Cyber-attackers have stepped up efforts to use the G-20 Summit as bait to snare users.
In a spate of campaigns targeting victims in both the financial sector, government and elsewhere, multiple groups have been at work trying to lure victims into downloading malicious files disguised as documents about the conference, which started today in St. Petersburg, Russia.
In one email with the subject line: ‘Revised Building Blocks (Round 2)’, victims receive an RAR archive file with five files in it. Of the five files, two of them masquerade as different file types, explained Symantec security researcher Satnam Narang.
“One of the documents is actually an executable, while the .msg file is a .lnk file, which we have seen used in attacks before,” the researcher blogged. “If the victim tries to run the .msg file, it will run both the malicious executable and one of the non-malicious documents.”
The malicious executable that runs in the background is the notorious Poison Ivy remote access tool.
A similar attack was reported Wednesday by Trend Micro, which warned about an email with the subject ‘Pre-Summit Meeting of G20.’ Like the attack detected by Symantec, the email comes with a RAR attachment; this time however, it only contains three files – one LNK file and two other binary files.
“The LNK file is not a simple shortcut file; it contains custom commands that recontrust the two separated binary files into one file and execute it (detected as BKDR_SISPROC.A),” explained Lenart Bermejo, senior threats response engineer at Trend Micro, in a blog post. “As a backdoor, BKDR_SISPROC.A communicates to its remote servers to execute malicious commands onto the infected system. More importantly, this backdoor also downloads plugins, which will then execute varous data-stealing behaviors such as screen capture and keylogging.”
“Overall, the techniques exhibited by this attack do not constitute a new threat,” the researcher continued. “However, as we have predicted and confirmed this year, malicious actors are focused on refining how they distribute threats and evade detections. The splitting of a binary file into two files is a clear sign of the ongoing attempts to keep attacks under the radar.”