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.

Risk

9/30/2009
02:57 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary
50%
50%

Cyber-Crime No Longer Smash and Grab

Typically, banking customers discovered they'd been victimized by cyber-crime when they discovered their bank accounts emptied. No more. According to this report, online thieves are getting craftier at covering their tracks to go undetected for longer stretches of time.

Typically, banking customers discovered they'd been victimized by cyber-crime when they discovered their bank accounts emptied. No more. According to this report, online thieves are getting craftier at covering their tracks to go undetected for longer stretches of time.In its Cybercrime Intelligence Report [.pdf], anti-virus provider Finjan details how cyber-criminals are using Trojans, such as the URLzone bank Trojan, and new anti-fraud detection tactics to sidestep quick identification of the crime by both banking customers and the banks themselves. As has been the case for some time when it comes to building or using malware, the underground market is alive and robust. According to this report, cyber-criminals can buy an online crime toolkit, such as LuckySploit, for anywhere from $100 to $300. These kits contain exploit code and a management interface for injecting attack software into Web sites. These don't always have to be malicious Web sites, mind you, they can also be legitimate Web sites with vulnerabilities that leave them susceptible to attack. Unfortunately, many are.

But, unlike the typical attack on a bank account, the thieves Finjan studied (in this case using the URLzone Trojan) to attack German banking customers actually hid the fraudulent transactions from their banking customers. They did this by manipulating the account statement information that is displayed on the customer's screen. "In order not to raise any suspicious[sic] by the user the malware verifies that the user will see only what he is [sic] expect," wrote Daniel Chechik in a Finjan's blog that went into meticulous detail on how this malware operates.

The malware also, through code manipulation, tricks end users into accepting fraudulent transactions. This technique also enables URLZone to bypass the security offered by a One Time Password (a new password that is generated every time a user accesses their account, which is supposed to provide more security than the more common static password).

Now, with the banking customer kept ignorant regarding the fraudulent transactions -- it's time to make certain that no anti-fraud alarms go off at the bank itself. The crooks try to active this by, according to the report, by making sure the victim's balance stays positive, the fraudulent transaction is not too high, and the amounts are random.

Let's take a step back for a moment, to make sure we appreciate the complexity of this attack: First, the crooks managed to either infect a legitimate Web site, or setup a fraudulent site to lure victims. Second, they must have presumably managed to sidestep any anti-virus that was installed (which we recently revealed not to be very reliable, as it turned out). Third, bypass one-time-password authentication by making certain that the attacker has commandeered the browser session during a banking transaction. They then fake the statement presented to the consumer online. And, finally, craft transactions so that they avoid detection by the anti-fraud controls the bank may have in place.

That sophistication reveals the level of motivation, and skill, banks and consumers are up against.

Is all of this effort worth it?

If Finjan's math is correct: yes.

The thieves managed to haul about €12,000 a day.

For security and technology observations throughout the day, follow me on Twitter, @georgevhulme.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Zero-Factor Authentication: Owning Our Data
Nick Selby, Chief Security Officer at Paxos Trust Company,  2/19/2020
44% of Security Threats Start in the Cloud
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  2/19/2020
Ransomware Damage Hit $11.5B in 2019
Dark Reading Staff 2/20/2020
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-2020-5524
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-21
Aterm series (Aterm WF1200C firmware Ver1.2.1 and earlier, Aterm WG1200CR firmware Ver1.2.1 and earlier, Aterm WG2600HS firmware Ver1.3.2 and earlier) allows an attacker on the same network segment to execute arbitrary OS commands with root privileges via UPnP function.
CVE-2020-5525
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-21
Aterm series (Aterm WF1200C firmware Ver1.2.1 and earlier, Aterm WG1200CR firmware Ver1.2.1 and earlier, Aterm WG2600HS firmware Ver1.3.2 and earlier) allows an authenticated attacker on the same network segment to execute arbitrary OS commands with root privileges via management screen.
CVE-2020-5533
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-21
Cross-site scripting vulnerability in Aterm WG2600HS firmware Ver1.3.2 and earlier allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via unspecified vectors.
CVE-2020-5534
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-21
Aterm WG2600HS firmware Ver1.3.2 and earlier allows an authenticated attacker on the same network segment to execute arbitrary OS commands with root privileges via unspecified vectors.
CVE-2014-7914
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-21
btif/src/btif_dm.c in Android before 5.1 does not properly enforce the temporary nature of a Bluetooth pairing, which allows user-assisted remote attackers to bypass intended access restrictions via crafted Bluetooth packets after the tapping of a crafted NFC tag.