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Miscreants behind the Sundown malware have accelerated its evolution

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July 13, 2016

The cybercriminals behind the Sundown malware are rapidly updating the hacking tool in an attempt to exploit a serious gap in the market created by the demise of the Angler and Nuclear exploit kits.

While RIG and Neutrino have been the primary protagonists in the void left by Angler and Nuclear, the Sundown malware is also vying for an increased share in the exploit kit marketplace.

Security researchers at Zscaler ThreatLabZ say the miscreants behind Sundown have accelerated the evolution of what started out as a fairly rudimentary exploit kit since the beginning of this year.

The hackers behind Sundown used stolen code from the rival RIG exploit kit for a short time before subsequently cobbling together their own code, security researchers at cloud security firm Zscaler ThreatLabZ report.

Various elements of the latest version of the cybercrime toolkit include an image referencing the self-styled Yugoslavian Business Network-– likely a reference to the infamous Russian Business Network cybercrime group.

Zscaler ThreatLabZ researchers commented-- “This Russian Business Network inspired group may or may not be responsible for Sundown, but there does appear to be a German language group offering coding services on forums under the YBN moniker, with many commenters voicing their pleasure with the services.”

Since the disappearance of the top 2 exploit kits, Angler and Nuclear, other versions of malware will be fighting for market share,” Zscaler ThreatLabZ concludes.

“Sundown remains technically less sophisticated than others, but Sundown's authors will nevertheless keep making rapid updates to their code,” it added.

Exploit kits in general are used to booby-trap websites in order to deliver malware at visiting surfers through drive-by-download attacks.

The tactic relies on exploiting security holes in typically Windows PCs, browser security vulnerabilities and increasingly, multiple Flash security vulnerabilities.

Source: Zscaler ThreatLabZ.

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