Recently, the CofenseTM Phishing Defense CenterTM observed a phishing attack against American Express customers, both merchant and corporate card holders. Seeking to harvest account credentials, the phishing emails use a relatively new exploit to bypass conventional email gateway URL filtering services.
Recently, the Cofense Phishing Defense Center observed a wave of phishing attacks targeting TSB banking customers in the UK. We found these consumer-oriented phishing emails in corporate environments, after the malicious messages made it past perimeter defenses.
The convincing emails aimed to harvest an unsuspecting victim’s email, password, mobile numbers, and the “memorable information” used in two-factor authentication. If someone were to bite on the phish, they would be open to follow-up phone scams or the complete takeover of their bank account and credit cards.
Most UK banks implement two-factor authentication. They require users to set a standard password and a piece of memorable information, which users authenticate with their user name and password. Users are then asked to provide three random characters from their memorable information. This does two things to help improve the security of your bank account:
- It can help mitigate against man in the middle attacks, as any intercepted data would only reveal partial fragments of the memorable information.
- If a user’s email address and password combination has been leaked online, it provides an extra barrier for attackers attempting to access their accounts.
Again, if successful this phish could help the attacker evade these extra controls. Here’s how it works:
The attacks begins with an email purporting to be from the TSB customer care team, informing the customer that a new “SSL server” has been implemented to prevent access to customer accounts by third parties. It then asks the user to update their account information by clicking on the conveniently placed hyperlink.
Fig 1. Phishing Email
To add authenticity to the attack, the threat actors have spoofed the sending information to make the email appear to come from the sender customercare[@]tsb[.]co[.]uk If we correlate this with the message ID, we can see that it actually originated from the ttrvidros[.]com[.]br a Brazilian registered domain.
From: TSB Bank <customercare[@]tsb[.]co[.]uk> To: "MR, Example" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: EXTERNAL: Account Update Notice Thread-Topic: EXTERNAL: Account Update Notice Thread-Index: AQHVJzUy0rKRdi+45UWU8FPBrgSqiQ== X-MS-Exchange-MessageSentRepresentingType: 1 Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2019 06:55:28 +0000 Message-ID: <5630c1ff905b65891e435ec91b8a1390[@]www[.]ttrvidros[.]com[.]br> Content-Language: en-GB
Fig 2. Header Information
The malicious page shown below on fig3 is almost identical to TSB online banking portal. The first page is directed to ask for a User ID and password.
Fig 3. Phishing Page 1
The victim is then asked to supply characters from their memorable information. This is typically a word that is memorable to the user and six characters or longer, usually a pet’s name, mother’s maiden name, or a favorite city or sports team. It is standard practice to only provide three characters of your memorable information. However, this is just a clever ruse to gain the confidence of the victim.
Fig 4. Phishing Page 2
The user is then redirected to a fake error page that states, “There is a problem with some of the information you have submitted. Please amend the fields below and resubmit this form.” Afterward, the form asks the victim for the full memorable information and the mobile phone number. Armed with the victim’s user-ID, password, memorable information, and phone number an attacker can easily gain access to the victim’s bank account and credit cards through the online portal—or perhaps more worryingly, they can utilize this information to launch a social engineering campaign over the phone, commonly referred to as vishing (Voice Phishing).
Fig 5. Phishing page 3
This threat was found in an environment running Microsoft Exchange Online Protection (EOP) which provides built-in malware and spam filtering capabilities it is intended to screen inbound and outbound messages from malicious software spam transferred through email.
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 PhishMe™, which among many training scenarios offers an “Account Update Notice” phish to prepare for the type of credential attack examined in this blog post.
Over 91% of credential harvesting attacks bypassed secure email gateways. Remove the blind spot—get visibility of attacks with Cofense Reporter™.
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 CloudSeeker™.
Thanks to our unique perspective, no one knows more about the current REAL phishing threat than Cofense™. To improve your understanding, 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.
Keep a close on your inboxes—the Zombie Phish is back and it’s hitting hard.
Last October, on the eve of Halloween, the CofenseTM Phishing Defense CenterTM reported on a new phishing threat dubbed the Zombie Phish. This phish spreads much like a traditional worm. Once a mailbox’s credentials have been compromised, the bot will reply to long-dead emails (hence, Zombie) in the inbox of the infected account, sending a generic phishing email intended to harvest more victims for the Zombie hoard.
Cofense Intelligence™ recently observed a new phishing scam making the rounds in the United Kingdom. It poses as the TV licensing authority better known as the British Broadcasting Corporation. The premise behind the scam is to trick the user into believing that he or she is breaking the law by not owning a valid license to receive TV, a criminal offense in the UK with a maximum penalty of a £1000 fine plus any legal costs incurred during prosecution.
The Cofense™ Phishing Defence Center has observed a convincing new phishing campaign targeting taxpaying UK nationals. The threat actors posing as Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have imitated the Government Gateway tool which is commonly used by UK citizens to access government services online. The threat actor attempts to convince victims that they are due a tax rebate of £458.21 using the lure below.
Recently, the Cofense™ Phishing Defense Center has observed a phishing campaign targeting Greek-speaking users and customers of Alpha Bank. Alpha Bank is the fourth-largest Greek bank. We observed threat actors using multiple tactics to gain login credentials which include user names, passwords, and secret questions. This information would allow threat actors to access unsuspecting victims’ accounts draining funds and perhaps reusing those credentials on other websites.
New additions to the TrickBot malware’s capabilities, observed by the Phishing Defence Centre, indicate that this malware tool is undergoing active development. The designers of this malware are still working hard to introduce new functionality including a network worm functionality and a screen-lock module. The worm component utilises the leaked “EternalBlue” exploit for CVE-2017-0144 to propagate itself across networks that have yet to patch or discontinue the use of SMBv1. The deployment of the screen-lock module (which appears to be still in the early phases of development) gives the threat actors the ability to change the functionality of the malware from robust banking trojan to a rudimentary ransomware.