Security Market Segment LS
Wednesday, 08 May 2019 09:44

Retefe banking trojan returns, takes aim at both Windows and Mac

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Retefe banking trojan returns, takes aim at both Windows and Mac Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

A banking trojan named Retefe that targeted Austria, Sweden and Switzerland, routing online banking traffic through a proxy instead of the usual Web injects that other trojans use, has made a comeback, with more regular attacks on Swiss and German victims in April, the security firm Proofpoint claims.

In a blog post,the company said the trojan now had a version which worked on Windows and one that could attack macOS. When Retefe first appeared it was delivered using a zipped JavaScript file or within Microsoft Word documents.

Researcher Bryan Campbell wrote that the new Retefe had several changes:

  • It uses stunnel instead of TOR to secure its proxy redirection and command and control communications;
  • It uses Smoke Loader rather than sLoad as an intermediate loader; and
  • It abuses a shareware application known as “Convert PDF to Word Plus 1.0”; this is a Python script that has been packaged as an executable using PyInstaller and packed into an archive using the UPX packing engine.

Campbell said the shareware application had been found in a public malware repository in March. "It originates from https://lettercreate.com/unipdf/convert-pdf-to-word-plus[.]exe and uses a certificate issued by DigiCert," he added.

In the case of the version targeting macOS users, the people behind Retefe were using developer-signed versions of fake Adobe Installers in order to deliver the payload.

Said Campbell: "Retefe is unusual in its use of proxies to redirect victims to fake bank pages for credential theft instead of employing Web injects for man-in-the-browser attacks like most banking trojans.

"Developers appear to have updated key features of the trojan and are employing new distribution mechanisms including fake apps and switching to Smoke Loader as its intermediate downloader after a fairly lengthy absence from the landscape."

He said Retefe, in particular, was noted for changing its proxy configuration, having previously used Profixifier and, in 2019, moving to stunnel.

"As with many types of malware, developers continue to innovate, identifying new, more effective ways to infect victims and steal personal information to better monetise their attacks."


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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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