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F R A U D R E P O R T
PANDEMIYA EMERGES AS NEW MALWARE
ALTERNATIVE TO ZEUS-BASED VARIANTS
Pandemiya is a new commercial Trojan malware application that has recently been
promoted in underground forums as a new alternative to more widely used Zeus Trojan
and its variants. The fraudsters behind Pandemiya are currently advertising it for sale at
a price of $1500 USD for the core application, or $2000 USD for the core application
including plugins for additional functionality.
Pandemiya is designed to enable a botmaster to spy on an infected computer – secretly
stealing form data, login credentials and files from the victim, as well as taking snapshots
of the victim’s computer screen. This malware also allows the injection of fake pages into
an internet browser in an effort to gather additional sensitive information from the
Like many of the other Trojans we’ve seen of late, Pandemiya includes protective
measures to encrypt the communication with the control panel, and prevent detection
by automated network analyzers. An interesting aspect of the application is its modular
design, which makes it quite easy to expand and add functionality.
Pandemiya’s coding quality is quite interesting, and contrary to recent trends in malware
development, it is not based on Zeus source code at all, unlike Citadel/Ice IX, Carberp,
etc. Through our research, we found out that the author of Pandemiya spent close to a
year of coding the application, and that it consists of more than 25,000 lines of original
code. It is also modular, allowing new features to be added by simply writing/creating
new DLLs. This allows operators of the malware and other developers to create plugins
that expand the application’s range of capabilities.
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–– Injects for the 3 leading internet browsers
–– Grabbers for the 3 leading internet browsers
–– File Grabber
–– Loader (unique tasks & statistics)
–– Signing of the botnet files to protect them from being hijacked by other fraudsters, and
from being analyzed by security analysts or law enforcement.
–– Encrypted communication with the panel (dynamic content + URI - never the same
request / data – a kind of bulletproofing against network analyzers)
Additional Features (via plugins):
–– Reverse Proxy
–– FTP Stealer (with combination of an internal iFramer)
–– PE infector (for startup)
Experimental Plugins (soon to be released/ integrated):
–– Reverse hidden RDP
–– Facebook spreader
INFECTION AND INSTALLATION
As is typical with commercial Trojans, the infection and installation method is left up
to the operator. Quite commonly, the infection uses an exploit pack that generates a
drive-by exploit page that infects a PC the minute it lands on the web page.
The Pandemiya installer is a single *.EXE file that executes the following actions on the
1. Moves itself to the All Users/Application Data user folder under a random name.
2. Adds a link to run the installer upon system start, using a new value in the registry key:
3. Places a DLL with a random name into: C:WindowsSystem32
This DLL contains the full Trojan application.
4. Adds a registry value linking to the DLL inside the registry key:
That last step uses a not-so-well documented Windows security function – Windows will
make every process run through the CreateProcess API, and load all of the DLLs under
this registry key. Pandemiya makes use of this to inject itself into every new process that
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The screenshot below is an example of how the Trojan writes the DLL to a file, loads it,
and immediately calls the exported function named PluginRegisterCallbacks.
As a resilience measure, the Trojan DLL makes sure that Explorer.exe is injected with its
code and re-injects itself when needed. This check is done every time the DLL is loaded,
in other words – whenever a new process is initiated.
System32 directory containing the new DLL created by Pandemiya
Note that the modification/creation date of this DLL is different from the date of all other
DLLs in the System32 directory.
Removal of the Pandemiya application is fairly simple:
1. Locate the registry key
and identify the *.EXE filename in your user’s ‘Application Data’ folder.
Note the name, and delete the registry value.
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2. Locate the registry key
Find the value with the same name as the *.EXE file in the previous step.
Note the file name, and remove the value from the registry.
3. Reboot the system. At this stage Pandemiya is installed but no longer running.
4. Delete both files noted earlier. This will remove the last traces of the Trojan.
The system is now clean.
The advent of a freshly coded new Trojan malware application is not too common in the
underground. The design choice to make this malware modular and easy to expand upon
with DLL plugins could make it more pervasive in the near future. However, the relatively
high entry price or the anonymity of this application have so far prevented it from wide
distribution. Only time will tell if its popularity rises. We’ll be keeping an eye on its
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Phishing Attacks per Month
RSA identified 38,992 phishing attacks in
May, marking a 26% decrease from April’s
attack numbers. Based on this figure,
RSA estimates phishing cost global
organizations $332 million in losses in May.
US Bank Types Attacked
U.S. regional banks have continued to see
an increase in phishing over the past three
months, targeted by about one out of every
three phishing attacks.
Top Countries by Attack Volume
The U.S. remained the most targeted
country in May with 73% of global
phishing volume, followed by the UK,
the Netherlands, and South Africa.
Source: RSA Anti-Fraud Command Center