Attacks/Breaches

7/20/2017
03:45 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
Google+
RSS
E-Mail
100%
0%

US Banks Targeted with Trickbot Trojan

Necurs botnet spreads Trickbot malware to US financial institutions, while new Emotet banking Trojan attacks discovered - signalling increasingly complex attacks on the industry.

The Necurs botnet has begun delivering the Trickbot banking Trojan to financial institutions in the United States, a sign of increasingly larger and more complex attacks on the industry.

Trickbot, which specifically threatens businesses in the financial sector, has been behind man-in-the-browser (MitB) attacks since 2016. Until now, its webinject configuration was only used to hit organizations outside the US.

Researchers at Flashpoint discovered a new Trickbot spam campaign, called "mac1" on July 17. The latest iteration is fueled by the Necurs botnet and was developed to hit 50 additional banks including 13 companies based in the US. Necurs, one of the largest spamming botnets in the world, emerged in 2012 and has since become known for propagating spam campaigns.

"It sends a massive amount of spam email, one of which is recently starting to spread Trickbot," says Flashpoint malware researcher Paul Burbage, who has been monitoring Necurs for the past couple of years.

Mac1 has an expanded webinject configuration, which it uses to hit customers of financial institutions both in the US and abroad. Other victim countries include the UK, New Zealand, France, Australia, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Canada, Finland, Spain, Italy, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Singapore, Belgium, and Denmark.

So far, Mac1 has driven at least three different spam waves, Flashpoint reports. The first contained an HTML email disguised as a bill from an Australian telecommunications company. These contained a Zip-archived Windows Script File attachment with obfuscated JavaScript code. When clicked, the files download and execute the Trickbot loader.

One of the main concerns with Trickbot is account takeover and fraud, which may increase among US financial institutions as the malware spreads. Burbage says the main significance of Mac1 is how far and wide it's being spread.

While its primary focus is financial institutions, experts anticipate other companies will eventually be at risk.

"We think it's capable of developing new features in the future," says Flashpoint director of research Vitali Kremez. "For now, it's a banking Trojan with potential to move beyond that."

The latest iteration of Trickbot, and its spread to the United States, indicate its authors' sophistication, Kremez continues. Flashpoint believes a Russian-speaking gang is behind the malware.

"I've been constantly amazed by the sophistication and resourcefulness of the Trickbot gang," he says, noting Necurs is only used among advanced actors. "They constantly develop means to proliferate the malware and bypass spam filters … they also have the infrastructure to proliferate the malware at scale."

Trickbot is considered the successor to the Dyre banking Trojan, says Kremez, citing similarities between their infrastructure and setup of their configuration files. It's possible the Trickbot author was either deeply familiar with Dyre or reused old source code. The threat actors behind Dyre have historically targeted Western financial institutions in the US, UK, and Canada.

Burbage and Kremez anticipate Trickbot will continue to evolve and target financial customers both in the US and around the world.

Trickbot's expansion isn't the only sign pointing to more dangerous banking Trojans. Fidelis Cybersecurity today released findings on its analysis of the Emotet loader, which was initially used for credential theft but is now used to deliver banking Trojans.

Emotet is an active threat using mass email spam campaigns to deliver malware. Fidelis found Emotet uses spam for propagation using basic social engineering techniques. Some samples have internal network propagation components, or spreaders, built in - a new strategy for banking malware authors that hasn't been seen much in recent years.

Early banking Trojans were crude and built to work against as many targets as possible, says John Bambenek, threat systems manager at Fidelis Cybersecurity. Emotet and others now use injects to customize the threat to specific banks' look and feel, he explains.

"An entire ecosystem has developed around this type of malware involving exploit writers, malware delivery systems, inject writers, money mules, and underground criminal marketplaces" like Alphabay, Bambenek says.

Fidelis reports it's not surprising to see cybercriminals include spreaders in their campaigns after widespread attacks WannaCry and Petya demonstrated their effectiveness in driving infections across enterprises. More malware authors are adding functionality based on attacks in the news, which could indicate a trend we'll see more of in the future.

Black Hat USA returns to the fabulous Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada, July 22-27, 2017. Click for information on the conference schedule and to register.

 

Related Content:

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
White House Cybersecurity Strategy at a Crossroads
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  7/17/2018
Mueller Probe Yields Hacking Indictments for 12 Russian Military Officers
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  7/13/2018
10 Ways to Protect Protocols That Aren't DNS
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  7/16/2018
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2016-10727
PUBLISHED: 2018-07-20
camel/providers/imapx/camel-imapx-server.c in the IMAPx component in GNOME evolution-data-server before 3.21.2 proceeds with cleartext data containing a password if the client wishes to use STARTTLS but the server will not use STARTTLS, which makes it easier for remote attackers to obtain sensitive ...
CVE-2018-8018
PUBLISHED: 2018-07-20
Apache Ignite 2.5 and earlier serialization mechanism does not have a list of classes allowed for serialization/deserialization, which makes it possible to run arbitrary code when 3-rd party vulnerable classes are present in Ignite classpath. The vulnerability can be exploited if the one sends a spe...
CVE-2018-14415
PUBLISHED: 2018-07-20
An issue was discovered in idreamsoft iCMS before 7.0.10. XSS exists via the fourth and fifth input elements on the admincp.php?app=prop&do=add screen.
CVE-2018-14418
PUBLISHED: 2018-07-20
In Msvod Cms v10, SQL Injection exists via an images/lists?cid= URI.
CVE-2018-14419
PUBLISHED: 2018-07-20
MetInfo 6.0.0 allows XSS via a modified name of the navigation bar on the home page.