Cybercriminals Combine Phishing and EV Certificates to Deliver Ransomware Payloads

6 days ago 18

Sep 15, 2023THNRansomware / Cyber Threat

The menace actors down RedLine and Vidar accusation stealers person been observed pivoting to ransomware done phishing campaigns that dispersed archetypal payloads signed with Extended Validation (EV) codification signing certificates.

"This suggests that the menace actors are streamlining operations by making their techniques multipurpose," Trend Micro researchers said successful a caller investigation published this week.

In the incidental investigated by the cybersecurity company, an unnamed unfortunate is said to person archetypal received a portion of info stealer malware with EV codification signing certificates, followed by ransomware utilizing the aforesaid transportation technique.

In the past, QakBot infections person leveraged samples signed with valid codification signing certificates to bypass information protections.

The attacks commencement with phishing emails that employment well-worn lures to instrumentality victims into moving malicious attachments that masquerade arsenic PDF oregon JPG images but are really executables that jump-start the compromise upon running.


While the run targeting the unfortunate delivered stealer malware successful July, a ransomware payload made its mode successful aboriginal August aft receiving an email connection containing a bogus TripAdvisor ailment email attachment ("TripAdvisor-Complaint.pdf.htm"), triggering a series of steps that culminated successful the deployment of ransomware.

"At this point, it is worthy noting that dissimilar the samples of the info stealer we investigated, the files utilized to driblet the ransomware payload did not person EV certificates," the researchers said.

"However, the 2 originate from the aforesaid menace histrion and are dispersed utilizing the aforesaid transportation method. We tin truthful presume a part of labour betwixt the payload supplier and the operators."

The improvement comes arsenic IBM X-Force discovered caller phishing campaigns spreading an improved mentation of a malware loader named DBatLoader, which was utilized arsenic a conduit to administer FormBook and Remcos RAR earlier this year.

Ransomware Payloads

DBatLoader's caller capabilities facilitate UAC bypass, persistence, and process injection, indicating that it's being actively maintained to driblet malicious programs that tin cod delicate accusation and alteration distant power of systems.

The caller acceptable of attacks, detected since precocious June, are engineered to besides present commodity malware specified arsenic Agent Tesla and Warzone RAT. A bulk of the email messages person singled retired English speakers, though emails successful Spanish and Turkish person besides been spotted.

"In respective observed campaigns the menace actors leveraged capable power implicit the email infrastructure to alteration malicious emails to walk SPF, DKIM, and DMARC email authentication methods," the institution said.

"A bulk of campaigns leveraged OneDrive to signifier and retrieve further payloads, with a tiny fraction different utilizing transfer[.]sh oregon new/compromised domains."


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In related news, Malwarebytes revealed that a caller malvertising run is targeting users who are searching for Cisco's Webex video conferencing bundle connected hunt engines similar Google to redirect them to a fake website that propagates the BATLOADER malware.

BATLOADER, for its part, establishes interaction with a distant server to download a second-stage encrypted payload, which is different known stealer and keylogger malware referred to arsenic DanaBot.

A caller method adopted by the menace histrion is the usage of tracking template URLs arsenic a filtering and redirection mechanics to fingerprint and find imaginable victims of interest. Visitors who don't conscionable the criteria (e.g., requests originating from a sandboxed environment) are directed to the morganatic Webex site.

"Because the ads look truthful legitimate, determination is small uncertainty radical volition click connected them and sojourn unsafe sites," Jérôme Segura, manager of menace quality astatine Malwarebytes, said.

"The benignant of bundle being utilized successful those ads bespeak that menace actors are funny successful firm victims that volition supply them with credentials utile for further web 'pentesting' and, successful immoderate cases, ransomware deployment."

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