We came across an alert in the Peruvian media on August 17 regarding cyberattacks that were targeting banks in Peru. Discussions on social media platforms revolved around the attacks being a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) campaign, while others mentioned that it could have been ransomware.
From what we’ve observed, the campaign involves the use of phishing emails intended to lure victims via clickable links. In addition to Peru, phishing attempts were also seen in other countries, including Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the USA, as well as other European and Asian countries.
Figure 1. Infection Chain for the phishing email
We found an email from a certain “BTC Investor News” inviting a target to invest in Bitcoin (BTC). The email had two links in the message body: one that redirected the user to a website offering “new technology,” while the other goes to a video explaining cryptocurrency investments. The address of the sender, seen in the screenshot below, does not appear to be legitimate.
Figure 2. Phishing email inviting the user to “invest” in Bitcoin
The links in this phishing campaign point to the malicious domain matchtv[.]biz[.]ua. The URLs have the following pattern:
In this case, XX is a number, most likely used to track victims. When visited, the link then redirects the victims to different URLs depending on the user's IP location, browser, and operating system.
We accessed this URL multiples times and ended up with different results. The first time we accessed the URL, it led us to a suspicious file download, adobe_flash_setup_2956372845.exe (detected as PUA_INSTALLCORE.GAX)
Our analysis of this malicious file shows that it connects to the following command-and-control (C&C) server:
It then modifies Internet Explorer browsers, most likely to lead users to malicious websites as seen in our second example.
Accessing the URL the second time led us to what appears to be a malicious BTC phishing website.
Figure 3. Phishing website that appeared when we accessed the URL a second time
Given what we know of the targets, it seems that these attacks might have a larger scope than just targeting Peruvian banks. Whether it’s part of a widespread campaign involving groups like Lazarus or related to another large campaign such as the supposed “ATM Cashout” that the FBI warned against earlier in August, remains to be seen.
Trend Micro Recommendations and Solutions
The effectiveness of phishing techniques in malicious attacks is well-documented. Therefore, it’s no surprise that even coordinated campaigns still use this relatively simple strategy, often combining it with “hot” topics such as cryptocurrencies to lure in targets.
Knowledge and awareness of phishing attacks play a large part in mitigating their effects and limiting their effectiveness. Users should always check the email for any red flags such as a suspicious sender address or multiple typographical errors in an “official” document. Furthermore, context should always be taken into account; for example, an invoice letter sent to the marketing team rather than the finance department should be a warning sign that the message might be a malicious one.
We also recommend that users avoid clicking on any links in an email unless they are certain of the source's legitimacy.
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