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    Author Archive - Aivee Cortez (Fraud Analyst)

    Trend Micro researchers last week discovered yet another government web compromise — this time using a domain owned by the Republic of Mali government.

    The attack strategy here is not even that notable, given that we continue to see websites of all kinds being victimized by cyber criminals for all sorts of malicious means.

    The legitimate website, which uses the domain normally looks like this:

    Figure 1. Legitimate website.

    Cyber criminals were able to compromise the Mali website, and by creating an additional HTML page on a subdomain, enabled them to insert the following PayPal phishing page:

    Figure 2. Phishing website.

    The motivation for cybercriminals to perform this operation appears not really to directly target Mali users and lure them into keying in their credentials on the phishing page. The advantage for the phishers is the free domain — free for them, at least, since the Mali government owns it and pays for it.

    The bigger and more important implication that this threat highlights is the continuing problem of goverment-owned pages with regard to security. The threat listed above show the relative ease in which criminals are able to compromise these sites for their own respective gains.

    Online security may not be a priority for governments when they set up these pages, but incidents like this, and possible future losses (think medical records and social security records) should be a warning to take Web site security seriously.

    Users are warned to be careful of bogus and malicious pages, and to make sure that what’s in the address bar is the right domain name of the site they are accessing. The URL of the Mali website meanwhile is being blocked by Trend Micro Smart Protection Network until it is cleaned.

    Posted in Mobile | 1 TrackBack »

    In this economic crisis, people tend to trust the government for possible employment opportunities. Unfortunately, cyber criminals know this and use these circumstances by attacking job-related government sites.

    The Ministerio do Trabalho e Emprego, or the Ministry of Labor and Employment in Brazil is being mimicked by the cybercriminals to distribute malicious files:

    Figure 1. Fake Ministry of Labor and Employment in Brazil website

    The link that leads to downloadable link is displayed in left bottom of the site:

    Figure 2. Ministry of Labor and Employment in Brazil website

    The downloaded file despacho_artigo987221.scr is detected by the Trend Micro Smart Protection Network as TROJ_BANLOAD.JMO. TROJ_BANLOAD.JMO gathers email addresses from the affected machine by looking through files with the following file extensions:

    • .dbx
    • .eml
    • .mai
    • .mbox
    • .mbx
    • .tbb
    • .wab

    The collected email addresses are saved in a text file on the affected system and then sent to a remote “drop box” through FTP. This scheme is possibly an email-harvesting technique, wherein the collected email addresses will be used for future spam runs.

    TROJ_BANLOAD.JMO also connects to certain URLs to download malicious files detected as TSPY_BANKER.MOA and TSPY_BANKER.MOB. TSPY_BANKER variants are notorious info-stealers of banking-related information from affected systems.

    This attack places Brazilian job hunters at risk of getting their banking information stolen, which would only worsen the affected users’ current situation.

    The fake website, as well as malicious files, are now blocked and detected respectively by the Trend Micro Smart Protection Network.


    Phishers always think out of the box, thinking of ways to fool victims into falling for their phishing schemes.

    Now, from targeting financial institutions and banks, we’ve found a new twist – one that involves the popular fast-food chain McDonald’s.

    The phishing page displays a fake Member Satisfaction Survey, and for the customer to take the bait, it promises $75 credit to the customer’s account.

    Figure 1. Fake McDonald’s survey (original image includes the widely recognizable McDonald’s logo at the upper left, and an image of Ronald McDonald, the fastfood chain’s mascot, holding a lit bomb)

    After filling out all the required information for the survey, the customer will be asked for full name, email address, credit card number and electronic signature.

    Figure 2. Getting cash for almost no effort may prove irresistible for users.

    This isn’t the first time a bogus survey has used in a phishing attack. Surveys related to Wal-Mart, American Airlines, and even U.S. President-Elect Barack Obama were previously used to collect personal information from potential victims.

    Also, similar to this phishing attack on McDonald’s, all surveys promised some form of reward to anyone who will participate on the survey. This clearly shows that cyber criminals are taking advantage of users’ tendency to try and save up as much money as they can, especially this holiday season.

    The phishing site is now blocked by Trend Micro Smart Protection Network.


    Online banks use cryptographic protocols to secure the exchange of information on the Web, and hackers do not hesitate to adapt to this technology too. A new case of fake SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificates appeared again, following phishing threats we’ve seen last April and May (see our blog posts about fake digital certificates, rock phishing, and a similar attack on Merrill Lynch).

    This time, the website of Open Banks Enterprises was faked by malware authors using Rock Phish Kit. The spoofed website, shown in the following screenshot, displays multiple banks that are included in the open bank community:

    Like similar phishing or malware cases, this spoofed site asks customers to download a new security certificate. The site even displays options for Windows users and Mac users, but users are led to .EXE files, which perform malicious routines on systems, compromising their security instead of securing online transactions like security certificates are supposed to do.

    Yet another certificate attack also surfaced this day, this time involving Standard Bank. The spoofed page (also with a Rock Phish URL) asked users to download a 128-bit upgrade certificate. The .EXE file being downloaded is also malicious.

    Trend Micro detects the two downloaded files as TROJ_SMALL.MJZ and TROJ_AGENT.ARNU, respectively. TROJ_SMALL.MJZ downloads a spyware detected as TSPY_PAPRAS.AR. TROJ_AGENT.ARNU meanwhile downloads Possible_Crypt, a malware that displays behavior similar to those that change DNS directories.

    The malicious domains are now blocked by the Trend Micro Smart Protection Network. The technology also detects the malicious executables at the desktop level and provides solutions for their removal.

    Posted in Bad Sites, Malware | Comments Off on Fake SSL Certificates Seen Again

    As the U.S. presidential elections near, online scammers are taking advantage of the candidates’ popularity. Trend Micro Content Security team’s spam filters recently caught the following email message, which asks recipients to participate in a survey for the Democratic Party nominee in exchange for $500 worth of gas gift cards:

    Users who clicked the button to answer the poll get redirected to the following Web page, which is not in any way related to any survey:

    The Web page above uses the legitimate domain and is related to the software Webfetti, a search toolbar program. It offers services to users to personalize their Web sites, supposedly for free. When users click the Always Free button, though, they are asked to install a file disguised as an ActiveX control object:

    Trend Micro detects the file as ADW_MYWEBSEARCH. The adware automatically executes when systems start up. Other malware may also use some of its functionalities for their malicious routines.

    The Trend Micro Smart Protection Network already protects users from the spammed message and from ADW_MYWEBSEARCH. We always tell users to be cautious of unwanted messages in their inboxes. Offers that look too good to be true probably are.

    Posted in Spam | 1 TrackBack »


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