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.

Vulnerabilities / Threats

12/22/2017
02:18 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Hit the Cyber Underground for the Hottest Travel Deals

You can get everything from inexpensive flights and hotels to fake passports in the cyber underground, says Trend Micro.

Have a hankering to see the world but don't have the budget for it? Not to worry.

People who are not averse to bending a few rules—okay, breaking them—have plenty of options for low-cost travel and holidaying courtesy of a thriving underground market for illegally obtained travel services.

Cybercriminals, never ones to miss an opportunity to make a quick buck, have assembled an impressive portfolio of travel options paid for using stolen credit cards, hacked loyalty program accounts, and fraudulent redemption of coupons, discounts, and free offers, says Trend Micro.

The security vendor took a look at the cybercriminal underground and found services offering everything from deeply discounted airfares, hotel rooms, car rentals, and cab fares to fraudulent travel documents and passport modification services.

For example, a Los Angeles based traveler wishing to see a soccer game at the 2018 FIFA World Cup can get a round trip ticket to Moscow for $500—about 50% off the actual price—and pay another $60 to get a hotel for two nights, at about 60% off the regular price.

A Madrid-based couple could show their two kids a magical time at a Disney World Resort in Orlando for two days for a mere $1,100. The price would include round-trip airfare tickets for the four, two rooms at a Walt Disney resort and four park-hopper tickets to all four Disney World parks—each of which alone would otherwise go for $170 for adults. For around $240, a Moscow resident could get a round trip flight and two-day stay at Santorini in Greece, and for about $300 more, visit the Great Wall in China.

"Stolen credit cards are being used to pay for these travel services," says Jon Clay, director of global threat communications at Trend Micro. "By using a stolen credit card to buy plane tickets, it’s free for the criminal, so they can offer it at a discount to others.

In other instances, hackers employ credential stealing to hack into and take control of a loyalty account to buy something. "If it is a plane ticket or hotel room, they would purchase it under a name they have identification for, like a fake passport," Clay says. For prices ranging from roughly $120 to $365, an individual can purchase loyalty accounts for posh five-star hotels and redeem the points in them for free nights and other goodies.

Another scam involves fraudulently using corporate accounts to get discounted hotel rates. Because hotels typically ask individuals who claim a corporate discount for their ID, underground services are available that sell fake corporate ID cards bearing the names of some of the most recognizable multinational entities.

Criminals, using things like compromised mobile devices or someone else's breached Uber account, are able to offer cab rides and ride-shares in major cities at a fraction of the regular cost, Clay says.

Trend Micro also discovered numerous underground sites and forums offering fraudulent documents for travelers. Among them was one Russian operator offering blank and fully filled Ukrainian passports from between $1,500 and $1,600. The vendor also uncovered passport modification services at prices ranging between $510 and $1,100.

Clay says Trend Micro estimates such fraud is costing the travel industry billions in losses. The airline and hotel industry alone are losing potentially $1 billion each from cyber-related fraud, he says.

"Considering the amount of money being lost to this type of fraud, it seems like this is a crime that is not well-detected," Clay says. There are numerous instances of fraudsters being caught when trying to use illegally obtained flight tickets, hotel bookings and other travel services. "But the numbers overall show that this is a successful method for criminals," Clay says.

Related content:

 

Jai Vijayan is a seasoned technology reporter with over 20 years of experience in IT trade journalism. He was most recently a Senior Editor at Computerworld, where he covered information security and data privacy issues for the publication. Over the course of his 20-year ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 7/2/2020
Ripple20 Threatens Increasingly Connected Medical Devices
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  6/30/2020
DDoS Attacks Jump 542% from Q4 2019 to Q1 2020
Dark Reading Staff 6/30/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
How Cybersecurity Incident Response Programs Work (and Why Some Don't)
This Tech Digest takes a look at the vital role cybersecurity incident response (IR) plays in managing cyber-risk within organizations. Download the Tech Digest today to find out how well-planned IR programs can detect intrusions, contain breaches, and help an organization restore normal operations.
Flash Poll
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
This report describes some of the latest attacks and threats emanating from the Internet, as well as advice and tips on how your organization can mitigate those threats before they affect your business. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-9498
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
Apache Guacamole 1.1.0 and older may mishandle pointers involved inprocessing data received via RDP static virtual channels. If a userconnects to a malicious or compromised RDP server, a series ofspecially-crafted PDUs could result in memory corruption, possiblyallowing arbitrary code to be executed...
CVE-2020-3282
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
A vulnerability in the web-based management interface of Cisco Unified Communications Manager, Cisco Unified Communications Manager Session Management Edition, Cisco Unified Communications Manager IM & Presence Service, and Cisco Unity Connection could allow an unauthenticated, remote attack...
CVE-2020-5909
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
In versions 3.0.0-3.5.0, 2.0.0-2.9.0, and 1.0.1, when users run the command displayed in NGINX Controller user interface (UI) to fetch the agent installer, the server TLS certificate is not verified.
CVE-2020-5910
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
In versions 3.0.0-3.5.0, 2.0.0-2.9.0, and 1.0.1, the Neural Autonomic Transport System (NATS) messaging services in use by the NGINX Controller do not require any form of authentication, so any successful connection would be authorized.
CVE-2020-5911
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
In versions 3.0.0-3.5.0, 2.0.0-2.9.0, and 1.0.1, the NGINX Controller installer starts the download of Kubernetes packages from an HTTP URL On Debian/Ubuntu system.