In the mind of cybercriminals – The Boston Marathon attack

By Pierluigi Paganini, Editor-in-Chief, CDM

April 17, 2013, 11:30 am EST

To fight the cybercrime we must start thinking like criminals, they are people motivated solely by money and the need to monetize every operation. I wrote, like many other colleagues, various articles on phishing attacks and their potential effects, of course the success of this attack is based on the capacity of attackers to deceive the user and this is done with social engineering techniques.

Let’s imagine that a single criminal, or a small gang, decides to arrange a phishing attack,  he needs a good tactics to induce the victims to trust the mail they receive and of course an instruments to send them.

I am saddened by the deplorable attack on the Boston Marathon, but events like this are a wonderful opportunity for criminals who may try to trick victims by sending emails about the attack. The world is shocked by the images of the explosion,  but cyber criminals immediately abused them  for their dirty affairs.

If you search on the internet it’s easy to verify that many users started with receiving emails containing malicious links or malware that promise news on the event. In the following image a sample of this malicious email containing a link to the page “news.html” containing URLs of non-malicious YouTube clips of the attack.


But surprisingly just after After a delay of 60 seconds, another link leading to an executable file is activated … in this phase if the user opens the file allows the malware to infect his machine. Kaspersky detected a malware dubbed “Trojan-PSW.Win32.Tepfer.*” that once executed try to connect various IP located in Argentina, Taiwan and Ukraine.


Without complicating life too much, how could an ill-intentioned  individual launch a malicious spam campaign?

The first thought goes to spam-friendly SMTP servers for rent, ideal to arrange a fraud in a short time not worrying about the resources needed. Typically criminals could opt for two choices, abuse of Web-based email service providers or spread malware with built-in SMTP engines, but as described by cybercrime expert Dancho Danchev they could use a spam-friendly SMTP servers.

Danchev found in the underground market a spam-friendly SMTP servers offered the modest sum of  $30 on a monthly basis.


The offers are really smart the post states:

“Criminals offer a starting package that includes 20GB disk space, one SMTP server, and the capacity to send out 700k spam emails, followed by the optimal package which includes 3 SMTP servers, 10GB disk space, and the capacity to send out 2 million emails on a monthly basis. “

The service provider, hosted by Veraton Projects LTD’s network,  also offer a “Hurricane package”, a premium service with unlimited disc space, 10 SMTP servers, and the ability to send out 7 million emails on a monthly basis … a good firepower, what do you think about?

This is just a sample but the Internet is full of similar services, bullet proof hosting represent a paradise for cyber criminals that in many cases don’t need particular knowledge to manage a pre-configured infrastructure rented to affordable price.

Unfortunately, while the world was horrified to witness the tragic events, unscrupulous criminals continue to operate undisturbed.

(Source: CDM & Security Affairs – Cybercrime)

April 17, 2013

cyber defense awardsWe are in our 11th year, and Global InfoSec Awards are incredibly well received – helping build buzz, customer awareness, sales and marketing growth opportunities, investment opportunities and so much more.
Cyber Defense Awards

12th Anniversary Top InfoSec Innovator & Black Unicorn Awards for 2024 are now Open! Finalists Notified Before BlackHat USA 2024...