The other victims of FluBot: How cybercriminals exploit WordPress to distribute malware
29th November, 2021
Netcraft has to date identified nearly 10,000 websites used in the distribution of the FluBot family of Android malware. As detailed in our previous articles on FluBot, these sites are unwittingly hosting a PHP script that acts as a proxy to a further backend server, allowing otherwise legitimate sites to deliver Android malware to victims. When visited by the intended victim, a “lure” is displayed that implores them to download and install the FluBot malware.
The most common lure themes are parcel delivery and voicemail messages, where the user is told to install the malicious app to track a parcel or listen to a voicemail message. One particularly interesting lure took advantage of FluBot’s infamy, by offering a fake “Android security update” that claimed to protect against the malware family. Users installing this “security update” would instead be infected with FluBot.
Most sites distributing FluBot malware also host legitimate content, suggesting they were compromised by the operators of this malware distribution network, without the knowledge of the site operator. While the use of unrelated domains makes the lures less convincing, as compared to domains specifically registered for fraud, it allows the malware distribution network to operate at a much larger scale.
These affected sites all have one factor in common: they run self-hosted WordPress instances. Netcraft believes the operators of this malware distribution network are actively exploiting well-known vulnerabilities in WordPress plugins and themes to upload malicious content onto insecure sites, joining a growing list of threat actors doing the same.
Posted by Sean Gebbett in FluBot, Netcraft Services, Security
Eswatini Government's gov.sz website is running a cryptojacker
22nd October, 2021
The Government of Eswatini’s website,
www.gov.sz, is running a
use website visitors' CPU power to mine cryptocurrency, most often without their knowledge or permission.
28th September and
Posted by Hubert Kaluzny in Around the Net, Security
Prankster acquires Taliban Government domain amidst gov.af limbo
2nd September, 2021
The US and others may have withdrawn from Afghanistan, but many Afghan Government websites and email addresses under the .gov.af top-level domain are still very much dependent on services hosted outside of the country – mostly in the US.
By taking control of Afghanistan, the Taliban has inherited these government domains and now shares web hosting and mail servers with several other governments around the world, including the UK Government. In many cases, emails sent to .gov.af domains will be routed through US-hosted servers, presenting intelligence opportunities if the new Taliban government were to continue using them.
Posted by Paul Mutton in Around the Net, Security
FluBot Android malware now targets UK banks
24th August, 2021
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.
Posted by Isaac Dixon in FluBot, Netcraft Services, Security
Post Office is new prime target in UK parcel delivery phishing attacks
22nd August, 2021
The coronavirus pandemic resulted in the closure of many bricks and mortar retail stores, forcing UK consumers to adopt online shopping more than ever before. This trend has largely continued in spite of many stores since reopening, as millions of consumers have become accustomed to the practical benefits of online shopping.
Along with this increased volume of online shopping came a new trend of phishing attacks where cybercriminals impersonate parcel delivery companies in an attempt to steal financial details from their victims. Royal Mail and Hermes were popular targets for these types of attack, but most new attacks now impersonate the Post Office.
These attacks are typically disseminated via text message, informing the victim that they have missed a delivery. Sometimes the messages say up front that the recipient must rebook the delivery by paying a small surcharge. The relatively small surcharge is often sufficient to trick victims into believing the phishing site is legitimate, or at least that any risk is minimal, allowing the phisher to obtain the victim’s details and potentially steal a much larger amount.
As most of the attacks are orchestrated via text message, the phishing sites are usually hosted with purpose-bought domain names that include the targeted company’s name in an attempt to be convincing. Some examples include:
Some messages instead use generic URL shorteners to take victims to the phishing sites, but this would not necessarily be viewed as suspicious by all recipients, as the use of URL shorteners is commonplace even in legitimate text messages.
Most of the phishing kits used in these attacks also attempt to evade detection by blocking unwanted clients such as bots and anti-phishing organisations, but Netcraft successfully circumvents these checks.
After impersonating the delivery company, some of these phishing attacks proceed to also impersonate one of several UK banks. This gives the criminal an opportunity to steal additional credentials that are specific to each bank, such as online banking security codes and other tokens that would likely be used to gain unauthorised access to the victim’s bank account.
Some attacks - particularly those that do not use the phishing site to directly impersonate the victim’s bank - are followed up by a phone call from the cybercriminal, who will use the information stolen by the phishing site to convince the victim that it is a genuine call from their bank regarding the payment they just made. This provides a more interactive opportunity for the criminal to obtain the information required to gain access to the victim’s bank account, including time-sensitive OTP codes.
Posted by Paul Mutton in Security
Resurgent FluBot malware targets German and Polish banks
17th August, 2021
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.