Cross-platform botnet targets both Windows and Mac users

McAfee researcher says Java-based botnet can convert files and exploit both Windows and Mac machines

A McAfeee researcher has discovered a Java-based, cross-platform botnet that can infect both Mac and Windows macines.

According to McAfee's Carlos Castillo, the malware, which is being called IncognitoRAT, is one example of a Java-based Trojan discovered in the wild that is being downloaded and installed by another component. This malware behaves like other Windows botnets but uses source code and libraries that can operate on other platforms, he said in a blog post. The malicious code is available for Windows, Mac OS X, and iPhone/iPad (the last only to control infected computers), he said. McAfee has only seen the PC version in a downloader/dropper in the wild.

More about botnets

Castillo said the original propagation vector of IncognitoRAT is a Windows executable, but it was created using the tool JarToExe, which includes, among other features, the ability to convert .jar files into .exe files, to add program icons and version information, and protect and encrypt Java programs. The victim's machine has to have the Java Runtime Environment installed and must be online, he said.

See also: Smartphone botnets? New report predicts mobile devices will be part of DDoS attacks

A nasty piece of malware, as soon as the file is executed, it starts downloading a ZIP file with a pack of Java-based libraries to perform several remote activities.

They include:

  • Java Registry Wrapper, which is used to access the Windows Registry and create an entry in Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run to execute the malware every time the computer starts
  • Java Remote Control: To view and take remote control (keyboard and mouse) of an infected machine
  • JLayer — MP3 Library: To remotely play an MP3 file on the infected machine
  • RNP-VideoPlayer: To play videos remotely
  • JavaMail: Optional Java package to send stolen information to an email account
  • Freedom for Media Java: Open-source alternative to the official Java Media Framework; used by the malware to watch and record images from a remote webcam
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