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Global Scam Operation "Classiscam" Expanded to Singapore

 

Classiscam, a sophisticated scam-as-a-service business, has now entered Singapore, after more than 1.5 years  migrating to Europe. 

"Scammers posing as legitimate buyers approach sellers with the request to purchase goods from their listings and the ultimate aim of stealing payment data," Group-IB said in a report shared with The Hacker News. 

The operators were described as a "well-coordinated and technologically advanced scammer criminal network" by the cybersecurity firm. Classiscam is a Russia-based cybercrime operation that was originally detected in the summer of 2019 but only came to light a year later, coinciding with an uptick in activity due to an increase in online buying following the COVID-19 epidemic. 

Classiscam, the pandemic's most commonly utilised fraud scheme, targets consumers who use marketplaces and services related to property rentals, hotel bookings, online bank transfers, online retail, ride-sharing, and package deliveries. Users of major Russian ads and marketplaces were initially targeted, before spreading to Europe and the United States. 

Over 90 active organisations are said to be utilising Classiscam's services to target consumers in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, France, Kazakhstan, Kirghizia, Poland, Romania, Ukraine, the United States, and Uzbekistan. The fraudulent operation spans 64 countries in Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), and the Middle East, and employs 169 brands to carry out the assaults. Criminals using Classiscam are reported to have gained at least $29.5 million in unlawful earnings between April 2020 and February 2022. 

This campaign is remarkable for its dependence on Telegram bots and conversations to coordinate activities and generate phishing and scam pages. Here's how it all works: Scammers put bait advertising on famous marketplaces and classified websites, frequently promising game consoles, laptops, and cellphones at steep prices. When a potential victim contacts the seller (i.e., the threat actor) via the online storefront, the Classiscam operator dupes the target into continuing the conversation on a third-party messaging service like WhatsApp or Viber before sending a link to a rogue payment page to complete the transaction. 

The concept includes a hierarchy of administrators, workers, and callers. While administrators are in charge of recruiting new members, automating the building of scam pages, and registering new accounts, it is the employees that make accounts on free classifieds websites and submit the false advertising. 

"Workers are key participants of the Classiscam scam scheme: their goal is to attract traffic to phishing resources," the researchers said. 

In turn, the phishing URLs are produced by Telegram bots that replicate the payment pages of local classified websites but are housed on lookalike domains. This necessitates the workers to submit the URL containing the bait product to the bot. 

"After initial contact with the legitimate seller, the scammers generate a unique phishing link that confuses the sellers by displaying the information about the seller's offer and imitating the official classified's website and URL," the researchers said. 

"Scammers claim that payment has been made and lure the victim into either making a payment for delivery or collecting the payment." 

The phishing pages also offer the option of checking the victim's bank account balance in order to find the most "valuable" cards. Furthermore, some cases involve a second attempt to deceive the victims by phoning them and requesting a refund in order to collect their money back. 

These calls are made by assistant employees posing as platform tech support professionals.  In this scenario, the targets are sent to a fraudulent payment page where they must input their credit card information and confirm it with an SMS passcode. Instead of a refund, the victim's card is charged the same amount again.

While the aforementioned method is an example of seller scam, in which a buyer (i.e., victim) receives a phishing payment link and is cheated of their money, buyer scams also exist.

A fraudster contacts a legal vendor as a client and sends a bot-generated fraudulent payment form imitating a marketplace, ostensibly for verification purposes. However, after the seller inputs their bank card details, an amount equal to the cost of the goods is debited from their account.

Classiscammers' complete attack infrastructure consists of 200 domains, 18 of which were constructed to deceive visitors of an undisclosed Singaporean classified website. Other sites in the network masquerade as Singaporean movers, European, Asian, and Middle Eastern classified websites, banks, markets, food and cryptocurrency businesses, and delivery services.

"As it sounds, Classiscam is far more complex to tackle than the conventional types of scams," Group-IB's Ilia Rozhnov siad. "Unlike the conventional scams, Classiscam is fully automated and could be widely distributed. Scammers could create an inexhaustible list of links on the fly."

"To complicate the detection and takedown, the home page of the rogue domains always redirects to the official website of a local classified platform."

Cyberattack Struck Norway, Pro-Russian Hacker Group Fingered

 

According to Norwegian authorities, a cyberattack momentarily took offline public and private websites in Norway in the last 24 hours.

As per Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stre, the attack has not caused any serious harm. According to the Norwegian National Security Authority, the distributed-denial-of-service (DDOS) attack targeted a secure national data network, causing the temporary suspension of internet services for many hours. 

According to NSM chief Sofie Nystrm, the attacks appear to be the work of a criminal pro-Russian gang. She went on to say that the attacks "create the sense that we are a piece in Europe's present political crisis." 

So according to Norwegian media, the country's ambassador to Moscow was called to the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday for a protest about Russian supplies being denied transit via Norway to an Arctic Russian coal-mining settlement. 

The hamlet of Barentsburg is located in the Svalbard archipelago, some 800 kilometres (500 miles) north of the Norwegian mainland. Because of the war in Ukraine, the European Union has imposed restrictions on a number of Russian commodities. 

Norway is not a member of the EU, although it follows its policies on most issues. Norway has sovereignty over the Svalbard archipelago by a 1920 treaty, but other signatory countries have the right to use its natural resources. 

The cyberattack on Norway occurred two days after a similar attack briefly shut down official and private websites in Lithuania, with a pro-Moscow hacking group claiming responsibility. That event occurred just a week after Russian authorities warned of retaliation because Lithuania blocked the transit of steel and ferrous metals sanctioned by the EU via its territory to Russia’s exclave of Kaliningrad.

Night Sky: New Ransomware Targeting Corporate Networks

 

The new year has brought with it new ransomware named 'Night Sky,' which targets corporate networks and steals data in double-extortion attacks. 

The Night Sky operation began on December 27th, according to MalwareHunterTeam, which was the first to identify the new ransomware. The ransomware has since published the data of two victims. 

One of the victims got an initial ransom demand of $800,000 in exchange for a decryptor and the promise that the stolen material would not be made public. 

How Night Sky encrypts devices

A sample of the Night Sky ransomware seen by BleepingComputer has a personalised ransom note and hardcoded login credentials to access the victim's negotiation page. 

When the ransomware is activated, it encrypts all files except those with the.dll or.exe file extensions. The ransomware will not encrypt the following files or folders: 
AppData
Boot
Windows
Windows.old
Tor Browser
Internet Explorer
Google
Opera
Opera Software
Mozilla
Mozilla Firefox
$Recycle.Bin
ProgramData
All Users
autorun.inf
boot.ini
bootfont.bin
bootsect.bak
bootmgr
bootmgr.efi
bootmgfw.efi
desktop.ini
iconcache.db
ntldr
ntuser.dat
ntuser.dat.log
ntuser.ini
thumbs.db
Program Files
Program Files (x86)
#recycle

Night Sky appends the.nightsky extension to encrypted file names while encrypting them. A ransom letter named NightSkyReadMe.hta is included in each folder, and it provides details about what was stolen, contact emails, and hardcoded passwords to the victim's negotiation page. 

Instead of communicating with victims through a Tor site, Night Sky employs email addresses and a transparent website that runs Rocket.Chat. The credentials are used to access the Rocket.Chat URL specified in the ransom note. 

Double extortion tactic: 

Before encrypting devices on the network, ransomware operations frequently grab unencrypted data from victims. Threat actors then utilize the stolen data in a "double-extortion" scheme, threatening to leak the information unless a ransom is paid. 

Night Sky built a Tor data leak site to leak the data of victims, which now contains two victims, one from Bangladesh and the other from Japan. While there hasn't been much activity with the new Night Sky ransomware operation, one should keep a watch on it as we enter the new year.

Half of Sites Still Using Legacy Crypto Keys

 

While the internet is growing more secure gene but slightly more than half of the websites' cryptographic keys are still generated using legacy encryption algorithms, as per the new research.

Security firm Venafi enlisted the assistance of renowned researcher Scott Helme to examine the world's top one million websites over the last 18 months. The TLS Crawler Report demonstrated some progress in a few areas. 

Nearly three-quarters of websites (72 per cent) now actively redirect traffic to HTTPS, a 15 per cent increase since March 2020. Even better, more than half of the HTTPS sites evaluated are using TLSv1.3, the most recent version of TLS. It has now surpassed TLSv1.2 as the most widely used protocol version. 

Furthermore, nearly one in five of the top one million websites now use the more secure HSTS (HTTP Strict Transport Security), which increased 44 per cent since March 2020. Even better, in the last six years of monitoring, the number of top one million sites using EV certificates has dropped to its lowest level ever. These are known for their slow, manual approval processes, which cause end users too much discomfort. 

Let's Encrypt, on the other hand, is now the most popular Certificate Authority for TLS certificates, with 28 per cent of sites using it. There is, however, still more to be done. 

According to the report, approximately 51% of sites still produce authentication keys using legacy RSA encryption techniques. These, along with TLS, help to verify and secure connections between physical, virtual, and IoT devices, APIs, applications, and clusters. 

ECDSA, a public key cryptography encryption technique with increased computational complexity and smaller authorization keys, is a far more secure alternative to RSA. As per Venafi, this implies they require less bandwidth to establish an SSL/TLS connection, making them perfect for mobile apps and IoT and embedded device support. 

Helme explained, "I would have expected that the rise in adoption of TLSv1.3 usage would have driving the ECDSA numbers up much more. One of the main reasons to keep RSA around for authentication is legacy clients that don't support ECDSA yet, but that seems at odds with the huge rise in TLSv1.3 which isn't supported by legacy clients. We also continue to see the use of RSA 3072 and RSA 4096 in numbers that are concerning.” 

“If you're using larger RSA keys for security reasons then you should absolutely be on ECDSA already which is a stronger key algorithm and offers better performance. My gut feeling here is that there's a lot of legacy stuff out there or site operators just haven't realized the advantages of switching over to ECDSA.”