Danger level 8
Type: Other

Citadel Trojan

Cyber criminals have taken a step forward into utilizing general computer infections for new purposes. Reports have surfaced saying that Citadel Trojan is now used as a cyber-espionage tool. Initially Citadel Trojan was used as a banking trojan to infect banks' computer systems and steal money from online bank accounts. The Trojan was available a commercial underground forums, but the files are no longer available for download since June 2011. Citadel Trojan was not a wide spread infection. It is another variant of Zeus malware, and based on infection reports in the United States, only a bit more than a few dozens systems have been infected with Citadel Trojan in 2012 as opposed to the tens of thousands Zeus infections during the same period of time.

However, as soon as October 2012 there came reports saying that Citadel Trojan has been used to steal intellectual property from government agencies by a group of cyber criminals called the Poetry Group. Ever since then Citadel Trojan managed to infiltrate government agencies in Poland and Japan. However, government agencies are not the only targets of the newly refined infection. A number of companies in Sweden and Denmark have also reported to have been hit by Citadel Trojan. Researchers warn that even healthcare organizations, oil industry and educational institutions might become targets of cyber-espionage.

The biggest different from the previous Citadel Trojan behavior as a banking trojan, is that banking trojans usually infect their targets at random, based on their manner of distribution. The new Citadel Trojan, however, can be customized with a specific script to attack specific targets in one single country or a city. This change in the infection's script explains why the recent are attacks were so precise. It also means that Citadel Trojan can easily penetrate an entire network of any organization (financial or governmental) if it is programmed to do so.

The frustrating fact is that there are no exact symptoms of Citadel Trojan's infection, and individuals and organizations have to take means of precaution themselves. The best way to make sure that the system is not infected with Citadel Trojan is to keep your antivirus software up-to-date and to perform regular system scans with such antimalware program as SpyHunter. Many infection cases could have been avoided, if the system security would have been taken seriously.

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