Security Archives - Cracked Software Links

Security Archives - Cracked Software Links

Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is used to make connections to websites but is not secure by itself; that would require HTTPS. Loaris Trojan Remover 3.1.92 Crack analyzes the malware and threats on your computer, including installations or another left behind security software. When users download these files they think they are getting the latest game, application, or cheat for free, but when they install it they will. Security Archives - Cracked Software Links

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GraphPad_Prism_9.0.0.121x64 Cracked [Download Link]

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Pirated Software is All Fun and Games Until Your Data’s Stolen

Crack

It may be tempting to try to download the latest games or applications for free, but doing so will ultimately land you in a hotbed of trouble as your computer becomes infected with adware, ransomware, and password-stealing Trojans.

Tools that allow you to crack, or bypass license restrictions, in copyrighted software have been around forever and users have always known that they face the risk of being infected with unwanted software by using them.

In the past, though, most of the unwanted programs that were installed were adware or browser extensions, and though definitely a nuisance, for the most part, they were not stealing your files or installing ransomware on your computer.

This has changed as software installer monetization companies have started to increasingly team up with ransomware and password-stealing Trojan developers to distribute their malware.

Passwords stolen through software cracks

BleepingComputer has been tracking adware bundles for a long time and in the past, they would install unwanted programs, but had no long-term ramifications to your data, privacy, or financial information.

Security researcher Benkøw has recently noticed that monetized installers pretending to be software cracks and key generators are now commonly installing password-stealing Trojans or remote access Trojans (RATs) when they are executed.

Tweet

In his tests over the past week by downloading various programs promoted as game cheats, software key generators, and licensed software, when installing them he was infected with password-stealing Trojans and backdoors such as Dreambot, Glupteba, and Racoon Stealer.

In BleepingComputer's tests, we were infected with ShadowTechRAT, which would allow an attacker to gain full access to an infected computer.

It is not only RATs and password-stealing Trojans that users could be infected with.

One of the most prolific ransomware infections called STOP is known to be installed through these same adware bundles.

Distributed via torrent sites, YouTube, and fake crack sites

To distribute these adware bundles, attackers will upload them to torrent sites, create fake YouTube videos with links to alleged license key generators, or create sites designed to just promote adware bundles disguised as software cracks.

On torrent sites, you will commonly find that the same user has uploaded many different games, applications, and key generators that all have the same size.  For example, in the image below you can see a user named 'toneg374' had uploaded many torrents around the same time that all have the size of 25.33 MB.

Torrent site pushing copyrighted games

YouTube also has its fair share of scammers who create videos promoting a game cheat and then include a link to a file download. Like the torrent sites, these downloads are adware bundles that install malware.

YouTube pushing key generator

When users download these files they think they are getting the latest game, application, or cheat for free, but when they install it they will be greeted with an installation screen that quickly disappears.

InstallCapital Adware Bundle screen

In the background, though, malware had been installed and either executed to steal the victim's passwords or data or to sit running while performing malicious activity.

 ShadowTechRAT installed in BleepingComputer's test

It's not worth it

While it may be tempting to download pirated software so that you do not have to pay for it, the risks far outweigh the reward.

Even if we put aside the fact that downloading copyrighted software is illegal, it is just not worth the potential risk of losing your data, online banking credentials being stolen, or data being stolen.

BleepingComputer gets emails, Twitter DMs, and Facebook messages every day from people who were infected by the STOP ransomware after pirating software.

These people have lost baby pictures, their thesis, or company data simply because they wanted to save $50. They now have to pay $1,000 or more to get their files back.

It is just not worth it.

Источник: [https://torrent-igruha.org/3551-portal.html]

Fake pirated software sites serve up malware droppers as a service

During our recent investigation into an ongoing Raccoon Stealer (an information stealing malware) campaign, we found that the malware was being distributed by a network of websites acting as a “dropper as a service,” serving up a variety of other malware packages—often bundling multiple unrelated malware together in a single dropper. These malware included an assortment of clickfraud bots, other information stealers, and even ransomware.

While the Raccoon Stealer campaign we tracked on these sites took place between January and April, 2021, we continue to see malware and other malicious content distributed through the same network of sites. Multiple front-end websites targeting individuals seeking “cracked” versions of popular consumer and enterprise software packages link into a network of domains used to redirect the victim to the payload designed for their platform.

We discovered multiple networks using the same basic tactics in our research. All of these networks use search engine optimization to put a “bait” webpage on the first page of results for search engine queries seeking “crack” versions of a variety of software products.

As we researched the Raccoon Stealer campaign, we discovered multiple other cases where some of these sites had been tied to other malware campaigns. We found a variety of information stealers, clickfraud bots, and other malware delivered through the sites, including Conti and STOP ransomware. So we began to investigate the networks behind the sites themselves.

Come download me, bro

Most of the bait pages we found are hosted on WordPress blog platforms. Download buttons on these pages link to another host, passing a set of parameters that includes the package name and affiliate identifier codes to an application that then redirects the browser session to yet another intermediary site, before finally arriving at a destination.

Some clicks on bait pages are directed to a download site that hosts a packaged archive containing malware. Others are steered to browser plugins or applications that fall in a potentially unwanted grey area.

Visitors who arrive on these sites are prompted to allow notifications; If they allow this to happen, the websites repeatedly issue false malware alerts. If the users click the alerts, they’re directed through a series of websites until they arrive at a destination that’s determined by the visitor’s operating system, browser type, and geographic location.

The downloads contained a variety of potentially unwanted applications and malware. We downloaded installers for Stop ransomware, the Glupteba backdoor, and a variety of malicious cryptocurrency miners (in addition to Raccoon Stealer)

In a bit of irony, many of these malware were delivered by downloads purporting to be installers for antivirus products, including 15 we examined that claimed to be licensing-bypassed versions of the Sophos-owned HitmanPro.

Because the dynamic delivery network acts as an intermediary between the bait sites and the download sites, the same faked “cracked” product download page can deliver multiple malicious campaigns at the same time, and switch from one deliverable download to another when the malware actor “customer” has burned through their paid deliveries.

These networks work in a fashion similar to those behind the “fake alert” scams we researched last year. All of these activities are the product of an underground marketplace for paid download services, advertised on web boards frequented by would-be cybercriminals. A few hundred US dollars worth of cryptocurrency can buy a malware actor hundreds or thousands of downloads—though the price goes up if there’s a specific geographic targeting desired.

(As a rule, these services do not target network addresses in Commonwealth of Independent States countries.)

Special delivery

“Traffic exchanges” are an old standby of malware campaigns. Often mocked on underground boards as old-fashioned, these marketplaces for “software installs” are still part of the toolkit for a variety of malware actors and other cybercriminals, particularly for entry-level criminals with very few skills who want to spread malware.

Many of these services advertise on the same boards where they are mocked. Criminal affiliates can set up accounts quickly, but most require a deposit paid in Bitcoin before they can begin distributing installers. InstallBest (on installs[.]info, shown below), is hosted in Russia. The site provides very direct instructions on how to get started, in Russian and English:

The site also offers some advice on “best practices,” recommending against using Cloudflare-based hosts for downloaders, as well as using URLs within Discord’s CDN , Bitbucket, or other cloud services. As evidenced by our discovery of some of these installers on Discord, affiliates don’t always heed this advice.

Once the affiliate deposits Bitcoin, they can set up campaigns using a simple web form.
The form allows for the selection of specific geographic distribution areas, charging more for targets in the United States, Canada, and Australia.

Another Russian-based site, shop1[.]host, promoted on underground web boards, is apparently pivoting as it claims to be putting its payment system into maintenance for “a month or two.”

Malware middlemen

Some of these services provide their own delivery networks. Others simply act as go-betweens to established traffic suppliers, including malvertising networks that pay blog publishers for traffic.

One of these, tied to several of the malware campaigns we found hosted on the “cracked” software blogs, was powered in part by InstallUSD, an advertising network based in Pakistan which promises a payment of up to $5 US for every software install delivered.

InstallUSD’s site allowed site owners to register to publish download links, but required them to complete registration through Skype chat with a “publishers manager,” referred to as Jamashad. We attempted to contact InstallUSD about their program, but received no response.

Further investigation of InstallUSD uncovered a Facebook page for the group. A phone number provided on the organization’s Facebook page is also connected to a Facebook page for WorkingKeys[.]org, a website that purports to host cracked software downloads. In fact, that site also is connected to InstallUSD through the links that lead to the malware.

The WorkingKeys website’s domain name servers (ns1.installusd.online and ns2.installusd.online) also act as domain name servers for about 150 other domains with names related to cracked software. Some of them are inactive, and some have no outbound links to downloads, but several of them are serving up malware.

As we investigated the other malicious websites tied to droppers-as-a-service, we found many of them were connected to InstallUSD’s malvertising infrastructure.

Following the downloads

During our Raccoon Stealer investigation, we found a campaign that deployed the information stealing malware via a number of .zip archives. The hosting for these files was traced back to several websites purporting to distribute “cracked” versions of software packages, offering downloads of installers with license-bypassing schemes.

These “cracked” bait sites have continued to serve up new malware campaigns well after the original Raccoon Stealer campaign ended. Leveraging search engine optimization techniques, they have jockeyed for position at the top of search engine results for cracked versions of a wide range of software products, but especially information security products and more expensive business software tools.

We appended “crack” to the names of several well-known commercial software products, and consistently found 15 sites on the first two pages of results. These sites fell into three distinct groups, based on how they delivered victims to malware, but they all followed the same general approach, and all used the same payload wrapping scheme for their downloaders—leading us to believe that they were connected to a common dropper-as-service.

Method 1: InstallUSD affiliate system

A group of eight of our initial group of 15 “bait” blogs connected to infrastructure we tied to the InstallUSD install-as-a-service network. These sites had download buttons driven by a remote JavaScript that redirected visitors through a series of sites, including trackers that checked campaign-related information and generated redirects based on verification of the inbound link and assessment of the operating system and browser information from the User-Agent headers sent with each request. The tracker sites, and many of the bait blogs, were behind Cloudflare’s CDN, and almost all were registered through Namecheap.

If a user tried to download the files using a mobile, MacOS, or Linux browser, or if they had browser security plugins installed, the redirects would lead to a different monetizing destination:

  • A fake alert for mobile devices promoting the installation of a VPN or security app
  • A page insisting the user install a browser plug-in to view content
  • Redirects through other affiliate programs for paid traffic, including bogus Yahoo news pages, adult web games, and “dating” sites

For those who clicked and passed the User-Agent screening, the redirects would eventually lead to a download page on another server. Completing the download resulted in the delivery of a malware payload.

The JavaScript that controlled the behavior of the download button on these eight sites came from a number of different source servers, but they all had the same basic signature. First, they opened a new browser tab using forwarding links passed through referral proxies—sites intended to create “anonymous” links (that scrubbed the forward of any referrer reference to the originating site). In early investigations, this refer proxy was nullrefer[.]com; By late July and August, the scripts providing the forwarding changed to the proxy href[.]li (a service operated by WordPress’ parent company, Automattic).

The destination site embedded in the request to the referral proxies were concealed in HTTPS, which concealed the actual destination from inspection by browser security tools. Also embedded in the destination URL were base64-encoded text that pointed to a common command and control server.

The cross-site scripts loaded for the download buttons on these sites were fairly uniform. They were all generated dynamically based on data passed as part of the URL source for the script. For example this script call for a link to an copy of (ostensibly) Avast’s antivirus product:

hxxps://undesirablez[.]xyz/index.php?id=127&user=576&hash=5c20216270730bf35431cb722fef6a67&q=Avast Premier 21.6.2474%20 Crack + License Key [Latest Release]

Yielded this script:

The URIs generated for these scripts followed these patterns:

  • https://nullrefer[.]com/?https://[first stage tracker server hostname]/index.php?lander=[base64 encoded URI]&pageDisplay=0
  • https://href.li/?https://[first stage tracker server hostname]?arch=[base64 encoded URL]&pageDisplay=0

Each retrieval of the script resulted in a new tracker server hostname as part of the URL, so no two click-throughs followed the same redirection path. However, at least some of these hostnames resolved to the same endpoint, as we discovered when testing some of the domains.

The button scripts opened these links in a new browser tab or window. The referrer proxy then redirected the page to the first stage tracker server. Decoding the Base64 text in the request they were forwarded revealed how all these trackers were tied together—in both formats, the text contained a URI pointing to a subdomain of InstallUSD[.]com, in this format:

hxxps://landing2.installusd[.]com/display/index.php?page=querycpc/items/&aduid=[unique identifier]&button=1&displaytype=0&pid=[identifying integer]&time=[Unix timestamp of request]&hash=[md5 hash of file]&q=[the name the archive was advertised under]

So, for example, a click on a button alleged to connect to a “cracked” copy of HitmanPro, made at 18:08:55 GMT on August 4, 2021 transmitted this Base64-encoded tracker link:

After being forwarded by the proxy, the script running on the intermediary advertising tracker site would process the URL. The Base64-encoded URL on landing2.installusd[.]com resolved to a JSON document providing confirmation of the referrer name and the payload expected, in this format:

{“result”:”success”,”trackUrl”:”https://href.li/?https://[second tracker server hostname/{pubid}/[advertised name of download]/{hash_code}&[lowercase and no punctuation name of download file]“,”adID”:”[an identifying number for the campaign]“,”triggerTime”:0}

So, for example, a JSON response for a click on a fake Nitro Pro download we followed yielded this JSON from landing2.installusd[.]com:

Using this JSON, the tracker server builds the link to the second stage tracker server, and redirects the victim’s browser to that URL (again using href.li as a proxy), in the format:

hxxps://[hostname]/[the ID of the originating site]/[name of fake product]/[hash code generated from the lowercase, unpunctuated filename]

The second stage tracker would then process the name and hash, and redirect the browser to a download server. These servers, redirected to IP addresses, were largely short-lived Amazon EC2 instances.

We disrupted this delivery pipeline when we reported the landing2.installusd[.]com host to Cloudflare, and they put an interstitial page up blocking requests. But that was not the end of malware delivery for those sites. Two days later, some of the sites we tracked started using a slightly modified version of the same tracker architecture, using a new “lander” host and the same source hosts for the downloader button scripts. Additionally, the new lander host rejected requests from outside the network for the JSON object, to complicate analysis.

Download Plan B

Some of the disrupted sites did not shift to the new infrastructure. Instead, using the same scripting hosts they had originally pointed to, they received JavaScript that launched an abbreviated version of the original redirect system, linking to a tracker server that redirected directly to the download server for the payload. Some did not use the href.li redirector.

The URL for retrieving the button script contains three variables: “s” (an integer identifying the source of the link), “q”(the name of the download), and “g” (another integer unique to the source “blog”). These values are reflected in the returned script as variables:

A function named “getThere” opens a new browser window with a URL pointing at the tracker server. The URL follows this format:

hxxps://[tracker host name]/?s=[the integer passed as the “s” variable]&q=[the name of the fake cracked software product]&dedica=[the integer passed as the “g” variable]&hmac=[a base64-encoded block of text]

The base64-encoded text, which when decoded, is revealed to be data set of hash values.

A smaller number of sites had this style link embedded in the page code, either in a JavaScript function connected to the button or as a raw link. However, the sites that had a raw link associated with the button had HTML artifacts that suggested the link may have been rendered by a back-end PHP plug-in—concealing the connection to the C2 providing the scripts behind the server.

The new tracker site itself did not appear to inspect the browser User-Agent; we reached the intended payload for Windows from a variety of browser agent types. However, some of the download servers did their own check, and a click on the download button from a non-Windows agent yielded a redirect to another monetizing link, such as a fake alert or “naughty dating” site. These sites were localized by the IP range the browser was visiting from as well.

Another set of servers implemented a different set of JavaScript.

The downloads, please

Regardless of how they got to the downloads, all of these delivery methods dropped packages with the same basic characteristics. The download was a .zip archive file named after the alleged “cracked” product sought by the target. Inside, all the archives each contained an additional .zip archive and a file with “password” in its name.

These text files contained numeric passwords for the archives, and in some cases ASCII art.

password file 1 While the payload packages all use the same structure, their contents varied over time, and by site. Over the course of our investigation, we observed multiple types of droppers deployed using this scheme.

Because the malicious payloads are in password-protected archives–and in formats that cannot be opened natively by Windows Explorer–they cannot be scanned by endpoint security tools during download (though they may be blocked by reputation by browsers, or browser plugins).

The droppers investigated during the Raccoon Stealer campaign often carried multiple payloads.They included a modified version of a legitimate Windows installer package (gdiview.msi). The contents appear to be a version of NirSoft’s GDIview freeware system utility, compiled in 2016.

GDIviewer Properties

The properties tab for the GDIview executable packed in the dropper show its compile date: December 4, 2016.

readme-gdiview

The installer package drops this legitimate (but old) version of GDIview, along with what appears to be an unsigned executable named Icon.controlPanelIcon.exe. It’s actually a desktop icon file, and when it gets loaded in the context of GDIview, it causes an error:All of this is a diversion intended to make the user believe the install of the “cracked” application they thought they downloaded had failed. Meanwhile, the real second-stage installer is calling home to retrieve yet another payload.

A capture of web requests from from the dropper show an argument suggesting that this was a paid install — with seller, price, and other metadata. The dropper here was itself sold as a service, and was then distributed via a download-as-a-service network.

In our sample, this phone-home was followed by the retrieval of a third-stage dropper executable from another domain (dream[.]pics).

The strings in the real second-stage dropper includes a number of anti-analysis checks, looking for virtual machine artifacts, tools used for web traffic analysis, and other sandboxing tools:

There is an embedded certificate in the binary. It is a decoy file, used for detecting already infected systems.

The third-stage binary deploys a malicious browser extension. It also steals Facebook cookies to obtain account details (including linked Instagram accounts and saved credit card data), grabs saved passwords from browsers on the affected machine, and installs a malicious DLL the purpose of which is to forge clicks on the “like” and “subscribe” buttons of specific YouTube channels.

Droppers reloaded

In our follow-up research, we found several different distinct droppers being used, most of them clearly operating as droppers as a service. Among them was one much like Raccoon Stealer, in that it was both an information stealer and a dropper-as-a-service.

The dropper is a 1.5 megabyte executable, named setup_x86_x64_install.exe in every download package we found. And we found a lot of them, in part thanks to a misconfiguration of the download server that allowed us access to all the .zip archives staged on it.

We managed to retrieve 286 .zip archives from this server, all containing the same dropper. But the dropper samples we analyzed, while virtually identical in size and basic behavior, each had varying configurations, with different C2 domains and payloads. Some of the droppers stored in these archives triggered ransomware alerts from Windows Defender on our baseline target machine–specifically for Conti. But the primary payload of this malware dropper appears to be the CryptBot information stealer.

Every version we found of setup_x86_x64_install.exe in these archives were 32-bit Windows executable files. Each has its own alphabet-salad name and version information:

The first-stage dropper’s payload is a set of set of files packed in a .cab archive named CABINET. In most of the samples we studied, these files were labeled as PowerPoint (.pptx) files. Others had extensions that associate them with graphics files, Word template files, and other (normally) benign filetypes. But they were not any of these. Instead, these files were a set of scripts and executables disguised to evade detection by antimalware tools. The dropper launches one of them with cmd.exe, essentially using it as a batch script to create the second-stage malware.

One contained shell commands to extract another second-stage executable:

These domains went dark shortly after we began evaluating the droppers. But they aren’t the only source of malware delivered by these groups.

This batch file does the following:

It performs a bit of anti-analysis by checking to see if the target has a system name that includes “DESKTOP-“. If it does, it uses the ping command as a timer to delay execution long enough to cause some sandbox environments and analysis tools to time out.

It then uses the Windows findstr command to extract text from another dropped file that is definitely not a PowerPoint document (Vecchie.pptx in this sample) using a regular expression to match a block of code, and writes that to an executable file (in this sample, Trarre.exe.com)–an AutoIT script.

Next, it copies a third file (Fra.pptx) to a file with a single letter name (H here). That file contains an obfuscated script and then passes that as a runtime parameter to the just-extracted AutoIT script. A fourth dropped file is read and deleted. Then the batch script runs ping again for 30 seconds as a timer before the AutoIT script executes itself again.

This time, the script searches for environmental settings indicating the presence of antivirus protection, and looks for the location of browser cookies and cryptocurrency wallet files. It then tries to download a second executable from a C2 server domain. Each dropper appeared to have a different C2 server, but all were all hosts with .top top-level domains, registered through NiceNic.net.

The organization tied to the domains’ registrations was “Boris Godunov,” which appears to have been a play on the name of the Soviet villain Boris Badunov from the 1960s-era Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. At least this threat actor has a sense of humor and a taste for eclectic pop culture.

The third stage also gathers up all system information, passwords and cookies from browsers, and other data (with strings such as cryptocurrency, Electrum, wallets, and default_wallet included in a search for cryptocurrency wallets and credentials). All this data is packed into a .zip archive for upload, along with a screen shot of the victim’s system:

The malware-industrial complex

As we noted in our Raccoon Stealer research, malware-as-a-service platforms make it relatively inexpensive for would-be cybercriminals with limited skills to get started. The business model of these services based largely on the market for stolen credentials and cryptocurrency fraud. The same is true of CryptBot and the other malware we saw in our continued research; they largely focused on credential theft and cryptocurrency fraud, with additional fraud thrown in as a bonus.

Dropper packages and the malware delivery platforms that deliver them, such as the website networks we’ve investigated here, have been around for a long time, but they continue to thrive because of the same sort of market dynamics as those that make stealers as a service so profitable. They cover every other aspect of getting any malware—whether it is malware-as-a-service, off-the-shelf malware, or crafted by its operator—onto a victim’s machine, with little technical skill required from the “customer.”

The sort of “watering hole” attack we saw here uses carefully cultivated search engine optimization to draw in a specific kind of victim: computer users seeking pirated software. While there are sites that actually deliver key generators and “cracked” versions of software products, these sites have been intentionally crafted, along with the redirect networks they connect to, to cater to a particular subset of people (with the right operating system and level of browser protection) with download sites laden with malware, and to make cash off of all other visitors by redirecting them to other paying customers. These networks are also resilient, using disposable domains and short-term downloader hosting for much of their infrastructure.

The demand for cloud service, business email, and social media credentials sold in bulk is the primary reason why otherwise low-value targets such as victims searching for cracked software products is economically viable, and why entry-level and unskilled cybercriminals continue to purchase malware, dropper, and downloader as a service offerings.

While in the past this may not have posed a large threat to enterprises, the blend of increased work from home and increased business use of personal or shared devices makes these malware campaigns an increased threat to businesses. And the use of business products as bait for these campaigns appears to target smaller businesses seeking to cut some corners on software expenses.

Almost all of these malware droppers are easily detectable, and all of them were detected either by signature or behavior by Sophos products. But because these packages are in encrypted archives, they do not get detected until they are unpacked.

Indicators of compromise relating to this research have been posted to the SophosLabs Github.

SophosLabs would like to thank Anand Ajjan and Andrew Brandt for their contributions to this report.

Источник: [https://torrent-igruha.org/3551-portal.html]

Malware

Portmanteau for malicious software

Malware (a portmanteau for malicious software) is any software intentionally designed to cause damage to a computer, server, client, or computer network.[1][2] By contrast, software that causes unintentional harm due to some deficiency is typically described as a software bug.[3] A wide variety of malware types exist, including computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, ransomware, spyware, adware, rogue software, wiper and scareware.

Programs are also considered malware if they secretly act against the interests of the computer user. For example, at one point, Sony BMG compact discs silently installed a rootkit on purchasers' computers with the intention of preventing illicit copying, but which also reported on users' listening habits, and unintentionally created extra security vulnerabilities.[4]

A range of antivirus software, firewalls and other strategies are used to help protect against the introduction of malware, to help detect it if it is already present, and to recover from malware-associated malicious activity and attacks.[5]

Purposes[edit]

This pie chart shows that in 2011, 70% of malware infections were by Trojan horses, 17% were from viruses, 8% from worms, with the remaining percentages divided among adware, backdoor, spyware, and other exploits.

Many early infectious programs, including the first Internet Worm, were written as experiments or pranks.[6] Today, malware is used by both black hat hackers and governments to steal personal, financial, or business information.[7][8]

Malware is sometimes used broadly against government or corporate websites to gather guarded information,[9] or to disrupt their operation in general. However, malware can be used against individuals to gain information such as personal identification numbers or details, bank or credit card numbers, and passwords.

Since the rise of widespread broadbandInternet access, malicious software has more frequently been designed for profit. Since 2003, the majority of widespread viruses and worms have been designed to take control of users' computers for illicit purposes.[10] Infected "zombie computers" can be used to send email spam, to host contraband data such as child pornography,[11] or to engage in distributed denial-of-serviceattacks as a form of extortion.[12]

Programs designed to monitor users' web browsing, display unsolicited advertisements, or redirect affiliate marketing revenues are called spyware. Spyware programs do not spread like viruses; instead they are generally installed by exploiting security holes. They can also be hidden and packaged together with unrelated user-installed software.[13] The Sony BMG rootkit was intended to prevent illicit copying; but also reported on users' listening habits, and unintentionally created extra security vulnerabilities.[4]

Ransomware affects an infected computer system in some way, and demands payment to bring it back to its normal state. There are two variations of ransomware, being crypto ransomware and locker ransomware.[14] Locker ransomware just locks down a computer system without encrypting its contents, whereas the traditional ransomware is one that locks down a system and encrypts its contents. For example, programs such as CryptoLockerencrypt files securely, and only decrypt them on payment of a substantial sum of money.[15]

Some malware is used to generate money by click fraud, making it appear that the computer user has clicked an advertising link on a site, generating a payment from the advertiser. It was estimated in 2012 that about 60 to 70% of all active malware used some kind of click fraud, and 22% of all ad-clicks were fraudulent.[16]

In addition to criminal money-making, malware can be used for sabotage, often for political motives. Stuxnet, for example, was designed to disrupt very specific industrial equipment. There have been politically motivated attacks which spread over and shut down large computer networks, including massive deletion of files and corruption of master boot records, described as "computer killing." Such attacks were made on Sony Pictures Entertainment (25 November 2014, using malware known as Shamoon or W32.Disttrack) and Saudi Aramco (August 2012).[17][18]

Infectious malware[edit]

Main articles: Computer virus and Computer worm

The best-known types of malware, viruses and worms, are known for the manner in which they spread, rather than any specific types of behavior. A computer virus is software that embeds itself in some other executable software (including the operating system itself) on the target system without the user's knowledge and consent and when it is run, the virus is spread to other executables. On the other hand, a worm is a stand-alone malware software that actively transmits itself over a network to infect other computers and can copy itself without infecting files. These definitions lead to the observation that a virus requires the user to run an infected software or operating system for the virus to spread, whereas a worm spreads itself.[19]

Concealment[edit]

These categories are not mutually exclusive, so malware may use multiple techniques.[20] This section only applies to malware designed to operate undetected, not sabotage and ransomware.

See also: Polymorphic packer

Viruses[edit]

Main article: Computer virus

A computer virus is software usually hidden within another seemingly innocuous program that can produce copies of itself and insert them into other programs or files, and that usually performs a harmful action (such as destroying data).[21] An example of this is a PE infection, a technique, usually used to spread malware, that inserts extra data or executable code into PE files.[22]

Screen-locking ransomware[edit]

Main article: Ransomware

Lock-screens, or screen lockers is a type of “cyber police” ransomware that blocks screens on Windows or Android devices with a false accusation in harvesting illegal content, trying to scare the victims into paying up a fee.[23] Jisut and SLocker impact Android devices more than other lock-screens, with Jisut making up nearly 60 percent of all Android ransomware detections.[24]

Encryption-based ransomware[edit]

Main article: Ransomware

Encryption-based ransomware, like the name suggests, is a type of ransomware that encrypts all files on an infected machine. These types of malware then display a pop-up informing the user that their files have been encrypted and that they must pay (usually in Bitcoin) to recover them. Some examples of encryption-based ransomware are CryptoLocker and WannaCry. [25]

Trojan horses[edit]

Main article: Trojan horse (computing)

A Trojan horse is a harmful program that misrepresents itself to masquerade as a regular, benign program or utility in order to persuade a victim to install it. A Trojan horse usually carries a hidden destructive function that is activated when the application is started. The term is derived from the Ancient Greek story of the Trojan horse used to invade the city of Troy by stealth.[26][27][28][29][30]

Trojan horses are generally spread by some form of social engineering, for example, where a user is duped into executing an email attachment disguised to be unsuspicious, (e.g., a routine form to be filled in), or by drive-by download. Although their payload can be anything, many modern forms act as a backdoor, contacting a controller (phoning home) which can then have unauthorized access to the affected computer, potentially installing additional software such as a keylogger to steal confidential information, cryptomining software or adware to generate revenue to the operator of the trojan.[31] While Trojan horses and backdoors are not easily detectable by themselves, computers may appear to run slower, emit more heat or fan noise due to heavy processor or network usage, as may occur when cryptomining software is installed. Cryptominers may limit resource usage and/or only run during idle times in an attempt to evade detection.

Unlike computer viruses and worms, Trojan horses generally do not attempt to inject themselves into other files or otherwise propagate themselves.[32]

In spring 2017 Mac users were hit by the new version of Proton Remote Access Trojan (RAT)[33] trained to extract password data from various sources, such as browser auto-fill data, the Mac-OS keychain, and password vaults.[34]

Rootkits[edit]

Main article: Rootkit

Once malicious software is installed on a system, it is essential that it stays concealed, to avoid detection. Software packages known as rootkits allow this concealment, by modifying the host's operating system so that the malware is hidden from the user. Rootkits can prevent a harmful process from being visible in the system's list of processes, or keep its files from being read.[35]

Some types of harmful software contain routines to evade identification and/or removal attempts, not merely to hide themselves. An early example of this behavior is recorded in the Jargon File tale of a pair of programs infesting a Xerox CP-V time sharing system:

Each ghost-job would detect the fact that the other had been killed, and would start a new copy of the recently stopped program within a few milliseconds. The only way to kill both ghosts was to kill them simultaneously (very difficult) or to deliberately crash the system.[36]

Backdoors[edit]

Main article: Backdoor (computing)

A backdoor is a method of bypassing normal authentication procedures, usually over a connection to a network such as the Internet. Once a system has been compromised, one or more backdoors may be installed in order to allow access in the future,[37] invisibly to the user.

The idea has often been suggested that computer manufacturers preinstall backdoors on their systems to provide technical support for customers, but this has never been reliably verified. It was reported in 2014 that US government agencies had been diverting computers purchased by those considered "targets" to secret workshops where software or hardware permitting remote access by the agency was installed, considered to be among the most productive operations to obtain access to networks around the world.[38] Backdoors may be installed by Trojan horses, worms, implants, or other methods.[39][40]

Evasion[edit]

Since the beginning of 2015, a sizable portion of malware has been utilizing a combination of many techniques designed to avoid detection and analysis.[41] From the more common, to the least common:

  1. evasion of analysis and detection by fingerprinting the environment when executed.[42]
  2. confusing automated tools' detection methods. This allows malware to avoid detection by technologies such as signature-based antivirus software by changing the server used by the malware.[43]
  3. timing-based evasion. This is when malware runs at certain times or following certain actions taken by the user, so it executes during certain vulnerable periods, such as during the boot process, while remaining dormant the rest of the time.
  4. obfuscating internal data so that automated tools do not detect the malware.[44]

An increasingly common technique (2015) is adware that uses stolen certificates to disable anti-malware and virus protection; technical remedies are available to deal with the adware.[45]

Nowadays, one of the most sophisticated and stealthy ways of evasion is to use information hiding techniques, namely stegomalware. A survey on stegomalware was published by Cabaj et al. in 2018.[46]

Another type of evasion technique is Fileless malware or Advanced Volatile Threats (AVTs). Fileless malware does not require a file to operate. It runs within memory and utilizes existing system tools to carry out malicious acts. Because there are no files on the system, there are no executable files for antivirus and forensic tools to analyze, making such malware nearly impossible to detect. The only way to detect fileless malware is to catch it operating in real time. Recently these types of attacks have become more frequent with a 432% increase in 2017 and makeup 35% of the attacks in 2018. Such attacks are not easy to perform but are becoming more prevalent with the help of exploit-kits. [47][48]

Vulnerability[edit]

Main article: Vulnerability (computing)

  • In this context, and throughout, what is called the "system" under attack may be anything from a single application, through a complete computer and operating system, to a large network.
  • Various factors make a system more vulnerable to malware:

Security defects in software[edit]

Malware exploits security defects (security bugs or vulnerabilities) in the design of the operating system, in applications (such as browsers, e.g. older versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer supported by Windows XP[49]), or in vulnerable versions of browser plugins such as Adobe Flash Player, Adobe Acrobat or Reader, or Java SE.[50][51] Sometimes even installing new versions of such plugins does not automatically uninstall old versions. Security advisories from plug-in providers announce security-related updates.[52] Common vulnerabilities are assigned CVE IDs and listed in the US National Vulnerability Database. Secunia PSI[53] is an example of software, free for personal use, that will check a PC for vulnerable out-of-date software, and attempt to update it.

Malware authors target bugs, or loopholes, to exploit. A common method is exploitation of a buffer overrun vulnerability, where software designed to store data in a specified region of memory does not prevent more data than the buffer can accommodate being supplied. Malware may provide data that overflows the buffer, with malicious executable code or data after the end; when this payload is accessed it does what the attacker, not the legitimate software, determines.

Anti-malware is a continuously growing threat to malware detection.[54] According to Symantec’s 2018 Internet Security Threat Report (ISTR), malware variants number has got up to 669,947,865 in 2017, which is the double of malware variants in 2016.[54]

Insecure design or user error[edit]

Early PCs had to be booted from floppy disks. When built-in hard drives became common, the operating system was normally started from them, but it was possible to boot from another boot device if available, such as a floppy disk, CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, USB flash drive or network. It was common to configure the computer to boot from one of these devices when available. Normally none would be available; the user would intentionally insert, say, a CD into the optical drive to boot the computer in some special way, for example, to install an operating system. Even without booting, computers can be configured to execute software on some media as soon as they become available, e.g. to autorun a CD or USB device when inserted.

Malware distributors would trick the user into booting or running from an infected device or medium. For example, a virus could make an infected computer add autorunnable code to any USB stick plugged into it. Anyone who then attached the stick to another computer set to autorun from USB would in turn become infected, and also pass on the infection in the same way.[55] More generally, any device that plugs into a USB port – even lights, fans, speakers, toys, or peripherals such as a digital microscope – can be used to spread malware. Devices can be infected during manufacturing or supply if quality control is inadequate.[55]

This form of infection can largely be avoided by setting up computers by default to boot from the internal hard drive, if available, and not to autorun from devices.[55] Intentional booting from another device is always possible by pressing certain keys during boot.

Older email software would automatically open HTML email containing potentially malicious JavaScript code. Users may also execute disguised malicious email attachments. The 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report by Verizon, cited by CSO Online, states that emails are the primary method of malware delivery, accounting for 92% of malware delivery around the world.[56][57]

Over-privileged users and over-privileged code[edit]

Main article: principle of least privilege

In computing, privilege refers to how much a user or program is allowed to modify a system. In poorly designed computer systems, both users and programs can be assigned more privileges than they should have, and malware can take advantage of this. The two ways that malware does this is through overprivileged users and overprivileged code.[citation needed]

Some systems allow all users to modify their internal structures, and such users today would be considered over-privileged users. This was the standard operating procedure for early microcomputer and home computer systems, where there was no distinction between an administrator or root, and a regular user of the system. In some systems, non-administrator users are over-privileged by design, in the sense that they are allowed to modify internal structures of the system. In some environments, users are over-privileged because they have been inappropriately granted administrator or equivalent status.[58]

Some systems allow code executed by a user to access all rights of that user, which is known as over-privileged code. This was also standard operating procedure for early microcomputer and home computer systems. Malware, running as over-privileged code, can use this privilege to subvert the system. Almost all currently popular operating systems, and also many scripting applications allow code too many privileges, usually in the sense that when a user executes code, the system allows that code all rights of that user. This makes users vulnerable to malware in the form of email attachments, which may or may not be disguised.[citation needed]

Use of the same operating system[edit]

Homogeneity can be a vulnerability. For example, when all computers in a network run the same operating system, upon exploiting one, one worm can exploit them all:[59] In particular, Microsoft Windows or Mac OS X have such a large share of the market that an exploited vulnerability concentrating on either operating system could subvert a large number of systems. Introducing diversity purely for the sake of robustness, such as adding Linux computers, could increase short-term costs for training and maintenance. However, as long as all the nodes are not part of the same directory service for authentication, having a few diverse nodes could deter total shutdown of the network and allow those nodes to help with recovery of the infected nodes. Such separate, functional redundancy could avoid the cost of a total shutdown, at the cost of increased complexity and reduced usability in terms of single sign-on authentication.[citation needed]

Anti-malware strategies[edit]

Main article: Antivirus software

As malware attacks become more frequent, attention has begun to shift from viruses and spyware protection, to malware protection, and programs that have been specifically developed to combat malware. (Other preventive and recovery measures, such as backup and recovery methods, are mentioned in the computer virus article). Reboot to restore software is also useful for mitigating malware by rolling back malicious alterations.

Antivirus and anti-malware software[edit]

A specific component of antivirus and anti-malware software, commonly referred to as an on-access or real-time scanner, hooks deep into the operating system's core or kernel and functions in a manner similar to how certain malware itself would attempt to operate, though with the user's informed permission for protecting the system. Any time the operating system accesses a file, the on-access scanner checks if the file is a 'legitimate' file or not. If the file is identified as malware by the scanner, the access operation will be stopped, the file will be dealt with by the scanner in a pre-defined way (how the antivirus program was configured during/post installation), and the user will be notified.[citation needed] This may have a considerable performance impact on the operating system, though the degree of impact is dependent on how well the scanner was programmed. The goal is to stop any operations the malware may attempt on the system before they occur, including activities which might exploit bugs or trigger unexpected operating system behavior.

Anti-malware programs can combat malware in two ways:

  1. They can provide real time protection against the installation of malware software on a computer. This type of malware protection works the same way as that of antivirus protection in that the anti-malware software scans all incoming network data for malware and blocks any threats it comes across.
  2. Anti-malware software programs can be used solely for detection and removal of malware software that has already been installed onto a computer. This type of anti-malware software scans the contents of the Windows registry, operating system files, and installed programs on a computer and will provide a list of any threats found, allowing the user to choose which files to delete or keep, or to compare this list to a list of known malware components, removing files that match.[60]

Real-time protection from malware works identically to real-time antivirus protection: the software scans disk files at download time, and blocks the activity of components known to represent malware. In some cases, it may also intercept attempts to install start-up items or to modify browser settings. Because many malware components are installed as a result of browser exploits or user error, using security software (some of which are anti-malware, though many are not) to "sandbox" browsers (essentially isolate the browser from the computer and hence any malware induced change) can also be effective in helping to restrict any damage done.[61]

Examples of Microsoft Windows antivirus and anti-malware software include the optional Microsoft Security Essentials[62] (for Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7) for real-time protection, the Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool[63] (now included with Windows (Security) Updates on "Patch Tuesday", the second Tuesday of each month), and Windows Defender (an optional download in the case of Windows XP, incorporating MSE functionality in the case of Windows 8 and later).[64] Additionally, several capable antivirus software programs are available for free download from the Internet (usually restricted to non-commercial use).[65] Tests found some free programs to be competitive with commercial ones.[65][66][67] Microsoft's System File Checker can be used to check for and repair corrupted system files.

Some viruses disable System Restore and other important Windows tools such as Task Manager and Command Prompt. Many such viruses can be removed by rebooting the computer, entering Windows safe mode with networking,[68] and then using system tools or Microsoft Safety Scanner.[69]

Hardware implants can be of any type, so there can be no general way to detect them.

Website security scans[edit]

As malware also harms the compromised websites (by breaking reputation, blacklisting in search engines, etc.), some websites offer vulnerability scanning.[70] Such scans check the website, detect malware, may note outdated software, and may report known security issues.

"Air gap" isolation or "parallel network"[edit]

As a last resort, computers can be protected from malware, and infected computers can be prevented from disseminating trusted information, by imposing an "air gap" (i.e. completely disconnecting them from all other networks). However, malware can still cross the air gap in some situations. Stuxnet is an example of malware that is introduced to the target environment via a USB drive.

AirHopper,[71] BitWhisper,[72] GSMem [73] and Fansmitter[74] are four techniques introduced by researchers that can leak data from air-gapped computers using electromagnetic, thermal and acoustic emissions.

Grayware[edit]

See also: Privacy-invasive software and Potentially unwanted program

Grayware (sometimes spelled as greyware) is a term applied to unwanted applications or files that are not classified as malware, but can worsen the performance of computers and may cause security risks.[75]

It describes applications that behave in an annoying or undesirable manner, and yet are less serious or troublesome than malware. Grayware encompasses spyware, adware, fraudulent dialers, joke programs, remote access tools and other unwanted programs that may harm the performance of computers or cause inconvenience. The term came into use around 2004.[76]

Another term, potentially unwanted program (PUP) or potentially unwanted application (PUA),[77] refers to applications that would be considered unwanted despite often having been downloaded by the user, possibly after failing to read a download agreement. PUPs include spyware, adware, and fraudulent dialers. Many security products classify unauthorised key generators as grayware, although they frequently carry true malware in addition to their ostensible purpose.

Software maker Malwarebytes lists several criteria for classifying a program as a PUP.[78] Some types of adware (using stolen certificates) turn off anti-malware and virus protection; technical remedies are available.[45]

History[edit]

Main article: History of computer viruses

See also: History of ransomware

Further information: Timeline of computer viruses and worms

Before Internet access became widespread, viruses spread on personal computers by infecting executable programs or boot sectors of floppy disks. By inserting a copy of itself into the machine code instructions in these programs or boot sectors, a virus causes itself to be run whenever the program is run or the disk is booted. Early computer viruses were written for the Apple II and Macintosh, but they became more widespread with the dominance of the IBM PC and MS-DOS system. The first IBM PC virus in the "wild" was a boot sector virus dubbed (c)Brain,[79] created in 1986 by the Farooq Alvi brothers in Pakistan.[80]

The first worms, network-borne infectious programs, originated not on personal computers, but on multitasking Unix systems. The first well-known worm was the Internet Worm of 1988, which infected SunOS and VAXBSD systems. Unlike a virus, this worm did not insert itself into other programs. Instead, it exploited security holes (vulnerabilities) in network server programs and started itself running as a separate process.[81] This same behavior is used by today's worms as well.[82][83]

With the rise of the Microsoft Windows platform in the 1990s, and the flexible macros of its applications, it became possible to write infectious code in the macro language of Microsoft Word and similar programs. These macro viruses infect documents and templates rather than applications (executables), but rely on the fact that macros in a Word document are a form of executable code.[84]

Academic research[edit]

Main article: Malware research

The notion of a self-reproducing computer program can be traced back to initial theories about the operation of complex automata.[85]John von Neumann showed that in theory a program could reproduce itself. This constituted a plausibility result in computability theory. Fred Cohen experimented with computer viruses and confirmed Neumann's postulate and investigated other properties of malware such as detectability and self-obfuscation using rudimentary encryption. His 1987 doctoral dissertation was on the subject of computer viruses.[86] The combination of cryptographic technology as part of the payload of the virus, exploiting it for attack purposes was initialized and investigated from the mid 1990s, and includes initial ransomware and evasion ideas.[87]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

Look up malware in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Malware.
Источник: [https://torrent-igruha.org/3551-portal.html]

Software cracking

Modification of software, often to use it for free

Software cracking (known as "breaking" mostly in the 1980s[1]) is the modification of software to remove or disable features which are considered undesirable by the person cracking the software, especially copy protection features (including protection against the manipulation of software, serial number, hardware key, date checks and disc check) or software annoyances like nag screens and adware.

A crack refers to the means of achieving, for example a stolen serial number or a tool that performs that act of cracking.[2] Some of these tools are called keygen, patch, or loader. A keygen is a handmade product serial number generator that often offers the ability to generate working serial numbers in your own name. A patch is a small computer program that modifies the machine code of another program. This has the advantage for a cracker to not include a large executable in a release when only a few bytes are changed.[3] A loader modifies the startup flow of a program and does not remove the protection but circumvents it.[4][5] A well-known example of a loader is a trainer used to cheat in games.[6]Fairlight pointed out in one of their .nfo files that these type of cracks are not allowed for warez scene game releases.[7][4][8] A nukewar has shown that the protection may not kick in at any point for it to be a valid crack.[9]

The distribution of cracked copies is illegal in most countries. There have been lawsuits over cracking software.[10] It might be legal to use cracked software in certain circumstances.[11] Educational resources for reverse engineering and software cracking are, however, legal and available in the form of Crackme programs.

History[edit]

The first software copy protection was applied to software for the Apple II,[12]Atari 8-bit family, and Commodore 64 computers.[citation needed]. Software publishers have implemented increasingly complex methods in an effort to stop unauthorized copying of software.

On the Apple II, the operating system directly controls the step motor that moves the floppy drive head, and also directly interprets the raw data, called nibbles, read from each track to identify the data sectors. This allowed complex disk-based software copy protection, by storing data on half tracks (0, 1, 2.5, 3.5, 5, 6...), quarter tracks (0, 1, 2.25, 3.75, 5, 6...), and any combination thereof. In addition, tracks did not need to be perfect rings, but could be sectioned so that sectors could be staggered across overlapping offset tracks, the most extreme version being known as spiral tracking. It was also discovered that many floppy drives did not have a fixed upper limit to head movement, and it was sometimes possible to write an additional 36th track above the normal 35 tracks. The standard Apple II copy programs could not read such protected floppy disks, since the standard DOS assumed that all disks had a uniform 35-track, 13- or 16-sector layout. Special nibble-copy programs such as Locksmith and Copy II Plus could sometimes duplicate these disks by using a reference library of known protection methods; when protected programs were cracked they would be completely stripped of the copy protection system, and transferred onto a standard format disk that any normal Apple II copy program could read.

One of the primary routes to hacking these early copy protections was to run a program that simulates the normal CPU operation. The CPU simulator provides a number of extra features to the hacker, such as the ability to single-step through each processor instruction and to examine the CPU registers and modified memory spaces as the simulation runs (any modern disassembler/debugger can do this). The Apple II provided a built-in opcode disassembler, allowing raw memory to be decoded into CPU opcodes, and this would be utilized to examine what the copy-protection was about to do next. Generally there was little to no defense available to the copy protection system, since all its secrets are made visible through the simulation. However, because the simulation itself must run on the original CPU, in addition to the software being hacked, the simulation would often run extremely slowly even at maximum speed.

On Atari 8-bit computers, the most common protection method was via "bad sectors". These were sectors on the disk that were intentionally unreadable by the disk drive. The software would look for these sectors when the program was loading and would stop loading if an error code was not returned when accessing these sectors. Special copy programs were available that would copy the disk and remember any bad sectors. The user could then use an application to spin the drive by constantly reading a single sector and display the drive RPM. With the disk drive top removed a small screwdriver could be used to slow the drive RPM below a certain point. Once the drive was slowed down the application could then go and write "bad sectors" where needed. When done the drive RPM was sped up back to normal and an uncracked copy was made. Of course cracking the software to expect good sectors made for readily copied disks without the need to meddle with the disk drive. As time went on more sophisticated methods were developed, but almost all involved some form of malformed disk data, such as a sector that might return different data on separate accesses due to bad data alignment. Products became available (from companies such as Happy Computers) which replaced the controller BIOS in Atari's "smart" drives. These upgraded drives allowed the user to make exact copies of the original program with copy protections in place on the new disk.

On the Commodore 64, several methods were used to protect software. For software distributed on ROM cartridges, subroutines were included which attempted to write over the program code. If the software was on ROM, nothing would happen, but if the software had been moved to RAM, the software would be disabled. Because of the operation of Commodore floppy drives, one write protection scheme would cause the floppy drive head to bang against the end of its rail, which could cause the drive head to become misaligned. In some cases, cracked versions of software were desirable to avoid this result. A misaligned drive head was rare usually fixing itself by smashing against the rail stops. Another brutal protection scheme was grinding from track 1 to 40 and back a few times.

Most of the early software crackers were computer hobbyists who often formed groups that competed against each other in the cracking and spreading of software. Breaking a new copy protection scheme as quickly as possible was often regarded as an opportunity to demonstrate one's technical superiority rather than a possibility of money-making. Some low skilled hobbyists would take already cracked software and edit various unencrypted strings of text in it to change messages a game would tell a game player, often something considered vulgar. Uploading the altered copies on file sharing networks provided a source of laughs for adult users. The cracker groups of the 1980s started to advertise themselves and their skills by attaching animated screens known as crack intros in the software programs they cracked and released. Once the technical competition had expanded from the challenges of cracking to the challenges of creating visually stunning intros, the foundations for a new subculture known as demoscene were established. Demoscene started to separate itself from the illegal "warez scene" during the 1990s and is now regarded as a completely different subculture. Many software crackers have later grown into extremely capable software reverse engineers; the deep knowledge of assembly required in order to crack protections enables them to reverse engineerdrivers in order to port them from binary-only drivers for Windows to drivers with source code for Linux and other free operating systems. Also because music and game intro was such an integral part of gaming the music format and graphics became very popular when hardware became affordable for the home user.

With the rise of the Internet, software crackers developed secretive online organizations. In the latter half of the nineties, one of the most respected sources of information about "software protection reversing" was Fravia's website.

+HCU[edit]

The High Cracking University (+HCU) was founded by Old Red Cracker (+ORC), considered a genius of reverse engineering and a legendary figure in RCE, to advance research into Reverse Code Engineering (RCE). He had also taught and authored many papers on the subject, and his texts are considered classics in the field and are mandatory reading for students of RCE.[13]

The addition of the "+" sign in front of the nickname of a reverser signified membership in the +HCU. Amongst the students of +HCU were the top of the elite Windows reversers worldwide.[13] +HCU published a new reverse engineering problem annually and a small number of respondents with the best replies qualified for an undergraduate position at the university.[13]

+Fravia was a professor at +HCU. Fravia's website was known as "+Fravia's Pages of Reverse Engineering" and he used it to challenge programmers as well as the wider society to "reverse engineer" the "brainwashing of a corrupt and rampant materialism". In its heyday, his website received millions of visitors per year and its influence was "widespread".[13]

Nowadays most of the graduates of +HCU have migrated to Linux and few have remained as Windows reversers. The information at the university has been rediscovered by a new generation of researchers and practitioners of RCE who have started new research projects in the field.[13]

Methods[edit]

The most common software crack is the modification of an application's binary to cause or prevent a specific key branch in the program's execution. This is accomplished by reverse engineering the compiled program code using a debugger such as SoftICE,[14]x64dbg, OllyDbg,[15]GDB, or MacsBug until the software cracker reaches the subroutine that contains the primary method of protecting the software (or by disassembling an executable file with a program such as IDA). The binary is then modified using the debugger or a hex editor or monitor in a manner that replaces a prior branching opcode with its complement or a NOPopcode so the key branch will either always execute a specific subroutine or skip over it. Almost all common software cracks are a variation of this type. Proprietary software developers are constantly developing techniques such as code obfuscation, encryption, and self-modifying code to make this modification increasingly difficult. Even with these measures being taken, developers struggle to combat software cracking. This is because it is very common for a professional to publicly release a simple cracked EXE or Retrium Installer for public download, eliminating the need for inexperienced users to crack the software themselves.

A specific example of this technique is a crack that removes the expiration period from a time-limited trial of an application. These cracks are usually programs that alter the program executable and sometimes the .dll or .so linked to the application. Similar cracks are available for software that requires a hardware dongle. A company can also break the copy protection of programs that they have legally purchased but that are licensed to particular hardware, so that there is no risk of downtime due to hardware failure (and, of course, no need to restrict oneself to running the software on bought hardware only).

Another method is the use of special software such as CloneCD to scan for the use of a commercial copy protection application. After discovering the software used to protect the application, another tool may be used to remove the copy protection from the software on the CD or DVD. This may enable another program such as Alcohol 120%, CloneDVD, Game Jackal, or Daemon Tools to copy the protected software to a user's hard disk. Popular commercial copy protection applications which may be scanned for include SafeDisc and StarForce.[16]

In other cases, it might be possible to decompile a program in order to get access to the original source code or code on a level higher than machine code. This is often possible with scripting languages and languages utilizing JIT compilation. An example is cracking (or debugging) on the .NET platform where one might consider manipulating CIL to achieve one's needs. Java'sbytecode also works in a similar fashion in which there is an intermediate language before the program is compiled to run on the platform dependent machine code.

Advanced reverse engineering for protections such as SecuROM, SafeDisc, StarForce, or Denuvo requires a cracker, or many crackers to spend much more time studying the protection, eventually finding every flaw within the protection code, and then coding their own tools to "unwrap" the protection automatically from executable (.EXE) and library (.DLL) files.

There are a number of sites on the Internet that let users download cracks produced by warez groups for popular games and applications (although at the danger of acquiring malicious software that is sometimes distributed via such sites).[17] Although these cracks are used by legal buyers of software, they can also be used by people who have downloaded or otherwise obtained unauthorized copies (often through P2P networks).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^Kevelson, Morton (October 1985). "Isepic". Ahoy!. pp. 71–73. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
  2. ^Tulloch, Mitch (2003). Microsoft Encyclopedia of Security(PDF). Redmond, Washington: Microsoft Press. p. 68. ISBN .
  3. ^Craig, Paul; Ron, Mark (April 2005). "Chapter 4: Crackers". In Burnett, Mark (ed.). Software Piracy Exposed - Secrets from the Dark Side Revealed. Publisher: Andrew Williams, Page Layout and Art: Patricia Lupien, Acquisitions Editor: Jaime Quigley, Copy Editor: Judy Eby, Technical Editor: Mark Burnett, Indexer: Nara Wood, Cover Designer: Michael Kavish. United States of America: Syngress Publishing. pp. 75–76. doi:10.1016/B978-193226698-6/50029-5. ISBN .
  4. ^ abFLT (January 22, 2013). "The_Sims_3_70s_80s_and_90s_Stuff-FLT".
  5. ^Shub-Nigurrath [ARTeam]; ThunderPwr [ARTeam] (January 2006). "Cracking with Loaders: Theory, General Approach, and a Framework". CodeBreakers Magazine. Universitas-Virtualis Research Project. 1 (1).
  6. ^Nigurrath, Shub (May 2006). "Guide on how to play with processes memory, writing loaders, and Oraculumns". CodeBreakers Magazine. Universitas-Virtualis Research Project. 1 (2).
  7. ^FLT (September 29, 2013). "Test_Drive_Ferrari_Legends_PROPER-FLT".
  8. ^SKIDROW (January 21, 2013). "Test.Drive.Ferrari.Racing.Legends.Read.Nfo-SKIDROW".
  9. ^"Batman.Arkham.City-FiGHTCLUB nukewar". December 2, 2011. Archived from the original on September 13, 2014.
  10. ^Cheng, Jacqui (September 27, 2006). "Microsoft files lawsuit over DRM crack". Ars Technica.
  11. ^Fravia (November 1998). "Is reverse engineering legal?".
  12. ^Pearson, Jordan (July 24, 2017). "Programmers Are Racing to Save Apple II Software Before It Goes Extinct". Motherboard. Archived from the original on September 27, 2017. Retrieved January 27, 2018.
  13. ^ abcdeCyrus Peikari; Anton Chuvakin (January 12, 2004). Security Warrior. "O'Reilly Media, Inc.". p. 31. ISBN .
  14. ^Ankit, Jain; Jason, Kuo; Jordan, Soet; Brian, Tse (April 2007). "Software Cracking (April 2007)"(PDF). The University of British Columbia - Electrical and Computer Engineering. Retrieved January 27, 2018.
  15. ^Wójcik, Bartosz. "Reverse engineering tools review". pelock.com. PELock. Archived from the original on September 13, 2017. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
  16. ^Gamecopyworld Howto
  17. ^McCandless, David (April 1, 1997). "Warez Wars". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved February 4, 2020.
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6 tips to avoid getting a virus on your devices from the internet

1. Install antivirus software

If you want to avoid getting a virus on your devices from the internet, installing and running antivirus software is important. Cyberthreats have evolved, and everyday activities like online banking, shopping, and browsing can make you vulnerable to cyberthreats.

Viruses are a major cyberthreat, which is why it’s smart to keep your devices protected against them. Reputable security software can help protect against phishing and other online threats as you bank, shop, and browse online.

2. Be careful with email attachments

Email services like Gmail and Outlook ask for your permission before downloading an attachment. There’s a reason for that. Downloading an attachment can be dangerous. While email services often have virus protection built into their software, emails with viruses as attachments can still reach your inbox.

Cybercriminals often try to spread a virus with spamming emails. They send the emails with malicious attachments to a multitude of people. Once opened and executed, the virus can install in the background and begin its work.

If you don’t know the person who sent you an email attachment — or if the email looks like it could be a phishing attempt — then ignoring it might be your best option. Only click on attachments or download files from your email if you trust the source.

It’s also smart to disable image previews within your email software. This feature can be found in the Options or Settings of the program.

Some viruses can attach to images and install themselves as soon as the email is opened. You can configure your settings to only show images from trusted sources. This can help prevent an infected image from turning into a virus on your computer.

3. Patch your operating system and applications

Tech companies routinely put out software updates to make their devices or software safer to use. Without these updates, cybercriminals can abuse security flaws and force a device to download a virus.

This cyberthreat is called a software vulnerability. You might be careful to avoid viruses on the internet, but a software vulnerability may lurk in the background of your computer. The only way to ensure you’ve covered this risk? Regularly update your software whenever a patch is available. Or you can adjust your computer settings to accept updates automatically.

4. Avoid questionable websites

It is believed that there are over 1.7 billion websites in the world, and not all of them have the best intentions. The bad ones that pose a cyberthreat will use a variety of tools to download a virus to your computer, like drive-by downloads, hosting malicious advertisements, and getting you to click on misleading links.

Avoid clicking on links to websites with suspicious names, such as mixtures of letters and numbers that don’t resemble words. Also be on the lookout for websites that share names of trusted brands, but have a variation within the URL. If there are extra symbols in the URL, it’s likely a fake website.

5. Avoid pirated software

It might be tempting to get a free copy of a game, movie, or application that everyone else has to pay for. But if you download a cracked or illegal version of software, your computer or mobile device could be at risk.

Pirated software often comes from difficult-to-find websites or peer-to-peer sharing, both of which contain users who may simply be looking for their favorite movie, or those who are looking to spread a virus.

With no virus protection built into what’s being downloaded, it’s easy for a cybercriminal to slip a virus into a free application. Sometimes there won’t even be any free software — just a virus.

Be cautious when downloading anything for free. If you download pirated files — which is not recommended — make sure you’re using antivirus software.

6. Backup your computer

This tip may not help you avoid getting a virus on your devices from the internet, but it will help you sidestep some of the damage and stress that comes with it if you do.

By regularly using a cloud backup, you can keep copies of all your important files and records in a location that won’t be contaminated by the virus.

Then, should you become a victim of a computer virus that’s difficult to get rid of without damaging your files, you can simply wipe your device and restore it to the most recent point before it was infected.


Editorial note: Our articles provide educational information for you. NortonLifeLock offerings may not cover or protect against every type of crime, fraud, or threat we write about. Our goal is to increase awareness about cyber safety. Please review complete Terms during enrollment or setup. Remember that no one can prevent all identity theft or cybercrime, and that LifeLock does not monitor all transactions at all businesses.

Copyright © 2021 NortonLifeLock Inc. All rights reserved. NortonLifeLock, the NortonLifeLock Logo, the Checkmark Logo, Norton, LifeLock, and the LockMan Logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of NortonLifeLock Inc. or its affiliates in the United States and other countries. Firefox is a trademark of Mozilla Foundation. Android, Google Chrome, Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google, LLC. Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. Alexa and all related logos are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. Microsoft and the Window logo are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the U.S. and other countries. The Android robot is reproduced or modified from work created and shared by Google and used according to terms described in the Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution License. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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5 Security Reasons Not to Download Cracked Software

Purchasing software can be expensive. When you need a new piece of software for your PC, you can either look for free options, or pay out for potentially pricey software. Some people are tempted to avoid these costs by downloading cracked or illegal software.

This is software that is pirated via file sharing sites and accessed illegally using a stolen or generated unlock code.

However, cracked and illegal software can be a security risk in more ways than you might imagine. Here are some of the risks of downloading and using illegal software.

1. It Can Cause Malware Infections

Downloads of illegal software are frequently stuffed full of dangerous malware. A report by security company Cybereason estimates that over 500,000 machines have been infected by malware from just one cracked app. Once a user has downloaded and installed cracked software, the malware hidden inside can steal information from their computer. And it can even go on to download more malware, making the problem much worse.

The malware profiled in the report could do all sorts of invasive things. There are two particular pieces of malware described in the report, Azorult Infostealer and Predator the Thief.

Predator the Thief steals information like passwords from browsers and can steal cryptocurrency wallets. Or it could take pictures using the camera and take screenshots, which allows it to collect very personal data.

Azorult Infostealer also steals information, such as browsing history, usernames and passwords, cookies, and cryptocurrency information.

Further research from the Digital Citizens Alliance found that one third of illegal software contained malware. It also found software downloaded from illegal sources was 28 times more likely to contain malware than software downloaded from legitimate sources.

A lot of the smarter malware hides itself. So you may not even know that your machine has been compromised. You could continue using your device for a long time without ever realizing that it has been infected.

2. You Have to Visit Dodgy Websites

Another reason to be skeptical of cracked software is the websites which distribute it. To download cracked software, you generally need to visit sites which specialize in cracking. These sites are already on the wrong side of the law. So they have little incentive not to harm their users.

Cracking sites often have popups or redirects which send you browser to further dangerous sites. You are exposing yourself to risks like adware infections or even ransomware.

3. The Software May Not Work

When you download illegal software, there's no guarantee it will actually work. Many companies take steps to prevent their software being pirated. So you might find that the software never works in the first place. Or it might work for a while, before eventually it stops working.

You also won't be able to download updates for cracked software. This means you won't be able to get any new features for the software. More concerning, it also means you won't receive security updates. If a security vulnerability is discovered in a piece of software, the company responsible for the software will usually roll out a fix as quickly as possible.

If you continue to use the software without updating it, you could be open to even more security threats. Hackers can use vulnerabilities in software to access all sorts of data from your machine.

4. It Could Lead to Legal Problems

Downloading and using cracked software is illegal. If you are caught using it, you could face a range of consequences.

One of the more minor consequences is that you may be blocked by the software vendor temporarily or permanently. For example, if you pirate a copy of Adobe Photoshop, then Adobe could block you from using any of their software in the future. If you rely on this software for your work, this could cause a serious problem.

This is particularly a problem with cracked games. If you download a game illegally and try to play it online, you may well be caught. And if you are, you might find yourself banned not only from that particular game, but also from online gaming platforms like Xbox Live. This would prevent you from gaming online at all using that platform.

Alternatively, if you are caught with pirated software you might receive a fine. In the US, these fines can be up to $250,000. If you are caught distributing pirated software, you could even face jail time.

Another problem might arise with your ISP. If it catches you pirating software, they could report you to the software vendor. Or they could chose to block your internet connection. This can also lead to massive problems if, like most people, you rely on your home internet for work or entertainment.

This affects businesses as well. If you are the director of a business and you have illegal software on your company's devices, you could be held liable.

5. You Could Infect Other Devices on Your Network

Something that some people don't realize is that cracked software isn't only a danger to your device. When you connect to the internet using your home network, your device shares information with other devices on the network like phones, tablets, and other computers. This means that if your device is compromised by malware, that malware can spread.

Once it has penetrated the security of one device via cracked software, malware can travel over networks. If one family member downloads cracked software, then the whole family's devices can be compromised.

It's even worse for businesses, as many have networks of hundreds or even thousands of computers. One person who downloads cracked software onto a work computer, even if they use their home network to do the downloading, can introduce malware to the entire business network. And if you infect your work's network with malware, even unwittingly, you could be disciplined or lose your job.

Don't Risk Using Cracked Software

We've laid out some of the security risks of using cracked software. From facing fines to acquiring malware infections, there are many risks which comes from using illegal software.

If you can't afford a piece of software, then don't look for a cracked version. Instead, look for a free or open source alternative. For a list of places to look, see our list of the safest free software download sites for Windows.

26 Awesome Uses for a Raspberry Pi

Which Raspberry Pi project should you start with? Here's our roundup of the best Raspberry Pi uses and projects around!

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About The Author
Georgina Torbet (87 Articles Published)

Georgina is a science and technology writer who lives in Berlin and has a PhD in psychology. When she's not writing she's usually to be found tinkering with her PC or riding her bicycle, and you can see more of her writing at georginatorbet.com.

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Software cracking

Modification of software, often to use it for free

Software cracking (known as "breaking" mostly in the 1980s[1]) is the modification of software to remove or disable features which are considered undesirable by the person cracking the software, especially copy protection features (including protection against the manipulation of software, serial number, hardware key, Security Archives - Cracked Software Links, date checks and disc check) or software annoyances like nag screens and adware.

A crack refers to the means of achieving, for example a stolen serial number or a tool that performs that act of cracking.[2] Some of these tools are called keygen, patch, or loader. A keygen is a handmade product serial number generator that often offers the ability to generate working serial numbers in your own name. A patch is a small computer program that modifies the machine code of another program. This has the advantage for a cracker to not include a large executable in a release when only a few bytes are changed.[3] A loader modifies the startup flow of a program and does not remove the protection but circumvents it.[4][5] A well-known example of a loader is a trainer used to cheat in games.[6]Fairlight pointed out in one of their .nfo files that these type of cracks are not allowed for warez scene game releases.[7][4][8] A nukewar has shown that the protection may not kick in at any point for it to be a valid crack.[9]

The distribution of cracked copies is illegal in most countries. There have been lawsuits over cracking software.[10] It might be legal to use cracked software in certain Security Archives - Cracked Software Links Educational resources for reverse engineering and software cracking are, however, legal and available in the form of Crackme programs.

History[edit]

The first software copy protection was applied to software for the Apple II,[12]Atari 8-bit family, and Commodore 64 Advanced SystemCare Pro 14.6.0.307 Full Version needed]. Software publishers have implemented increasingly complex methods in an effort to stop unauthorized copying of software.

On the Apple II, the operating system directly controls the step motor that moves the floppy drive head, and also directly interprets the raw data, Security Archives - Cracked Software Links, called nibbles, read from each track to identify the data sectors. This allowed complex disk-based software copy protection, by storing data on half Security Archives - Cracked Software Links (0, 1, Security Archives - Cracked Software Links, 2.5, 3.5, 5, 6.), quarter tracks (0, 1, 2.25, 3.75, 5, 6.), and any combination thereof. In addition, tracks did not need to be perfect rings, but could be sectioned so that sectors could be staggered across overlapping offset tracks, the most extreme version being known as spiral tracking. It was also discovered that many floppy drives did not have a fixed upper limit to head movement, Security Archives - Cracked Software Links, and it was sometimes possible to write an additional 36th track above the normal 35 tracks. The standard Apple II copy programs could not read such protected floppy Security Archives - Cracked Software Links, since the standard DOS assumed that all disks had a uniform 35-track, 13- or 16-sector layout. Special nibble-copy programs such as Locksmith and Copy II Plus could sometimes duplicate these disks by using a reference library of known protection methods; when protected programs were cracked they would be completely stripped of the copy protection system, and transferred onto a standard format disk that any normal Apple II copy program could read.

One of the primary routes to hacking these early copy protections was to run a program that simulates the normal CPU operation. The CPU simulator provides a number of extra features to the hacker, such as the ability to single-step through each processor instruction and to examine the CPU registers and modified memory spaces as the simulation runs (any modern disassembler/debugger can do this). The Apple II provided a built-in opcode disassembler, allowing raw memory to be decoded into CPU opcodes, and this would be utilized to examine what the copy-protection was about to do next. Generally there was little to no defense available to the copy protection system, since all its secrets are made visible through the simulation. However, because the simulation itself must run on the original CPU, in addition to the software being hacked, the simulation would often run extremely slowly even at maximum speed.

On Atari 8-bit computers, the most common protection method was via "bad sectors". These were sectors on the disk that were intentionally unreadable by the disk drive. The software would look for these FREE DOMAIN (DOMAIN GRATIS) when the program was loading and would stop loading if an error code was not returned when accessing these sectors. Special Security Archives - Cracked Software Links programs were available that would copy the disk and remember any bad sectors, Security Archives - Cracked Software Links. The user could then use an application to spin the Security Archives - Cracked Software Links by constantly reading a single sector and display the drive RPM. With the disk drive top removed a small screwdriver could be used to slow the drive RPM below a certain point. Once the drive was slowed down Security Archives - Cracked Software Links application could then go and write "bad sectors" where needed. When done the drive RPM was sped up back to normal and an uncracked copy was made. Of course cracking the software to expect good sectors made for readily copied disks without the need to meddle with the disk drive. As time went on more sophisticated methods were developed, but almost all involved some form of malformed disk data, such as a sector that might return different data on separate accesses due to bad data alignment. Products became available (from companies such as Happy Computers) which replaced the controller BIOS in Atari's "smart" drives. These upgraded drives allowed the user to make exact copies of the original program with copy protections in place on the new disk.

On the Commodore 64, several methods were used to protect software. For software distributed on ROM cartridges, subroutines were included which attempted to write over the program code. If the software was on ROM, nothing would happen, but if the software had been moved to RAM, the software would be disabled. Because of the operation of Commodore floppy drives, one write protection scheme would cause the floppy drive head to bang against the end of its rail, which could cause the drive head to become misaligned. In some cases, cracked versions of software were desirable to avoid this result. A misaligned drive head was rare usually fixing itself by smashing against the rail stops. Another brutal protection scheme was grinding from track 1 to 40 and back a few times.

Most of the early software crackers were computer hobbyists Xlight FTP Server 3.7.3 crack serial keygen often formed groups that competed against each other in the cracking and spreading of software. Breaking a new copy protection scheme as quickly as possible was often regarded as an opportunity to demonstrate one's technical superiority rather than a possibility of money-making. Some low skilled hobbyists would take already cracked software and edit various unencrypted strings of text in it to change messages a game would tell a game player, often something considered vulgar. Uploading the altered copies on file sharing networks provided a source of laughs for adult users. The cracker groups of the 1980s started to advertise themselves and their skills by attaching animated screens known as crack intros in the software programs they cracked and released. Once the technical competition had expanded from the challenges of cracking to the challenges of creating visually stunning intros, Security Archives - Cracked Software Links, the foundations for a new subculture known as demoscene were established. Demoscene started to separate itself from the illegal "warez scene" during the 1990s and is now regarded as a completely different subculture. Many software crackers have later grown into extremely capable software reverse engineers; the deep knowledge of assembly required in order to crack protections enables them to reverse engineerdrivers in order to port them 4th Pass Source Guard Enterprise Edition 4.0 crack serial keygen binary-only drivers for Windows to drivers with source code for Linux and other free operating systems. Also because music and game intro was such an integral part of gaming the music format and graphics became very popular when hardware became affordable for the home user.

With the rise of the Internet, software crackers developed secretive online organizations. In the latter half of the nineties, one of the most respected sources of information about "software protection reversing" was Fravia's website.

+HCU[edit]

The High Cracking University (+HCU) was founded by Old Red Cracker (+ORC), considered a genius of reverse engineering and a legendary figure in RCE, to advance research into Reverse Code Engineering (RCE). He had also taught and authored many papers on the subject, and his texts are considered classics in the field and are mandatory reading for students of RCE.[13]

The addition of the "+" sign in front of the nickname of a reverser signified membership in the +HCU. Amongst the students of +HCU were the top of the elite Windows reversers worldwide.[13] +HCU published a new reverse engineering problem annually and a small number of respondents with the best replies qualified for an undergraduate position at the university.[13]

+Fravia was a professor at +HCU. Fravia's website was known as "+Fravia's Pages of Reverse Engineering" and he used it to challenge programmers as well as the wider society to "reverse engineer" the "brainwashing of a corrupt and rampant materialism". In its heyday, his website received millions of visitors per year and its influence was "widespread".[13]

Nowadays Hitman Pro 3.8.36 Crack + Product Key Full Version (2021) of the graduates of +HCU have migrated to Linux and few have remained as Windows reversers. The information at the university has been rediscovered by a new generation of researchers and practitioners of RCE who have started new research projects in the field.[13]

Methods[edit]

The most common software crack is the modification of an application's binary to cause or prevent a specific key branch in the program's execution. This is accomplished by reverse engineering the compiled program code using a debugger such as SoftICE,[14]x64dbg, OllyDbg,[15]GDB, or MacsBug until the software cracker reaches the subroutine that contains the primary method of protecting the software (or by disassembling an executable file with a program such as IDA). The binary is then modified using the debugger or a hex editor or monitor in a manner that replaces a prior branching opcode with its complement or a NOPopcode so the key branch will either always execute a specific subroutine or skip over it. Almost all common software cracks are a variation of this type, Security Archives - Cracked Software Links. Proprietary software developers are constantly developing techniques such as code obfuscation, encryption, and self-modifying code to make this modification increasingly difficult. Even with these measures being taken, developers struggle to combat software cracking. This is because it is very common for a professional to publicly release a simple cracked EXE or Retrium Installer for public download, eliminating the need for inexperienced users to crack the software themselves.

A specific example of this technique is a crack that removes the expiration period from a time-limited trial of an application. These cracks are usually programs that alter the program executable and sometimes the .dll or .so linked to the application. Similar cracks are available for software that requires a hardware dongle. A company can also break the copy protection of programs that they have legally purchased but that Security Archives - Cracked Software Links licensed to particular hardware, so that there is no risk of downtime due to hardware failure (and, of course, no need to restrict oneself to running the software on bought hardware only).

Another method is the use of special software Smadav Pro Rev 14.6.2 Crack Incl Key Full Version [2021] as CloneCD to scan for the use of a commercial copy protection application. After discovering the software used to protect the application, another tool may be used to remove the copy protection from the software on the CD or DVD. This may enable another program such as Alcohol 120%, CloneDVD, Game Jackal, or Daemon Tools to copy the protected software to a Voicemod Pro [2.17.0.2] Crack + License Key (Latest 2022) Free Download hard disk. Popular commercial copy protection applications which may be scanned for include SafeDisc and StarForce.[16]

In other cases, it might be possible to decompile a program in order to get access to the original source code or code on a level higher than machine code. This is often possible with scripting languages and languages utilizing JIT compilation. An example is cracking (or debugging) on the .NET platform where one might consider manipulating CIL to achieve one's needs. Java'sbytecode also works in a similar fashion in which there is an intermediate language before the program is compiled to run on the platform dependent machine code.

Advanced reverse engineering for protections such as SecuROM, SafeDisc, StarForce, or Denuvo requires a cracker, or many crackers to spend much more time studying the protection, eventually finding every flaw within the protection code, and then coding their own tools to "unwrap" the protection automatically from executable (.EXE) and library (.DLL) files.

There are a number of sites on the Internet that let users download cracks produced by warez groups for Security Archives - Cracked Software Links games and applications (although at the danger of acquiring malicious software that is sometimes distributed via such sites).[17] Although these cracks are used by legal buyers of software, they can also be used by people who have downloaded or otherwise obtained unauthorized copies (often through P2P networks).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^Kevelson, Morton (October 1985). "Isepic". Ahoy!. pp. 71–73. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
  2. ^Tulloch, Mitch (2003). Microsoft Encyclopedia of Security(PDF). Redmond, Washington: Microsoft Press. p. 68. ISBN .
  3. ^Craig, Paul; Ron, Mark (April 2005). "Chapter 4: Crackers". In Burnett, Mark (ed.). Software Piracy Exposed - Secrets from the Dark Side Revealed. Publisher: Andrew Williams, Page Layout and Art: Patricia Lupien, Acquisitions Editor: Jaime Quigley, Security Archives - Cracked Software Links, Copy Editor: Judy Eby, Technical Editor: Mark Burnett, Indexer: Nara Wood, Cover Designer: Michael Kavish. United States Security Archives - Cracked Software Links America: Syngress Publishing. pp. 75–76. doi:10.1016/B978-193226698-6/50029-5. ISBN .
  4. ^ abFLT (January 22, 2013). "The_Sims_3_70s_80s_and_90s_Stuff-FLT".
  5. ^Shub-Nigurrath [ARTeam]; ThunderPwr [ARTeam] (January 2006). "Cracking with Loaders: Theory, General Approach, and a Framework". CodeBreakers Magazine. Security Archives - Cracked Software Links Research Project. 1 (1).
  6. ^Nigurrath, Shub (May 2006). "Guide on how to play with processes memory, writing loaders, and Oraculumns". CodeBreakers Magazine. Universitas-Virtualis Research Project. 1 (2).
  7. ^FLT (September 29, Security Archives - Cracked Software Links, 2013). "Test_Drive_Ferrari_Legends_PROPER-FLT".
  8. ^SKIDROW (January 21, 2013). "Test.Drive.Ferrari.Racing.Legends.Read.Nfo-SKIDROW".
  9. ^"Batman.Arkham.City-FiGHTCLUB nukewar". December 2, 2011. Archived from the original on September 13, 2014.
  10. ^Cheng, Jacqui (September 27, 2006). "Microsoft files lawsuit over DRM crack". Ars Technica.
  11. ^Fravia (November 1998). "Is reverse engineering legal?".
  12. ^Pearson, Jordan (July 24, 2017). "Programmers Are Racing to Save Apple II Software Before It Goes Extinct". Motherboard. Archived from the original on September 27, 2017. Retrieved January 27, 2018.
  13. ^ abcdeCyrus Peikari; Anton Chuvakin (January 12, 2004). Security Warrior. "O'Reilly Media, Inc.". p. 31. ISBN .
  14. ^Ankit, Jain; Jason, Kuo; Jordan, Soet; Brian, Tse (April 2007). Security Archives - Cracked Software Links Cracking (April 2007)"(PDF). The University of British Columbia - Electrical and Computer Engineering. Retrieved January 27, 2018.
  15. ^Wójcik, Bartosz. "Reverse engineering tools review". pelock.com. PELock. Archived from the original on September 13, 2017. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
  16. ^Gamecopyworld Howto
  17. ^McCandless, David (April 1, 1997). "Warez Wars". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved February 4, 2020.
Источник: [https://torrent-igruha.org/3551-portal.html]

6 tips to avoid getting a virus on your devices from the internet

1. Install antivirus software

If you want to avoid getting a virus on your devices from the internet, installing and running antivirus software is important. Cyberthreats have evolved, and everyday activities like online banking, shopping, and browsing can make you vulnerable to cyberthreats.

Viruses are a major cyberthreat, which is why it’s smart to keep your devices protected against them. Reputable security software can help protect against phishing and other online threats as you bank, shop, and browse online.

2. Be careful with email attachments

Email services like Gmail and Outlook ask for your permission before downloading an attachment. There’s a reason for that. Downloading an attachment can be dangerous. While email services often have virus protection built into their software, emails with viruses as attachments can still reach your inbox.

Cybercriminals often try to spread a virus with spamming emails. They send the emails with malicious attachments to a multitude of people. Once opened and executed, the virus can install in the background and begin its work.

If you don’t know the person who sent you an email attachment — or if the email looks like it could be a phishing attempt — then ignoring it might be your best option. Only click on attachments or download files from your email if you trust the source.

It’s also smart to disable image previews within your email software. This feature can be found in the Options or Settings of the program.

Some viruses can attach to images and install themselves as soon as the email is opened. You can configure your settings to only show images from trusted sources. This can help prevent an infected image from turning into a virus on your computer.

3. Patch your operating system and applications

Tech companies routinely put out software updates to make their devices or software safer to use. Without these updates, cybercriminals can abuse security flaws and force a device to download a virus.

This cyberthreat is called a software vulnerability. You might be careful to avoid viruses on the internet, but a software vulnerability may lurk in the background of your computer. The only way to ensure you’ve covered this risk? Regularly update your software whenever a patch is available. Or you can adjust your computer settings to accept updates automatically.

4. Avoid questionable websites

It is believed that there are over 1.7 billion websites in the world, Security Archives - Cracked Software Links, and not all of them have the best intentions. The bad ones that pose a cyberthreat Security Archives - Cracked Software Links use a variety of tools to download a virus to your computer, like drive-by downloads, hosting malicious advertisements, and getting you to click on misleading links.

Avoid clicking on links to websites with suspicious names, such as mixtures of letters and numbers that don’t resemble words. Also be on the lookout for websites that share names of trusted brands, but have a variation within the URL. If there are extra symbols in the URL, it’s likely a fake website.

5. Avoid pirated software

It might be tempting to get a free copy of a game, movie, or application that everyone else has to pay for. But if you download a cracked or illegal version of software, your computer or mobile device could be at risk.

Pirated software often comes from difficult-to-find websites or peer-to-peer sharing, both of which contain users who may simply be looking for their favorite movie, or those who are looking to spread a virus.

With no virus protection built into what’s being downloaded, it’s easy for a cybercriminal to slip a virus into a free application. Sometimes there won’t even be any free software — just a virus.

Be cautious when downloading anything for free. If you download pirated files — which is not recommended — make sure Security Archives - Cracked Software Links using antivirus software.

6. Backup your computer

This tip may not help you avoid getting a virus on your devices from the internet, but it will help you sidestep some of the damage and stress that comes with it if you do.

By regularly using a cloud backup, you can keep copies of all your important files and records in a location that won’t be contaminated by the virus, Security Archives - Cracked Software Links.

Then, should you become a victim of a computer virus that’s difficult to get rid of without damaging your files, Security Archives - Cracked Software Links, you can simply wipe your device and restore it to the most recent point before it was infected.


Editorial note: Our articles provide educational information for you. NortonLifeLock offerings may not cover or protect against every type of crime, fraud, or threat we write about. Our goal is to increase awareness about cyber safety. Please review complete Terms during enrollment or setup. Remember that no one can prevent all identity theft or cybercrime, and that LifeLock does not monitor all transactions at all businesses.

Copyright © 2021 NortonLifeLock Inc. All rights reserved. NortonLifeLock, the NortonLifeLock Logo, the Checkmark Logo, Norton, LifeLock, and the LockMan Logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of NortonLifeLock Inc. or its affiliates in the United States and other countries. Firefox is a trademark of Mozilla Foundation. Android, Google Chrome, Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google, LLC. Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. Alexa and all related logos are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. Microsoft and the Window logo are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the U.S. and other countries. The Android robot is reproduced or modified from work created and shared by Google and used according to terms described in the Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution License. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Источник: [https://torrent-igruha.org/3551-portal.html]

Fake software crack sites used to push Exorcist 2.0 Ransomware

Lock

The threat actors behind the Exorcist 2.0 ransomware are using malicious advertising to redirect victims to fake software crack sites that distribute their malware.

According to security researcher Nao_Sec, PopCash malvertising is redirecting users from legitimate sites to a fake software crack site.

This crack site, shown below, pretends to offer download links for the programs that break copyright protection on commercial software so that it can be used for free.

For example, in the image below, the site pretends to offer a 'Windows 10 Activator 2020' that will allow you to activate Windows 10 for free.

Fake software crack site

The downloaded archive contains another password-protected zip file and a text file that contains the archive's password.

By password-protecting the archive, it allows the download to occur without being detected by Google Safe Browsing, Microsoft SmartScreen, or installed security software.

Archive with <i>Security Archives - Cracked Software Links</i> protected zip file

If the setup program is run, though, users will find that their files become encrypted instead of installing free Windows 10 activator, as shown below.

Excorcist 2.0 encrypted files

Included in encrypted folders will be ransom notes that contain unique links to a Tor payment site where a victim can get information on how to pay a ransom.

Excorcist 2.0 ransom note

When visiting the Excorcist Tor payment site, victims can get free decryption of one file, a way to chat with the threat actors, and the ransom amount that they need to pay.

From Excorcist ransom notes seen by BleepingComputer, we have seen ransom demands as low as $250 to as higher $10,000. We are sure there are much higher amounts being demanded, depending on the number of files encrypted or other criteria.

Excorcist 2.0 Tor payment site

Using fake software cracks to distribute the malware is the same tactic used by the STOP Ransomware actors, which led STOP to be the most widespread currently active ransomware.

If Exorcist 2.0 continues to use fake software cracks as their distribution method, we can expect to see a similar rise in victims.

Источник: [https://torrent-igruha.org/3551-portal.html]

Pirated Software is All Fun and Games Until Your Data’s Stolen

Crack

It may be tempting to try to download the latest games Security Archives - Cracked Software Links applications for free, but doing so will ultimately land you in a hotbed of trouble as your computer becomes infected with adware, ransomware, and password-stealing Trojans.

Tools that allow you to crack, or bypass license restrictions, Security Archives - Cracked Software Links, in copyrighted software have been around forever and users have always known that they face the risk of being infected with unwanted software by using them.

In the past, though, most of the unwanted programs that were installed were adware or browser extensions, and though definitely a nuisance, for the most part, they were not stealing your files or installing ransomware on your computer.

This has Security Archives - Cracked Software Links as software installer monetization companies have started to increasingly team up with ransomware and password-stealing Trojan developers to distribute their malware.

Passwords stolen through software cracks

BleepingComputer has been tracking adware bundles for a long time and in the past, they would install unwanted programs, but had no long-term ramifications to your data, privacy, or financial information.

Security researcher Benkøw has recently noticed that monetized installers pretending to be software cracks and key generators are now commonly installing password-stealing Trojans or remote access Trojans (RATs) when they are executed.

Tweet

In his tests over the past week by downloading various programs promoted as game cheats, software key generators, and licensed software, when installing them he was infected with password-stealing Trojans and backdoors such as Dreambot, Glupteba, and Racoon Stealer.

In BleepingComputer's tests, we were infected with ShadowTechRAT, which would allow an attacker to gain full access to an Security Archives - Cracked Software Links computer.

It is not only RATs and password-stealing Trojans that users could Driver detective Version: 6.4 crack serial keygen infected with.

One of the most prolific ransomware infections called STOP is known to be installed through these same adware bundles.

Distributed via torrent sites, YouTube, and fake crack sites

To distribute these adware bundles, attackers will upload them to torrent sites, create fake YouTube videos with links to alleged license key generators, Security Archives - Cracked Software Links create sites designed to just promote adware bundles disguised as software cracks.

On torrent sites, you will commonly find that the same user has uploaded many different games, Security Archives - Cracked Software Links, applications, and key generators that all have the same size.  For example, in the image below you can see a user named 'toneg374' had uploaded many torrents around the same time that all have the size of 25.33 MB.

Security Archives - Cracked Software Links site pushing copyrighted games" height="500" src="https://www.bleepstatic.com/images/news/malware/c/cracks-pws/game-cracks.jpg" width="785">

YouTube also has its fair share of scammers who create videos promoting a game cheat and then include a link to a file download. Like the torrent sites, these downloads are adware bundles that install malware.

Security Archives - Cracked Software Links pushing key generator" height="500" src="https://www.bleepstatic.com/images/news/malware/c/cracks-pws/youtube.jpg" width="516">

When users download these files they think they are getting the latest game, application, or cheat for free, but when they install it they will be greeted with an installation screen that quickly disappears.

InstallCapital Adware Bundle screen

In the background, though, malware had been installed and either executed to steal the victim's passwords or data or to sit running while performing malicious activity.

 ShadowTechRAT installed in BleepingComputer's test

It's not worth it

While it may be tempting to download pirated software so that you do not have to pay for it, the risks far outweigh the reward.

Even if we put aside the fact that downloading copyrighted software is illegal, it is just not worth the potential risk of losing your data, online banking credentials being stolen, or data being stolen.

BleepingComputer gets emails, Twitter DMs, and Facebook messages every day from people who were infected by the STOP ransomware after pirating software.

These people have lost baby pictures, their thesis, or company data simply because they wanted to save $50. They now have to pay $1,000 or more to get their files back.

It is just not worth it.

Источник: [https://torrent-igruha.org/3551-portal.html]

Fake pirated software sites serve up malware droppers as a service

During our recent investigation into an ongoing Raccoon Stealer (an information stealing malware) campaign, we found that the malware was being distributed by a network of websites acting as a “dropper as a service,” serving up a variety of other malware packages—often bundling multiple unrelated malware together in a single dropper. These malware included an assortment of clickfraud bots, other information stealers, and even ransomware.

While the Raccoon Stealer campaign we tracked on these sites took place between January and April, 2021, we continue to see malware and other malicious content distributed through the same network of sites. Multiple front-end websites targeting individuals seeking “cracked” versions of popular consumer and enterprise software packages link into a network of domains used to redirect the victim to the payload designed for their platform.

We discovered multiple networks using the same basic tactics in our research. All of these networks use search engine optimization to put a “bait” webpage on the first page of results for search engine queries seeking “crack” versions of a variety of software products.

As we researched the Raccoon Stealer campaign, we discovered multiple other cases where some of these sites had been tied to other malware Security Archives - Cracked Software Links. We found a variety of information stealers, clickfraud bots, and other malware delivered through the sites, including Conti and STOP ransomware. So we began to investigate the networks behind the sites themselves.

Come download me, bro

Most of the bait pages we found are hosted on WordPress blog platforms, Security Archives - Cracked Software Links. Download buttons on these pages link to another host, passing a set of parameters that includes the package name and affiliate identifier codes to an application that then redirects the browser session to yet another intermediary site, before finally arriving at a destination.

Some clicks on bait pages are directed to a download site that hosts 500 Supreme 1.0 crack serial keygen packaged archive containing malware, Security Archives - Cracked Software Links. Others are steered to browser plugins or applications that fall in a potentially unwanted grey area.

Visitors who arrive on these sites are prompted to allow notifications; If they allow this to happen, the websites repeatedly issue iDevice Manager Pro 10.8.0.0 Crack & Serial Key 2021 Download Latest malware alerts. If the users click the alerts, they’re directed through a series of websites until they arrive at a destination that’s determined by the visitor’s operating system, browser type, and geographic location.

The downloads contained a variety of potentially unwanted applications and malware. We downloaded installers for Stop ransomware, the Glupteba backdoor, and a variety of malicious cryptocurrency miners (in addition to Raccoon Stealer)

In a bit of irony, many of these malware were delivered by downloads purporting to be installers for antivirus products, including 15 we examined that claimed to be licensing-bypassed versions of the Sophos-owned HitmanPro.

Because the dynamic delivery network acts as an intermediary between the bait sites and the download sites, the same faked “cracked” product download page can deliver multiple malicious campaigns at the same time, and switch from one deliverable download to another when the malware actor “customer” has burned through their paid deliveries.

These networks work in a fashion similar to those behind the “fake alert” scams we researched last year. All of these activities are the product of an underground marketplace for paid download services, advertised on web boards frequented by would-be cybercriminals. A few hundred US dollars worth of cryptocurrency can buy a malware actor hundreds or thousands of downloads—though the price goes up if there’s a specific geographic targeting desired.

(As a rule, these services do not target network addresses in Commonwealth of Independent States countries.)

Special delivery

“Traffic exchanges” are an old standby of malware campaigns, Security Archives - Cracked Software Links. Often mocked on underground boards as old-fashioned, these marketplaces for “software installs” are still part of the toolkit for a variety of malware actors and other cybercriminals, particularly for entry-level criminals with very few skills who want to spread malware.

Many of these services advertise on the same boards where they are mocked. Criminal affiliates can set up accounts quickly, but most require a deposit paid in Bitcoin before they can begin distributing installers. InstallBest (on installs[.]info, shown below), is hosted in Russia. The site provides very direct instructions on how to get started, in Russian and English:

The site also offers some advice on “best practices,” recommending against using Cloudflare-based hosts for downloaders, as well as using URLs within Discord’s CDNBitbucket, or other cloud services. As evidenced by our discovery of some of these installers on Discord, affiliates don’t always heed this advice.

Once the affiliate deposits Bitcoin, they can set up campaigns using a simple web form.
The form allows for the selection of specific geographic distribution areas, charging more for targets in the United States, Security Archives - Cracked Software Links, Canada, and Australia.

Another Russian-based site, Security Archives - Cracked Software Links, shop1[.]host, promoted on underground web boards, is apparently pivoting as it claims to be putting its payment system into maintenance for “a month or two.”

Malware middlemen

Some of these services provide their own delivery networks. Others simply act as go-betweens to established traffic suppliers, Security Archives - Cracked Software Links, including malvertising networks that pay blog publishers for traffic.

One of these, tied to several of the malware campaigns we found hosted on the “cracked” software blogs, was powered in part by InstallUSD, an advertising network based in Pakistan which promises a payment of up to $5 US for every software install delivered.

InstallUSD’s site allowed site owners to register to publish download links, but required them to complete registration through Skype chat with a “publishers manager,” referred to as Jamashad. We attempted to contact InstallUSD about their program, but received no response.

Further investigation of InstallUSD uncovered a Facebook page for the group. A phone number provided on the organization’s Facebook page is also connected to a Facebook page for WorkingKeys[.]org, a website that purports to host cracked software downloads. In fact, that site also is connected to InstallUSD through the links that lead to the malware.

The WorkingKeys website’s domain name servers (ns1.installusd.online and ns2.installusd.online) also act as domain name servers for about 150 other domains with names related to cracked software. Some of them are inactive, and some have no outbound links to downloads, but several of them are serving up malware.

As we investigated the other malicious websites tied to droppers-as-a-service, we found many of them were connected to InstallUSD’s malvertising infrastructure.

Following the downloads

During our Raccoon Stealer investigation, we found a campaign that deployed the information stealing malware via a number of .zip archives. The hosting for these files was traced back to several websites purporting to distribute “cracked” versions of software packages, offering downloads of installers with license-bypassing schemes.

These “cracked” bait sites have continued to serve up new malware campaigns well after the original Raccoon Stealer campaign ended. Leveraging search engine optimization techniques, they have jockeyed for position at the top of search engine results for cracked versions of a wide range of software products, but especially information security products and more expensive business software tools.

We appended “crack” to the names of several well-known commercial software products, and consistently found 15 sites on the first two pages of results. These sites fell into three distinct groups, based on how they delivered victims to malware, but they all followed the same general approach, and all used the same payload wrapping scheme for their downloaders—leading us to believe that they were connected to a common dropper-as-service.

Method 1: InstallUSD affiliate system

A group of eight of our initial group of 15 “bait” blogs connected to infrastructure we tied to the InstallUSD install-as-a-service network. These sites had download buttons driven by a remote JavaScript that redirected visitors through a series of sites, including trackers that checked campaign-related information and generated redirects based on verification of the inbound link and assessment of the operating system and browser information from the User-Agent headers sent with each request. The tracker sites, and many of the bait blogs, were behind Cloudflare’s CDN, and almost all were registered through Namecheap.

If a user tried to download the files using a mobile, MacOS, Security Archives - Cracked Software Links, or Linux browser, or if they had browser security plugins installed, the redirects would lead to a different monetizing destination:

  • A fake alert for mobile devices promoting the installation of a VPN or security app
  • A page insisting the user install a browser plug-in to view content
  • Redirects through other affiliate programs for paid traffic, including bogus Yahoo news pages, adult web games, and “dating” sites

For those who clicked and passed the User-Agent screening, the redirects would eventually lead to a download page on another server. Completing the download resulted in the delivery of a malware payload.

The JavaScript that controlled the behavior of the download button on these eight sites came from a number of different source servers, but they all had the same basic signature. First, they opened a new browser tab using forwarding links passed through referral proxies—sites intended to create “anonymous” links (that scrubbed the forward of any referrer reference to the originating site). In early investigations, this refer proxy was nullrefer[.]com; By late July and August, the scripts providing the forwarding changed to the proxy href[.]li (a service operated by WordPress’ parent company, Automattic).

The destination site embedded in the request to the referral proxies were concealed in HTTPS, which concealed the actual destination from inspection by browser security tools. Also embedded in the destination URL were base64-encoded text that pointed to a common command and control server.

The cross-site scripts loaded for the download buttons on these sites were fairly uniform. They were all generated dynamically based on data passed as part of the URL source for the script. For example this script call for a link to an copy of (ostensibly) Avast’s antivirus product:

hxxps://undesirablez[.]xyz/index.php?id=127&user=576&hash=5c20216270730bf35431cb722fef6a67&q=Avast Premier 21.6.2474%20 Crack + License Key [Latest Release]

Yielded this script:

The URIs generated for these scripts followed these patterns:

  • https://nullrefer[.]com/?https://[first stage tracker server hostname]/index.php?lander=[base64 encoded URI]&pageDisplay=0
  • https://href.li/?https://[first stage tracker server hostname]?arch=[base64 encoded URL]&pageDisplay=0

Each retrieval of the script resulted in a new tracker server hostname as part of the URL, so no two click-throughs followed the same redirection path. However, at least some of these hostnames resolved to the same endpoint, as we discovered when testing some of the domains.

The button scripts opened these links in a new browser tab or window. The referrer proxy then redirected the page to the first stage tracker server. Decoding the Base64 text Security Archives - Cracked Software Links the request they were forwarded revealed how all these trackers were tied together—in both formats, the text contained a URI pointing to a subdomain of InstallUSD[.]com, in this format:

hxxps://landing2.installusd[.]com/display/index.php?page=querycpc/items/&aduid=[unique identifier]&button=1&displaytype=0&pid=[identifying integer]&time=[Unix timestamp of request]&hash=[md5 hash of file]&q=[the name the archive was advertised under]

So, for example, a click on a button alleged to connect to a “cracked” copy of HitmanPro, made at 18:08:55 GMT on August 4, 2021 transmitted this Base64-encoded tracker link:

After being refx nexus crack Archives by the proxy, the script running on the intermediary advertising tracker site would process the URL. The Base64-encoded URL on landing2.installusd[.]com resolved to a JSON document providing confirmation of the referrer name and the payload expected, in this format:

{“result”:”success”,”trackUrl”:”https://href.li/?https://[second tracker server hostname/{pubid}/[advertised name of download]/{hash_code}&[lowercase and no punctuation name of download file]“,”adID”:”[an identifying number for the campaign]“,”triggerTime”:0}

So, for example, a JSON response for a click on a fake Nitro Pro download we followed yielded this JSON from landing2.installusd[.]com:

Using this JSON, the tracker server builds the link to the second stage tracker server, and redirects the victim’s browser to that URL (again using href.li as a proxy), in the format:

hxxps://[hostname]/[the ID pro l 2 Archives the originating site]/[name of fake product]/[hash code generated from the lowercase, unpunctuated filename]

The second stage tracker would then process the name and hash, and redirect the browser to a download server. These servers, redirected to IP addresses, were largely short-lived Amazon EC2 instances.

We disrupted this delivery pipeline when we reported the landing2.installusd[.]com host to Cloudflare, and they put an interstitial page up blocking requests. But that was not the end of malware delivery for those sites. Two days later, some of the sites we tracked started using a slightly modified version of the same tracker architecture, using a new “lander” host and the same source hosts for the downloader button scripts. Additionally, the new lander host rejected requests from outside the network for the JSON object, to complicate analysis.

Download Plan B

Some of the disrupted sites did not shift to the new infrastructure. Instead, using the same scripting hosts they had originally pointed to, they received JavaScript that launched an abbreviated version of the original redirect system, linking to a tracker server that redirected directly to the download server for the payload. Some did not use the href.li redirector.

The URL for retrieving the button script contains three variables: “s” (an integer identifying the source of the link), “q”(the name of the download), and “g” (another integer unique to the source “blog”). These values are reflected in the returned script as variables:

A function named “getThere” opens a new Security Archives - Cracked Software Links window with a URL pointing at the tracker server. The URL follows this format:

hxxps://[tracker Security Archives - Cracked Software Links name]/?s=[the integer passed as the “s” variable]&q=[the name of the fake cracked software product]&dedica=[the integer passed as the “g” variable]&hmac=[a base64-encoded block of text]

The base64-encoded text, which when decoded, is revealed to be data set of hash values.

A smaller number of sites had this style link embedded in the page code, either in a JavaScript function connected to the button or as a raw link. However, the sites that had a raw link associated with the button had HTML artifacts that suggested the link may have been rendered by a back-end PHP plug-in—concealing the connection to the C2 providing the scripts behind the server.

The new tracker site itself did not appear to inspect the browser User-Agent; we reached the intended payload for Windows from a variety of browser agent types. However, some of the download servers did their own check, and a click on the download button from a non-Windows agent yielded a redirect to another monetizing link, such as a fake alert or “naughty dating” site. These sites were localized by the IP range the browser was visiting from as well.

Another set of servers implemented a different set of JavaScript.

The downloads, Security Archives - Cracked Software Links, please

Regardless of how they got to the downloads, all of these delivery methods dropped packages with the same basic characteristics. The download was a .zip archive file named after the alleged “cracked” product sought by the target. Inside, all the archives each contained an additional .zip archive and a file with “password” in its name.

These text files contained numeric passwords for the archives, and in some cases ASCII art.

password file 1 While the payload packages all use the same structure, their contents varied over time, and by site. Over the course of our investigation, we observed multiple types of droppers deployed using this scheme.

Because the malicious payloads are in password-protected archives–and in formats that cannot be opened natively by Windows Explorer–they cannot be scanned by endpoint security tools during download (though they may be blocked by reputation by browsers, or browser plugins).

The droppers investigated during the Raccoon Stealer campaign often carried multiple payloads.They included a modified version of a legitimate Windows installer package (gdiview.msi), Security Archives - Cracked Software Links. The contents appear to be a version of NirSoft’s GDIview freeware system utility, compiled in 2016.

GDIviewer Properties

The properties tab for the GDIview executable packed in the dropper show its compile date: December 4, 2016.

readme-gdiview

The installer package drops this legitimate (but old) version of GDIview, along with what appears to be an unsigned executable named Icon.controlPanelIcon.exe. It’s actually a desktop icon file, and when it gets loaded in the context of GDIview, it causes an error:All of this is a diversion intended to make the user believe the install of the “cracked” application they thought they downloaded had failed, Security Archives - Cracked Software Links. Meanwhile, the real second-stage installer is calling home to retrieve yet another payload.

A capture of web requests from from the dropper show an argument suggesting that this was a paid install — with seller, price, and other metadata. The dropper here was itself sold as a service, and was then distributed via a download-as-a-service network.

In our sample, this phone-home was followed by the retrieval of a third-stage dropper executable from another domain (dream[.]pics).

The strings in the real second-stage dropper includes a number of anti-analysis checks, looking for virtual machine artifacts, tools used for web traffic analysis, and other sandboxing tools:

There is an embedded certificate in the binary. It is a decoy file, used for detecting already infected systems.

The third-stage binary deploys a malicious browser extension. It also steals Facebook cookies express vpn pro apk cracked Archives obtain account details (including linked Instagram accounts and saved credit card data), grabs saved passwords from browsers on the affected machine, and installs a malicious DLL the purpose of which is to forge clicks on the “like” and “subscribe” buttons of specific YouTube channels.

Droppers reloaded

In our follow-up research, we found several different distinct droppers being used, most of them clearly operating as droppers as a service. Among them was one much like Raccoon Stealer, in that it was both an information stealer and a dropper-as-a-service.

The dropper is a 1.5 megabyte executable, named setup_x86_x64_install.exe in every download package we found. And we found a lot of them, in part thanks to a misconfiguration of the download server that allowed us access to all the .zip archives staged on it.

We managed to retrieve 286 .zip archives from this server, all containing the same dropper. But the dropper samples we analyzed, while virtually identical in size and basic behavior, each had varying configurations, with different C2 domains and payloads. Some of the droppers stored in these archives triggered ransomware alerts from Windows Defender on our baseline target machine–specifically for Conti. But the primary payload of this malware dropper appears to be the CryptBot information stealer.

Every version we found of setup_x86_x64_install.exe in these archives were 32-bit Windows executable files. Each has its own alphabet-salad name and version information:

The first-stage dropper’s payload is a set of set of files packed in a .cab archive named CABINET. In most of the samples we studied, these files were labeled as PowerPoint (.pptx) files. Others had extensions that associate them with graphics files, Word template files, Security Archives - Cracked Software Links, and other (normally) benign filetypes. But they were not any of these. Instead, these files were a set of scripts and executables disguised to evade detection by antimalware tools. The dropper launches one of them with cmd.exe, essentially using it as a batch script to create the second-stage malware.

One contained shell commands to extract another second-stage executable:

These domains went dark shortly after we began evaluating the droppers. But they aren’t the only source of malware delivered by these groups.

This batch file does the following:

It performs a bit of anti-analysis by checking to see if the target has a system name that includes “DESKTOP-“. If it does, it uses the ping command as a timer to delay execution long enough to cause some sandbox environments and analysis tools to time out.

It then uses the Windows findstr command to extract text from another dropped file that is definitely not a PowerPoint document (Vecchie.pptx in this sample) using a regular expression to match a block of code, and writes that to an executable file (in this sample, Trarre.exe.com)–an AutoIT script.

Next, it copies a third file (Fra.pptx) to a file with a single letter name (H here). That file contains an obfuscated script and then passes that as Security Archives - Cracked Software Links runtime parameter to the just-extracted AutoIT script. A fourth dropped file is read and deleted. Then the batch script runs ping again for 30 seconds as a timer before the AutoIT script executes itself again.

This time, the script searches for environmental settings indicating the presence of antivirus protection, and looks for the location of browser cookies and cryptocurrency wallet files. It then tries to download a second executable from a C2 server domain. Each dropper appeared to have a different C2 server, but all were all hosts with .top top-level domains, registered through NiceNic.net.

The organization tied to the domains’ registrations was “Boris Godunov,” which appears to have been a play on the name of the Soviet villain Boris Badunov from the 1960s-era Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. At least this threat actor has a sense of humor and a taste for eclectic pop culture.

The third stage also gathers up all system information, passwords and cookies from browsers, and other data (with strings such as cryptocurrency, Electrum, wallets, and default_wallet included in a search for cryptocurrency wallets and credentials). All this data is packed into a .zip archive for upload, along with a screen shot of the victim’s system:

The malware-industrial complex

As we noted in our Raccoon Stealer research, malware-as-a-service platforms make it relatively inexpensive for would-be cybercriminals with limited skills to get started. The business model of these services based largely on the market for stolen credentials and cryptocurrency fraud. The same is true of CryptBot and the other malware we saw in our continued research; they largely focused on credential theft and cryptocurrency fraud, with additional fraud thrown in as a bonus.

Dropper packages and the malware delivery platforms that deliver them, such as the website networks we’ve investigated here, have been around for a long time, but they continue to thrive because of the same sort of market dynamics as those that make stealers as a service so profitable. They cover every other aspect of getting any malware—whether it is malware-as-a-service, off-the-shelf malware, or crafted by its operator—onto a victim’s machine, with little technical skill required from the “customer.”

The sort of “watering hole” attack we saw here uses carefully cultivated search engine optimization to draw in a specific kind of victim: computer users seeking pirated software. While there are sites that actually deliver key generators and “cracked” versions of software products, these sites have been intentionally crafted, along with the redirect networks they connect to, to cater to a particular subset of people (with the right operating system and level of browser protection) with download sites laden with malware, and to make cash off of all other visitors by redirecting them to other paying customers. These networks are also resilient, using disposable domains and short-term downloader hosting for much of their infrastructure.

The demand for cloud service, business email, and social media credentials sold in bulk is the primary reason why otherwise low-value targets such as victims searching for cracked software products is economically viable, and why entry-level and unskilled cybercriminals continue to purchase malware, dropper, and downloader as a service offerings.

While in the past this may not have posed a large threat to enterprises, the blend of increased work from home and increased business use of personal or shared devices makes these malware campaigns an increased threat to businesses. And the use of business products as bait for these campaigns appears to target smaller businesses seeking to cut some corners on software expenses.

Almost all of these malware droppers are easily detectable, and all of them were detected either by signature or behavior by Sophos products. But because these packages are in encrypted archives, they do not get detected until they are unpacked.

Indicators of compromise relating to this research have been posted to the SophosLabs Github.

SophosLabs would like to thank Anand Ajjan and Andrew Brandt for their contributions to this report.

Источник: [https://torrent-igruha.org/3551-portal.html]

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