In 2021, crime will not pay if you are not found on Google. This is apparently what the creators of the new MosaicLoader family of malware discovered. PC security company Bitdefender recently released a whitepaper describing the new malicious software that entices users to download it through paid ads … for pirated games.
Bitdefender says MosaicLoader is delivered through downloaders that victims “apparently” find when searching for pirated software such as games and other applications. It̵
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“We called it MosaicLoader because of the intricate internal structure that aims to confuse malware analysts and prevent reversal,” Bitdefender said in a blog post. MosaicLoader does a number of interesting things. It cuts out local exceptions in Windows Defender for specific file names. Doing so will try to stop Microsoft’s antivirus program from taking action if these files start to recover.
As we have seen time and time again with malicious software, MosaicLoader also mimics file information from legitimate software. It tries to obscure the code by creating smaller code snippets and a mixed execution order. Bitdefender says that malware also has “classic antidebugging tricks” to prevent a debugger from doing its job.
Once installed on a system, MosaicLoader can wreak havoc. This may include cookies that try to hijack login sessions to take over some of your online accounts. Hackers who enter Facebook or Twitter sound quite annoying, but it can be a much bigger deal. The malicious actors could find clues that help them take down other accounts related to the same person, or they could try to spread more malicious software by sending links from what the victims believe is a trusted friend.
MosaicLoader can also introduce the ever-annoying cryptocurrency miners that run in the background on your computer, releasing CPU cycles while wondering why your PC is suddenly so slow. Malware can also try to install backdoors to let malicious actors into the PC itself.
The bottom line is that MosaicLoader is not something you want on your system, because it tries hard to avoid detection and can introduce all kinds of problems. The best defense, of course, is to avoid installing cracked software. These days, the risk of pirated software just isn’t worth it – especially if the code can find ways to get past your defense.
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