Keeping an Eye on the EYEBOT and a Possible Bot War

There is a new bot in town and it seems that it has set out to rival the notorious ZBOT botnet. Trend Micro threat researchers recently came across a new spyware detected as TSPY_EYEBOT.A. Certain EYEBOT behaviors cause us to believe that this could lead to a new bot war similar to the worm wars we saw years back between NETSKY and MYDOOM.

EYEBOT is still just a "newbie," but should the ZBOT criminal minds choose to respond, there is some potential for a Bot war to ensue. However, at this stage, we cannot be certain what if any response, the ZBOT criminals are likely to make. On the other hand, both EYEBOT and ZBOT use rootkit technology even though the former behaves more like a "backdoor."

The new spyware exhibits routines similar to ZBOT, aka "Zeus" variants, which are considered some of the most dangerous malware in relation to information, financial, and identity theft. The EYEBOT spyware steals account credentials by logging users’ keystrokes. It is also drops a configuration file similar to those ZBOT uses to monitor bank-related websites. EYEBOT likewise utilizes rootkit technology to hide its malicious files and processes from affected users, which helps it avoid detection and consequent removal.

Originating from Russia, this spyware also acts as a server to a graphical user interface (GUI)-based client, which is one of its notable differences from ZBOT variants. While ZBOT variants are usually standalone programs, the EYEBOT has to receive commands from a remote malicious user. In this regard, the EYEBOT acts much like a typical backdoor program, which gives cybercriminals access to affected systems.

What further sets it apart from its more experienced counterpart, however, is its capability to terminate ZBOT-instigated processes. A closer look at its binary file reveals that the spyware was designed to monitor known ZBOT mutexes, _AVIRA_ and __SYSTEM__.

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