Security Market Segment LS
Thursday, 12 July 2018 10:24

Access to Windows through RDP for sale at low prices

By

Credentials for accessing computers at a major international airport through Microsoft's proprietary Remote Desktop Protocol have been found for sale for as little as US$10 by American security firm McAfee.

In a blog post, McAfee's John Fokker wrote that the company's Advance Threat Research team found the credentials linked to the security and building automation systems of the airport on hacker marketplaces on the dark web.

RDP allows one Windows user to access another Windows computer through a graphical interface and is used for remote administration by sysadmins. But, as Fokker pointed out, "The recent SamSam ransomware attacks on several American institutions demonstrate how RDP access serves as an entry point."

He said the team had looked at several RDP shops - from small ones which were selling 15 connections to much bigger outlets that selling more than 40,000 RDP connections.

"During the course of our research we noticed that the size of the bigger shops varies from day to day with about 10%," Fokker said.

rdpshop

"The goal of our research was not to create a definitive list of RDP shops; rather, we sought a better understanding of the general modus operandi, products offered, and potential victims."

RDP access for systems ranging from Windows XP to Windows 10 were advertised on these shops. Windows 2008 and Windows 2012 Server were the most abundant, with about 11,000 and 6500 systems respectively.

The prices ranged from US$3 for a simple configuration to US$19 for a high-bandwidth system that offered access with administrator rights.

Apart from RDP access, other services were advertised as well, depending on the shop.

products

"In addition to selling RDP, some of these shops offer a lively trade in social security numbers, credit card data, and logins to online shops," Fokker wrote.

"The second-largest RDP shop we researched, BlackPass, offered the widest variety of products. The most prolific of these brokers provide one-stop access to all the tools used to commit fraud: RDP access into computers, social security numbers and other integral data to set up loans or open bank accounts."

Screenshots: courtesy McAfee


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Sam Varghese

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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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