VirusTotal Reveals Most Impersonated Software program in Malware Assaults

Software in Malware Attacks

Menace actors are rising mimicking official functions like Skype, Adobe Reader, and VLC Participant as a method to abuse belief relationships and enhance the probability of a profitable social engineering assault.

Different most impersonated official apps by icon embrace 7-Zip, TeamViewer, CCleaner, Microsoft Edge, Steam, Zoom, and WhatsApp, an evaluation from VirusTotal has revealed.

“One of many easiest social engineering tips we have seen includes making a malware pattern appear a official program,” VirusTotal mentioned in a Tuesday report. “The icon of those applications is a important function used to persuade victims that these applications are official.”

It is no shock that menace actors resort to a wide range of approaches to compromise endpoints by tricking unwitting customers into downloading and operating seemingly innocuous executables.


This, in flip, is primarily achieved by benefiting from real domains in a bid to get round IP-based firewall defenses. Among the high abused domains are discordapp[.]com, squarespace[.]com, amazonaws[.]com, mediafire[.]com, and qq[.]com.

In complete, no fewer than 2.5 million suspicious information downloaded from 101 domains belonging to Alexa’s high 1,000 web sites have been detected.

The misuse of Discord has been well-documented, what with the platform’s content material supply community (CDN) changing into a fertile floor for internet hosting malware alongside Telegram, whereas additionally providing a “excellent communications hub for attackers.”

One other oft-used approach is the apply of signing malware with legitimate certificates stolen from different software program makers. The malware scanning service mentioned it discovered a couple of million malicious samples since January 2021, out of which 87% had a official signature after they have been first uploaded to its database.

VirusTotal mentioned it additionally uncovered 1,816 samples since January 2020 that masqueraded as official software program by packaging the malware in installers for different in style software program akin to Google Chrome, Malwarebytes, Zoom, Courageous, Mozilla Firefox, and Proton VPN.


Such a distribution technique can even end in a provide chain assault when adversaries handle to interrupt right into a official software program’s replace server or acquire unauthorized entry to the supply code, making it potential to sneak the malware within the type of trojanized binaries.

Alternatively, official installers are being packed in compressed information together with malware-laced information, in a single case together with the official Proton VPN installer and malware that installs the Jigsaw ransomware.

That is not all. A 3rd technique, albeit extra subtle, entails incorporating the official installer as a transportable executable useful resource into the malicious pattern in order that the installer can be executed when the malware is run in order to present an phantasm that the software program is working as supposed.

“When excited about these strategies as an entire, one may conclude that there are each opportunistic components for the attackers to abuse (like stolen certificates) within the quick and mid time period, and routinely (probably) automated procedures the place attackers purpose to visually replicate functions in numerous methods,” the researchers mentioned.

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