Last week in security news, researchers observed Emotet ringing out 2019 with a new command-and-control (C&C) URI structure and at least two new attack campaigns. They also witnessed digital attackers using dozens of fraudulent websites and social media accounts to prey on fans of the new Star Wars film. Finally, Twitter instructed Android users to update their app to a fix a security vulnerability that may have enabled attackers to access some of their account information.

Top Story of the Week: Emotet’s Busy Holiday Season

Back in November, Cofense first noticed a change in how the Emotet botnet checked in with its C&C servers. The threat embraced a new URI structure involving a path which appeared to be a random string at first glance. Closer analysis revealed that the path was the key from the key/value pair in the posted form data. Cofense interpreted this change as a rudimentary attempt by Emotet to identify security researchers attempting to analyze it.

On the same day that Cofense disclosed its research findings, Proofpoint documented a new email campaign involving the well-known malware family. The campaign’s attack emails told recipients about a fake environmental awareness protest organized by climate activist Greta Thunberg. The emails then instructed recipients to open a document that ultimately downloaded Emotet.

It was just a few days later when Cofense revealed a holiday-themed Emotet email campaign. This campaign used various language translators to broaden its pool of potential victims. Even so, the attack emails themselves were not well-formatted.

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Also in Security News

  • Digital Fraudsters Used Fake Sites, Accounts to Target Star Wars Fans: Kaspersky Labs spotted over 30 fraudulent websites and social media accounts that digital fraudsters had created to prey on Star Wars fans ahead of the release of “The Rise of Skywalker.” Those sites and accounts claimed to offer free copies of the movie, but they just stole people’s credit card data.
  • Extensive Obfuscation and Anti-Evasion Tactics Used by Modular JsOutProx: Researchers at Yoroi Security spotted a malware implant extensively using obfuscation and anti-evasion techniques to avoid raising any red flags. Further analysis led the researchers to uncover the secrets of JsOutProx, a module malware that accounts for MFA in its attacks.
  • More Than Just Login Credentials Sought in PayPal Phishing Scam: Near the end of December, ESET spotted a PayPal email phishing campaign that sought to steal users’ credentials for the online payment service. The operation then attempted to trick victims into supplying their credit card details, banking information and email account login data.
  • Android Users Urged to Update Their Twitter App: Not long before Christmas, Twitter instructed users to update their Twitter Android mobile app. The social media giant informed users that the newest version contained a fix for a security issue which potentially allowed attackers to gain access to their non-public account information and even control their accounts.
  • DHT Protocol Used by Mozi Botnet to Build P2P Network: Back in September, Network Security Research Lab at 360 spotted a suspicious file which most engines on VirusTotal flagged as Gafgyt malware. Additional analysis determined that the file was actually Mozi, malware which reused Gafgyt code and abused the DHT protocol to build a peer-to-peer (P2P) network.
  • Convincing Sites, Emails and Documents Used in Canadian Bank Phishing Scam: Check Point Software detected a phishing campaign that’s been targeting customers of 14 Canadian banks since at least 2017. The attacks used convincing landing pages, email messages and documents to lull victims into a false sense of security so they would hand over their login details.
  • Disc Imaging Software Increasingly Used by Attacks to Distribute Malware: Over the course of 2019, Trustwave observed an increase in the number of email attacks using disc imaging software, such as .ISO archives which functioned as malware containers. It then analyzed two of these campaigns in particular, including a fake FedEx campaign which targeted French-speaking users.

Security Tip of the Week: Raise Awareness of Email-Based Phishing Attacks

Security professionals can help defend their organizations against email-borne Emotet attacks by raising their workforce’s awareness around phishing attacks. This can be accomplished by conducting test phishing engagements regularly as part of an organization-wide security awareness training program. Additionally, infosec personnel should monitor user behavior for suspicious activity, including signs that business accounts have been compromised.

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