The ASEC analysis team monitors phishing email threats with the ASEC automatic sample analysis system (RAPIT) and Honeypot. This post will cover the cases of distribution of phishing emails during the week from December 4th, 2022 to December 10th, 2022 and provide statistical information on each type. Generally, phishing is cited as an attack that leaks users’ login account credentials by disguising as or impersonating an institute, company, or individual through social engineering methods. On a broader note, the act is a technical subterfuge that enables the threat actor to perform attacks such as information leaks, malware distribution, and fraud against various targets. The focus of this post will be on the fact that phishing attacks mainly occur through emails. We will also provide a detailed classification of various attack methods that are based on phishing emails. Furthermore, we will make an effort to minimize user damage by introducing new attack types that have never been found before and emails that require users’ caution, along with their keywords. The phishing emails covered in this post will only be those that have attachments. Emails that have malicious links in the body without attachments will be excluded. Additionally, the type that leaks login account credentials will be defined as FakePage.
During this week, the most prevalent threat type seen in phishing email attachments was FakePage, taking up 36%. FakePages are web pages where the threat actor has imitated the screen layout, logo, and font of the real website, leading users to enter their account and password information. The input information is sent to the threat actor’s C2 server.See <Fake Login Page C2> below
The second most threat type was Infostealer with 23%. Infostealer includes malware such as AgentTesla and FormBook, and they leak user credentials saved in web browsers, emails, and FTP clients.
The third treat was followed by downloader (16%), which includes loaders such as SmokeLoader and GuLoader. Aside from these, Worm (13%), Backdoor (7%), Trojan (3%), and Exploit (2%) types were detected.
The threat types using phishing email attachments and their order of prevalence are similar to the order of malware distribution published weekly in the <ASEC Weekly Malware Statistics>.
File Extensions in Phishing Emails
We have identified which file extensions were used by the threats above for the distribution of email attachments. As FakePages are web page scripts that must be executed with a web browser, they were distributed with HTML and HTM file extensions. Other malware, including Infostealer and downloader, came attached to emails with various file extensions including compressed files (ZIP, R00, RAR, 7Z, etc.), IMG disk image files, and XLS document files. With the exception of fake login pages which have to be web page script files, other malware types were distributed with a variety of file extensions regardless of the threat type. Among the phishing email attachment types, the IMG file variant showed a particularly high percentage.
Cases of Distribution
The following are distribution cases that occurred during the week from December 4th, 2022 to December 10th, 2022. The cases will be classified into fake login pages and malware types, including Infostealer, Downloader, Exploit, and Backdoor. The numbers in email subjects and attachment filenames are unique IDs and may vary depending on the email recipient. Distribution cases with Korean subjects were also found. These are cases that specifically targeted Korean users instead of propagating themselves globally using the identical English subject and text.
Case: Fake Login Pages (FakePage)
|4_DHL KOREA sent you a [Statement of Transaction].||AWB-87466784.html|
|Payment Advise||Payment Slip.html|
|Please approve payment of attached invoice before we process payment||invoice balance payment comfirmation pdf.htm|
|RE: Shipping docs PO 2211& 785521 -Draft invoice comfirmation||shipping docs invoice BL comfirmation pdf.htm|
|Your parcel has arrived urgent pick up needed today.?||DHL AWB #8347630120622.pdf.htm|
|20220512 Order 00177||20220512 Order 00177.pdf (78kb).img|
|TT05122022 Updated Payment List – 2022.12.05 Re: Contract for PO064005||TT0512202201.img|
|Fw: RFQ#223090 Request quotation||RFQ 223090.PDF.7z|
|RE: BALANCE PAYMENT||Swift Copy.img|
|NEW ORDER #306078910||P.O #306078910.xls|
|CIF_ MW1000CW (NEW) QUOTATION||CIF_ MW1000CW (NEW) QUOTATION.r00|
|Re: very wonderful pictures imortant||prv-photos.exe|
|RE: WRONG IBAN/PAYMENT RETURNED||Transfer Application.img|
|Re: nuevo pedido #lista de precios y menor tiempo de entrega||lista de cotizaciones.img|
|very cool images imortant||sex_img.gif.pif|
|RE: NEW ORDER PI||IMG09122201.img|
|Re: beautiful photos||privaction.jpg.pif|
|Re: super cool picture PRIVATE||best__action.jpg.pif|
|Re: RETURN PAYMENT TT (Ref 0180066743)||TT12052022.img|
|PO No. ANOP0658||PO_No._ANOP0658.img|
|cool pictures only for you||sexphotos.jpg.exe|
The ASEC analysis team has selected keywords that users must look out for, based on the distribution cases above. If these keywords are included in the subject of the email, or if the same characteristics are found, users must exercise strict caution as they may be phishing emails from threat actors.
Fake Login Page (FakePage) C2 URL
When users enter their IDs and passwords on the fake login page created by the threat actor, their information is sent to the attacker’s server. The list below shows the threat actor’s C2 addresses of fake login pages distributed during the week.
Preventing Phishing Email Attacks
Attacks using phishing emails are disguised with content that can easily deceive users, such as invoices and tax payments, to induce users to access fake login pages or execute malware. Fake login pages are evolving by the second to closely resemble the original pages. The attackers pack malware in compressed file formats to escape the attachment scans of users’ security products. Users must practice strict caution and refer to recent cases of distribution to avoid being exposed to infection by malicious phishing emails. The ASEC analysis team recommends users follow the email security guidelines below.
- Do not execute links and attachments in emails from unverified senders until they are proven to be credible.
- Do not enter sensitive information such as login account credentials until the site is found to be reliable.
- Do not execute attachments with unfamiliar file extensions until they are found to be reliable.
- Use security products such as antimalware software.
According to the MITRE ATT&CK framework, phishing email attacks correspond to the following techniques.
- Phishing for Information (Reconnaissance, ID: T1598)
- Phishing (Initial Access, ID: TI1566)
- Internal Spearphishing (Lateral Movement, ID:T1534)
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