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
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 FluBot strain of Android banking malware, which was initially observed in Spain in late 2020 before spreading more widely across Europe over the following months, is now targeting Australian banks.
Once installed, FluBot periodically sends a list of apps installed on the device to one of its command-and-control servers. The server responds with a list of apps the malware should overlay. Upon one of these apps being launched, FluBot immediately displays an overlay on top of the legitimate app. The overlays impersonate the legitimate apps and are designed to collect the victim’s online banking credentials, which are sent to the criminals operating FluBot via the command-and-control server.
Netcraft monitors the list of apps targeted by FluBot, and today discovered that FluBot for the first time is serving overlays for Australian banking apps, including Bank Australia, Bank of Melbourne, BankSA, CommBank, Great Southern Bank Australia, HSBC Australia, National Australia Bank, St.George Bank, Suncorp, and UBank.
In the July 2021 survey we received responses from 1,216,435,462 sites across 262,098,666 unique domains and 11,260,130 web-facing computers. This reflects a gain of 3.16 million sites, 1.99 million domains, and 161,000 computers.
nginx gained the largest number of sites, computers and domains this month – and continues to lead in each of these metrics – but it lost the most active sites, and its presence amongst the top million sites also fell by the largest amount. The largest active sites gain was made by Google (+1.02 million), while Cloudflare was the only major vendor to increase its share amongst the top million sites (+1,732).
Despite strong growth by Google and Cloudflare, Apache still has the largest number of active sites and greatest presence within the top million sites, while nginx is second in both of these metrics.
nginx's gain of 7.99 million sites was followed by an additional 1.36 million sites powered by OpenResty, which is a web server based on nginx. More than 12 million of the 75.4 million sites that use OpenResty are Tumblr microblogging websites under the tumblr.com domain.
OpenResty was originally sponsored by Yahoo! China and Taobao prior to 2011, but Taobao now maintains its own Tengine web server, which is also based on nginx. This is currently used by 11.3 million websites, including 3.13 million C2C ecommerce sites that use the taobao.com domain and 265,000 sites like disney.tmall.com that use the Tmall.com B2C platform.
The number of websites powered by Microsoft IIS (Internet Information Services) fell by 1.92 million to 51.6 million this month. These sites are spread across 13.5 million unique domains and use several different versions of IIS.
The widespread use of several different versions of IIS is likely to continue as Microsoft announced Extended Security Updates for Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 on 14 July. Customers who migrate their workloads to Microsoft Azure will get free extended security updates for three more years, while those who choose to run Windows Server on-premises will have the option to purchase the updates. These versions of Windows Server provide the IIS 8.0 and IIS 8.5 web server software, which is still used by 21.4 million websites in this month's survey.
One year of extended security updates are also available for Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 on Azure only. These older versions of Windows Server use IIS 7.0 and IIS 7.5, which are still used by 15.7 million websites.
The latest version of Microsoft's web server software, IIS 10.0, is currently used by 12.1 million websites. This version can be found on Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2019, and can also run on the preview version of Windows Server 2022.
Other vendor and hosting news
- nginx 1.21.1 mainline was released on 6 July. This version includes a few bugfixes and improved error reporting.
- Caddy Web Server saw its 100th release on 17 June. Caddy 2.4.3 includes some bugfixes and an important security update for PHP-based websites.
- Apache Tomcat 10.1.0-M2 (alpha), 10.0.8 and 9.0.50 were released on 2 July, followed by Tomcat 8.5.69 on 5 July. Tomcat 10.1.0-M2 (alpha) differs from 10.0.8 in that it is targeted at Jakarta EE 10 rather than EE 9. A migration tool is available for applications that run on Tomcat 9 and earlier, as these are targeted at Java EE and must be changed to use Jakarta EE.
- Windows Server 2022 is now in preview on the Evaluation Center.
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In the June 2021 survey we received responses from 1,213,277,377 sites across 260,108,646 unique domains and 11,098,973 web-facing computers. This reflects a loss of 5.15 million sites, but a gain of 513,000 domains and 47,100 web-facing computers.
nginx experienced the largest gains in web-facing computers and domains this month; despite a large loss of sites. In the web-facing computer metric nginx’s gain of 74,100 (1.86%) was substantially the largest, and resulted in a market share increase of 0.5 percentage points to 36.5%. Its lead in this metric continues to steadily grow, with Apache’s share in second place dropping to 31.7% — a gap of over half a million web-facing computers.
LiteSpeed saw the only other notable increase in web-facing computers, with an additional 10,400 (+17.6%) boosting its total to 69,500 web-facing computers. LiteSpeed also gained the 2nd largest number of domains this month, with an increase of 289,000, increasing its total to 5.75 million.
Apache suffered the largest loss in domains and active-sites this month, dropping by 597,000 and 886,000 respectively; and was followed by Microsoft with a loss of 203,000 domains and 115,000 active sites. Meanwhile in the web-facing computers and top million busiest sites metrics, Microsoft instead had the largest losses of 21,600 computers and 3,700 of the million busiest sites, followed by Apache with a loss of 15,400 computers and 2,500 of the million busiest sites. Despite its losses in these metrics, Apache continues to power the largest number of active sites with a share of 24.8%, and top-million sites with a share of 25.2%.
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In the May 2021 survey we received responses from 1,218,423,991 sites across 259,596,021 unique domains and 11,051,830 web-facing computers. This reflects a gain of 6.28 million sites and 112,000 computers, but a loss of 4.87 million domains.
nginx gained the largest number of hostnames, active sites, and computers this month; but also suffered the largest loss of 4.73 million domains. Its most notable gain was of 78,900 computers (+2.03%), which increased its leading share to 36.0%. It also continues to lead in the hostnames and domains metrics, while Apache is top in active sites.
Apache also maintains its lead amongst the top million websites, with a 25.4% share compared to nginx's 22.9%. Cloudflare's share of the top million sites is now up to 17.0% after increasing its presence by a further 3,090 sites, and Microsoft added 1,840 sites to bring its share up to 6.85%.
OpenResty saw the largest decrease of 8.10 million hostnames (-9.88%), which has taken its market share down to 6.06% (-0.7 pp). Microsoft also suffered a large loss of 6.92 million sites (-10.3%), which took its share down to 4.95% (-0.6 pp).
One of OpenResty's most prominent users is Automattic, which uses it to serve millions of Tumblr microblogging websites that can be found under the tumblr.com domain – for example, icontherecord.tumblr.com.
Automattic is also responsible for the popular WordPress.com blogging service, where it instead uses nginx to serve millions of blogs. These WordPress-powered sites can either use custom domain names, or free blogs can be created directly under the wordpress.com domain – for example, catsbeingcats.wordpress.com.
The underlying WordPress blogging software reached its 18th birthday this month. Automattic continues to contribute to this open source project, and the software is freely available from wordpress.org, allowing anyone to download and install the software on other compatible web server platforms. Although Apache and nginx are recommended, any server that supports PHP and MySQL ought to be capable of running a WordPress site. Such is the popularity of WordPress, some hosting providers also provide one-click installers and other tools that make it easy to manage WordPress sites.
Other vendor and hosting news
- nginx 1.20.1 stable and nginx 1.21.0 mainline were released on 25 May. Both versions include a fix for a 1-byte memory overwrite vulnerability.
- NGINX Unit 1.24.0 was released on 27 May. This adds several new features, including SSL/TLS configuration commands, static file chrooting with symlink and mount resolution controls, static file filtering by MIME type, and compatibility with Ruby 3.0. It also includes some bugfixes.
- Caddy 2.4.0 was released on 10 May, with over 110 patches to resolve bugs and add features likes remote API access, automated identity management and dynamic config loading.
- Apache Tomcat 10.0.6, 9.0.46 and 8.5.66 were released on 12 May. Version 1.0.0 of the Apache Tomcat Migration Tool for Jakarta EE was released a few days earlier on 7 May – this is the tool that allows Tomcat web applications written in Java EE 8 to be automatically converted to run on Tomcat 10 which implements Jakarta EE 9.
- To showcase its new architectural paradigm of Workers, WebSockets and Durable Objects, Cloudflare has released a multiplayer Doom port which can be played at https://silentspacemarine.com. This game demonstrates how application code can be run on Cloudflare edge nodes rather than only on a client or server.
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