A wave of attacks that have recently affected banks and other enterprises used open-source penetration testing tools loaded directly into memory instead of traditional malware, making their detection much harder.
Researchers from antivirus vendor Kaspersky Lab started investigating these attacks after the security team from an unnamed bank found Meterpreter in the random access memory (RAM) of a server that acted as the organization’s Windows domain controller.
Meterpreter is an in-memory attack payload that can inject itself into other running processes and is used to establish persistency on a compromised system. It is part of the Metasploit penetration testing framework, a popular tool used both by internal security teams and by malicious hackers.
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