‘Crisis’ OS X Trojan made by lawful intercept vendor, HackingTeam

Russian AV vendor Dr Web says the company behind it has a version for smartphones too.

Russian AV vendor Dr Web says the company behind it has a version for smartphones too.

Russian antivirus vendor Dr Web claims the OS X spy trojan dubbed ‘Crisis’, discovered this week, was crafted by Italian lawful intercept vendor HackingTeam.

Antivirus vendors Sophos (which calls it Morcut) and Dr Web (which calls it Backdoor.Davinci.1) released details about its functionality Thursday after Mac-focussed AV vendor Intego reported its discovery from the Virus Total database.  

Sophos and Dr Web describe a tool that allows its controllers to monitor mouse coordinates, several instant messenger apps, location, internal webcam, clipboard contents, key strokes, running applications, web URLs, screen shots, internal mic, calendar data and alerts, device information and address book contents. The malware is delivered as an archived Java applet.

Sophos security consultant Graham Cluley suggests it is the work of cyber-criminals in pursuit of money, however Dr Web claims the heavily equipped spy trojan was “developed and sold” by Italian vendor of ‘offensive security’ technologies HackingTeam.

HackingTeam, which has been in operation since 2003, claims to have sold its surveillance software to intelligence agencies in 30 countries across five continents, according to a 2011 analysis by the Guardian following the discovery of the German “federal” trojan employed by state police for surveillance activities. 

The company came under the spotlight after F-Secure researchers discovered Gamma International UK, a rival government surveillance security vendor that was found to have sold its FinFisher product to the Egyptian Government. 

“HackingTeam criminals call their brainchild a 21st-century weapon and sell Backdoor.Davinci.1 as a remote control and espionage solution. The Trojan poses a serious threat to users, because it not only intercepts any information on the infected computer but also gives criminals full control over a compromised system, so that they can render it non-operational, for example, by damaging or removing its components,” Dr Web reported Thursday.

CSO.com.au contacted Dr Web however the company had not responded to queries by the time of publishing. Sophos' Cluley told CSO.com.au he could not confirm the identity of the trojan's author.

It's unclear what evidence Dr Web has to make its claim, however if it is right, it has selected the most appropriate name from several that have emerged since its discovery.

F-Secure security researcher Mikko Hypponen seemed convinced that the trojan was indeed the work of the HackingTeam, pointing out it was "openly advertised" on the company's website.

HackingTeam promotes a “remote control system” that it calls Da Vinci, “The hacking suite for government interception”.

The company promises to deploy a secret agent that can “monitor a hundred thousand targets” via a “single easy to use interface”. The brochure suggests mobile platforms it can target include iOS, Android, Nokia’s S60, and BlackBerry OS.  

 

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