By Andrew Brandt
On the morning of January 2nd, still bleary eyed, I checked my email to find a charming notification informing me that I’d received an electronic greeting card. Yay! I thought to myself: The first targeted malware of 2011 plopped right into my lap.
I immediately pulled up my research machine, browsed to the URL in the message (don’t try this at home, kids), and found my test system swamped in malware. After classifying the files and their source URLs into our definitions — I didn’t want this to happen to you, after all — I turned the computer back off and slept until Tuesday, when I resumed my analysis.
As it turns out, the payloads delivered by the drive-by download are as common as sand at the beach, but some of the techniques used by the malware’s distributor to obfuscate the true nature of the executable payload files (which may have been stored on what appears to be a hijacked, legitimate server running Joomla) are fairly novel, and also a bit ridiculous.