Saturday, June 15, 2024

Pop-up Ads & Hundreds of Websites Helping to Distribute Botnets, Cryptocurrency Miners and Ransomware

A Malicious Software Downloader called ICLoader through Popup Ads and over hundreds of websites are pushing various PUA such as Botnets, cryptocurrency Miners and also a emerging GandCrab ransomware.

Malware Files are sharing via Popup Ads and distributing over Hundreds file sharing websites and fake software sharing sites and advertisement maker websites which all are still alive.

Malicious ICLoader Targeting a specific set of software users and it pop-up malicious ads with those software names in a compromised website that contain a high visitors traffic.

There are 3 main sources attackers used to Distribute the ICLoader

  1. Pop-up ads on free file sharing service websites that are used for distributing the malicious software where users can upload the malicious files and generating a download link.
  2. The second method of distributing fake software sharing websites. In this case, attackers create 117 websites and each sites sharing hundreds of malicious software.The sites list detailed descriptions of software and have ‘free download’ buttons to the cracked versions at the bottom of the page and it redirects to downloader software, mainly ICLoader.
  3. Two Torrent sharing websites that mimic real torrent download websites that distributing ICLoader from the link that leads to download ICLoader.

How ICLoader installation works via Popup Ads

Once the victims click the link, it redirects to traffic management server where a user will reach the ICLoader page and link will drop the ICL Downloader.

Also, ICLoader has a different hash value every time it is downloaded from the server and  ICLoader server distribute a zip archive which contains the ICLoader software.

According to TrendMicro, The ICLoader file has the name of the software that the victims originally intended to download, which is part of the ruse to convince victims that the download is legitimate. Once victims execute the ICLoader file, they will see the typical software installation instructions and steps. All of the PUA software we tracked were also signed with a valid COMODO certificate, which adds to the appearance of validity.

Later ICLoader downloads and installs the legitimate software and later it communicates with C&C Server to receive an aditional malicious files.

This ICLoader previously installed either installed or additionally loaded seven different groups of botnets, four different cryptocurrency miners, and the GandCrab ransomware

Cryptocurrency miner download link contains a shortened URL  shortened URLs show that the miner botnet has around 80 thousand victims that constantly load their miner and mine for them every day.


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BALAJI is an Ex-Security Researcher (Threat Research Labs) at Comodo Cybersecurity. Editor-in-Chief & Co-Founder - Cyber Security News & GBHackers On Security.

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