Citadel malware active on 20,000 PCs in Japan, says Trend Micro

The malware, which steals financial and login info, is actively sending data to servers in the U.S. and Europe

Citadel malware is installed on over 20,000 PCs in Japan and actively sending financial information it harvests to servers abroad, according to security software vendor Trend Micro.

Tokyo-based Trend Micro said it monitored remote servers in the U.S. and Europe that collect data gathered by Japanese versions of the malware for six days last week. On some days there were nearly 230,000 connections made from 20,000 infected computers.

The malware has been designed specifically to target domestic users, collecting financial details corresponding to six Japanese financial institutions as well as popular services such as e-mail from Google, Yahoo and Microsoft.

"Damage from this tool for online banking fraud is still continuing today," Trend Micro said in a Japanese security blog.

The security firm said it detect IP addresses from at least nine remote servers that are being contacted regularly by copies of Citadel on infected computers. It said over 96 percent of the contact comes from PCs in Japan.

Citadel is malware that can modify or replace websites opened on the computers it infects. It then collects log-in details and other private information and sends it to remote servers. Some varieties also block access to anti-virus sites to prevent users from cleaning their computers.

The software allows malicious users to create networks, or botnets, of infected PCs that harvest details and send them to remote servers. It can be customized to mimic specific sites in different countries.

Last month Microsoft and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation worked together to disrupt 1,400 Citadel botnets that the company said were responsible for over half a billion dollars in financial losses worldwide.

The action disrupted many existing Citadel botnets, but anyone with a builder application can create customized versions and launch an operation of their own.

Highly-customized versions of the malware, with detailed content localization and advanced techniques to corrupt browser software, have also popped up across Europe since the Microsoft action.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags trend microsecuritymalwarefraud

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jay Alabaster

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?