Kaspersky: New Botnet Discovered; Potential Threat to Chilean Banks

By | March 05, 2013

Posted in: Network Security Trends

If you have money in any Latin American banks, it might be a good idea to begin storing some of that cash under the mattress.

According to a recent blog post from a Kaspersky Labs expert in Argentina, a new weapon in the emerging Latin American cybercrime space is now targeting two large Chilean banks. AlbaBotnet is designed to unleash phishing attacks with an aim on stealing online account information.

Curiously, the botnet has yet to inflict any financial harm, according to the post. According to data analyzed by researchers, AlbaBotnet – which the author of the threat began testing in early 2012 -- remains in a trial stage.

The botnet works like many others that have been recently discovered in Latin America: It allows the attacker to customize and automatically deliver emails, thus utilizing a social engineering component to target unsuspecting users.

"The botnet appears to have a similar structure to its Latin American counterparts," said researcher Jorge Mieres in the post. "As well as the default automated malware builder, it includes a package which automatically sends emails."

Mieres is referring to three other botnets discovered earlier this year:  vOlk (Mexico), S.A.P.Z. (Peru) and PiceBOT (which Kaspersky noted was discovered in use in Chile, Peru, Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico, Colombia, Uruguay, Venezuela, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Argentina). These, including the newly discovered AlbaBot, all operate in a similar fashion, leading researchers to believe they all share some similar code.

The maker of this botnet is likely after a reasonable, yet consistent haul, since the cost on the black market for these programs is relatively cheap (less than $200) AND the success rate of these botnets, according to Mieres in an earlier post, has been unusually high.

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