Cybercrime-friendly underground traffic exchanges help facilitate fraudulent and malicious activity – part two


By Dancho Danchev

The list of monetization tactics a cybercriminal can take advantage of, once they manage to hijack a huge portion of Web traffic, is virtually limitless and is entirely based on his experience within the cybercrime ecosystem.

Through the utilization of blackhat SEO (search engine optimization), RFI (Remote File Inclusion), DNS cache poisoning, or direct impersonation of popular brands in spam/phishing campaigns tactics, on a daily basis, traffic is sold and resold for achieving a customer’s or a seller’s fraudulent/malicious objectives, and is then most commonly converted to malware-infected hosts.

In this post, I’ll profile two cybercrime-friendly iFrame traffic exchanges, with the second ‘vertically integrating’ by also offering spamming services, as well as services violating YouTube’s ToS (Terms of Service) such as likes, comments, views, favorites and subscribers on demand, with an emphasis on the most common ways through which a potential cybercriminal can abuse any such traffic exchange network.

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Cybercrime-friendly underground traffic exchange helps facilitate fraudulent and malicious activity


By Dancho Danchev

Throughout the last couple of years, the persistent demand for geolocated traffic coming from both legitimate traffic exchanges or purely malicious ones — think traffic acquisition through illegally embedded iFrames — has been contributing to the growing market segment where traffic is bought, sold and re-sold, for the sole purpose of monetizing it through illegal means.

The ultimately objective? Expose users visiting compromised, or blackhat SEO-friendly automatically generated sites with bogus content, to fraudulent or malicious content in the form of impersonations of legitimate Web sites seeking accounting data, or client-side exploits silently served in an attempt to have an undetected piece of malware dropped on their hosts.

A recently spotted cybercrime-friendly underground traffic exchange service empowers cybercriminals with advanced targeting capabilities on per browser version basis, applies QA (Quality Assurance) to check their fraudulent/malicious domains against the most popular community/commercial based URL black lists, and ‘naturally’ we found evidence that it’s already been used to serve client-side exploits to unsuspecting users.

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Fake ‘Apple Store Gift Card’ themed emails serve client-side exploits and malware


By Dancho Danchev

Apple Store users, beware!

A currently ongoing malicious spam campaign is attempting to trick users into thinking that they’ve successfully received a legitimate ‘Gift Card’ worth $200. What’s particularly interesting about this campaign is that the cybercriminal(s) behind it are mixing the infection vectors by relying on both a malicious attachment and a link to the same malware found in the malicious emails. Users can become infected by either executing the attachment or by clicking on the client-side exploits serving link found in the emails.

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New Mac Malware Uses Right-to-Left Override To Trick Users


By Michael Sweeting

After a relatively long lag period without seeing any particular new and exciting Mac malware, last week we saw the surfacing of a new and interesting method of compromising the OSX system. Malware authors have taken a new approach by altering file extensions of malicious .app packages in order to trick users into thinking they are opening relatively harmless .pdf or .doc files. Changing file extensions in Mac OSX can be tricky due to a built in security feature of the OS that detects attempts to change the extension and automatically annexes the extension of its correct file or package type. So what’s the trick you may ask? Well, in order for malware authors to get around this built in OSX security feature, they are implementing what is called “right-to-left encoding” using the built in Mac OSX Character Viewer. OSX Character Viewer allows the user to very easily insert a vast array of characters and text input methods, which in this case, gives the malware author the ability to insert a fake file extension using the “right-to-left” encoding character. Continue reading

Compromised Indian government Web site leads to Black Hole Exploit Kit


By Dancho Danchev

Our sensors recently picked up a Web site infection, affecting the Web site of the Ministry of Micro And Medium Enterprises (MSME DI Jaipur). And although the Black Hole Exploit Kit serving URL is currently not accepting any connections, it’s known to have been used in previous client-side exploit serving campaigns.

Let’s profile the campaign, list the malicious URLs, associate them with previously launched malicious campaigns, and provide actual MD5s for historical OSINT preservation/attribution purposes.

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Fake Amazon ‘Your Kindle E-Book Order’ themed emails circulating in the wild, lead to client-side exploits and malware


By Dancho Danchev

Kindle users, watch what you click on!

Cybercriminals are currently mass mailing tens of thousands of fake Amazon “You Kindle E-Book Order” themed emails in an attempt to trick Kindle users into clicking on the malicious links found in these messages. Once they do so, they’ll be automatically exposed to the client-side exploits served by the Black Hole Exploit Kit, ultimately joining the botnet operated by the cybercriminal/cybercriminals that launched the campaign.

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A peek inside a CVE-2013-0422 exploiting DIY malicious Java applet generating tool


By Dancho Danchev

On a regular basis we profile various DIY (do it yourself) releases offered for sale on the underground marketplace with the idea to highlight the re-emergence of this concept which allows virtually anyone obtaining the leaked tools, or purchasing them, to launch targeted malware attacks.

Can DIY exploit generating tools be considered as a threat to the market domination of Web malware exploitation kits? What’s the driving force behind their popularity? Let’s find out by profiling a tool that’s successfully generating an exploit (CVE-2013-0422) embedded Web page, relying on malicious Java applets.

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