Phishing danger increases as Storm botnet is hired out

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Jan 15, 2008

Smart new trojan and Storm diversification add to online banking risk.

The dangers of banking online grew significantly in past weeks, as portions of the ever-expanding Storm botnet were hired out to run phishing campaigns and a sophisticated new trojan was discovered, capable of targeting 400 different online banking systems around the world.

With the network of systems compromised by the Storm attack having doubled over the Christmas period, according to reports from Spamhaus (details and comment at OneStopClick.net here), portions of the vast botnet have been put to use operating phishing sites targeting UK banks including Halifax and Barclays.

With segments of the network first seen rented out for spamming purposes in October last year, the latest development presents further evidence of the network's size and stealthy structure being put to use for fraud and financial gain.

An even more worrying trend is the emergence of a highly sophisticated new trojan targeting a wide range of banks. The trojan's man-in-the-middle capability allows attackers to bypass two-factor authentication by inserting themselves between the user and the bank.

The attack, dubbed 'SilentBanker' by Symantec, recognises and targets online banking sites operated by 400 different banks from many countries. Configuration data is updated frequently, multiple browsers are handled, and banking requests can apparently be redirected silently via a malicious server, enabling transactions to be rerouted to accounts of the attackers' choice. The enhanced functionality only targets certain banks, with most hit using more standard fake login pages to steal bank access information.

More details of the Storm phishing campaigns are at F-Secure here and at ESET here. Further information on the 'SilentBanker' trojan is at Symantec here.

Posted on 15 January 2008 by Virus Bulletin

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