by John Anthony Bañes Malicious macros are commonly used to deliver malware payloads to victims, usually by coercing victims into enabling the macro sent via spam email. The macro then executes a PowerShell script to download ransomware or some other malware. Just this September EMOTET, an older banking malware, leveraged this method in a campaign that…Read More
This blog post summarizes our findings from studying internet traffic going in and out of North Korea. It reviews its small IP space of 1024 routable IP addresses. It will also cover spam waves that originate in part from spambots in the country, DDoS attacks against North Korean websites and their relation to real-world events, as well as recurring watering hole attacks on North Korean websites.Read More
A couple of common questions that arise whenever cyberpropaganda and hacktivism issues come up: who engages in it? Where do the people acquire the tools, skills, and techniques used? As it turns out, in at least one case, it comes from the traditional world of cybercrime. We’ve come across a case where a cybercriminal based in Libya turned from cybercrime to cyberpropaganda. This highlights how the cybercrime underground in the Middle East/North African region (covered in our paper titled Digital Souks: A Glimpse into the Middle Eastern and North African Underground) can expand their activity into areas beyond their original area of expertise.Read More
For $50, one could purportedly get a lifetime license to upgradeable variants of WannaCry. We saw this advertisement in an Arabic-speaking underground forum on May 14, two days after WannaCry’s outbreak. Indeed, a threat that left a trail of significant damage in its wake was objectified into a commodity, and even a starting point for others to launch their own cybercriminal businesses.
WannaCry’s relatively low price also reflects another unique aspect of the Middle Eastern and North African underground: a sense of brotherhood. Unlike marketplaces in Russia and North America, for instance, where its players aim to make a profit, the Middle East and North Africa’s underground scene is an ironic juncture where culture, ideology, and cybercrime meet.Read More
Bots can use various methods to establish a line of communication between themselves and their command-and-control (C&C) server. Usually, these are done via HTTP or other TCP/IP connections. However, we recently encountered a botnet that uses a more unusual method: an FTP server that, in effect, acts as a C&C server.Read More