach on high-quality targets.

Log4j dominated headlines in December. It is one of the most serious vulnerabilities we have ever witnessed, and due to the complexity in patching it and its easiness to exploit, it is likely to stay with us for many years to come unless companies take immediate action to prevent attacks. This month we have also seen the Emotet botnet move from the seventh most prevalent malware to the second. Just as we suspected, it has not taken long at all for Emotet to build a strong foothold since it resurfaced in November. It is evasive and is spreading fast via phishing emails with malicious attachments or links. It is now more important than ever to have a robust email security solution in place and to ensure that users know how to identify a suspicious looking message or attachment.

CPR revealed this month that Education/Research is the most attacked industry globally, followed by Government/Military and ISP/MSP. “Apache Log4j Remote Code Execution” is the most commonly exploited vulnerability, impacting 48.3% of organizations globally, followed by “Web Server Exposed Git Repository Information Disclosure” which affects 43.8% of organizations worldwide. “HTTP Headers Remote Code Execution” remains in third place in the top exploited vulnerabilities list, with a global impact of 41.5%.

Top malware families

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

This month, Trickbot is the most popular malware impacting 4% of organizations worldwide, followed by Emotet and Formbook, both with a global impact of 3%.

  1. ↔ Trickbot Trickbot is a modular Botnet and Banking Trojan constantly being updated with new capabilities, features and distribution vectors. This enables Trickbot to be a flexible and customizable malware that can be distributed as part of multi-purpose campaigns.
  2. ↑ Emotet – Emotet is an advanced, self-propagating and modular Trojan. Emotet once used as a banking Trojan but recently is used as a distributer to other malware or malicious campaigns. It uses multiple methods for maintaining persistence and evasion techniques to avoid detection. In addition, it can spread through phishing spam emails containing malicious attachments or links.
  3. ↑ Formbook – Formbook is an InfoStealer that harvests credentials from various web browsers, collects screenshots, monitors and logs keystrokes, and can download and execute files according to its C&C orders.
  4. Agent Tesla – Agent Tesla is an advanced RAT functioning as a keylogger and information stealer, which is capable of monitoring and collecting the victim’s keyboard input, system keyboard, taking screenshots, and exfiltrating credentials to a variety of software installed on a victim’s machine (including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and the Microsoft Outlook email client).
  5. Glupteba – Glupteba is a backdoor which gradually matured into a botnet. By 2019 it included a C&C address update mechanism through public BitCoin lists, an integral browser stealer capability and a router exploiter.
  6. 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.
  7. XMRig – XMRig is an open-source CPU mining software used for the mining process of the Monero cryptocurrency, and first seen in-the-wild in May 2017.
  8. ↔ Ramnit  -Ramnit is a banking Trojan that steals banking credentials, FTP passwords, session cookies and personal data.
  9. ↑ Dridex – Dridex is a Banking Trojan that targets the Windows platform, observed delivered by spam campaigns and Exploit Kits, which relies on WebInjects to intercept and redirect banking credentials to an attacker-controlled server. Dridex contacts a remote server, sends information about the infected system and can also download and execute additional modules for remote control.
  10. ↑ Phorpiex – Phorpiex is a botnet (aka Trik) has been since 2010 and at its peak controlled more than a million infected hosts. Known for distributing other malware families via spam campaigns as well as fueling large-scale spam and sextortion campaigns.

Top Attacked Industries Globally:

This month, Education/Research is the most attacked industry globally, followed by Government/Military and ISP/MSP.

  1. Education/Research
  2. Government/Military
  3. ISP/MSP

Top exploited vulnerabilities

This month, “Apache Log4j Remote Code Execution” is the most commonly exploited vulnerability, impacting 48.3% of organizations globally, followed by “Web Server Exposed Git Repository Information Disclosure” which affects 43.8% of organizations worldwide. “HTTP Headers Remote Code Execution” remains in third place in the top exploited vulnerabilities list, with a global impact of 41.5%.

  1. ↑ 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.
  2. Web Server Exposed Git Repository Information Disclosure- An information disclosure vulnerability has been reported in Git Repository. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability could allow an unintentional disclosure of account information.
  3. 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.
  4. Web Servers Malicious URL Directory Traversal (CVE-2010-4598,CVE-2011-2474,CVE-2014-0130,CVE-2014-0780,CVE-2015-0666,CVE-2015-4068,CVE-2015-7254,CVE-2016-4523,CVE-2016-8530,CVE-2017-11512,CVE-2018-3948,CVE-2018-3949,CVE-2019-18952,CVE-2020-5410,CVE-2020-8260) – 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 URL for the directory traversal patterns. Successful exploitation allows unauthenticated remote attackers to disclose or access arbitrary files on the vulnerable server.
  5. MVPower DVR Remote Code Execution – A remote code execution vulnerability exists in MVPower DVR devices. A remote attacker can exploit this weakness to execute arbitrary code in the affected router via a crafted request.
  6. Dasan GPON Router Authentication Bypass (CVE-2018-10561) – An authentication bypass vulnerability exists in Dasan GPON routers. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability would allow remote attackers to obtain sensitive information and gain unauthorized access into the affected system.
  7. ↑ D-LINK Multiple Products Remote Code Execution (CVE-2015-2051) – A remote code execution vulnerability has been reported in multiple D-Link products. Successful exploitation could lead to arbitrary code execution on the vulnerable device.
  8. Apache HTTP Server Directory Traversal (CVE-2021-41773,CVE-2021-42013) – A directory traversal vulnerability exists in Apache HTTP Server. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability could allow an attacker to access arbitrary files on the affected system.
  9. Command Injection Over HTTP  (CVE-2013-6719,CVE-2013-6720) – A command Injection over HTTP vulnerability has been reported. A remote attacker can exploit this issue by sending a specially crafted request to the victim. Successful exploitation would allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code on the target machine.
  10. ↑ PHP Easter Egg Information Disclosure – An information disclosure vulnerability has been reported in the PHP pages. The vulnerability is due to incorrect web server configuration. A remote attacker can exploit this vulnerability by sending a specially crafted URL to an affected PHP page.

Top Mobile Malwares

This month, AlienBot takes first place in the most prevalent Mobile malwares, followed by xHelper and FluBot.

  1. AlienBot – AlienBot malware family is a Malware-as-a-Service (MaaS) for Android devices that allows a remote attacker, as a first step, to inject malicious code into legitimate financial applications. The attacker obtains access to victims’ accounts, and eventually completely controls their device.
  2. xHelper – A malicious application seen in the wild since March 2019, used for downloading other malicious apps and display advertisements. The application is capable of hiding itself from the user and can even reinstall itself in the event that it was uninstalled.
  3. FluBot – FluBot is an Android botnet distributed via phishing SMS messages, most often impersonating logistics delivery brands. Once the user clicks the link inside the message, FluBot is installed and gets access to all sensitive information on the phone.