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Virus Bulletin news

Vawtrak trojan spread through malicious Office macros

Users easily tricked, but plenty of opportunity for the malware to be blocked.

Researchers at Trend Micro report that the 'Vawtrak' banking trojan now also spreads through Office macros, embedded in documents that are attached to spam emails.

Vawtrak rose to prominence late last year, when it broadened its scope from targeting Japanese banking users (only) to targeting users from banks in many other countries, leading to suggestions that it posed a challenge to Zeus for the title of 'king of botnets'. Last month, we published a thorough analysis of the malware by Fortinet researcher Raul Alvarez.

Last year, cybercriminals rediscovered the use of Office macros to spread malware. Prevalent in the late 1990s, macro viruses disappeared quickly when newer versions of Microsoft Office had macros disabled by default. However, malware authors have recently started to use social engineering to trick users into enabling macros, thus allowing the malicious code to be executed.

Sophos researcher Gabor Szappanos was one of the first to notice the resurgence of macro malware; he wrote an article for Virus Bulletin on the subject in July last year. Since then, the use of macros by malware has continued to increase.

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VB2015 offer for new security companies

Write an article for the Bulletin, get a half-price ticket for the conference.

Things are going well for the security industry. That may, of course, be because of the poor state of the security of the Internet, but it does mean that new security firms are continuing to appear all over the world.

The products and services these firms sell, and the research they share with the community, help make the world a safer place.

At Virus Bulletin, we aim to encourage the sharing of knowledge. Indeed, in the spirit of learning and the sharing of knowledge, we always hope that new security companies will send their researchers to security conferences, such as our own VB2015 (have you seen the fantastic programme?).

In a bid to encourage new companies both to send their researchers to the VB conference and to share their research with the rest of the community, we are making a limited offer: researchers from 'new' security companies (which we define as those that have never sent a representative to a VB conference) can get a half-price ticket to VB2015 if they also write an article (which we deem worthy of publication) for the Bulletin.

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Throwback Thursday: Through the Administrator's Eye

This Throwback Thursday, VB heads back to 1997 with 'Through the Administrator's Eye'.

Over the last couple of years, the 'Throwback Thursday' trend has taken the Internet by storm, with social media users indulging in a weekly wallow in nostalgia. The VB team decided it was high time we got in on the act, using the opportunity to take a regular delve into our archives.

This week, we turn back the clock to June 1997 when VB advisory board member Phil Crewe brought us 'Through the Administrator's Eye' -- a detailed guide for administrators on how to approach virus protection and recovery, in which he notes that "A policy of virus detection and protection which is known and understood within a company will not only help you to trap a virus earlier, and therefore not send out an infected floppy disk to a client, but it will also enable you to have some authority to say to the client 'it cannot be us' when they report a virus to you."

Read the article here in HTML-format, or download it here as a PDF (no registration or subscription required).

Registration for VB2015 has opened

Early bird discounts available for registrations made before 30 June.

Today, we have opened registration for VB2015, the 25th Virus Bulletin International Conference.

'VB' is one of the oldest security conferences in the world, and one of the very few that travels around the globe. After a very successful event in Seattle in 2014, we will be back in Europe this year as the capital of the Czech Republic, Prague, plays host to the 25th Virus Bulletin Conference.

We will be making some exciting announcements about additions to the conference in the upcoming weeks -- watch this space! -- but the programme already looks exciting. From various sessions on the Internet of Things to a day filled with talks on APTs, and from a talk on the ethics of 'hacking back' to tools that help the analysis of malware: VB2015 is very much about security that matters.

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Ross Anderson awarded BCS Lovelace Medal

Cambridge professor to deliver VB2015 keynote.

Yesterday, the British Computer Society (BCS) announced that the 2015 Lovelace Medal has been awarded to Prof. Ross Anderson.

Named after and in honour of Ada Lovelace (1815-1852), who is often credited as being the first computer programmer, the Lovelace Medal is awarded to "individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the understanding or advancement of computing". Previous winners include Linux creator Linus Torvalds and World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee.

Ross Anderson is Professor of Security Engineering at Cambridge University. He is expert in many fields, from quantum computing, to hardware, to security economics. His book Security Engineering is a must-read for anyone interested in security.

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