CISA: LokiBot Stealer Storms Into a Resurgence

lokibot cisa warning

The trojan has seen a big spike in activity since August, the Feds are warning.

The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is warning that the LokiBot info-stealing trojan is seeing a surge across the enterprise landscape.

The uptick started in July, according to the agency, and activity has remained “persistent” ever since.

LokiBot targets Windows and Android endpoints, and spreads mainly through email (but also via malicious websites, texts and messaging). It typically goes after credentials (usernames, passwords, cryptocurrency wallets and more), as well as personal information. The malware steals the data through the use of a keylogger to monitor browser and desktop activity, CISA explained.

“LokiBot has stolen credentials from multiple applications and data sources, including Windows operating system credentials, email clients, File Transfer Protocol and Secure File Transfer Protocol clients,” according to the alert, issued Tuesday. “LokiBot has [also] demonstrated the ability to steal credentials from…Safari and Chromium and Mozilla Firefox-based web browsers.”

To boot, LokiBot can also act as a backdoor into infected systems to pave the way for additional payloads.

Like its Viking namesake, LokiBot is a bit of a trickster, and disguises itself in diverse attachment types, sometimes using steganography for maximum obfuscation. For instance, the malware has been disguised as a .ZIP attachment hidden inside a .PNG file that can slip past some email security gateways, or hidden as an ISO disk image file attachment.

It also uses a number of application guises. Since LokiBot was first reported in 2015, cyber actors have used it across a range of targeted applications,” CISA noted. For instance, in February, it was seen impersonating a launcher for the popular Fortnite video game.

Other tactics include the use of zipped files along with malicious macros in Microsoft Word and Excel, and leveraging the exploit CVE-2017-11882 (an issue in Office Equation Editor that allows attackers to automatically run malicious code without requiring user interaction). The latter is done via malicious RTF files, researchers have observed.

To boot, researchers have seen the malware being sold as a commodity in underground markets, with versions selling for as little as $300.

With all of these factors taken together, LokiBot represents “an attractive tool for a broad range of cyber actors across a wide variety of data compromise use cases,” according to CISA.

Saryu Nayyar, CEO at Gurucul, noted that the advisory is another indication of how malware authors have turned their malicious activities into a scalable business model.

“The fact that LokiBot has been around for over four years and has gained in capability over time is a reflection of how much malicious actors have advanced the state of their art, leveraging the same development models we use in the commercial space,” she said, via email.

To protect themselves, CISA said that companies should keep patches up to date, disable file- and printer-sharing services if not necessary, enforce multi-factor authentication and strong passwords, enable personal firewalls and scanning of downloads, and implement user education on how to exercise caution when opening email attachments, even if the attachment is expected and the sender appears to be known.


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