FluBot has built up a community of compromised Android phones in the UK since April and in the past 24 hours has commenced monetising them by sending overlays for British Banks.
FluBot first appeared in 2020, targeting mainly Spanish banks, but recently it has spread its reach, with Australian, German and Polish banks all affected within the last few weeks. UK banks are now firmly in its sights, with HSBC and Santander the first to be affected, and Lloyds and Halifax following shortly after.
Netcraft’s research into the Android banking malware FluBot confirms that its operations are expanding rapidly, with a spike in the number of malware distribution pages deployed, and finance applications affected in greater numbers.
In recent days new overlays have been distributed that target a number of Polish and German banks, only days after news that FluBot has begun to target Australian banks.
FluBot is distributed in the first instance using text messages, containing links to so-called “lure” pages: web pages unintentionally hosted by compromised web servers, commonly impersonating parcel tracking services, or voicemail notifications. Lure pages attempt to induce visitors to download the malware.
The Netcraft Browser Extension now offers credential leak detection for extra protection against shopping site skimmers.
With brick-and-mortar shops around the world closed due to COVID-19, consumers turned to online businesses to fulfil their shopping needs. According to Adobe’s Digital Economy Index report, US online spending in June was $73 billion, up 76% from $42 billion last year. Even with restrictions lifted, research commissioned by Visa suggests that 74% of Britons who shopped online more often during the lockdown will continue to do so.
Netcraft currently blocks over 6,000 shopping sites which contain skimmers, and even large companies such as British Airways, Ticketmaster and Puma have fallen prey to these attacks in the past.
When you visit a shopping site, the Netcraft extension will evaluate all requests made by the web page. If a request is found to be sending credentials to a different domain, the extension will block the request to prevent your data from being stolen. A block screen will notify you about the request and provide information about the malicious behaviour that was detected. Only card number leaks are currently blocked, but other types of credentials may be enabled in future updates.
For example, if you check out using your credit card on exampleshoppingsite.com but your card details are sent to examplebadsite.com, the extension will block the request. This checking is done locally and securely in your browser – no sensitive information is sent to Netcraft.
If you already have the Netcraft Extension installed, your browser will update it automatically.
Our iOS app protects against online threats, with new attacks blocked within 15 minutes of being identified as fraudulent by Netcraft. It offers a 28-day free trial of all features, after which a monthly or annual subscription can be purchased for $1.99 or $9.99 (£1.99 or £9.99).
You can use the app without a subscription to report suspicious sites to Netcraft with just a few taps, and automatically report URLs in SMS and iMessages from unknown senders.
Posted by Will Dollman in Netcraft Services
The current coronavirus pandemic has resulted in the closure of many pubs, restaurants, and brick-and-mortar retail stores. Many purchases that would previously have been made in person now take place online. In research commissioned by Visa, 89% of Britons have shopped online since the UK’s lockdown restrictions began, with 31% buying items online for the first time during this period. This increase in online shopping activity benefits criminal groups in that: smaller businesses newly reliant on online transactions provide attackers with a stream of inadequately-defended shopping sites to exploit, and buyers are far more likely to be driven to these compromised shops or to fake shops compared to before the pandemic.
Fake shops are another threat. Shoppers seeking bargains may unknowingly find themselves on a fake shop which claims to offers the products they want at a highly discounted price, but the victim will subsequently only receive counterfeit goods, no goods at all, or have the transaction aborted after entering credentials which is equivalent to a phishing attack.
Online shopping has surged since lockdown started in March. Many of us, looking to be healthier, have headed online for sports equipment and a number of sportswear retailers have reported booming online sales. John Lewis recorded a 72% increase in total sports shoe sales, while Adidas and Puma have both seen an increase in ecommerce revenue.
Shoppers browsing online for the best deals, however, need to take care, as many people would be surprised at the scale of fake shops. Each day we find new fake shops designed to entice shoppers away from bona fide outlets, as many brands have yet to find effective countermeasures.
Counterfeit shoes, clothing and other accessories are estimated to lose the industry more than €26 billion each year in the EU alone, while the loss due to all online counterfeiting is estimated at $323 billion a year. The OECD estimated that over 3% of all imports worldwide are counterfeit.
Traditionally fake shops claim to sell luxury consumer goods at highly discounted prices. We have seen fake shops using at least three different models:
- Payment is accepted, but no goods are delivered.
- At the end of the checkout process, an error message is displayed such as “Out of Stock” and no transaction occurs. This is equivalent to a phishing attack, as the fake shop has the consumer’s credentials.
- Payment is accepted, and goods are delivered. The quality of goods varies between junk and identical to the bona fide item.
Trainers are the most counterfeited goods
We currently block around 75,000 fake shops in our extension and apps. Of these, roughly half target a specific brand, such as Nike or Adidas. About 70% of the fake shops selling branded goods sell shoes, predominantly trainers.
Corroborating this, European customs authorities handle more cases of counterfeit sports shoes than any other type of product.
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