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.

Analytics

4/28/2008
09:15 AM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

'Long-Term' Phishing Attack Underway

New phishing exploit doesn't bother asking for passwords, and its stealthy malware hides out on victim's machine

The notorious Rock Phish gang has added a new twist to its phishing exploits that doesn’t require its victim to visit a malicious Website -- instead, it just loads a malicious keylogging Trojan onto the victim’s machine that steals information or credentials.

Both Trend Microand F-Secure over the past few days spotted new iterations of the attack, which was first reported by RSA last week. The latest tack is phishing emails posing as Comerica Bank and Colonial Bank that ask banking customers to renew their digital certificates. When they click on the link for more information on the phony renewal process, it downloads the nasty Trojan onto their desktops.

"In a way, it’s so blatant that it reminds me of the worms of ’04 and ’05… such as Bagel. They would come via email, and you’d receive an executable file" in them, says Jamz Yaneza, threat research project manager for Trend Micro.

The danger of the so-called Zeus Trojan is that it can execute what Yaneza calls a "long-term" phishing attack on the victim. "It can stay there and log credentials, personal information, and steal personal information. Basically anything you type," he says. The version Trend has been studying has the ability to receive downloaded updates to itself, he says.

F-Secure says the email lures the user into hitting the “continue” link in the message to update the digital certificate, and then provides a “page full of jargon designed to overwhelm the potential victim. What happens if the victim falls for the bait and installs the ‘certificate?’ A trojan-spy will be installed,” F-Secure wrote in its blog today. “So now the phishers don't need to ask for passwords anymore, they can just take them.”

Like most sophisticated malware designers, the Rock Phish group also has been coming out with different versions of the malware each day to try to fly under the radar. It changes the “packer,” encoding, and other characteristics to evade antivirus detection, according to Trend Micro’s Yaneza. Some versions can monitor FTP transactions, email, and instant messaging conversations.

And in the spirit of an emerging crimeware-as-a-service market, the Rock Phish gang is also selling Zeus as a crimeware service -- with a service guarantee and user licensing agreements, according to Trend Micro. “It comes with its own tech support. There’s a phone number you can call out there in the Ukraine,” Yaneza says. (See New Crimeware-as-a-Service Market Thriving.)

Meanwhile, Paul Ferguson, advanced threat researcher for Trend, says he’s seen a list of 20 new domains using the same phishing attack. “We’re going to see more of this” attack, he says.

Ferguson’s advice to end users is the same-old, same-old: be aware that your bank will never send you anything to download, not even a digital certificate, so don’t fall for one of these emails, he says. “They are not going to ask for your confidential information.”

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Stop Defending Everything
Kevin Kurzawa, Senior Information Security Auditor,  2/12/2020
Small Business Security: 5 Tips on How and Where to Start
Mike Puglia, Chief Strategy Officer at Kaseya,  2/13/2020
5 Common Errors That Allow Attackers to Go Undetected
Matt Middleton-Leal, General Manager and Chief Security Strategist, Netwrix,  2/12/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
6 Emerging Cyber Threats That Enterprises Face in 2020
This Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at six emerging cyber threats that enterprises could face in 2020. Download your copy today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises Are Developing and Maintaining Secure Applications
How Enterprises Are Developing and Maintaining Secure Applications
The concept of application security is well known, but application security testing and remediation processes remain unbalanced. Most organizations are confident in their approach to AppSec, although others seem to have no approach at all. Read this report to find out more.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-20477
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-19
PyYAML 5.1 through 5.1.2 has insufficient restrictions on the load and load_all functions because of a class deserialization issue, e.g., Popen is a class in the subprocess module. NOTE: this issue exists because of an incomplete fix for CVE-2017-18342.
CVE-2019-20478
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-19
In ruamel.yaml through 0.16.7, the load method allows remote code execution if the application calls this method with an untrusted argument. In other words, this issue affects developers who are unaware of the need to use methods such as safe_load in these use cases.
CVE-2011-2054
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-19
A vulnerability in the Cisco ASA that could allow a remote attacker to successfully authenticate using the Cisco AnyConnect VPN client if the Secondary Authentication type is LDAP and the password is left blank, providing the primary credentials are correct. The vulnerabilities is due to improper in...
CVE-2015-0749
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-19
A vulnerability in Cisco Unified Communications Manager could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to conduct a cross-site scripting (XSS) attack on the affected software. The vulnerabilities is due to improper input validation of certain parameters passed to the affected software. An attacker ...
CVE-2015-9543
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-19
An issue was discovered in OpenStack Nova before 18.2.4, 19.x before 19.1.0, and 20.x before 20.1.0. It can leak consoleauth tokens into log files. An attacker with read access to the service's logs may obtain tokens used for console access. All Nova setups using novncproxy are affected. This is rel...