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Friday, 07 December 2018 10:18

Hardware devices used to steal millions from Eastern Europe banks

The Bash Bunny. The Bash Bunny. Courtesy Hak5

Over the last two years, at least eight Eastern European banks have been compromised by attackers who quietly entered their premises and attached hardware devices to the local network, a somewhat novel method of attack, Kaspersky Lab says.

Researcher Sergey Golovanov wrote that the attacks which had been collectively named DarkVishnya, led to the loss of tens of millions of dollars.

The devices used in these attacks varied but were one of three tools: a netbook or cheap laptop; a Raspberry Pi computer; or a Bash Bunny, a special tool for carrying out USB attacks.

According to its manufacturer, Hak5, the Bash Bunny "is a simple and powerful multi-function USB attack and automation platform for penetration testers and systems administrators".

The local network registered the device as an unknown computer, an external flash drive or sometimes a keyboard. Remote access to the device was through a built-in or USB-connected GPRS/3G/LTE modem.

Next, the attackers connected remotely and scanned the network, looking for shared folder, Web servers or any other resources that were open. Simultaneously, they also used brute-force methods or sniffed for login data.

Their targets appeared to be machines that were used for making payments, Golovanov said.

"To overcome the firewall restrictions, they planted shellcodes with local TCP servers. If the firewall blocked access from one segment of the network to another, but allowed a reverse connection, the attackers used a different payload to build tunnels," he added.

Once this was done, the attackers logged in to the target system and used remote access software to retain their access. They used fileless attacks and PowerShell to avoid detection.

"If they encountered a whitelisting that could not be bypassed, or PowerShell was blocked on the target computer, the cyber criminals used impacket, and winexesvc.exe or psexec.exe to run executable files remotely," Golovanov said.

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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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