Operation WireWire – ACH Fraud Takedown

Operation WireWire – ACH Fraud Takedown

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“Operation WireWire—which also included the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of the Treasury, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service—involved a six-month sweep that culminated in over two weeks of intensified law enforcement activity resulting in 74 arrests in the U.S. and overseas, including 42 in the U.S., 29 in Nigeria, and three in Canada, Mauritius, and Poland. The operation also resulted in the seizure of nearly $2.4 million and the disruption and recovery of approximately $14 million in fraudulent wire transfers.” (DOJ.gov)

Business Email Compromise (BEC) is one of the scams aimed at companies that conduct wire transfers and have suppliers abroad.  Corporate or publicly available email accounts of executives and high-level employees related to finance or involved with wire transfer payments are either spoofed or compromised, through keyloggers or phishing attacks, to make fraudulent transfers, resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses. (Trend Micro).

I’ve seen recent comments in the media about how this DOJ crackdown wouldn’t put a big dent in or even make much of an impact on BEC, given the breadth of fraud associated with this outfit. I’d imagine the analysts in these quotes are looking at aggregate totals from the mile-high perspective and not the close-up, full scale of the damage to small businesses in our country. Companies have gone out of business, and schools have been attacked by these perpetrators. Personally, I don’t agree with or support the position that it’s just another routine arrest and it should be glazed over like it was picking off a few credit card skimmers.

The economies of scale with traditional Credit Card Fraud vs. Business E-mail Compromise cannot be directly compared, given who they impact and the average losses. This issue has never been about mitigating an impact on consumers as the criminals have always been focused on attacking small to medium-sized businesses. Typically, it’s the commercial accounts that are vulnerable to this kind of wire transfer fraud, unlike consumer credit cards that have built-in fraud protection that uses randomly generated numbers and a Visa or MasterCard logo. In these cases, the wires are facilitated directly from the account number being compromised.

Criminals obviously have a lot more to gain from raiding the digital coffers of businesses that handle millions in revenue, given that the average consumer credit card limit hovers around a measly $8,000. The average per-incident loss for a successful BEC scam is around $130,000; in comparison, robbing a bank will rake in about $3,800. The losses for traditional credit card fraud reported per incidence are much lower. Take a look at “23 Frightening Credit Card Fraud Statistics,” and you’ll see that in 2014, the median loss was $300 and the average reported loss was $1,343. If you’d ask someone who was ‘crushed’ by these low numbers to compare them to high-volume fraud numbers, you’d see how it wouldn’t make a dent. The reality, however, is that many BEC scams can net over a million dollars from a single source, something that seems unfathomable to people who are still living in the world of old-fashioned credit card fraud. This isn’t like the time somebody bought a $100 pair of sneakers using my debit card.

Not sure if this is a problem yet? Just ask Google and Facebook, who were both perpetrated almost entirely by a single individual in Lithuania. There are Nigerian men who stole almost 4 million dollars in a short time. If you really want to know, ask Leoni AG, a company that lost 44 million dollars in a single scam just a few years back. Are these extreme examples of BEC? No, many of these scams exceed a million dollars in losses in just a single incident. The collateral damage from ripping off employees’ social security numbers could take a long time to remediate. I don’t need to know the exact figures to make the connection that attackers with minimal sophistication are pulling it off for piles of cash. BEC scammers were operating mostly with impunity before this crackdown effort by the DOJ. If not, how could the losses possibly add up to 3 billion dollars? DOJ has been able to lock up a few here and there, but nothing like the 71 people from the Google/Facebook sweep.

Any law enforcement action would be welcomed, as long as it protects companies from scams and sends this clear message to the criminals abroad: If your activity trends upwards, so will our efforts to capture you. Not to mention that the hands of justice are now orienting themselves on how to efficiently take down these networks, thereby opening the door for streamlined enforcement for this type of crime.

The DOJ is doing a good job, and I don’t see it as a “dog and pony show” to expose these scammers in front of the world. It’s about justice and showing people in other countries that the internet may seem like a free plane ticket to communicate overseas, but you can still get arrested where that connection lands, just like you could in an airport. You’ve got to get started sometime, and today works well for tomorrow’s potential victims.

I think people who work on the ground in Cyber Security know that this day is long overdue, and it’s to be celebrated, not shrugged off as a waste of time. I’d never call it a waste of time – who in my industry would?

So let’s not turn the war on BEC into the war on Credit Card Fraud. Great work out there, folks!

Recent News:

Washinton Post – It’s time to stop laughing at Nigerian scammers — because they’re stealing billions of dollars

Boston Herald – Phishing theft of $93G at clean energy agency went unreported for months

Telstra – A silent cybercrime blitzkrieg as Aussie businesses robbed of millions

IC3 – 2017 Internet Crime Report featuring Business E-mail Compromise

Dexter Malware attacks POS

POS Malware Dexter

Dexter Malware attacks POS

Dexter Malware (POS Systems Attack)

 

In an article titled “Dexter – Draining blood out of Point of Sales” an Israel-based security firm Seculert has identified Malware programmed to attack POS systems. The targeting of POS systems appears to help attackers extract card data from aggregation points versus targeting end-user machines or physically installing a skimmer.

Dexter has reportedly targeted systems in 40 countries over the past 2-3 months.

According to Spiderlabs, a team of ethical hackers working for security-software analysis firm Trustwave, Dexter has an unusual nature. Spiderlabs blogger Josh Grunzweig noted: “I can’t remember the last time I saw a piece of malware that targeted Point of Sale systems that had a nice C&C structure to it.”

Bank Fraud had evolved to a billion dollar industry world wide and Dexter is just another example of how attackers are choosing the targets with the most lucrative cyber bounty.

Digital bank robbers make off with $6.7 million

Digital bank robbers make off with $6.7 million

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During the holidays cybercriminals kept themselves busy, hacking websites and stealing all the data they could find. South African Postbank, a financial institution owned by SA Post Office, is one of the victims.

 

South African bank Postbank was robbed of $6.7 million earlier this month. But the thieves didn’t need masks and guns to pull off the job — just computers.

 

To pull off the heist, the hackers created a backdoor into one of the bank’s computers. From that hacked computer, they were able to access the rest of the network and issue the commands to distribute the $6.7 million to different accounts owned by the thieves. Those accounts were promptly emptied via ATM visits. Preliminary reports revealed that the cybercrime ring responsible for the theft opened a number of Postbank accounts all across the country and then, in the period between January 1 and January 3, they managed to access a Post Office employee’s computer from where they deposited money from other accounts into their own.

Since the crime didn’t raise any red flags with its automated fraud-detection programs, bank employees failed to notice the money was missing until the bank re-opened after the New Year’s holiday.

The irony is that 3 years ago the institution invested a large amount of money in their anti-fraud systems. However, as we can clearly see, anti-fraud systems aren’t worth much if the company doesn’t have a strict policy for the way their employees handle computers.

If the reports are true, then it is very likely that an employee with privileged rights must have fallen victim to a scam email designed to spread a malicious Trojan.


Fin24 reports that the National Intelligence Agency, which offers assistance when a government institution is compromised, has launched an investigation to precisely determine the causes that allowed for the incident to occur.

Bank representatives state that none of their customers are affected by the breach, but security experts believe that Postbank’s systems desperately need an upgrade.

Crooks don’t necessarily have to hack into a bank’s systems to gain access as it may be much easier to manipulate someone into handing over some information that can be utilized to just waltz in without being detected.

Lately, we’re presented with many cases in which a little bit of social engineering can perform much more efficiently than even the most sophisticated piece of malware. Take the thieves who stole 9 million dollars from payroll debit cards issued by RBS Worldpay.

The New Reality of Stealth Crimeware

The New Reality of Stealth Crimeware

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Anyone who has been in information security recently knows that it has gotten easier for cybercriminals to build stealth crimeware. The malware we deal with on a regular basis grows ever more difficult to find, while high-end targeted attacks such as Stuxnet and other advanced persistent threats (APTs, the abbreviation I hate) are using ever more advanced rootkit techniques to avoid detection.

Cybercriminals use clever stealth techniques to evade detection because it allows their malware to be more effective, live on a machine or network longer, and thus maximize the compromise. McAfee Labs is now at the point where we detect more than 110,000 new unique rootkits per quarter.

To make matters worse, there is another issue that many fail to recognize:

Today’s current OS-based security model is not adequate; cybercriminals know how to get past these defenses every time.

The security industry has to find a new vantage point on cybercriminal behavior to stop and uncover their stealth techniques. It is time for our industry to start looking at security beyond the operating system to gain a more effective view of how cybercriminals operate.

We delve into these and many other issues in our latest report: “The New Reality of Stealth Crimeware,” written by myself and Thom Sawicki of Intel. Download it here.

[wp-pdf-view swf=”https://www.infostruction.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/wp-reality-of-stealth-crimeware.pdf” width=”500″ height=”400″ /]

Introduction

Stealth is the art of travelling undetected, of being invisible. Stealth technology allows military aircraft,
Ninjas, and malware to sneak up on the enemy to launch an attack, gain intelligence, or take over
systems and data.

Although stealth techniques are used in sophisticated attacks like Conficker and Operation Aurora, the
Stuxnet attack offers a new blueprint—and benchmark—for how committed criminals can use stealth
techniques to steal data or target computing systems. Stuxnet innovations included a combination of
five zero-day vulnerabilities, three rootkits, and two stolen digital certificates. Powerful toolkits, like what is available in the Zeus Crimeware Toolkit, make stealth malware development a “point- and-click” endeavor, no longer restricted to the most knowledgeable programmers. While there are no definitive industry figures, McAfee Labs estimates that about 15 percent of malware uses sophisticated stealth technique to hide and spread malicious threats that can cause significant damage.1 These attacks form the cornerstone—the “persistent” part—of advanced persistent threats (APTs).

2011 Guardian Analytics – Commercial Banking Fraud (SMB)

2011 Guardian Analytics – Commercial Banking Fraud (SMB)

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Online Bank Fraud Continues To Plague Small Businesses, Study Says

Responses to the February 2011 survey from more than 533 SMBs indicate that money continues to be siphoned unnoticed from business accounts at an alarming rate and SMBs are leaving their institutions at alarming pace because of it. This means financial institutions are facing a lose-lose proposition: losing money and losing customers.

Business banking fraud — particularly in small and midsize companies — is still causing major problems for both the businesses and the banks that serve them, according to a study published today.

The “2011 Business Banking Trust Study,” a follow-up to a similar study conducted last year, was written by Ponemon Institute and sponsored by Guardian Analytics. This year’s numbers suggest that the banking fraud situation has not improved since 2010.

“The industry has not moved the needle in addressing the corporate account takeover and fraud plaguing SMBs and their financial institutions,” the report states. “The data shows that fraud is still pervasive, money is leaving accounts unnoticed at an alarming rate, and businesses will leave their banks because of it.”

Fifty-six percent of businesses experienced fraud in the past 12 months, according to the study. Of those that experienced fraud, 61 percent were victimized more than once. Seventy-five percent of the victims experienced online account takeover and/or online fraud. These figures are nearly the same as last year’s, the researchers say.

In 78 percent of fraud cases, banks failed to catch fraud before funds were transferred out, according to the study. Banks were able to keep money from leaving the bank in 22 percent of the cases and fully recover fraudulently transferred funds for 10 percent of businesses.

Banks were unable to recover funds in 68 percent of cases, leading to losses for both business and banks, Ponemon says. Banks took the losses in 37 percent of cases by reimbursing businesses for unrecovered funds; businesses took losses in 60 percent of cases.

Forty-two percent of respondents in the study said they do not believe the bank would cover any losses if their companies’ assets were stolen and not recovered. Despite this attitude, 70 percent of businesses still think their institution should be ultimately responsible for securing online accounts.

Forty-three percent of businesses said they have moved their banking activities elsewhere after a fraud incident. Ten percent of businesses that have experienced fraud have terminated their banking relationships following fraud attacks. Thirty-three percent said they did not fully terminate their relationship, but moved their primary cash management services to another institution.

2011 Business Banking Trust Study (PDF)

2011 Verizon Data Breach Report

2011 Verizon Data Breach Report

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Verizon’s 2011 Data Breach Investigations, a study conducted by the Verizon RISK Team with cooperation from the U.S. Secret Service and the Dutch High Tech Crime Unit.

 

 

 

 

Verizon’s 2010 Data Breach Report found that the number of data breaches quintupled from 2009, highlighting the shift as cyber-criminals target smaller businesses.

While the number of data breaches soared in 2010, the amount of information lost has dropped dramatically, according to Verizon’s latest data breach survey. The contradiction underscores what some security experts have been saying: attackers are increasingly targeting smaller companies because it’s easier.

Released April 19, the latest “2011 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report” from Verizon Business counted 760 data breaches in 2010, compared to only 141 data breaches in 2009. Verizon noted a dramatic decline of 97 percent in the number of compromised records in 2010, as compared to 2009.

Among some of the report’s key findings:

  • Hacking, at 50 percent, and malware, at 49 percent, are the most prominent types of attack, with many incidents involving weak or stolen credentials and passwords;
  • Physical attacks, such as skimming at ATMs, pay-at-the-pump gas terminals and POS systems, for the first time rank among the three most common ways to steal information, comprising 29 percent of all investigated cases;
  • Outsiders are responsible for 92 percent of breaches, while the percentage of insider attacks dropped from 49 percent in 2009 to 16 percent in 2010.

Attacks Remain Easy
According to the report, 83 percent of the databases hit in 2010 were targets of opportunity; 92 percent of the attacks were classified as “not highly difficult.”

  • 86 percent of the year’s breaches were discovered by third parties;
  • 97 percent were avoidable through simple or intermediate controls;
  • 89 percent of the corporate or organizational victims were not compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard at the time of the hack.

Download the 2011 Data Breach.

Trusteer Rapport – Protects Online Banking against Botnets

Trusteer Rapport – Protects Online Banking against Botnets

Rapport is a lightweight security software solution that protects web communication between enterprises, such as banks, and their customers and employees. The product is free for the customers of over 70 different banks, AND can also be downloaded independently of those services for FREE. You can protect any web site you choose outside of the network, and also use the tool with Chrome, IE and Firefox.

Rapport implements a completely new approach to protecting customers and employees. By locking down customer browsers and creating a tunnel for safe communication with the online website, Rapport prevents Man-in-the-Browser malware and Man-in-the-Middle attacks. Rapport also prevents phishing via website authentication to ensure that account credentials are passed to genuine sources only.

Rapport’s unique technology blocks advanced Trojans including Zeus, Silon, Torpig and Yaludle without the need to constantly update and chase the different variants of these Trojans. Its proprietary browser lockdown technology simply prevents unauthorized access to information that flows between customer and employee websites regardless of whether these attempts were generated by new or known Trojan variants. Rapport is also capable of preventing very targeted and under the radar phishing attacks.

Enterprises such as banks can easily configure the system to protect customers and employees and begin offering them Rapport software for quick download from their website. Following a simple one time installation process, Rapport begins securing browsers, works in the background and does not call for a change in user behavior – customers and employees can bank and use the internet as usual – thus enabling fast adoption. Rapport comes with a rich management application that enables enterprises to effectively trigger alerts, view and analyze data as well as manage security.

Rapport is focused on preventing online fraud committed by financial malware and differs from Anti-Virus because it:

* Locks down access to financial and private data instead of looking for malware signatures

* Communicates with your online banking website to provide feedback on security level and report unauthorized access attempts

* Allows for immediate action to be taken against changes in the threat landscape.

Features

* Blocks Zeus, Torpig, Silent Banker and other Man-in-the-Browser attacks
* Blocks Keyloggers and screen grabbing
* Blocks Man-in-the Middle attacks
* Blocks Phishing attacks
* Works on both Windows and Mac
* Protects immediately upon install
* Complements other security software
* Transparent to customers and employees unless a threat is detected
* Delivers advanced reporting on current and new threats including zero-day attacks
* Comes with pre-packaged marketing tools and materials
* 24×7 support option

Benefits

* Prevents wire and ACH fraud
* Protects against account takeover attacks
* Deployment within weeks, requires no change to enterprise applications
* Fast notification of threats affecting your customers and employees
* Fast adoption by customers using proven tools
* Added security with no change in user behavior
* Proactive rather than reactive to threats and incidents

Browser Lockdown – This technology specifically prevents unauthorized access to sensitive information in the browser. Before launching the browser, Rapport verifies its integrity, preventing unauthorized modifications to the browser’s executable. Rapport locks down all programmatic interfaces to sensitive information inside the browser while it is connected to a protected website. This prevents browser add-ons and other pieces of software from accessing login information, financial information and transactions based on customized policy created with the enterprise. Additionally, Rapport protects the browser’s memory and prevents any pieces of code injected into the browser’s memory from capturing or modifying sensitive information.

Keystroke Lockdown – Rapport prevents tampering and reading of data by encrypting sensitive information from the moment it is typed into the keyboard until it reaches the browser. Trusteer encrypts keystrokes very low in the operating system’s kernel and keeps them encrypted inside the kernel and user space to achieve this goal.

Communication Lockdown – This technology enables Rapport to verify the legitimacy of the website that the customer or employee is currently using, preventing the submission of sensitive information to fraudulent websites. What’s more, verification of a direct connection with the website and assurance of encryption are also confirmed to prevent Man-in-the-Middle attacks. This technology prevents many ACH FRAUD transactions and efforts of trojans such as Torpig & Zeus.

Actionable Intelligence – All policy violations, such as attempts to read password fields and change web page content are reported to the Trusteer cloud-based fraud analysis service. Trusteer’s team of fraud analysts works 24×7, analyzing information from customers all over the world in order to identify new attack patterns. Advanced automatic update mechanisms allow Trusteer to react immediately to new threats. Organizations are immediately alerted regarding new attacks as they occur, instead of days, weeks, and even months after the fact.

These are not the days of the Nimda Virus, so get protected!

PC users: https://download.trusteer.com/Gcur4Wtnu/RapportSetup.exe

Mac users: https://download.trusteer.com/Gcur4Wtnu/leopard/Rapport.dmg

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