Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Endpoint

1/21/2021
04:55 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Attackers Leave Stolen Credentials Searchable on Google

Operators behind a global phishing campaign inadvertently left thousands of stolen credentials accessible via Google Search.

The attackers behind a summer 2020 phishing campaign accidentally exposed the credentials they stole to the public Internet, where they could be discovered with a simple Google search. 

Related Content:

SolarWinds Attack Underscores 'New Dimension' in Cyber-Espionage Tactics

Special Report: Understanding Your Cyber Attackers

New From The Edge: Hacker Pig Latin: A Base64 Primer for Security Analysts

Last August, the operators launched a campaign with malicious emails disguised as Xerox scan notifications, Check Point researchers report in an analysis conducted alongside industrial cybersecurity firm Otorio. 

Recipients of these emails, which contained their first name or company title in the subject line, were prompted to open an HTML attachment. If the file was opened, a JavaScript code would run in the background to conduct password checks, send the data to the attackers' server, and redirect the victim to a legitimate Microsoft 365 login page, where they could enter credentials. 

It sounds like a simple infection chain, researchers note, but it successfully bypassed Microsoft 365 Advanced Threat Protection and stole more than 1,000 employee credentials.

Over the course of the campaign, attackers adjusted their code to make the attack seem more realistic so victims wouldn't think twice about entering their data. Simple techniques enabled them to evade most antivirus vendors, as indicated by low detection rates, the report states.

The attackers used specialized infrastructure and compromised WordPress websites as drop-zone servers. The server would run for about two months with dozens of XYZ domains, which were used in the phishing attacks. Researchers found several compromised WordPress servers that hosted the malicious PHP page and processed incoming credentials from phishing victims.

When victims' data was sent to the drop-zone servers, it was saved in a publicly visible file that could be indexed by Google. Anyone could find the stolen information with a Google search. 

Google's powerful search engine algorithm, built to index the Web, was able to index the pages where attackers were temporarily storing stolen credentials. Researchers informed Google of the incident; now victims can search for their stolen data and change passwords as needed. 

With all this information freely available, researchers analyzed roughly 500 stolen credentials and learned the greatest percentage of victims (16.7%) worked in construction. Energy (10.7%), information technology (6%), and healthcare (4.5%) followed as the most-affected industries.

They also noticed similarities with other phishing activity they say was likely conducted by the same group. These earlier campaigns had similar tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) to this one: In May 2020, a phishing email that "perfectly matched" the TTPs in this campaign was designed to redirect the victim to a fraudulent Office 365 phishing page.

Red Flags to Watch For
Researchers urge readers to be wary of emails or communication from a familiar organization that asks them to open a document or click a link. They should be cognizant of lookalike domains, spelling errors, unfamiliar senders, and actions a sender may not usually request.

Online shoppers should double-check they're ordering goods from a legitimate source, they add. Instead of clicking links in promotional emails, they should instead directly access the retailer's website. Beware of so-called "special offers" that seem too good to be true, researchers say, and add an extra layer of protection by using different passwords across accounts.

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
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
mspportal
50%
50%
mspportal,
User Rank: Strategist
1/25/2021 | 10:19:55 AM
Kelly you are a great reporter
Check into to see if Charles Schwab is useing the Orion platform

Thay are down and have the same syptoms as most firms are having

Both Phone and reset password are down as of this time
Commentary
Ransomware Is Not the Problem
Adam Shostack, Consultant, Entrepreneur, Technologist, Game Designer,  6/9/2021
Edge-DRsplash-11-edge-ask-the-experts
How Can I Test the Security of My Home-Office Employees' Routers?
John Bock, Senior Research Scientist,  6/7/2021
News
New Ransomware Group Claiming Connection to REvil Gang Surfaces
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  6/10/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
The State of Cybersecurity Incident Response
In this report learn how enterprises are building their incident response teams and processes, how they research potential compromises, how they respond to new breaches, and what tools and processes they use to remediate problems and improve their cyber defenses for the future.
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-0532
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-21
In memory management driver, there is a possible memory corruption due to a race condition. This could lead to local escalation of privilege with no additional execution privileges needed. User interaction is not needed for exploitation.Product: AndroidVersions: Android SoCAndroid ID: A-185196177
CVE-2021-0533
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-21
In memory management driver, there is a possible memory corruption due to a race condition. This could lead to local escalation of privilege with no additional execution privileges needed. User interaction is not needed for exploitation.Product: AndroidVersions: Android SoCAndroid ID: A-185193932
CVE-2021-26461
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-21
Apache Nuttx Versions prior to 10.1.0 are vulnerable to integer wrap-around in functions malloc, realloc and memalign. This improper memory assignment can lead to arbitrary memory allocation, resulting in unexpected behavior such as a crash or a remote code injection/execution.
CVE-2021-0478
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-21
In updateDrawable of StatusBarIconView.java, there is a possible permission bypass due to an uncaught exception. This could lead to local escalation of privilege by running foreground services without notifying the user, with User execution privileges needed. User interaction is not needed for explo...
CVE-2021-0504
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-21
In avrc_pars_browse_rsp of avrc_pars_ct.cc, there is a possible out of bounds read due to a missing bounds check. This could lead to remote information disclosure over Bluetooth with no additional execution privileges needed. User interaction is not needed for exploitation.Product: AndroidVersions: ...