Financially motivated cybercriminals have been spotted trying to infiltrate the finance departments of various small & medium sized businesses in the U.S., U.K., and India, according to security firm Symantec.

Symantec recently published a blog post delving into these attacks stating these criminals are aiming to steal money from the bank accounts of businesses. While first spotted in India, the malware infections have spread to the United States and the United Kingdom. Roughly half of the infections were observed in India with the rest being almost equally split amongst the U.S and the U.K.

The attackers don’t appear to be discriminating based on industry, instead, they attempt to breach the system of any kind of business. These attackers are using stolen accounts to send emails with subjects related to financial inquiries to people within the targeted company’s financial department.

These emails carry one of two Trojans, the first being Backdoor.Breut and second being Trojan.Nancrat. Breut appears to be used against targets in India and other countries while Nancrat is used in attacks aimed at the U.K.

To lure employees with targeted access to company accounts, attackers send emails with subjects related to finances such as: Payment Advise, Transfer Copy, Inquiry, Request for Quotation, Re: Invoice, etc. The emails include archive file attachments, generally with the .zip extensions. If the target opens the file, their computer becomes infected through either the Breut or Nancrat Trojan, thus giving the attacker full control over the victim’s computer.

Once deployed, the malware allows the attacker complete control, including access to webcams and microphones, and the ability to log keystrokes and steal passwords and files within the infected system.

Once the computer is compromised, the attacker’s spend time accessing how to steal the money. These attackers have even been spotted downloading manuals to figure out how to use certain financial software’s. While these criminals may be less skilled than other major hacking groups, it’s important to never underestimate what major damages they’re capable of.

Businesses around the world need to take the steps necessary to protect their assets against these kinds of threats using a layered approach to IT security. Truly layered security requires a mixture of preventative security – vulnerability management with breach detection- real-time file integrity monitoring. Integration is also key in enhancing the ease of use and cost of operation. For example, automatically leveraging threat intelligence to expose breach activity when it happens.


Read the Symantec blog post here



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