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 30th, 2023 to May 6th, 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 44%. 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 in line were infostealers like AgentTesla and FormBook that leaks user credentials saved in web browsers, emails, and FTP clients (40%). It was then followed by Worm, which took up 6%. Worm is a type of malware that has a feature to spread, where it uses various methods for spreading, with one of them being using the SMTP protocol to send emails in mass quantity. Aside from those mentioned above, Trojan (5%) and Downloader (4%) 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 with web page scripts (HTM and HTML) 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 30th, 2023 to May 6th, 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.
|✈DHL Shipment Arrival Notice [AWB#*****378004]?||DocParcalAWB4521DHLShipment.html|
|[FedEx] Notice on Import License.?||FedEx – kcy***- AWB.pdf.htm|
|Clearance of original invoices and packing lists||Original-invoice_s10320.htm|
|[FedEx] Import tariffs payment deadline notice (INV and AWB)||AWB#989345874598.htm|
|Flight payment successful Check before going to airport||See received file (please print)..html|
|Re: Fwd: Quotation Order||PO# 175.htm|
|Re : PO#20836||Order-inquiry#02836.htm|
|DHL Shipping Document / Invoice Receipt||DHL Shippingdoc.htm|
|Re:Извещение.||Подробное описание проекта в файле с инструкциями и указаниями-aQvBzAZy731359.pdf|
|Nota Fiscal para ******.****@***.com||NFE01052023br.pdf|
|Transaction Details Report : Contact Email : *******79@*****.com .||Transaction Details(DOC).html|
|New Order Inquiry (Davis $ Shirtliff Co,. Ltd).||confirm_order_ inquiry.html|
|Email account ji*h.*** will be closed , Update account to stay connected today||Office 365 validation form.htm.|
|Re: RE: ET Info M396692||ProjectFunding-438574643-Apr28.pdf|
|[HDEC] RFQ_Qatar NOC Ruya Project.||REQUEST_FOR_QUOTATION_HDEC_80701125254.htm|
|Notification of shipment for ********.in@******.co.kr||AWB-Ref_#310479442.html|
|Lee Stiles Roofing Ltd Invoice||Fixing Pricelist & Invoice #1939-doc.x.html|
|RIMINDER islee Confirm Your Delivery Address||AWB-Ref_#310479442.HTML|
|Re：(Scanned) Doc~Original Copy – FYI||Confirm Shipment.html|
|FW:ATTACHED SWIFT COPY 5/3/2023 2:37:00 a.m.||AWDPAYMENT-RECEIPT.html|
Case: Malware (Infostealer, Downloader, etc.)
|[DHL] Acceptance of Import Declaration (Express Delivery Post Payment-Collection 18) Notice – 5039268570||Import_Declaration_5039268570_1235623437131M.rar|
|Re: smart photos||fuckimg.jpg.scr|
|Re: very cool images PRIVATE||fuck-scene.gif.pif|
|Re: very nice pics||fuckimages.jpg.exe|
|Re: smart pictures private||prv-scene.exe|
|Purchase Order 5909121522||PO no. 5909121522.arj|
|Re: smart pictures very important||fuck-imgs.exe|
|Invoice and packing list # TX/LO/3931/23-24 AIR SHIPMENT||INVOICE TX 3931 2023 LO.xz|
|RE: Holiday Tours Package||Booking_0256_0762pdf.7z|
|new order inquiry||Doc_7780_0614520pdf.7z|
|urgent new orders packaging and delivery.||Doc_7780_061161pdf.7z|
|Re: sexy pics||greatimg.gif.scr|
|CHILDREN GARDEN PROJECT – SHARJAH||CHILDREN GARDEN PROJECT.7z|
|Re: beautiful photos||fuckact.jpg.pif|
|Re: Booking Package||Booking_0026_062pdf (1).7z|
|Re: beautiful pictures private||prv__photos.gif.scr|
|re: Adtours travel, inc||Booking_5136_05842pdf.7z|
|Re: sexy photo just for you||best_phot.gif.pif|
|Shipping Docs – CI & PL||Cl & PL.docx|
|PAYMENTS – 5th May 2023||20230505_MT103_0198236541001.gz|
|smart photo just for you||privatepctrs.jpg.pif|
|Re: very smart images only for you||wild-plp.gif.exe|
|Re: super cool picture FOR YOU ONLY||priv_photos.jpg.pif|
|Terelease- 100% Down payment Usd217,000 made to your account!!!||UDB TRANSFER MT_103.zip|
|Re: nice picture private||best_pic.jpg.exe|
|Custom Leather for Mining H&M Style PS MARILN JACKET S.8||PS MARILN JACKET S.8 and Sticker Series.docx|
|Purchase Order #PO2300109||PO.xls|
|RFQ_XINGTAI NET PISTON CO.,LTD//CIF Xingtai, Hebei PORT||RFQ_CIF Xingtai, Hebei PORT PDF.r00|
|New Purchase Order May-PO_3852118||PO_3852118.r09|
|URGENT / RQ2 / NEW ENQUIRY||NEW ENQUIRY.zip|
|T.HALK BANKASI A.S. 04.05.2023 Hesap Ekstresi||Halkbank_Ekstre_04052023_073379_6158824-PDF.tar|
|RE: [EXTERNAL] Order confirmation||New order list attached.zip|
|Purchase Order – [68048-2023031801]||68048-2023031801.001|
|RE: Confirmación del pedido||Adjunto factura proforma.zip|
|New purchase order teams||New purchase order teams.pdf.zip|
|Fw: SOA Reminder #300536||SOA.zip|
|DBS Transfer status on hold||DBS.IMG|
|Re: New Offer 56009214||Offerr POA 234667843.zip|
|TRANSFER ORDER/Payment 50% order||OV PRETEC 50% FORM.rar|
|RE: [EXTERNAL] Confirmación del pedido,||Se adjunta nueva lista de pedidos.zip|
|AW: PO-000001306||1300690531TEZ_S Quote.gz|
|New enquiry||31TEZ_S Quote.r09|
|HSBC – EXPORT BILL PROCEEDS PAID BACKTG783686CCC – Ref:[TRDAB0429159461]||HSA771942-T01.rar|
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.
Keyword to Beware of: ‘Plane Ticket’
The keyword for this week is ‘Plane Ticket.’ Attackers distributed phishing emails disguised as plane tickets, hoping to take advantage of the increase in overseas travelers during the holiday season. The emails contain the payment statement for the plane ticket. They prompt users to enter their email account credentials by requiring them to confirm the ticket. Once you enter the account credentials, they will be leaked to the attacker’s phishing server address. As such, users should always take caution when opening attachments and check the sender if the email asks to enter ID and password to prevent their personal information from being leaked. Phishing URL: https[:]//unitedmerchantbank[.]com/resources/views/email/post.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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