Image snatching malware poses new security threat

New breed of Trojan sniffs out personal information in pictures, not documents.

Cyber criminal

Security researchers have identified a new malware strand that steals image files from computers and sends them to a remote server

The program, detected under the name TSPY_PIXSTEAL.A (Pixsteal-A), is a Trojan that opens all .jpg and .jpeg image files, as well as .dmp memory dump files, and delivers copies of the first 20,000 to the FTP server being used by the cyber criminals behind the malware. It is currently only operational on Windows computers, according to Trend Micro's threat response engineer Raymart Paraiso.

Advertisement - Article continues below

"Though it appears tedious, the potential gain for cybercriminals should they be successful in stealing information is high. Users typically rely on photos for storing information, both personal and work-related, so the risk of information leakage is very high," he said in a blog post.

The collected images could potentially be used for identity theft, blackmail or to tailor future targeted attacks on individuals or corporations, Paraiso added.

Rik Ferguson, director of security research and communications told IT Pro: "[I believe] this is the first malware that has particularly focused on such a limited set of file types. In some of the nation state sponsored attacks, stealing photographs is of interest ... but if we are talking about the commercial, cybercriminal, widespread side of things ... then this does represent a shift."

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

Ferguson claims it is possible we will see more of this type of malware, but it will depend on how successfully Pixsteal-A can be monetised.

Advertisement - Article continues below

"There was a report recently on BBC Newsbeat that said self-generated intimate photos were being stolen and used on porn sites. So there is one obvious way that this kind of activity could bring an income for criminals, but whether it becomes more widely adopted and more widespread depends on how successful [this one is at generating revenue]," Ferguson concluded.

Featured Resources

Staying ahead of the game in the world of data

Create successful marketing campaigns by understanding your customers better

Download now

Remote working 2020: Advantages and challenges

Discover how to overcome remote working challenges

Download now

Keep your data available with snapshot technology

Synology’s solution to your data protection problem

Download now

After the lockdown - reinventing the way your business works

Your guide to ensuring business continuity, no matter the crisis

Download now
Advertisement

Recommended

Malware attacks using machine identities doubled in 2019
cyber security

Malware attacks using machine identities doubled in 2019

4 Aug 2020
Andrew Daniels joins Druva as CIO and CISO
Cloud

Andrew Daniels joins Druva as CIO and CISO

22 Jul 2020
Over two dozen Android apps found stealing user data
Google Android

Over two dozen Android apps found stealing user data

7 Jul 2020
University of California gets fleeced by hackers for $1.14 million
ransomware

University of California gets fleeced by hackers for $1.14 million

30 Jun 2020

Most Popular

How to find RAM speed, size and type
Laptops

How to find RAM speed, size and type

3 Aug 2020
How to use Chromecast without Wi-Fi
Mobile

How to use Chromecast without Wi-Fi

4 Aug 2020
How do you build a great customer experience?
Sponsored

How do you build a great customer experience?

20 Jul 2020