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Notorious Trickbot malware may have some new tricks up its sleeve

Bad Bots
(Image credit: Gonin / Shutterstock)

Cybersecurity researchers have detected a significant increase in the activity of the infamous Trickbot malware, with a large number of new command and control (C2) centers deployed around the world, as well as a new module for monitoring and intelligence gathering.

Trickbot, which has been used to perpetrate all types of financial cyber attacks including the delivery of ransomware, was at the receiving end of a massive campaign by cyber sleuths last year.

However, researchers from Bitdefender, who have been tracking Trickbot, have recently picked up a resurgence in the activity of the malware, with new infrastructure and new capabilities.

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“During our investigation we also stumbled on an additional tool used by the Trickbot group to facilitate the access of other threat actors to the victims’ computers,” note the researchers in their analysis.

Rising from the ashes

After last year’s take down attempt, the Trickbot group appears to have been recuperating, and based on Bitdefender’s observations, looks all set to get back into action.

Bitdefender first picked up an updated version of the vncDll module that Trickbot uses against select high-profile targets, a couple of months back in May 2021. Now known as tvncDll, the actively developed module will now be used by Trickbot for monitoring and intelligence gathering purposes.

“This module, vncDll/tvncDll, uses a custom communication protocol, which only makes it harder to understand what data is being transmitted without prior knowledge,” says Bitdefender as it unravels the groups’ new activity.

The new module interacts with one of the nine C2 servers defined in its configuration file. According to Bitdefender’s research, the C2 servers send additional malware payloads, and also facilitate the exfiltration of sensitive data from the victim’s machine. 

The malware now also has a password dumping functionality and “is in active development, with multiple weekly updates,” according to Bitdefender.

Mayank Sharma

With almost two decades of writing and reporting on Linux, Mayank Sharma would like everyone to think he’s TechRadar Pro’s expert on the topic. Of course, he’s just as interested in other computing topics, particularly cybersecurity, cloud, containers, and coding.