A Brief Overview of Darkleech

BeyondTrust Research Team, April 5th, 2013

A piece of malware, Darkleech, has been making the news rounds as of late. This one targets web servers, specifically Apache 2.2.2 and above. Instead of merely compromising a web server and uploading malicious content to be served to unsuspecting victims, Darkleech goes a step further by installing a special module that is loaded by Apache and used to dynamically manipulate web pages the moment they are served to users accessing the compromised website. These web pages will redirect unsuspecting visitors of the compromised website to exploit kits like Blackhole or other malware like FakeAV or ZeroAccess, thereby compromising those users as well. Additionally, Darkleech will install a malicious SSH service onto compromised servers, so the attackers have constant access to the servers.

At this point in time, technical details about the initial infection vector are not available, other than information indicating that web administration panels (such as cPanel, Plesk, Webmin, and WordPress) have been identified as being the entry point used by attackers to gain access to servers. While these attack vectors have been observed in the wild, there are countless other ways attackers can get the malware onto a system (compromising server credentials via social engineering, exploiting other vulnerable services running on the target system, etc.). However, you can still scan your environment with Retina CS to see if there are any systems that have been possibly compromised by Darkleech. The following audit will detect Darkleech infections:
– 18630 – Possible Darkleech Infection Detected