AhnLab Security Emergency response Center (ASEC) 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 April 16th, 2023 to April 22nd, 2023 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.
During this week, the most prevalent threat type seen in phishing email attachments was FakePage with 52%. FakePages are web pages where the threat actor has imitated the screen layout, logo, and font of the real login pages or advertising pages, leading users to enter their account and password information. The input information is sent to the threat actor’s C2 server or used to induce users to access other fake websites. See <FakePage C2> below The second most prevalent threat type was Infostealers (20%) like AgentTesla and FormBook that leaks user credentials saved in web browsers, emails, and FTP clients. It was then followed by Backdoor (11%) and Worm (8%). Aside from these, Downloader (4%), Trojan (3%), and Dropper (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. FakePages were distributed through web pages script (HTM, HTML, SHTML) documents that must be executed with a web browser. Other malware, including Infostealer and downloader, came attached to emails with file extensions including compressed files (RAR, ZIP, 7Z, GZ, etc.).
Cases of Distribution
The following are distribution cases that occurred during the week from April 16th, 2023 to April 22nd, 2023. The cases will be classified into FakePage 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 identical English subject and texts.
|[FedEx Korea] Import tariffs payment deadline notice (INV and AWB)||[FedEx] Shippingdocs.htm|
|Customized order/price correction – QXT9401||SEJIN ORDER-23748909.shtml|
|✈DHL shipping arrival notice [AWB#6704537800]||AWB#6704537800.shtml|
|DHL Express delivery confirmation (Invoice and AWB)||(DHL) Shippingdocs.htm|
|[FedEx] Tariffs payment notice (Tax Invoice)||Shipping Document.html|
|Personal information review irene.hwang||****_account_****.hwang.html|
|PO Box is almost full.||**_account_******.choi.html|
|Action required: Postponed email||**_account_****.choi.html|
|[DHL] Delivery order has arrived – (INV and AWB)||ShippingDHLDocument01.html|
|FedEx – AWB# Arrival Information.||FedEx – AWB.html|
|Re: (untitled)||PO Order 2023.html|
|DHL Delivery Shipment Notification/Arrival||DHL I-Sens Waybill Shipment.html|
|MT103 SWIFT COPY #17/04/2023||MT103_SWIFTCOPY20231704367.pdf|
|Due invoice and payment receipt.||Paid Invoice PDF.html|
|Authorized payment !!!||Payment Invoice pdf.html|
|Payroll Deduction Updates 2023||SecuredMessageATT.HTM|
|Re: New Order /PI WX22P0329||P0329-SPL ORDER.xls.htm|
|Sehr Geehrte Gewinner||Notification.pdf|
|TT Remittance on April 19, 2023 at 07:30:56 PM.||®TT Remittance_000020242.htm|
|Re; order||Shipping Document (1).html|
|EFT Payment-Invoice 0000315: Completed_ Please Review and Sign||QuickBooks-Payments-Notification.pdf|
|Shipment Booking Confirmation – BL Draft is Ready for Review||Doc_#20230419C985.Dhl.htm|
|Your package will be delivered today||AWB_y7462.-FedEx-hndv-iue65hf-nmkcfg.htm|
|You have a new shipment waiting for you.||Shipping-Document.shtm|
|Shipment Notification (TRACK EXPRESS)||Track_ Express Shipping Docs.shtml|
|[FedEx] Import Tax Payment Deadline Information (INV and AWB)||FedEx_AWB Original.html|
|PO-20-23//EMPRESA CHATITEC S.A.C||PO#198945.html|
|Purchase Order P06846690 due 20/04/2023||Purchase Order P06846690.html|
|Your parcel has arrived urgent pick up needed today.||AWB #8347630147.htm|
|***@********.co.kr sent you files via WeTransfer||WeTransfer files***@*********.co.kr.Htm|
|RE: Urgent Purchase Order Wilmar Intl 0466 to ******.co.kr||Purchase order.html|
|Please see and confirm our new purchase order (urgently needed)||Urgent#Quotation.html|
|Re: Revised Invoice from *****||#Doc.Signed.html|
|[DHL Express] Import Tax Payment Deadline Information (INV and AWB)||(DHL) Shippingdocs.html|
Case: Malware (Infostealer, Downloader, etc.)
|URGENT REQUEST FOR QUOTATION||HUUG2336ED.Gz|
|Re: commission Payment copy||payment3798637712pdf.7z|
|URGENT REQUEST FOR PRICE OFFER 0081099699||QUO-TKendab-0147-001.rar|
|Notificación de financiación de remesas.||213497664-030339-sanlccjavap0003-1.pdf.rar|
|PPT new design||valve changes.arj|
|2023 *** Bay of the Future Graphics for *** – First Look||*** Bay of the Future_Laundry *****.jpg|
|REMITTANCE TT COPY $23,150.00_20230320.pdf||REMITTANCE TT COPY $23,150.00_20230320.pdf.gz|
|New Order – URGENT||NEW PURCHASE ORDER #245 & 246 – April.zip|
|DHL Shipment Notification||doc.docx|
|Fw: Remittance Advice||2023041907123719.pdf.gz|
|Payment Advice – Advice Ref:[A1Whh5nhscQE] / Priority payment / Customer Ref:[SAP19-70]||Payment_advise17042023.zip|
|Purchases Order // PO23100089||PO23100089.IMG|
|RE: Invoice For Shipment / Departure Date 19-04-2023||Q1-4001028L.r09|
|shipment delivery address||IMG_6038028301pdf.7z|
|Request For Quotation||QUOTATION.zip|
|New order confirmation : need price||IMG_50112_99012pdf.7z|
|Pending DHL Shipment Notification REF: 19/4/2023 8:44:04 am.||DHL.zip|
|RE: Revised EPDA for JAN & FEB DISCOUNTED SOA.||EPDA for FEB & MARCH DISCOUNTED SOA.r00|
|RFQ – PO-1812-BNS0023||RFQ-PO-1812-BNS0023.r00|
|Transfer status on hold||pending transaction.img|
|Revised Proforma Invoice (PI/002 – Dyna) : PO # 2302 for USD 39360.00||Giant Textilepr1a.pdf.rar|
|Re: Transfer Confirmation||Imge00005.r09|
|Re: Order||Order_ APRL 310377FIBA00541.arj|
|RE: Payment Advice – Advice Ref: [G80286894999]||TT COPY.r15|
|Updated PO||PO updated 19-04-23.zip|
|NEW PO – 5412093012||NEW PO ORDER – 5412093012 – April 2023.gz|
|T.HALK BANKASI A.S. 19.04.2023 Hesap Ekstresi||Halkbank_Ekstre_20231904_073809_405251-PDF.tar|
|Re: very cool photos only for you||wild__images.gif.pif|
|Re: wonderful photos only for you||fuck_pctrs.jpg.scr|
|super sexy pictures don’t show||super_act.gif.scr|
|Re: beautiful photos||privpic.gif.pif|
|super beautiful pics||the_photos.jpg.scr|
|beautiful photo very important||sexplp.scr|
|Re: nice images PRIVATE||prv_images.gif.pif|
|Re: nice picture very important||wild-phot.gif.scr|
|Re: cool picture PRIVATE||great-plp.jpg.exe|
|sexy pictures very important||coolimgs.exe|
|wonderful photos very important||privatepctrs.gif.exe|
|Re: super nice images private||prv_scene.gif.exe|
|Re: sexy photo very important||fuck-scene.scr|
|very wonderful photo FOR YOU ONLY||cool__scene.gif.pif|
|beautiful pics private||seximg.gif.exe|
|wonderful images just for you||sexphotos.jpg.pif|
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.
Keywords to Beware of: ‘DHL & FedEx’
The keyword for this week is ‘DHL & FedEx.’ Among the phishing emails, some of them impersonated delivery companies like DHL and FedEx, and the attachment was a phishing HTML file. Upon clicking the file, a message box that says “This Document Is Shared Via Microsoft Excel Security & Requires Authentication. Click Ok To Continue” appears along with a fake Excel login page that requires the user to enter their ID and password. As such, users are advised to take closer looks at the file names of email attachments before opening them and also check if the attachments are related to the subject of the email.
- Phishing URL: hxxps[:]//test.novostroi21[.]ru/aomzq/fccn/xlss.php
FakePage C2 URL
When users enter their IDs and passwords on the login pages among the FakePages 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.
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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