Security experts from Cisco Talos classified as a backdoor the popular Tuto4PC advertising software installed on a network of 12 Million computers.
Security experts from Cisco Talos security intelligence and research team have spotted a malicious software that is installed on 12 million computers around the world. Most of the installations are located in the United States, Australia, Japan, Spain, the UK, France and New Zealand.
The malware was developed by a French advertising company called Tuto4PC which was previously known as Eorezo Group. According to Cisco Talos, the company is known by French authorities due to the installation of unwanted software on the user’s PC to collect personal information.
The experts at Cisco who analyzed the Tuto4PC’s OneSoftPerDay application spotted roughly 7,000 unique samples of generic Trojans. All the samples were characterized by names containing the string “Wizz.”(i.e. “Wizzupdater.exe and “WizzInstaller.exe.”).
The generic malware were all communicating with the following domains:
The experts discovered that the malware implemented features of a typical backdoor, it was able to download and install other malicious codes, such as the System Healer.
The threat was also able to detect the presence of security solutions and sandboxing mechanisms.
Giving a look to the EULA written for the Tuto4PC’s OneSoftPerDay we can read that authors inform users of data collection activities for statistical purposes.
5: COLLECTION OF DATA FOR STATISTICAL PURPOSES.
In statistical purposes in particular to study the audience on the Internet, AGENCE-EXCLUSIVE can collect information concerning the addresses of web sites visited by the Internet user. This collected information is and remain totally anonymous, and allow on no account to connect them for one physical person.
The experts at Cisco Talos instead highlighted that the featured implemented by the application are the ones of a “full backdoor capable of a multitude of undesirable functions on the victim machine.”
According to Tuto4PC’s website the software is used to display ads, the company also manages a network of nearly 12 million PCs (2014), the same number of infected devices spotted by CISCO.
“Based on the overall research, we feel that there is an obvious case for this software to be classified as a backdoor. At minimum it is a potentially unwanted program (PUP). There is a very good argument that it meets and exceeds the definition of a backdoor. As such we are blocking the software for all corporate customers.” states a blog post from Cisco Talos.
“The creation of a legitimate business, multiple subsidiaries, domains, software and being a publicly listed company do not stop this adware juggernaut from slowing down their attempts to push their backdoors out to the public,”
Which is the position of the Tuto4PC?
Tuto4PC Group CEO Franck Rosset explained that evasion technology implemented by the company software is designed to make it easier for users to install the application avoiding problems with defensive solutions.
“The Talos blogpost is inaccurate in describing Tuto4PC as a shady malware distribution enterprise. We are currently working with our lawyers in order to evaluate the action we can take against Talos’ inexact (negative) presentation of our business.
We are a listed company on the French stock exchange. Since 2004, our business model is to create widgets, tutorials etc. for free download on download websites. The download of our programs is for free subject to agreement for accepting advertising from an adware attached in the download.
Contrary to Talos’ wrongful allegations, our business has been approved by French regulators and we have never been indicted or sued for any malware distribution!!!!
We have a technology subsidiary (Cloud 4PC) with some developments in cybersecurity. Due to some undue blocking by antiviruses that recently blocked Tuto4PC adware (some of them have also an adware business model), we are using a bypass technology so that people can easily download our programs (and adware). Although the bypass software is extremely efficient, it has no other purpose or use that helping the Tuto4PC adware download.
There is no malware activity and Talos cannot prove or show any malware use of the program — with more than 10 million installed, if there was to be any malware activity, obviously there should be some user complaints.
As you can see, we are a French company — very easy to reach, we are not hiding in some rogue country — we do not understand why Talos has not contacted us prior to their post.
In any case, our subsidiary Cloud 4PC is going to launch soon “AV Booster,” an antivirus booster that will help stop any real malware that use bypass techniques like the ones we developed.”