Say Hello to Crazy Thin ‘Deep Insert’ ATM Skimmers

A number of financial institutions in and around New York City are dealing with a rash of super-thin “deep insert” skimming devices designed to fit inside the mouth of an ATM’s card acceptance slot. The card skimmers are paired with tiny pinhole cameras that are cleverly disguised as part of the cash machine. Here’s a look at some of the more sophisticated deep insert skimmer technology that fraud investigators have recently found in the wild.

This ultra thin and flexible “deep insert” skimmer recently recovered from an NCR cash machine in New York is about half the height of a U.S. dime. The large yellow rectangle is a battery. Image: KrebsOnSecurity.com.

The insert skimmer pictured above is approximately .68 millimeters tall. This leaves more than enough space to accommodate most payment cards (~.54 mm) without interrupting the machine’s ability to grab and return the customer’s card. For comparison, this flexible skimmer is about half the height of a U.S. dime (1.35 mm).

These skimmers do not attempt to siphon chip-card data or transactions, but rather are after the cardholder data still stored in plain text on the magnetic stripe on the back of most payment cards issued to Americans.

Here’s what the other side of that insert skimmer looks like:

The other side of the deep insert skimmer. Image: KrebsOnSecurity.com.

The thieves who designed this skimmer were after the magnetic stripe data and the customer’s 4-digit personal identification number (PIN). With those two pieces of data, the crooks can then clone payment cards and use them to siphon money from victim accounts at other ATMs.

To steal PINs, the fraudsters in this case embedded pinhole cameras in a false panel made to fit snugly over the cash machine enclosure on one side of the PIN pad.

Pinhole cameras were hidden in these false side panels glued to one side of the ATM, and angled toward the PIN pad. Image: KrebsOnSecurity.com.

The skimming devices pictured above were pulled from a brand of ATMs made by NCR called the NCR SelfServ 84 Walk-Up. In January 2022, NCR produced a report on motorized deep insert skimmers, which offers a closer look at other insert skimmers found targeting this same line of ATMs.

Here are some variations on deep insert skimmers NCR found in recent investigations:

Image: NCR.

Image: NCR

The NCR report included additional photos that show how fake ATM side panels with the hidden cameras are carefully crafted to slip over top of the real ATM side panels.

Image: NCR.

Sometimes the skimmer thieves embed their pinhole spy cameras in fake panels directly above the PIN pad, as in these recent attacks targeting a similar NCR model:

Image: NCR

In the image below, the thieves hid their pinhole camera in a “consumer awareness mirror” placed directly above an ATM retrofitted with an insert skimmer:

Image: NCR

The financial institution that shared the images above said it has seen success in stopping most of these insert skimmer attacks by incorporating a solution that NCR sells called an “insert kit,” which it said stops current insert skimmer designs. NCR also is conducting field trials on a “smart detect kit” that adds a standard USB camera to view the internal card reader area, and uses image recognition software to identify any fraudulent device inside the reader.

Skimming devices will continue to mature in miniaturization and stealth as long as payment cards continue to hold cardholder data in plain text on a magnetic stripe. It may seem silly that we’ve spent years rolling out more tamper- and clone-proof chip-based payment cards, only to undermine this advance in the name of backwards compatibility. However, there are a great many smaller businesses in the United States that still rely on being able to swipe the customer’s card.

Many newer ATM models, including the NCR SelfServ referenced throughout this post, now include contactless capability, meaning customers no longer need to insert their ATM card anywhere: They can instead just tap their smart card against the wireless indicator to the left of the card acceptance slot (and right below the “Use Mobile Device Here” sign on the ATM).

For simple ease-of-use reasons, this contactless feature is now increasingly prevalent at drive-thru ATMs. If your payment card supports contactless technology, you will notice a wireless signal icon printed somewhere on the card — most likely on the back. ATMs with contactless capabilities also feature this same wireless icon.

Once you become aware of ATM skimmers, it’s difficult to use a cash machine without also tugging on parts of it to make sure nothing comes off. But the truth is you probably have a better chance of getting physically mugged after withdrawing cash than you do encountering a skimmer in real life.

So keep your wits about you when you’re at the ATM, and avoid dodgy-looking and standalone cash machines in low-lit areas, if possible. When possible, stick to ATMs that are physically installed at a bank. And be especially vigilant when withdrawing cash on the weekends; thieves tend to install skimming devices on Saturdays after business hours — when they know the bank won’t be open again for more than 24 hours.

Lastly but most importantlycovering the PIN pad with your hand defeats one key component of most skimmer scams: The spy camera that thieves typically hide somewhere on or near the compromised ATM to capture customers entering their PINs.

Shockingly, few people bother to take this simple, effective step. Or at least, that’s what KrebsOnSecurity found in this skimmer tale from 2012, wherein we obtained hours worth of video seized from two ATM skimming operations and saw customer after customer walk up, insert their cards and punch in their digits — all in the clear.

Source: https://krebsonsecurity.com/2022/09/say-hello-to-crazy-thin-deep-insert-atm-skimmers/

Massive LinkedIn Phishing, Bot Attacks Feed on the Job-Hungry

The phishing attacks are spoofing LinkedIn to target ‘Great Resignation’ job hunters, who are also being preyed on by huge data-scraping bot attacks.

Emotionally vulnerable and willing to offer up any information that lands the gig, job seekers are prime targets for social engineering campaigns. And with the “Great Resignation” in full swing, cybercriminals are having an easy time finding their next victim.

Just since Feb. 1, analysts have watched phishing email attacks impersonating LinkedIn surge 232 percent, attempting to trick job seekers into giving up their credentials.

“Current employment trends help to make this attack more convincing,” a new report from Egress said. “‘The Great Resignation’ continues to dominate headlines, and a record number of Americans left their jobs in 2021 for new opportunities. It is likely these phishing attacks aim to capitalize on jobseekers (plus curious individuals) by flattering them into believing their profile is being viewed and their experience is relevant to household brands.”

The emails had subject lines that would be enticing to job hunters hoping to get noticed, like, “Who’s searching for you online,” “You appeared in 4 searches this week” or even “You have 1 new message,” the Egress team said.

The phishing emails themselves were convincing dupes, built in HTML templates with the LinkedIn logo, colors and icons, the report added. The scammers also name-checked well-known companies throughout the bodies of the phishing emails, including American Express and CVS Carepoint, to make the correspondence seem more legitimate, the analysts said.

Even the email’s footer lifted the company’s headquarters’ address and included “unsubscribe” links to add to the email’s authenticity, the analysts pointed out.

“You can also see the LinkedIn display name spoofing, which is designed to hide the webmail accounts used to launch the attacks,” the report said.

Once the victim clicks on the malicious links in the email, they were directed to a site to harvest their LinkedIn logins and passwords.

“While the display name is always LinkedIn and the emails all follow a similar pattern, the phishing attacks are sent from different webmail addresses that have zero correlation with each other,” the analysts added. “Currently, it is unknown whether these attacks are the work of one cybercriminal or a gang operating together.”

021722 09:18 UPDATE: LinkedIn sent the following statement to Threatpost:

“Our internal teams work to take action against those who attempt to harm LinkedIn members through phishing. We encourage members to report suspicious messages and help them learn more about what they can do to protect themselves, including turning on two-step verification. To learn more about how members can identify phishing messages, see our Help Center here.”

Read more: https://threatpost.com/massive-linkedin-phishing-bot-attacks-hungry-job-seekers/178476/

Hackers infect random WordPress plugins to steal credit cards

Credit card swipers are being injected into random plugins of e-commerce WordPress sites, hiding from detection while stealing customer payment details.

With the Christmas shopping season in full swing, card-stealing threat actors raise their efforts to infect online shops with stealthy skimmers, so administrators ought to remain vigilant.

The latest trend is injecting card skimmers into WordPress plugin files, avoiding the closely-monitored ‘wp-admin’ and ‘wp-includes’ core directories where most injections are short-lived.

According to a new report by Sucuri, hackers performing credit card theft are first hacking into WordPress sites and injecting a backdoor into the website for persistence.

Full article at https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/hackers-infect-random-wordpress-plugins-to-steal-credit-cards/

Ransomware Payments Explode Amid ‘Quadruple Extortion’

Two reports slap hard figures on what’s already crystal clear: Ransomware attacks have skyrocketed, and ransomware payments are the comet trails that have followed them skyward.

The average ransomware payment spiked 82 percent year over year: It’s now over half a million dollars, according to the first-half 2021 update report put out by Palo Alto Networks’ Unit 42. As far as the sheer multitude of attacks goes, Barracuda researchers on Thursday reported that they’ve identified and analyzed 121 ransomware incidents so far in 2021, a 64 percent increase in attacks, year-over-year.

Obviously, these are just the major incidents. It is unclear from these reports if the threat to small sites or individual consumers’ computers has continued at the same rate as previously now that there are so many attacks occurring against “big payout” targets.

It’s important to continue to be vigilant on all levels: keep backups (both on site and off site), be careful about what you click on, watch for phishing and consent phishing, use 2-factor authentication where offered, etc.

Full article at https://threatpost.com/ransomware-payments-quadruple-extortion/168622/

Update: Comedian John Oliver (Last Week Tonight) did a piece on Ransomware on Aug 16. (NSFW, but quite well researched.)

Google: Phishing and malware attacks are evolving

Coronavirus-themed phishing lures are still on the rise, particularly in certain geographic locations – but most are being stopped before they reach your inbox.

Cyber criminals are tailoring coronavirus-related phishing and malware attacks to make them more effective at targeting victims in certain locations around the world, even as attackers continue to distribute millions of malicious spam emails every single day.

Google Cloud has detailed how the past month has seen the emergence of regional hotspots for COVID-19-related cyberattacks, with the UK, India and Brazil all seeing a rise in malware, phishing and spam campaigns looking to exploit fears over the virus.

In each case, the attacks and scams are using regionally relevant lures such as supposed government advice in an effort to reel victims in.

One example targeting people in the UK masquerades as an email from the Small Business Grant fund, a government imitative to help small businesses get through coronavirus. These attacks, which often involve a malicious file or phishing link, are designed to trick the victim into giving up personal information, as well as financial details.

Full article: https://www.zdnet.com/article/google-heres-how-phishing-and-malware-attacks-are-evolving/

Definition: Fleeceware

Fleeceware:  Apps which are marketed as “free”, but which then trick the user into subscribing for paid services (which are available free elsewhere), often for excessive fees.

Common examples are horoscope apps, QR code or barcode scanners, and face filter apps targeted at younger users. Publishers of fleeceware target users who may be less cognizant or sensitive to initial fees and reoccurring charges.

Often users are hooked in by free trials, which turn out to be difficult to extricate yourself from after the “free” period has lapsed.

These are currently most common on phone apps (both iPhone and Android), but the same techniques can be found with some desktop applications as well.

COVID-19: Hackers Exploit “Fearware” to Target Victims

We’ve all heard about the guy in Tennessee who bought 17,000 bottles of hand sanitizer, then tried to sell them at highly inflated prices.

Some people are going to try to make a buck off anything that happens, without regard to the rest of society.  Hackers and scammers are some of those kind of people, and they’re playing the COVID-19 fears just like they do any other opportunity they find.

So it’s no surprise that we’re seeing reports of multiple COVID-19 related scams.

One form of attack involves well-crafted phishing emails that appear to come from health authorities but instead contain malicious software that can steal a person’s data or hijack their device. Be sure that the source is real, and are who they say they are.

One hacking attack saw Russian-language criminals share an interactive map of coronavirus infections and deaths, which had originally been created by John Hopkins University to offer real-time information about the pandemic. Anyone opening the map sent by the hackers would be infected by a form of password-stealing malware that had been hidden within the map.

Fake websites, phishing emails, and malware-laden “tools” abound, so be careful where you go and what you open.

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2020/03/the-internet-is-drowning-in-covid-19-related-malware-and-phishing-scams/

https://threatpost.com/apt36-taps-coronavirus-as-golden-opportunity-to-spread-crimson-rat/153776/

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/coronavirus-hackers-covid-19-china-fearware-malware-a9400141.html

https://www.darktrace.com/en/blog/how-antigena-email-caught-a-fearware-attack-that-bypassed-the-gateway/

https://www.webarxsecurity.com/covid-19-cyber-attacks/

https://threatpost.com/hackers-hijack-routers-to-spread-malware-via-coronavirus-apps/154170/

 

Why You Shouldn’t Use Free Versions of Paid Plugins or Themes!

Full article: An inside look at WP-VCD, today’s largest WordPress hacking operation

According to the folks at WordFence, the worst malware threat out there for WordPress sites comes from a series of sites hawking free versions of premium (paid) plugins and themes.  Here’s their basic modus operandi:

They offer compromised plugins and themes for free to unsuspecting webmaster who think they’re getting a great deal.

Those plugins/themes then insert backlinks and otherwise promote the source sites of the hacked goods, improving their search engine ranking and thus increasing their likelihood of being found and guaranteeing a continuous stream of victims.

They immediately insert malicious code into any other themes the site has available, so even if the pirated theme isn’t in use, the active theme gets infected.

So now they have a self-generating network of infected sites, and they use them to run malware ads (their income source).

WordPress site owners should keep in mind that when something is free, then “you’re the product” — in this case, your site, which has now been corralled into a cybercrime operation.

See also the original WordFence report.

10% of All Macs Shlayered

Many people think that malware only targets Windows and that Macs are safe, but a new report shows how a single Apple malware called Shlayer has attacked over 10% of all Apple computers monitored by an antivirus company.

Instead of distributing the Shlayer Trojan via phishing attacks or through other malware, the threat actors focus on trending events or popular shows and then build fake web sites surrounding them.

Apple users visit these fake sites through search results, links in YouTube videos, and even links in Wikipedia articles. When visiting these sites, instead of being greeted with a video to watch, they are told they need to first update Flash Player.

These Flash Player updates, though, are the Shlayer Trojan and when executed will install a malware cocktail onto the computer.

When browsing the web, if any site states that you must install an update to watch a video or perform an activity, immediately leave that site.

Source:  https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/10-percent-of-all-macs-shlayered-malware-cocktail-served/

More at: https://threatpost.com/shlayer-mac-youtube-wikipedia/152146/

Definition: Phishing and Spear-Fishing

Phishing is when a fraudster sends an email or text message to a user that appears to originate from trusted source, such as a bank. By clicking on a link or opening an attachment in the phishing message, the user can unwittingly load malware onto their device or can be lured into entering their login details on a fake version of the trusted site. They may try to steal your passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers.

In the first case, the malware then installs itself on the browser without the user’s knowledge. The malware records the data sent between the victim and specific targeted websites, such as financial institutions, and transmits it to the attacker.

In the second, the user’s login details are recorded by the fake site. The user will often get a generic message indicating that the login failed or that the system is down for maintenance and they should try later.  Meanwhile, the criminals now have the actual login details and can clean out the account.

Spear Phishing is similar, but is more directed.  While phishing is often performed in a shotgun approach, where the scammer sends email or text to a list of random addresses, spear phishing aims at a particular person or company, and often refers to people or circumstances known to a specific circle of target email addresses.

Spear phishing can be quite convincing, whereas the shotgun style is often more easy to spot – for instance, if you don’t have an account with the bank or other service the scam email uses as bait.

Phishing emails and text messages often tell a story to trick you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment.

They may

  • say they’ve noticed some suspicious activity or log-in attempts
  • claim there’s a problem with your account or your payment information
  • say you must confirm some personal information
  • include a fake invoice
  • want you to click on a link to make a payment
  • say you’re eligible to register for a government refund
  • offer a coupon for free stuff

Fighting Phish

  1. Protect your computer by using security software. Set the software to update automatically so it can deal with any new security threats.
  2. Protect your mobile phone by setting software to update automatically. These updates could give you critical protection against security threats.
  3. Protect your accounts by using multi-factor authentication. Some accounts offer extra security by requiring two or more credentials to log in to your account. This is called multi-factor authentication. The additional credentials you need to log in to your account fall into two categories:
    • Something you have — like a passcode you get via text message or an authentication app.
    • Something you are — like a scan of your fingerprint, your retina, or your face.
  4. Multi-factor authentication makes it harder for scammers to log in to your accounts if they do get your username and password.
  5. Protect your data by backing it up. Back up your data and make sure those backups aren’t connected to your home network. You can copy your computer files to an external hard drive or cloud storage. Back up the data on your phone, too.

What to Do If You Suspect a Phishing Attack

If you get an email or a text message that asks you to click on a link or open an attachment, answer this question: Do I have an account with the company or know the person that contacted me?

If the answer is “No,” it could be a phishing scam. Go back and review the tips in How to recognize phishing and look for signs of a phishing scam. If you see them, report the message and then delete it.

If the answer is “Yes,” contact the company using a phone number or website you know is real. Not the information in the email. Attachments and links can install harmful malware.What to Do If You Responded to a Phishing Email

If you think a scammer has your information, like your Social Security, credit card, or bank account number, go to IdentityTheft.gov. There you’ll see the specific steps to take based on the information that you lost.

If you think you clicked on a link or opened an attachment that downloaded harmful software, update your computer’s security software. Then run a scan.

How to Report Phishing

If you got a phishing email or text message, report it. The information you give can help fight the scammers.

Step 1. If you got a phishing email, forward it to the Anti-Phishing Working Group at reportphishing@apwg.org. If you got a phishing text message, forward it to SPAM (7726).

Step 2. Report the phishing attack to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.