Category Archives: cyber crime

Joker’s Stash, the largest carding site, is shutting down

Joker’s Stash to shut down on February 15, 2021.

Joker’s Stash, the largest carding marketplace online announced that it was shutting down its operations on February 15, 2021.

Joker’s Stash, the largest carding marketplace online, announced that its operations will shut down on February 15, 2021.

The administrator announced the decision via messages posted on various cybercrime forums.

Joker’s Stash Official Closing Message
Image source FlashPoint

Joker’s Stash is one of the most longevous carding websites, it was launched in October 2014 and is very popular in the cybercrime underground due to the freshness of its cards and their validity. The administrators always claimed the exclusivity of their offer that is based on “self-hacked bases.”

In December, Joker’s Stash was shut down as a result of a coordinated operation conducted by the FBI and Interpol.

Joker's Stash

At the time, the authorities only seized some of the servers used by the carding portal, but the Joker’s Stash site hosted on the ToR network was not affected by the operations conducted by the police.

The sized sites were at jstash.bazar, jstash.lib, jstash.emc, and jstash.coin, which are all those accessible via blockchain DNS.

Joker Stash admins said in a message published on a hacking forum that the law enforcement only seized the servers hosting the above domains, that were only used to redirecting visitors to the actual website.

The seizure operated by law enforcement in December had an impact on the reputation of the portal, some users were also claiming that the quality of the services offered by Joker’s Stash was decreasing.

“Throughout 2020, the typically active administrator JokerStash had several gaps in communications. JokerStash claimed that they were hospitalized due to a coronavirus infection. The decreasing number of large fresh bases also questioned their ability to source new card data.” reported FlashPoint.

The news of the closure of the card shop represents a major hit to the carding activities in the underground market.

The success of the recent operations might have pushed the administrators into an exit from their operations.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, carding)

The post Joker’s Stash, the largest carding site, is shutting down appeared first on Security Affairs.

Operation Spalax, an ongoing malware campaign targeting Colombian entities

Security experts from ESET uncovered an ongoing surveillance campaign, dubbed Operation Spalax, against Colombian government institutions and private companies.

Malware researchers from ESET uncovered an ongoing surveillance campaign, dubbed Operation Spalax, against Colombian entities exclusively.

The attacks aimed at government institutions and private companies, most of them in the energy and metallurgical sectors.  The campaign has been active at least since 2020, the attackers leverage remote access trojans to spy on their victims. 

The attacks share some similarities with other campaigns targeting Colombian entities, in particular a campaign detailed in February 2019, by QiAnXin. The operations described by QiAnXin are attributed to an APT group active since at least April 2018.

Below the similarities found by ESET:

  • We saw a malicious sample included in IoCs of QiAnXin’s report and a sample from the new campaign in the same government organization. These files have fewer than a dozen sightings each.
  • Some of the phishing emails from the current campaign were sent from IP addresses corresponding to a range that belongs to Powerhouse Management, a VPN service. The same IP address range was used for emails sent in the earlier campaign.
  • The phishing emails have similar topics and pretend to come from some of the same entities – for example, the Office of the Attorney General (Fiscalia General de la Nacion) or the National Directorate of Taxes and Customs (DIAN).
  • Some of the C&C servers in Operation Spalax use and subdomains, along with IP addresses that belong to Powerhouse Management. This also happened in the earlier campaign.

However, experts found differences in the attachments used for phishing emails, the remote access trojans (RATs) used the operator’s C&C infrastructure.

The attacks start with phishing messages that lead to the download of RAR archives hosted on OneDrive or MediaFire containing a malicious executable.

“We’ve found a variety of packers used for these executables, but their purpose is always to have a remote access trojan running on the victimized computer, usually by decrypting the payload and injecting it into legitimate processes.” continues the report. “We have seen the attackers use three different RATs: Remcos, njRAT and AsyncRAT.”

Operation Spalax

The phishing messages used a wide range of topics as lures, such as notifications of driving infractions, to attend court hearings, and to take mandatory COVID-19 tests.

ESET also documented the use of heavily obfuscated AutoIt droppers, in this attack scenario the first-stage malware performs the injection and execution of the payload. The malware use two shellcodes contained in the compiled AutoIt script, the first one decrypts the payload and the second injects it into some process.

The Trojans used in Operation Spalax implements several capabilities to spy on targets, such as keylogging, screen capture, clipboard hijacking, exfiltration of files, and the ability to download and execute other payloads.

ESET pointed out that the attackers leveraged on large network C2 infrastructure, experts observed at least 24 different IP addresses in use in the second half of 2020. Attackers probably compromised devices to use them as proxies for their C2 servers. The threat actors also used dynamic DNS services to manage a pool of 70 different domain names (and also register new ones on a regular basis) that are dynamically assigned to IP addresses. In the second half of 2020 alone they used 24 IP addresses.

“Targeted malware attacks against Colombian entities have been scaled up since the campaigns that were described last year,” ESET concludes. “The landscape has changed from a campaign that had a handful of C2 servers and domain names to a campaign with very large and fast-changing infrastructure with hundreds of domain names used since 2019.”

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, Operation Spalax)

The post Operation Spalax, an ongoing malware campaign targeting Colombian entities appeared first on Security Affairs.

CAPCOM: 390,000 people impacted in the recent ransomware Attack

Capcom revealed that the recent ransomware attack has potentially impacted 390,000 people, an increase of approximately 40,000 people from the previous report.

In November, Japanese game developer Capcom admitted to have suffered a cyberattack that is impacting business operations.

The company has developed multiple multi-million-selling game franchises, including Street Fighter, Mega Man, Darkstalkers, Resident Evil, Devil May Cry, Onimusha, Dino Crisis, Dead Rising, Sengoku Basara, Ghosts ‘n Goblins, Monster Hunter, Breath of Fire, and Ace Attorney as well as games based on Disney animated properties.

At the time, the Notice Regarding Network Issues published by the company revealed that on the morning of November 2nd, 2020 is suffered a cyberattack, In response to the incident the game developer shut down portions of their corporate network to prevent the malware from spreading.

The incident has not impacted connections for its players, the company initially declared that had not found any evidence that customer data was stolen.

In Mid-November, the company confirmed that the attackers accessed the personal information of its employees, along with financial and business information. The company believes that other information potentially accessed includes sales reports, financial information, game development documents, other information related to business partners.

No credit card information was compromised in the security breach.

After the attack, the Ragnar Locker ransomware operators claimed to have stolen over 1TB of data from the company.

In an update published by the Ragnar ransomware gang on it leak site the operators leaked a collection of archives as proof of the hack.Greetings !

“Unfortunately even such worldwide leading company as CAPCOM doesn’t values much privacy and security. They was notified about vulnerability and data leak numerous time.” reads the post published by Ragnar gang on its leak site. They checked our page with proofs but even this didn’t help them to make a right decision and save data from leakage. Also we would help them to decrypt and also provide with recommendations on security measures improvement, to avoid such issues in future.” reads the post published by the ransomware on its leak site.

“We are sure that everyone should know about CAPCOM’s decision and careless attitude regarding data privacy. This might seems crazy in 21st century, all corporates should work harder on their security measures, especially IT and online based companies.”


This week, Capcom provided an update on its investigation, that revealed the incident was worse than initially thought because the number of impacted people is larger than initially believed.

Capcom revealed that the personal information of 16,415 people was stolen by the ransomware gang. Impacted people includes 3,248 business partners, 9,164 former employees, and related parties, and 3,994 employees and related parties. Only 9 people were impacted.

“Further, because the overall number of potentially compromised data cannot specifically be ascertained due to issues including some logs having been lost as a result of the attack, Capcom has listed the maximum number of items it has determined to potentially have been affected at the present time.” reads the update published by the company.

Cumulative maximum number of potentially impacted people is 390,000, an increase of approximately 40,000 people from the previous report.

1. Information verified to have been compromised (updated)

i. Personal Information16,406 people *cumulative total since investigation began: 16,415 peopleBusiness partners, etc.: 3,248 people
At least one of the following: name, address, phone number, email address, etc.Former employees and related parties: 9,164 people
At least one of the following: name, email address, HR information, etc.Employees and related parties: 3,994 people
At least one of the following: name, email address, HR information, etc.
ii. Other InformationSales reports, financial information, game development documents, other information related to business partners

2. Potentially compromised data (updated)

i. Personal InformationApplicants: approx. 58,000 people
At least one of the following: name, address, phone number, email address, etc.*Cumulative maximum number of potentially compromised data for customers,
business partners and other external parties: 390,000 people*Regarding the cumulative maximum number of potentially compromised data above: as part of its ongoing investigation, Capcom has determined that it currently does not see evidence for the possibility of data compromise for the approximate 18,000 items of personal information from North America (Capcom Store member information and esports operations website members) that the company included in its November 16, 2020 announcement. As such, these have been removed from this cumulative maximum number of potentially compromised data.

The company pointed out that the investigation is still ongoing and that new fact may come to light.

“At this point in time, Capcom’s internal systems have in large part recovered, and business operations have returned to normal.” concludes the update.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, CAPCOM)

The post CAPCOM: 390,000 people impacted in the recent ransomware Attack appeared first on Security Affairs.

Classiscam expands to Europe: Russian-speaking scammers lure Europeans to pages mimicking classifieds

Russian-speaking scammers started targeting users of European marketplaces and classifieds is a criminal scheme dubbed Classiscam.

Group-IB, a global threat hunting and and adversary-centric cyber intelligence company, has discovered that Russian-speaking scammers started targeting users of European marketplaces and classifieds. The scheme, dubbed Classiscam by Group-IB, is an automated scam as a service designed to steal money and payment data. The scheme uses Telegram bots that provide scammers with ready-to-use pages mimicking popular classifieds, marketplaces and sometimes delivery services. According to Group-IB, over 20 large groups, leveraging the scheme, currently operate in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, France, Poland, Romania, the US, and post-Soviet countries, while 20 more groups work in Russia. These 40 groups altogether made at least USD 6.5 mln in 2020. Scammers are actively abusing brands of popular international classifieds and marketplaces, such as Leboncoin, Allegro, OLX, FAN Courier, Sbazar, and etc. Group-IB has sent notifications to the affected brands so they could take the necessary steps to protect against Classiscam. 


The scheme, which initially exploited delivery brands, has been tried and tested in Russia. Analysts warn that it is now growing rapidly and reaching users of European classifieds and marketplaces, which were chosen as a target by Russian-speaking scammers to increase their profits and reduce the risk of being caught. Fighting the scam requires joint efforts by classifieds, marketplaces, and delivery services. It is also key to use advanced digital risk protection technology to ensure that any brand impersonating attacks are quickly detected and taken down. 

Exporting Classiscam

Group-IB Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-GIB) for the first time recorded the Classiscam in Russia in the summer of 2019. Peak activity was recorded in the spring of 2020 due to the massive switch to remote working and an increase in online shopping.

“In the summer of 2020 we took down 280 scam pages as part of the Classiscam scheme, and by December that number grew 10-fold and reached up to 3,000 pages,” says Yaroslav Kargalev, the deputy head of CERT-GIB. “We see that Classiscammers are now actively migrating from Russia to Europe and other countries. It’s not the first time when Russia serves as a testing ground for cybercriminals with global ambitions.” 

Group-IB’s Digital Risk Protection and CERT-GIB experts have so far identified at least 40 active Classiscam gangs that use scam pages mimicking popular classified, marketplace, and delivery companies with every one of them running a separate Telegram bot. Half of the groups already operate outside of Russia. Despite that scammers are making their first attempts in Europe, an average theft costs users about USD 120. The scam was localized for the markets of Eastern and Western Europe. The brands abused by scammers include the French marketplace Leboncoin, Polish brand Allegro, Czech site Sbazar, Romanian FAN Courier, DHL and many others. An analysis of underground forums and chats revealed that scammers are getting ready to use new brands in their scams, these are FedEx and DHL Express in the US and Bulgaria.

As part of the scheme, scammers publish bait ads on popular marketplaces and classified websites. The ads usually offer cameras, game consoles, laptops, smartphones, and similar items for sale at deliberately low prices. The buyer contacts the seller, who lures the former into continuing the talk through a third party messenger, such as  WhatsApp. It’s noteworthy that scammers pose as both buyers and sellers. To be more persuasive, the scammers use local phone numbers when speaking with their victims. Such services are offered in the underground. 


Although many marketplaces and classifieds that sell new and used goods have an active policy of protecting users from fraudsters by posting warnings on their resources, victims continue to give away their data. 

Evildoers ask victims to provide their contact information to allegedly arrange a delivery. The scammer then sends the buyer an URL to either a fake popular courier service website or a scam website mimicking a classified or a marketplace with a payment form, which turns out to be a scam page. As a result, the fraudster obtains payment data or withdraws money through a fake merchant website. Another scenario invlolves a scammer contacting a legitimate seller under the guise of a customer and sending a fake payment form mimicking a marketplace and obtained via Telegram bot, so that the seller could reportedly receive the money from the scammer. 


Classiscam Hierarchy 

Group-IB discovered at least 40 groups leveraging Classiscam, with each of them running a separate Telegram chat-bot. At least 20 of these groups focus on European countries. On average, they make around US $61,000 monthly, but profits may differ from group to group. It is estimated that all 40 most active criminal groups make US $522,000 per month in total. 

The hierarchy of the scammer groups represents a pyramid, with the topic starters on top. They are responsible for recruiting new members, creating scam pages, registering new accounts, and providing assistance when the bank blocks the recipient’s card or the transaction. The topic starters’ share is about 20-30 percent of the stolen sum. “Workers” get 70-80 percent of the stolen sum for communicating with victims and sending them phishing URLs. 


All details of deals made by workers (including the sum, payment number and username) are displayed in a Telegram bot. That’s how Group-IB experts were able to calсulate their estimated monthly haul. 

Based on payment statistics, the most successful workers move to the top of the list and become influential members of the project. By doing so, they gain access to VIP options in the chats and can work on European marketplaces, which offer a higher income and involve less risks for Russian-speaking scammers. Workers’ assistants are called “callers” and “refunders.” They pretend to be tech support specialists and receive 5-10 percent of the revenue.

Phishing kit in Telegram

The scheme is simple and straightforward, which makes it all the more popular. There are more reasons behind its growing popularity, however, such as automated management and expansion through special Telegram chat bots. More than 5,000 users (scammers) were registered in 40 most popular Telegram chats by the end of 2020.  

As it stands, workers just need to send a link with the bait product to the chatbot, which then generates a complete phishing kit including courier URL, payment, and refund. There are more than 10 types of Telegram bots that create scam pages for brands from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, France, Poland, and Romania. For each brand and country, scammers write scripts that help newbie workers log in to foreign sites and communicate with victims in the local language.

Chatbots also have shops where you can purchase accounts to various marketplaces, e-wallets, targeted mailings, and manuals, or even hire a lawyer to represent you in court.  

“So far, the scam’s expansion in Europe is hindered by language barriers and difficulties with cashing our stolen money abroad,” says Dmitriy Tiunkin, Head of Group-IB Digital Risk Protection Department, Europe. “Once the scammers overcome these barriers, Classiscam will spread in the West. The downside of popularity is competition among scammers, who sometimes frame each other without knowing it.” 

Fighting the Classiscam

In order to protect their brands from Classiscam, companies need to go beyond the simple monitoring and blocking approach. Instead, it is necessary to identify and block adversary infrastructure using AI-driven digital risk protection systems enriched with data about adversary infrastructure, techniques, tactics, and new fraud schemes. 


The recommendations for users are quite simple and include: 

·     Trust only official websites. Before entering your login details and payment information, double check the URL and Google it to see when it was created. If the site is only a couple of months old, it is highly likely to be a scam or a phishing page.

·      When using services for renting or selling new and used goods, do not switch to messengers. Keep all your communication in the official chat.

·      Do not order goods or agree to deals involving a prepaid transaction. Pay only after you receive the goods and make sure that everything is working properly.

·      Large discounts and unbelievable promotions may be just that: too good to be true. They are likely to indicate a bait product and a phishing page. Be careful.

About the author: Group-IB

Group-IB is a Singapore-based provider of solutions aimed at detection and prevention of cyberattacks and online fraud. The company also specializes in high-profile cyber investigations and IP protection services. 

If you want to receive the weekly Security Affairs Newsletter for free subscribe here.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, Classiscam)

The post Classiscam expands to Europe: Russian-speaking scammers lure Europeans to pages mimicking classifieds appeared first on Security Affairs.

C2 Traffic Patterns: Personal Notes

Detection is a key point in threat hunting. During the past few weeks, stright in the middle of the winter “holidays” (well, maybe if you live in a place where no COVID-19 lockdown was involved), many people re/started a studying program on cybersecurity. Some of them wrote to me asking if there is a way to detect common malware infections through network traces. So I thought it was a nice idea to share some personal and quick notes on that topic.

BTW The short answer is: Yes there is a way. So it makes sense to trace Malware traffics for studying purposes, but also to find patterns for network detections in real environments.

First of all you need to build your own laboratory, you might decide to build a dual VM systems, in which VM1 is the victim machine and VM2 is the traffic sniffer or you might decide to have a single victim machine and the main host sniffing and analyzing traffic streams. This is actually my favourite choice: a single MV called “victim” where I detonate malwares and the main host (the real machine in which the victim is virtualized) where the traffic tools are run. You need to create a certificate and manke it trusted from the victim machine in order to facilitate the SSL inspection. But this is not a post on how to build your own laboratory, if you are interested on building your own Malware laboratory the following 2 links are great starting points:

  • Christophe wrote a very nice starting post on it: HERE
  • Byte-Atlas followed on the topic showung how to harden the machine to reduce Malware Evasion: HERE

After you set up your own laboratory you are ready to start your tracking process. Following some personal notes on my “network traceing days”. Please note the following collection is a mix-up of personal traced network traffic (and already published on gists/reports/repositories/pastebins etc) and the one I found from different friends/posts/reports/repositories as well during the past years.

Traffic Patterns

The following paragraphs describe traffic traces captured by executing in a controlled environment some of the most known malware untill now. Please note that I’ve taken descriptions from Malpedia for reading convenience.


A .NET based keylogger and RAT. Logs keystrokes and the host’s clipboard, it finally beacons this information back to the C2. It has a modular infrastructure, following some of the traffic grabs for the following modules:


POST /zin/WebPanel/api.php HTTP/1.1
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 6.1; ru; rv: Gecko/20100401 Firefox/4.0 (.NET CLR 3.5.30729)
Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded
Content-Length: 308
Expect: 100-continue
Connection: Keep-Alive

HTTP/1.1 100 Continue



<html>Time: 11/25/2019 17:48:57<br>User Name: admin<br>Computer Name: VICTIM-PC<br>OSFullName: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional <br>CPU: Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-6400 CPU @ 2.70GHz<br>RAM: 4095.61 MB<br><hr>URL:<br><br>


From: office@xxx.]com
To: officelogs@xxx[.]com
Date: 12 Oct 2019 17:58:19 +0100
Subject: admin/VICTIM-PC Recovered Cookies
Content-Type: multipart/mixed;

Content-Type: text/html; charset=us-ascii
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

Time: 10/12/2019 11:58:13<br>UserName: admin<br>ComputerName: VICTI=
M-PC<br>OSFullName: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional <br>CPU: Int=
el(R) Core(TM) i5-6400 CPU @ 2.70GHz<br>RAM: 3583.61 MB<br>IP: 18=<hr>


AZORult is a credential and payment card information stealer. Among other things, version 2 added support for .bit-domains. It has been observed in conjunction with Chthonic as well as being dropped by Ramnit. The following network trace is of one of the most relevant POST action taking back pattern with many “/”

POST /index.php HTTP/1.1
User-Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0b; Windows NT 5.1)
Content-Length: 103
Cache-Control: no-cache


Buer Loader

Buer is a downloader sold on underground forums and used by threat actors to deliver payload malware onto target machines. It has been observed in email campaigns and has been sold as a service since August 2019.


Connection: Keep-Alive
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/60.0.3112.113 Safari/537.36

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Server: nginx
Date: Tue, 12 Nov 2019 20:00:24 GMT
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8
Transfer-Encoding: chunked
Connection: keep-alive


Connection: Keep-Alive
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/60.0.3112.113 Safari/537.36

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Server: nginx
Date: Tue, 12 Nov 2019 20:00:24 GMT
Content-Type: application/*
Content-Length: 2109952
Connection: keep-alive
Last-Modified: Tue, 12 Nov 2019 19:32:38 GMT
Connection: Keep-Alive
Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Apple-iPhone7C2/1202.466; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/1A543 Safari/419.3
Content-Length: 1046


Cobalt Strike

Cobalt Strike is a paid penetration testing product that allows an attacker to deploy an agent named ‘Beacon’ on the victim machine. Beacon includes a wealth of functionality to the attacker, including, but not limited to command execution, key logging, file transfer, SOCKS proxying, privilege escalation, mimikatz, port scanning and lateral movement. Beacon is in-memory/file-less, in that it consists of stageless or multi-stage shellcode that once loaded by exploiting a vulnerability or executing a shellcode loader, will reflectively load itself into the memory of a process without touching the disk. It supports C2 and staging over HTTP, HTTPS, DNS, SMB named pipes as well as forward and reverse TCP; Beacons can be daisy-chained. Cobalt Strike comes with a toolkit for developing shellcode loaders, called Artifact Kit.

The Beacon implant has become popular amongst targeted attackers and criminal users as it is well written, stable, and highly customizable.

Following a general profile

GET /Mdt7 HTTP/1.1
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; MSIE 9.0; Windows NT 6.1; Win64; x64; Trident/5.0; NP06)
Connection: Keep-Alive
Cache-Control: no-cache

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Wed, 16 Nov 2019 02:13:32 GMT
Content-Type: application/octet-stream
Content-Length: 213589


GET /push HTTP/1.1
Accept: */*
Cookie: TwJl1o2Nzk3+xmC39FsNTbyJPGHyNxllFZ8wZUwR831SYmTwrxoGydXQGF1ej89K1t0rTLgzjd95c8127hlZ6SQ4hx95YrYuRHooitXYGEAxtbKv53LJ6K+6r1y1OQU3n0+O93xxPiyx6RvPeKzlACbO4nEc5YKzh0vAfWJvlm0=
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; MSIE 9.0; Windows NT 6.1; Trident/5.0; BOIE9;ENXA)
Connection: Keep-Alive
Cache-Control: no-cache

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Wed, 16 Nov 2019 02:017:31 GMT
Content-Type: application/octet-stream
Content-Length: 0

Following Amazon C2 profile (from external sources)

GET /s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1/167-3294888-0262949/field-keywords=books HTTP/1.1
Accept: */*
Cookie: skin=noskin;session-token=MM4bZQ5WUPUrn7TPQuCWct6G+WGXZaLdezMQVEv8PHnB7tnvTk7ct3W71pQmn2NMJQD7IFbjPnKJV27tKshA8AjgzpXoeUtOIrDiBEg0x3AesYq52s74IbjnsVA+wASo0D6L23fd87XNDUiBro5wNBzcybUOADAO1fjCobw5MAw=csm-hit=s-24KU11BB82RZSYGJ3BDK|1419899012996
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; Trident/7.0; rv:11.0) like Gecko
Connection: Keep-Alive
Cache-Control: no-cache

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Fri, 13 Dec 2019 17:48:39 GMT
Server: Server
x-amz-id-2: a21yZ2xrNDNtdGRsa212bGV3YW85amZuZW9ydG5rZmRuZ2tmZGl4aHRvNDVpbgo=
X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN
Content-Encoding: gzip
Content-Length: 0

Following a safebrowsing profile (from external sources)

GET /safebrowsing/ref/eNKSXUTdWXGYAMHYg2df0Ev1wVrA7yp0T-WrSHSB53oha HTTP/1.1
Accept-Language: en-US
Accept: text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,*/*;q=0.8
Accept-Encoding: gzip
Cookie: PREF=ID=foemmgjicmcnhjlacgackacadbclcmnfoeaeeignjhiphdgidlmahkgbchcahclpfcadjnegckejpiofbmllpnaeancgbikcdjohkekapgnkgiijobnknkgiahmkcjipnncehcamnopcmlngcboppjdplhhobhgekdcblgpkdggeklenpcabdkhhhaedogkacljhdgdphfanfbmcbnkgjmplhdkomllhnnoppchchejooiplahpgpmfaegdcpbnd
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/55.0.2883.87 Safari/537.36
Connection: Keep-Alive
Cache-Control: no-cache

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Content-Encoding: gzip
Age: 1609
Alternate-Protocol: 80:quic
Cache-Control: public,max-age=172800
Content-Type: application/
Date: Fri, 22 Nov 2019 13:34:50 GMT
Server: ECAcc (frb/67BC)
X-Content-Type-Options: nosniff
X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN
X-XSS-Protection: 1; mode=block
Content-Length: 82480


Proofpoints describes DanaBot as the latest example of malware focused on persistence and stealing useful information that can later be monetized rather than demanding an immediate ransom from victims. The social engineering in the low-volume DanaBot campaigns we have observed so far has been well-crafted, again pointing to a renewed focus on “quality over quantity” in email-based threats. DanaBot’s modular nature enables it to download additional components, increasing the flexibility and robust stealing and remote monitoring capabilities of this banker.

It looks like TLS traffic, but it really isen’t. The matching flag is on “24 01 00 00” pattern and following 24 byte first packet. (external take)

00000000  24 01 00 00 00 00 00 00 e5 7c 00 00 00 00 00 00    $....... .|......
00000010  09 7e 00 00 00 00 00 00                            .~...... 


DarkComet is one of the most famous RATs, developed by Jean-Pierre Lesueur in 2008. After being used in the Syrian civil war in 2011, Lesuer decided to stop developing the trojan. Indeed, DarkComet is able to enable control over a compromised system through use of a simple graphic user interface. Experts think that this user friendliness is the key of its mass success.


Dridex loader

OxCERT blog describes Dridex as “an evasive, information-stealing malware variant; its goal is to acquire as many credentials as possible and return them via an encrypted tunnel to a Command-and-Control (C&C) server. These C&C servers are numerous and scattered all over the Internet, if the malware cannot reach one server it will try another. For this reason, network-based measures such as blocking the C&C IPs is effective only in the short-term.”
According to MalwareBytes, “Dridex uses an older tactic of infection by attaching a Word document that utilizes macros to install malware. However, once new versions of Microsoft Office came out and users generally updated, such a threat subsided because it was no longer simple to infect a user with this method.”
IBM X-Force discovered “a new version of the Dridex banking Trojan that takes advantage of a code injection technique called AtomBombing to infect systems. AtomBombing is a technique for injecting malicious code into the ‘atom tables’ that almost all versions of Windows uses to store certain application data. It is a variation of typical code injection attacks that take advantage of input validation errors to insert and to execute malicious code in a legitimate process or application. Dridex v4 is the first malware that uses the AtomBombing process to try and infect systems.”

GET /function.php?3b3988df-c05b-4fca-93cc-8f82af0e3d2b HTTP/1.1
Connection: Keep-Alive

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Server: nginx
Date: Tue, 05 Nov 2019 20:32:12 GMT
Content-Type: application/octet-stream
Content-Length: 455830
Connection: keep-alive
Keep-Alive: timeout=60
Accept-Ranges: bytes
Content-Disposition: attachment; filename=5dc1dc4cd884c.pdf

Content-Length: 3442
Connection: Close
Cache-Control: no-cache

v..jq..........G.0vR...@ ..6tw..<.{It.y


While Emotet historically was a banking malware organized in a botnet, nowadays Emotet is mostly seen as infrastructure as a service for content delivery. For example, since mid 2018 it is used by Trickbot for installs, which may also lead to ransomware attacks using Ryuk, a combination observed several times against high-profile targets.
It is always stealing information from victims but what the criminal gang behind it did, was to open up another business channel by selling their infrastructure delivering additional malicious software. From malware analysts it has been classified into epochs depending on command and control, payloads, and delivery solutions which change over time.

The following trace is an external trace not updated to the last versions

POST /mult/tlb/ HTTP/1.1
Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded
DNT: 1
User-Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; Trident/7.0; SLCC2; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; .NET CLR 3.5.30729; .NET CLR 3.0.30729; Media Center PC 6.0; .NET4.0C; .NET4.0E)
Content-Length: 468
Connection: Keep-Alive
Cache-Control: no-cache


HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Server: nginx
Date: Mon, 07 Oct 2019 13:38:33 GMT
Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8
Content-Length: 148
Connection: keep-alive

.^ta.I..Z .._AJ*..=._...5-...F.L{>...`.c.....~.|.h...@.E...2.Z|U..W..M....b......X.FA....x.....\.j?/C......{pi.b....Cz......>D..yQ........G.q...4?..


FormBook is yet another Stealer malware. Like most stealer malware, it performs many operations to evade AV vendors when deploying itself on a victim’s machine. And of course as we see with UrsnifHancitor, Dridex and other trojans, there are many variants with more than one way to receive the payload.

In the past year the threat actor’s favorite method of distributing FormBook has been via malspam and the use of CVE-2017-8570, using an .RTF file format with malicious code to exploit this vulnerability.

Patter suggestion. Host name is almast always “www” driven 😉

POST /k9m/ HTTP/1.1
Connection: close
Content-Length: 3769
Cache-Control: no-cache
User-Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 6.1; Trident/4.0; SLCC2; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; .NET CLR 3.5.30729; .NET CLR 3.0.30729; Media Center PC 6.0; .NET4.0C; .NET4.0E)
Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded
Accept: */*
Accept-Language: en-US
Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate



According to X-Force research, the new banking Trojan emerged in the wild in September 2017, when its first test campaigns were launched. Researchers noted that IcedID has a modular malicious code with modern banking Trojan capabilities comparable to malware such as the Zeus Trojan. At this time, the malware targets banks, payment card providers, mobile services providers, payroll, webmail and e-commerce sites (external take)

GET /photo.png?id=0181B9BACBCF3080870000000000FF40000001 HTTP/1.1
Connection: Keep-Alive

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Server: openresty
Date: Wed, 16 Oct 2019 15:30:33 GMT
Content-Type: application/octet-stream
Content-Length: 605211
Connection: keep-alive
Last-Modified: Tue, 08 Oct 2019 11:43:19 GMT
ETag: "5d9c7657-93c1b"
Accept-Ranges: bytes

IHDR..............N.T....sRGB.........gAMA......a....	pHYs..........o.d.	;.IDATOLrEV.....Le.D|...Rp.{..D...g`...a@.\8,E


The author described LaZagne as an open source project used to retrieve lots of passwords stored on a local computer. It has been developed for the purpose of finding these passwords for the most commonly-used software. It is written in Python and provided as compiled standalone binaries for Linux, Mac, and Windows.

POST /te.php HTTP/1.1
Content-Type: multipart/form-data; boundary=---------------------------58748130728276
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 Gecko/20100115 Firefox/3.6
Content-Length: 1526
Cache-Control: no-cache

Content-Disposition: form-data; name="userfile"; filename="admin-MM-PC-passwords.txt"

########## User: admin ##########

------------------- Firefox passwords -----------------

[+] Password found !!!
Password: testpassword

------------------- Outlook passwords -----------------

[-] Password not found !!!
Account Name:
POP3 User:
POP3 Server:
u'Delivery Store EntryID: \x00\x00\ua138\u10bb\ue505\u1a10\ubba1\x08\u2a2b\uc256\x00\u736d\u7370\u2e74\u6c64l\x00\x00\u494e\u4154\ubff9\u01b8\uaa00\u3700\u6ed9\x00\x00C:\\Users\\admin\\Documents\\Outlook Files\\\x00'
SMTP Secure Connection: 0
SMTP Server:
Mini UID: 224868084
'Delivery Folder EntryID: \x00\x00\x00\x00\x81 \xa1\x9f\x92\x06>N\x9c\xc7t\xd9H\xba>f\x82\x80\x00\x00'
u'clsid: \u457b\u3444\u3537\u3134\u2d31\u3042\u3644\u312d\u4431\u2d32\u4338\u4233\u302d\u3130\u3430\u3242\u3641\u3736\u7d36'
Display Name: test Mail.
POP3 Password: testpassword.
u'Leave on Server: \u3139\u3537\u3730'

------------------- Google chrome passwords -----------------

[+] Password found !!!
Password: testpassword

[+] 3 passwords have been found.
For more information launch it again with the -v option

elapsed time = 2.4423969775


HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Tue, 15 Sept 2019 12:08:01 GMT
Server: Apache/2.4.18 (Ubuntu)
Content-Length: 1
Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8


Netwire is a RAT, its functionality seems focused on password stealing and keylogging, but includes remote control capabilities as well. Keylog files are stored on the infected machine in an obfuscated form. Nice to spot in “41 00 00 00 99” pattern on initial packet.

00000000  41 00 00 00 99 80 3a e0 e8 5f d7 ea 8c af 76 cc   A.....:. ._....v.
00000010  c4 cc ad 5a 10 72 cc d0 5e 64 d8 50 80 fc b6 e6   ...Z.r.. ^d.P....
00000020  54 25 bf e0 ea 7f 7b e4 ff 54 70 e8 eb c0 fa 80   T%....{. .Tp.....
00000030  a0 a0 f3 a0 b0 0a 94 04 84 31 7c 3f e7 8c 90 c5   ........ .1|?....
00000040  ce c4 11 97 d9                                     .....


Ostap is a commodity JScript downloader first seen in campaigns in 2016. It has been observed being delivered in ACE archives and VBA macro-enabled Microsoft Office documents. Recent versions of Ostap query WMI to check for a blacklist of running processes.

Following a network trace externally found

POST /angola/mabutu.php?pi=29h&tan=cezar&z=662343339&n=0&u=20&an=9468863238 HTTP/1.1
Connection: Keep-Alive
Content-Type: text/plain; Charset=UTF-8
Accept: */*
Accept-Language: en-US
User-Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; Win32; WinHttp.WinHttpRequest.5)
Content-Length: 1034

Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 6.1.7601*Locale:0409
C:\Users\admin\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup\sent64.jse

System Idle Process*null
WINWORD.EXE*C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\WINWORD.EXE


RSA describes PlugX as a RAT (Remote Access Trojan) malware family that is around since 2008 and is used as a backdoor to control the victim’s machine fully. Once the device is infected, an attacker can remotely execute several kinds of commands on the affected system.

POST /update?wd=b0b9d49c HTTP/1.1
Accept: */*
x-debug: 0
x-request: 0
x-content: 61456
x-storage: 1
User-Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1;SV1;
Content-Length: 0
Connection: Keep-Alive
Cache-Control: no-cache


GET /EF003AAB6425775CD949B40C HTTP/1.1
Accept: */*
Cookie: QhTbeUW+YzYYsZWz0PQvBvYIgo8=
User-Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 6.1; SLCC2;)
Connection: Keep-Alive
Cache-Control: no-cache

HTTP/1.1 203 
Server: nginx
Date: Tue, 02 October 2019 17:32:40 GMT
Content-Type: text/html;charset=UTF-8
Content-Length: 660
Connection: keep-alive
Cache-Control: no-cache
Pragma: no-cache
Expires: Thu, 01 Jan 1970 00:00:00 GMT
X-Server: ip-172-31-28-245
Set-Cookie: JSESSIONID=4618E9008B004BEE8FE5C81AB063A332; Path=/; HttpOnly


Quasar RAT is a malware family written in .NET which is used by a variety of attackers. The malware is fully functional and open source, and is often packed to make analysis of the source more difficult. Interesting pattern flag on “40 00 00 00”, 68 data bytes on first packet. (external source)

00000000  40 00 00 00 3e 83 58 08 ad d1 05 8d 77 20 53 1f   @...>.X. ....w S.
00000010  dc 2e e8 99 0a f3 f1 bb 3a 8c c2 a1 9d 72 4a 69   ........ :....rJi
00000020  e6 60 97 da 1e 76 87 16 91 f2 1b c4 f4 89 f9 8a   .`...v.. ........
00000030  20 5b 19 e5 7c ae ed f1 b4 5a d2 ce 5f 86 17 20    [..|... .Z.._.. 
00000040  c6 b3 03 8c   


The SmokeLoader family is a generic backdoor with a range of capabilities which depend on the modules included in any given build of the malware. The malware is delivered in a variety of ways and is broadly associated with criminal activity. The malware frequently tries to hide its C2 activity by generating requests to legitimate sites such as,,, and others. Typically the actual Download returns an HTTP 404 but still contains data in the Response Body. The following net trace is an external take

Cache-Control: no-cache
Connection: Keep-Alive
Pragma: no-cache
Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded
Accept: */*
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; Win64; x64; Trident/7.0; rv:11.0) like Gecko
Content-Length: 299

..+.........O..`...4..A..wT.F...XM&2.^.Y................E.4	W`.......(.....<,.zK..>c..^...p......n.z"]....\S,[.
......qV4`..Pu*...8W.........M .h.v.S.:.


A financial Trojan believed to be a derivative of Dyre: the bot uses very similar code, web injects, and operational tactics. Has multiple modules including VNC and Socks5 Proxy. Uses SSL for C2 communication.The following trace is an external take.

      << 200 OK 224b
      << 200 OK 12b
      << 200 OK 937b
      << 200 OK


In 2006, Gozi v1.0 (‘Gozi CRM’ aka ‘CRM’) aka Papras was first observed.
It was offered as a CaaS, known as 76Service. This first version of Gozi was developed by Nikita Kurmin, and he borrowed code from Ursnif aka Snifula, a spyware developed by Alexey Ivanov around 2000, and some other kits. Gozi v1.0 thus had a formgrabber module and often is classified as Ursnif aka Snifula. In September 2010, the source code of a particular Gozi CRM dll version was leaked, which led to Vawtrak/Neverquest (in combination with Pony) via Gozi Prinimalka (a slightly modified Gozi v1.0) and Gozi v2.0 (aka ‘Gozi ISFB’ aka ‘ISFB’ aka Pandemyia). This version came with a webinject module.

POST /images/wsF0B4sp/ZaYjjdVgt73Q1BSOy_2Fofi/qF_2BfPTuK/5Ha_2F0xEvmbSfT_2/FluJ8ZF_2Fx8/g6xkZAZrZwN/2skHgzv92i_2BS/uPf4RDQvATKCgx0GZ5gez/ph_2BLcscLQkKDVw/HGZ6zA6DhGCqgPD/VTX09Q_2FUWIFyWps1/nfJ0I3rIZ/QNKbXjeu7xXa3W_2FZSX/bcWtE2zC4RafXFoRlqL/4EC4YHwclzkXrfX/58a3.bmp HTTP/1.1
Cache-Control: no-cache
Connection: Keep-Alive
Pragma: no-cache
Content-Type: multipart/form-data; boundary=36775038942641984568
User-Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 6.1)
Content-Length: 399

Content-Disposition: form-data; name="upload_file"; filename="78C6.bin"

\.\..V.]:.o..<]......H..)E.J=x...e%3..U.@.f......].tZ..1....g..OzC.5v.?o.NL...;..)..E.G.a~.....M#;.Cu;N/.3\$....x.....R....e..5.....-mW,..	..C................n.G.|..k0...@...?I.Iu......9k^.U6tzT9.b.3....#..V.4].La....zL.h+...aa..H.D.....Ar.......3.w.<.!.-.....|F9! 3.....7

Malware Delivery Platforms in 2020

Once upon a time the Malware, the main actor in the entire infection chain. A single file, once executed it was able to perform the tasks it was designed for, forcing the target machine into victim by taking control or simply execuritying desired (sometime priviledged) commands. In 2010, during my PhD studies, I was already observing a slow but certain change in this panorama. During that period Matt and I wrote for IEEE a paper title: “Multi-stage delivery of malware” (HERE) where we described how thrat actors were abusing mutistaging techniques to inoculate malicious and unwanted software.

Malware signature detectors use patterns of bytes, or variations of patterns of bytes, to detect malware attempting to enter a systems. This approach assumes the signatures are both or sufficient length to identify the malware, and to distinguish it from non-malware objects entering the system. We describe a technique that can increase the difficulty of both to an arbitrary degree. This technique can exploit an optimization that many anti-virus systems use to make inserting the malware simple; fortunately, this particular exploit is easy to detect, provided the optimization is not present. We describe some experiments to test the effectiveness of this technique in evading existing signature-based malware detectors.

Multi-stage delivery of malware – Abstract

Nowadays these thechinques are so used that we are facing multistage frameworks rather than Malware. I do prefer call them Malware delivery platforms. I am talking about EMOTET, TrickBot, QakBot and so on, those frameworks are not Malware anymore (even if they started as Malware), but are real and powerfull platforms able to deliver multiple Malware. Once the multiple Malware have been dropped and executed into a single or multiple targets, we are facing an implant. So, after 10 Years from such a paper how many platforms have been developed and how do they behave ?

Malware Delivery Platforms

In this post I’d like to fix on my meories the Malware Delivery Platforms in 2020. I believe those platforms are changing again and again, I bet we’ll see some new evolutions on the Malware infection chain panorama in early future so let’s write some simple notes on how things are working today. Please if you have more infos or if you want to make this post up-to-date, please contact me (from HERE), I will make updates and written thank you to every contributors.


One of the most famous Malware Delivery Platforms. It is used to deliver (in 2020) Trickbot. Often involved in the multiple infection chain Emotet-Trickbot-Ruyk, developing one of the most spread Ransomware as a service in our recent history


One of the most sophisticated Malware Delivery Platforms. Often dropped and executed by Emotet (but not only) it’s famous to deliver Ryuk and Conti Ransomware.


BazarLoader not such a spread delivery platform in 2020, used mainly to deliver Ryuk Ransomware and linked to TrickBot


Interesting new (if compared to Emotet) Malware delivery platform. In the past months it has been observed tight to MegaCortex
and Egregor


One of the most famous platform related to TA505. It’s actually a quite wired platform, quite simple if compared to the “mainland” but seen as entry point for Clopper


A quite famous and ancient Banking Malware. It has got many upgrades during the years, nowadays it is mostly used as dropping platform mainly observed for launching BitPaymer and DoppelPaymer


ZLoader is a wellknown Delivery platform, mostly used in Europe and US. It has been mostly observet for spreading Ryuk and Egregor.


This is one of the latest entries in the Delivery Platforms landscaped. It is mostly seed to drop and execute Egregor and Ryuk Ransomware, while Sophos correlates BuerLoader Ryuk gang.


Nowadays is mostly spread in Japan and it’s a small and quite new Malware Delivery Platform. Todays known to drop and execute Avaddon.


This post is not about describing details on Malware Delivery Platforms (MDP), but it’s a simple way to freeze a state of the art as today (Decembre 2020) on MDP. This small post could be usefull for Cybersecurity Analysts and SOC operators which need to reconstruct the whole infection chain.

If you are aware on more platforms and you want to contribute, please reach me out and send commetns to me. I will update this post as soon as will receive your comments. It would be great to maintain this post up-to-date withing future platforms integrations.

Check, Please! Adding up the Costs of a Financial Data Breach

Guest article by Andrea Babbs, UK General Manager at VIPRE

Reliance on email as a fundamental function of business communication has been in place for some time. But as remote working has become a key factor for the majority of business during 2020, it’s arguably more important than ever as a communication tool. The fact that roughly 206.4 billion emails are sent and received each day means we’re all very familiar with that dreaded feeling of sending an email with typos, with the wrong attachment, or to the wrong contact. But this can be more than just an embarrassing mistake – the ramifications could, in fact, be catastrophic. 
Check Please! Within the financial services, layered cybersecurity strategy is essential to keep sensitive information secure
In particular, for the financial services industry that deals with highly sensitive information including monetary transactions and financial data, the consequences of this information falling into the wrong hands could mean the loss of significant sums of money. Emails of this nature are the Holy Grail for cybercriminals. So how can financial services organisations keep their confidential information secure to safeguard their data and reputation? 

How much?
According to research from Ponemon Institute in its Cost of a Data Breach Report 2020, organisations spend an average of $3.85 million recovering from security incidents, with the usual time to identify and contain a breach being 280 days. Accenture’s 2019 Ninth Annual Cost of Cybercrime found that financial services incurred the highest cybercrime costs of all industries. And while examples of external threats seem to make the headlines, such the Capital One cyber incident, unintentional or insider breaches don’t always garner as much attention. Yet they are both as dangerous as each other. In fact, human errors (including misdeliveries via email) are almost twice as likely to result in confirmed data disclosure.

Costs will be wide-ranging depending on the scale of each breach, but at a minimum, there will be financial penalties, costs for audits to understand why the incident happened and what additional protocols and solutions need to be implemented to prevent it from happening in the future. There could also be huge costs involved for reimbursing customers who may have been affected by the breach in turn.

Priceless damage
The fallout from data breaches goes far beyond that of financial penalties and costs. Financial services businesses have reputations to uphold in order to maintain a loyal customer base. Those that fail to protect their customers’ sensitive information will have to manage the negative press and mistrust from existing and potential customers that could seriously impede the organisation as a whole. Within such a highly competitive market, it doesn’t take much for customers to take their money elsewhere – customer service and reputation is everything.

Check, please!
Within the financial services sector, the stakes are high, so an effective, layered cybersecurity strategy is essential to mitigate risk and keep sensitive information secure. With this, there are three critical components that must be considered: 
  1. Authentication and encryption: Hackers may try to attack systems directly or intercept emails via an insecure transport link. Security protocols are designed to prevent most instances of unauthorised interception, content modification and email spoofing. Adding a dedicated email to email encryption service to your email security arsenal increases your protection in this area. Encryption and authentication, however, do not safeguard you against human errors and misdeliveries. 
  2. Policies and training: Security guidelines and rules regarding the circulation and storage of sensitive financial information are essential, as well as clear steps to follow when a security incident happens. Employees must undergo cybersecurity awareness training when they join the organisation and then be enrolled in an ongoing programme with quarterly or monthly short, informative sessions. This training should also incorporate ongoing phishing simulations, as well as simulated phishing attacks to demonstrate to users how these incidents can appear, and educate them on how to spot and flag them accordingly. Moreover, automated phishing simulations can also provide key metrics and reports on how users are improving in their training. This reinforcement of the secure messaging, working in tandem with simulated phishing attacks ensures that everyone is capable of spotting a phishing scam or knows how to handle sensitive information as they are aware and reminded regularly of the risks involved. 
  3. Data loss prevention (DLP): DLP solutions enable the firm to implement security measures for the detection, control and prevention of risky email sending behaviours. Fully technical solutions such as machine learning can go so far to prevent breaches, but it is only the human element that can truly decipher between what is safe to send, and what is not. In practice, machine learning will either stop everything from being sent – becoming more of a nuisance than support to users – or it will stop nothing. Rather than disabling time-saving features such as autocomplete to prevent employees from becoming complacent when it comes to selecting the right email recipient, DLP solutions do not impede the working practices of users but instead give them a critical second chance to double-check.
It is this double-check that can be the critical factor in an organisation’s cybersecurity efforts. Users can be prompted based on several parameters that can be specified. For example, colleagues in different departments exchanging confidential documents with each other and external suppliers means that the TO and CC fields are likely to have multiple recipients in them. A simple incorrect email address or a cleverly disguised spoofed email cropping up with emails going back and forth is likely to be missed without a tool in place to highlight this to the user, to give them a chance to double-check the accuracy of email recipients and the contents of attachments.

Email remains a risky, yet essential tool for every business. But with a layered security strategy in place consisting of training, authentication tools and DLP solutions, organisations can minimise the risks involved and take a proactive approach to their cyber defences.

Given the nature of the industry, financial services organisations are a prime target for cybercriminals. The temptation of personal information and financial transactions for hackers is never going to dwindle, so financial institutions must prioritise cybersecurity, regularly assessing risks, deploying innovative, human-led solutions and educating workforces to provide the best defence possible.

Book Review: Crime Dot Com, From Viruses to Vote Rigging, How Hacking Went Global

I had the great delight of reading Geoff White’s new book, “Crime Dot Com: From Viruses to Vote Rigging, How Hacking Went Global”, I thoroughly recommend it. The book is superbly researched and written, the author’s storytelling investigative journalist style not only lifts the lid on the murky underground world of cybercrime but shines a light on the ingenuity, persistence and ever-increasing global scale of sophisticated cybercriminal enterprises.
Crime Dot Com: From Viruses to Vote Rigging, How Hacking Went Global
In Crime Dot Com Geoff takes the reader on a global historic tour of the shadowy cybercriminal underworld, from the humble beginnings with a rare interview with the elusive creator of the ‘Love Bug’ email worm, which caused havoc and panic back in 2000, right up to the modern-day alarming phenomenal of elections hacking by nation-state actors.

The book tells the tales of the most notorious hacks in recent history, explaining how they were successfully planned and orchestrated, all wonderfully written in a plain English style that my Luddite mother-in-law can understand.  Revealing why cybercrime is not just about the Hollywood stereotypical lone hacker, eagerly tapping away on a keyboard in the dark finding ingenious ways of exploiting IT systems. But is really about society obscured online communities of likeminded individuals with questionable moral compasses, collaborating, and ultimately exploiting innocent victims people out of billions of pounds.

The book covers the UK’s most notorious cyberattacks, such as the devasting 2017 WannaCry ransomware worm attack on the NHS, and the infamous TalkTalk hack carried out by teenage hackers.  Delving beyond the media 'cyber scare' headlines of the time, to bring the full story of what happened to the reader. The book also explores the rise and evolution of the Anonymous hacktivist culture and takes a deep dive into the less savoury aspects of criminal activities occurring on the dark web.

As you read about the history of cybercrime in this book, a kind of symbiosis between cybercriminals and nation-state hackers activities becomes apparent, from Russian law enforcement turning a blind-eye to Russia cybercriminals exploiting the West, to both the NSA’s and North Korea’s alleged involvement in creating the heinous WannaCry ransomware worm, and the UK cybercriminal that disabled that attack.  The growing number of physical world impacts caused by cyber-attacks are also probed in Crime Dot Com, so-called ‘kinetic warfare’. How sophisticated malware called Stuxnet, attributed by the media as United States military created, was unleashed with devastating effect to physically cripple an Iranian nuclear power station in a targeted attack, and why the latest cyber threat actors are targeting Britain’s energy network.

While this book is an easily digestible read for non-cyber security experts, the book provides cybersecurity professionals working on the frontline in defending organisations and citizens against cyber-attacks, with valuable insights and lessons to be learnt about their cyber adversaries and their techniques, particularly in understanding the motivations behind today's common cyberattacks.
5 out of 5: A must-read for anyone with an interest in cybercrime

Introducing PhishingKitTracker

If you are a security researcher or even a passionate about how attackers implement phishing you will find yourself to look for phishing kits. A phishing kit is not a phishing builder, but a real implementation (actually re-implementation) of a third party website built to lure your victim. Initially attackers use a phishing builder to “clone” the original web site but after that they introduce – in the fresh re-generate website – interesting ad-dons such as for example: evasion techniques (in order to evade to phishing detectors), targeted elements (in order to targetize the victims), fast re-directors ( to follows the attack chain into the original web-site or to a relay to try to infect you) and sometimes exploit-kits to try to exploit your browser before letting you go.

Credit: Alen Pavlovic (here)


There are places where you can buy PhishingKits, for example BleepingComputer wrote a great article on that here, but if you want to get them for free in order to study attack schema and Kit-composition you don’t’ find collections for free. So I decided to share my PhishingKit Tracker, updated automatically by my backend engine every day for study and research purposes.

You can find it HERE (PhishingKitTracker github repo)


This repository holds a collection of Phishing Kits used by criminals to steal user information. Almost every file into the raw folder is malicious so I strongly recommend you to neither open these files, nor misuse the code to prank your friends. Playing with these kits may lead to irreversible consequences which may affect anything from personal data to passwords and banking information.

I am not responsible for any damage caused by the malware inside my repository and your negligence in general.

NB: Large File System Hahead

PhishingKitTracker is stored into Git Large File System (git-lfs) due to the big amount of data tracked. You should install git-lfs before cloning this repository.

RAW Data

In raw folder are tracked the Phishing Kits in the original format. No manipulation are involved in that data. A backend script goes over malicious harvested websites (harvesting from common sources) and checks if Phishing Kits are in there. In a positive case (if a PhishingKit is found) the resulting file is downloaded and instantly added to that folder. This folder is tracked by using Git Large File System since many files are bigger than 100MB. The “RAW Data” is a quite unexplored land, you would find many interesting topics with high probability. Please remember to cite that work if you find something from here, it would be very appreciated.


In stats folder are maintained two up-to-date files:

  1. files_name it holds the frequency of the found file-names associate with kits. In other words every phishing kit is saved on the phishing host with a name. filke_name keeps track about every file names and its frequency. If you are wondering why am I not tracking hashes, is because phishing kits are big compressed archives, so it would make no sense at this stage since they always differ each other (but check in src folder for additional information)
  2. sites hols the frequency of the hosting domain names. In other words where the phishing kit was found. No duplicates are tracked by meaning that the frequency and the file names are unique. So for example if you see something like: 3 it means that in have been found three different Phishing Kits over time.

Both of these files have been generate by simple bash scripts like:

  • ls raw/ | cut -d'_' -f1 | uniq -c | sort -bgr > stats/sites.txt
  • ls raw/ | cut -d'_' -f2 | uniq -c | sort -bgr > stats/files_name.txt

these scripts are run on every commit making files inline with the raw folder.

On the other side a file called similarity.csv is provided with a tremendous delay due to the vast amount of time in generating it. That file provides the similarity between the tracked Phishing Kits. It’s a simple CSV file so that you can import it on your favorite spreadsheet and make graphs, statistics or manipulate it in the way you prefer.


The similarity structure is like the following one: FileA,FileB,SimilarityAVG,SimilarityMin,SimilarityMax where:

  • FileA is PhishingKit which is considered in that analysis.
  • FileB is the PhishingKit to be compared to PhishingKit FileA
  • SimilarityAVG is the Average in similarity. That average is calculated by computing the similarity check to every single (interesting) file in the PhishingKit archive (FileA) to every single (interesting) file in the PhishingKit archive to be compared (FileB)
  • SimilarityMin is the lowest similarity value found between PhishingKitA and PhishingKitB
  • SimilarityMax is the highest similarity value found between PhishingKitA and PhishingKitB

If you want to generate similarity.csv by your own I provide a simple and dirty script into the src folder. So far it has several limitations (for example it computes ZIP only files). please make pull requests for improving and empower it. Each contribute would be very helpful.


Please check those variables ( and change them at your will.

EXTENSION_FOR_ANALYSIS = ['.html','.js','.vbs','.xls','.xlsm','.doc','.docm', '.ps1']
OUTPUT_FILE =  'similarity.csv'                                                 
RAW_FOLDER = '/tmp/raw/'                                                        
TEMP_FOLDER = '/tmp/tt'     

Once you’ve changed them you can run the script and take a long rest. It will navigate through the RAW_FOLDER, grab the .zip files and tries to compute code similarity between them. At the very end it will save results into OUTPUT_FILE. From now you can import such a a file into your favorite spreadsheet processor and elaborate the code similarity.

So far the python script is able to only compare zip tracked phishingkit, for different compressed format it’s still work in progress.

NB: The Python script is in a super early stage of development. Please help to improve it.

How to contribute

Introducing the walking script for different compression formats. In other words if you want to contribute you can write a new section such as the following one ( but for different compression extensions such as: .tar.gz, .tar, .rar. /7z and so on and so forth.

# Extracts Zip files based on EXTENSION_FOR_ANALYSIS. It returns the etire file
# path for future works
def extractZipAndReturnsIntereistingFiles(file_to_extract):
    interesting_files = []
    n_interesting_files = []
        with ZipFile(file_to_extract, 'r') as zipObj:
            listOfFileNames = zipObj.namelist()
            for fileName in listOfFileNames:
                for ext in EXTENSION_FOR_ANALYSIS:
                    if fileName.endswith(ext):
                            zipObj.extract(fileName, TEMP_FOLDER)
                            interesting_files.append(os.path.join(TEMP_FOLDER, fileName))
                        except Exception as e:
                        n_interesting_files.append(os.path.join(TEMP_FOLDER, fileName))
    except Exception as e :
        return interesting_files
    return interesting_files

One more way to contribute is to make the comparison loop smarter and quicker. You might decide to parallelized task by forking and spawning more process or by changing the way I use multi-threading in this quick and dirty statistic script. In conclusion every working pull is welcomed.

Cite the Phishing Kit

@misc{ MR,
       author = "Marco Ramilli",
       title = "Phishing Kits Tracker",
       year = "2020",
       url = "",
       note = "[Online; July 2020]"

Cyber Threats Trends 6 Months Of Findings

After six months from Cyber Threats Trends launch it’s time to check its main findings. When I decided to develop my own Cyber Threats Observatory I was not sure about its effectiveness and I was even more skeptical about the real usage from international cybersecurity communities. Fortunately many students, researchers and professionals used such a data to write thesis, papers and researches. Many of them cited my work (by adding a link in footnotes or in the reference section), other just dropped a “thank you email”. This was enough for me to decide to mantain Cyber Threats Trends for additional six months. Performing data collection, data analysis and data classification requires a quite expensive back-end, so it needs to be useful for somebody otherwise it would make no sense to maintain such a dedicated infrastructure.

But now let’s take a looks to what it was able to find during the past six months.

Malware Families

The most seen Malware families from January 2020 to June 2020 (6 months of activity) are the following ones:
GrandCrab ~3%
Upatre ~1,9% (!!)
Emotet ~1,8%
TrickBot ~1,25%
It looks like be inline with many available statistics and reports from the 2020 with the only exception on Upatre, which looks like super out of topic in 2020, but I have mostly discussed it here, so today I am quite confident it’s not a wrong classification. Many other families have been seen according to the following graph, but they will not be discussed in the current post.

Malware Families

Looking at the distribution of the top malware families we might focus on figure-out if some temporal pattern would emerge. The following image shows the GrandCarb family distribution over time. It is interesting to see that GrandCrab was mostly active during the last two weeks of March reaching its top detection rate on 2020-03-31 within a delicious frequency rate about 138 unique “findings” in that single day. Contrary it looks like to be less used during the months of May and June 2020.

GandCrab was a Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) emerged in January 28, 2018, managed by a criminal organization known to be confident and vocal, while running a rapidly evolving ransomware campaign. Through their aggressive, albeit unusual, marketing strategies and constant recruitment of affiliates, they were able to globally distribute a high volume of their malware.

From Malpedia

Looking at pattern-wise we might agree there is a kind of frequency inside of it. If you group the date by weeks you might find that GrandCrab is mostly used twice per month. If you consider a “top” (the biggest local maximum detection rate) as the campaign launching day and the following local maximum tops in detection rate (in other words the shorter “tops” or the local maximums) as physiological campaign adjustments, it looks like attackers would take two weeks to harvest profit from previous launched campaign and to prepare new artifacts for the following one.

GrandCrab Ditribution over time

The following graph shows the Upatre family distribution over the past six months.

First discovered in 2013, Upatre is primarily a downloader tool responsible for delivering additional trojans onto the victim host. It is most well-known for being tied with the Dyre banking trojan, with a peak of over 250,000 Upatre infections per month delivering Dyre back in July 2015. In November 2015 however, an organization thought to be associated with the Dyre operation was raided, and subsequently the usage of Upatre delivering Dyre dropped dramatically, to less than 600 per month by January 2016.

From Paloalto Unit42

This is a very interesting graph because Upatre was not longer used since years (I bet since 2016). However it looks like attackers recovered it and re-started to use it from April 2020. Grouping by date you would appreciate a 3 days rhythm meaning that from one “attack wave” to another one it would take an average of 3 days. I will perform additional check on that, but static rules are perfectly matching what we are seeing int the upatre graph.

Upatre Distribution over time

Moving one TrickBot, the following image shows its distribution over time. TrickBot was mostly active during the first months of 2020 in a constant and linear way, while from March to April 2020 it experienced a quite significant speedup. Due to covid thematic campaigns Cyber Threats Trends recorded more TrickBot as never before in such time frame.

A financial Trojan believed to be a derivative of Dyre: the bot uses very similar code, web injects, and operational tactics. Has multiple modules including VNC and Socks5 Proxy. Uses SSL for C2 communication.

From Malpedia
TrickBot Distribution over time

The following image shows the Emotet Distribution over time. As plausible the Emotet’s distribution follows the TrickBot one. Even if it is not clear the relationship between TrickBot folks and Emotet folks, we are quite accustomed to see these frameworks closely delivered in common campaigns, like for example few months ago when we experienced a lot of Ryuk (ransomware) distribution using Emotet + TrickBot.

While Emotet historically was a banking malware organized in a botnet, nowadays Emotet is mostly seen as infrastructure as a service for content delivery. For example, since mid 2018 it is used by Trickbot for installs, which may also lead to ransomware attacks using Ryuk, a combination observed several times against high-profile targets.

From Malpedia
Emotet Distribution

Some indicators, such as the detection rate in January and the detection rate in June show to us that Emotet is used on these specific months even without TrickBot and it might suggest a different attack delivery procedure highlighting a different threat actor. In other words, comparing TrickBot and Emomet we observe that there are mainly two groups: a group which delivers TrickBot and Emotet together (such as the Ryuk ransom group) and a group which uses Emotet without TrickBot.

Carrier Distribution

Excluding the file type exe, which is the most analyzed file extension in the dropper panorama, we continue to observe many office files as the main Malware carrier. For example Microsoft Word Document within MACRO files are the most observed Malware carrier followed by PDF documents and CDF contents. While PowerShell files are still one of the most emerging threats we have not observed vast amount of Malware delivery on such carrier so far, but we see a revamping in the ancient Microsoft Excel Macro 4.0 as obfuscation technique.

Frequency no EXE

Still quite interesting how that statistics change over time. Indeed PDF and OLE objects are still the most used during the analyzed period of time. Even CDF document are quite common while simple scripts such as “VBscript” of Javascript are slowly decelerate their presence in international statistics.


Developing Cyber Threats Trends has been a great journey ! I had many sleepless nights and additional costs due to a quite big backend network (especially “database speaking”) but I had the opportunity to collect super interesting data and to increase knowledge on malware statistics and on developing distributed systems. Moreover it turned out being a quite useful data collection and trend analysis tool for quite few people out there ! I would definitely keep it on collecting more data !

Is upatre downloader coming back ?

Hi Folks, today I want to share a quantitative analysis on a weird return-match by Upatre. According to Unit42 Upatre is an ancient downloader firstly spotted in 2013 used to inoculate banking trojans and active up to 2016.

First discovered in 2013, Upatre is primarily a downloader tool responsible for delivering additional trojans onto the victim host. It is most well-known for being tied with the Dyre banking trojan, with a peak of over 250,000 Upatre infections per month delivering Dyre back in July 2015. In November 2015 however, an organization thought to be associated with the Dyre operation was raided, and subsequently the usage of Upatre delivering Dyre dropped dramatically, to less than 600 per month by January 2016.

From PaloAlto Unit42

From 2016 until today I’ve never experienced a new Upatre campaign, or something like that, but something looks to be changed. Analyzing the Cyber Threats Trends findings (for an upcoming post) I spotted an interesting revival of the Upatre downloader starting from April 2020. The following image shows what I mean. Zero Upatre findings until April 21 2020 and almost 50 single detections per day since that date. Those statistics are so strange to me, that I need to doubt about that. So let’s take a closer look to it and see if there is some misclassification around.

Upatre Time Distribution

Digging a little bit on that samples by asking a second opinion to VirusTotal it looks like matches are genuine. In order to verify that “revival”, I firstly have taken some random samples (with Upatre classification tag) and then verified on VirusTotal the malware classification and the first submission date. Following an example of the performed checks. As you might see from the following picture, 9 AV classified that sample as Upatre, so we might consider not a “false positive” or a “miss-classificated” sample.

Upatre Correct Classification

The following image shows the “First Submission Date” which is aligned to what I’ve seen on Cyber Threats Trends. If you take some more samples from the following list (IoC Section) you will probably see much more cases similar to that one. I did many checks and I wasn’t able to find mismatches at all, so I decided to write up this post about it.

Upatre First Submission


It’s something very interesting, at least to my understanding, to see an ancient downloader be resumed in such a specific period. Many people starting from April up to today are stuck at home performing what has been called “quarantine” due to COVID pandemic. Curiously during the same time, while people are working from home and potentially have much more free time (since they can’t get out home), this older downloader reappears. Maybe somebody took advantage from this bad situation to resurrect some old tools stored in dusty external hard-drive ?

IoC (3384)

For the complete IoC list check it out: HERE

APT41: A Dual Espionage and Cyber Crime Operation

Today, FireEye Intelligence is releasing a comprehensive report detailing APT41, a prolific Chinese cyber threat group that carries out state-sponsored espionage activity in parallel with financially motivated operations. APT41 is unique among tracked China-based actors in that it leverages non-public malware typically reserved for espionage campaigns in what appears to be activity for personal gain. Explicit financially-motivated targeting is unusual among Chinese state-sponsored threat groups, and evidence suggests APT41 has conducted simultaneous cyber crime and cyber espionage operations from 2014 onward.

The full published report covers historical and ongoing activity attributed to APT41, the evolution of the group’s tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs), information on the individual actors, an overview of their malware toolset, and how these identifiers overlap with other known Chinese espionage operators. APT41 partially coincides with public reporting on groups including BARIUM (Microsoft) and Winnti (Kaspersky, ESET, Clearsky).

Who Does APT41 Target?

Like other Chinese espionage operators, APT41 espionage targeting has generally aligned with China's Five-Year economic development plans. The group has established and maintained strategic access to organizations in the healthcare, high-tech, and telecommunications sectors. APT41 operations against higher education, travel services, and news/media firms provide some indication that the group also tracks individuals and conducts surveillance. For example, the group has repeatedly targeted call record information at telecom companies. In another instance, APT41 targeted a hotel’s reservation systems ahead of Chinese officials staying there, suggesting the group was tasked to reconnoiter the facility for security reasons.

The group’s financially motivated activity has primarily focused on the video game industry, where APT41 has manipulated virtual currencies and even attempted to deploy ransomware. The group is adept at moving laterally within targeted networks, including pivoting between Windows and Linux systems, until it can access game production environments. From there, the group steals source code as well as digital certificates which are then used to sign malware. More importantly, APT41 is known to use its access to production environments to inject malicious code into legitimate files which are later distributed to victim organizations. These supply chain compromise tactics have also been characteristic of APT41’s best known and most recent espionage campaigns.

Interestingly, despite the significant effort required to execute supply chain compromises and the large number of affected organizations, APT41 limits the deployment of follow-on malware to specific victim systems by matching against individual system identifiers. These multi-stage operations restrict malware delivery only to intended victims and significantly obfuscate the intended targets. In contrast, a typical spear-phishing campaign’s desired targeting can be discerned based on recipients' email addresses.

A breakdown of industries directly targeted by APT41 over time can be found in Figure 1.


Figure 1: Timeline of industries directly targeted by APT41

Probable Chinese Espionage Contractors

Two identified personas using the monikers “Zhang Xuguang” and “Wolfzhi” linked to APT41 operations have also been identified in Chinese-language forums. These individuals advertised their skills and services and indicated that they could be hired. Zhang listed his online hours as 4:00pm to 6:00am, similar to APT41 operational times against online gaming targets and suggesting that he is moonlighting. Mapping the group’s activities since 2012 (Figure 2) also provides some indication that APT41 primarily conducts financially motivated operations outside of their normal day jobs.

Attribution to these individuals is backed by identified persona information, their previous work and apparent expertise in programming skills, and their targeting of Chinese market-specific online games. The latter is especially notable because APT41 has repeatedly returned to targeting the video game industry and we believe these activities were formative in the group’s later espionage operations.

Figure 2: Operational activity for gaming versus non-gaming-related targeting based on observed operations since 2012

The Right Tool for the Job

APT41 leverages an arsenal of over 46 different malware families and tools to accomplish their missions, including publicly available utilities, malware shared with other Chinese espionage operations, and tools unique to the group. The group often relies on spear-phishing emails with attachments such as compiled HTML (.chm) files to initially compromise their victims. Once in a victim organization, APT41 can leverage more sophisticated TTPs and deploy additional malware. For example, in a campaign running almost a year, APT41 compromised hundreds of systems and used close to 150 unique pieces of malware including backdoors, credential stealers, keyloggers, and rootkits.

APT41 has also deployed rootkits and Master Boot Record (MBR) bootkits on a limited basis to hide their malware and maintain persistence on select victim systems. The use of bootkits in particular adds an extra layer of stealth because the code is executed prior to the operating system initializing. The limited use of these tools by APT41 suggests the group reserves more advanced TTPs and malware only for high-value targets.

Fast and Relentless

APT41 quickly identifies and compromises intermediary systems that provide access to otherwise segmented parts of an organization’s network. In one case, the group compromised hundreds of systems across multiple network segments and several geographic regions in as little as two weeks.

The group is also highly agile and persistent, responding quickly to changes in victim environments and incident responder activity. Hours after a victimized organization made changes to thwart APT41, for example, the group compiled a new version of a backdoor using a freshly registered command-and-control domain and compromised several systems across multiple geographic regions. In a different instance, APT41 sent spear-phishing emails to multiple HR employees three days after an intrusion had been remediated and systems were brought back online. Within hours of a user opening a malicious attachment sent by APT41, the group had regained a foothold within the organization's servers across multiple geographic regions.

Looking Ahead

APT41 is a creative, skilled, and well-resourced adversary, as highlighted by the operation’s distinct use of supply chain compromises to target select individuals, consistent signing of malware using compromised digital certificates, and deployment of bootkits (which is rare among Chinese APT groups).

Like other Chinese espionage operators, APT41 appears to have moved toward strategic intelligence collection and establishing access and away from direct intellectual property theft since 2015. This shift, however, has not affected the group's consistent interest in targeting the video game industry for financially motivated reasons. The group's capabilities and targeting have both broadened over time, signaling the potential for additional supply chain compromises affecting a variety of victims in additional verticals.

APT41's links to both underground marketplaces and state-sponsored activity may indicate the group enjoys protections that enables it to conduct its own for-profit activities, or authorities are willing to overlook them. It is also possible that APT41 has simply evaded scrutiny from Chinese authorities. Regardless, these operations underscore a blurred line between state power and crime that lies at the heart of threat ecosystems and is exemplified by APT41.

Read the report today to learn more.