A Sydney-based honeypot set up by West Coast Labs has been hit several times this month with a threat that attempts to scan a victim's machine for evidence of Paypal account details.
First publicly reported on February 3, the latest variant of Kolab had been spotted in four other locations on the West Coast Labs honeynet before spreading to Australian addresses this week.
The threat is a member of the Kolab family of network worms, but is often also detected as a trojan, a member of several bot families and as a backdoor.
"This is because it carries out several different functions, such as passing back PayPal financial information and allowing the remote villain to access the machine," explained Lysa Myers, director of research at West Coast Labs.
"Because of its newness, many [IT security] companies are either not detecting it," she said, or otherwise detecting it but failing to identify its potential.
"Kolab is an example of the trend of malicious actors to target things further and further from traditional bank and credit card information to find profit," Myers said. "Others seek online game login info, social networking logins, along with internet-based payment processors."
More information on Kolab is available here.
Malware caught in the Sydney honeynet during January and February – during which time the Sydney honeypots have been upgraded – have also often included files intended to submit a user's machine to the whim of a botnet. These files are often packed (compressed) and encrypted with "Poly Crypt".
Myers said that exploit writers are increasingly creating exploits compressed into smaller sizes using "packers" (self-extracting executable files) in an attempt to draw less attention to themselves.
"Packers are very popular with malware authors as they are a quick and easy way to decrease the size of files while also making them slightly more challenging to analyse. Many malware authors use a customised version of a packer so that it can't be unpacked by the commercial packer's own unpack utility. Others use "malicious" packers which are created to scramble the file so badly that it does not even appear to be a viable executable anymore."
More information on the latest 'polycrypt' packed threats are available from: