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Phishing Emails Generating Botnet Scaling

A bigger and much more detailed picture is starting to emerge, with yet another spammed malware campaign courtesy of the botnet that is so far responsible for a massive flood of fake Windows updates, phishing emails targeting the usual diverse set of brands, fake yahoo greeting cards, and most recently delivering "executable news items", through Backdoor.Agent.AJU malware infected hosts.

Within the first five minutes, thirty three (33) phishing emails attempted to be delivered out of a sample infected host, all of them targeting NatWest or The National Westminster Bank Plc. Here are some samples, that of course never made it out to their recipient :

- Sender Address: "NatWest Internet Banking '2008" to Recipient: <@fs1.ge.man.ac.uk>Subject: Natwest Bank Bankline: Confirm Your Login Email Content: //ver2.natwest-commercial3.com/customerupdate?tag=3D19ecygtKZDzrozrznhOzn These directives are to be sent and followed by all members of the NatWest Private and Corporate Natwest does apologize for any problems caused, and is very thankful for your cooperation. If you are not client of Natwest OnLine Banking please ignore this notice! *** This is robot generated message please do not reply *** (C) 2008 Natwest Bankline. All Rights Reserved. Attached File: "ods096.gif" (image/gif)


- Sender Address: "NatWest Bank On-line Banking'2008" to Recipient: <@bbc.co.uk> Subject: Natwest OnLine Banking Important Notice From Technical Department Id: 9044 Email Content: //ver2.natwest-commercial3.com/customerupdate?tag=3D15urOBFDffkOkhOvp These directives are to be sent and followed by all members of the NatWest Private and Corporate Natwest does apologize for any problems caused, and is very thankful for your cooperation. If you are not client of Natwest OnLine Banking please ignore this notice! *** This is robot generated message please do not reply *** (C) 2008 Natwest Bankline. All Rights Reserved. Attached File: "ods096.gif" (image/gif)

- Sender Address: "Natwest Bank Internet Banking Support" to Recipient: <@yahoo.co.uk> Subject: NatWest Private and Corporate: Confirm Your Login Password Email Content: //ver2.natwest-commercial3.com/customerupdate?tag=3D24ecyuczfscwzbDtcwhhOkhOvp These directives are to be sent and followed by all members of the NatWest Private and Corporate Natwest does apologize for any problems caused, and is very thankful for your cooperation. If you are not client of Natwest OnLine Banking please ignore this notice! *** This is robot generated message please do not reply *** (C) 2008 Natwest Bankline. All Rights Reserved.

- Sender Address: "Natwest Private and Corporate Support" to Recipient: <@yahoo.co.uk> Subject: Natwest Bankline Internet Banking Important: Submit Your Records id: 1191 Email Content: //pool32-nwolb20.com/customerupdate?cid=3D27kwszewcenzdFECKDtcwhhOkhOvp These directives are to be sent and followed by all customers of the Natwest On-line Banking NatWest Bank does apologize for the troubles caused to you, and is very thankful for your collaboration. If you are not user of NatWest Bank Digital Banking please delete this letter! *** This is automatically generated message please do not reply *** (C) 2008 Natwest Bank On-line Banking. All Rights Reserved. Attached File: "rwu909.gif" (image/gif)


- Sender Address: "Natwest Private and Corporate Support" to Recipient: <@56bridgwater.fsnet.co.uk> Subject: Natwest Internet Banking: Please Update Your Internet Banking Details Email Content: //pool32-nwolb20.com/customerupdate?cid=3D37kwszewcnnhrrDRCfszlaucndsOoerdnOkhOvp These directives are to be sent and followed by all customers of the Natwest On-line Banking NatWest Bank does apologize for the troubles caused to you, and is very thankful for your collaboration. If you are not user of NatWest Bank Digital Banking please delete this letter! *** This is automatically generated message please do not reply *** (C) 2008 Natwest Bank On-line Banking. All Rights Reserved. Attached File: "rwu909.gif" (image/gif)

What is making an impression besides the malicious economies of scale achieved on behalf of the malware infected hosts used for sending, and as we've already seen, hosting and phishing pages and the malware itslef? It's the campaing's targeted nature in respect to the segmented emails database used for achieving a better response rate. The National Westminster Bank Plcis a U.K bank, and 10 out of 15 email recepient are of U.K citizens, the rest are targeting Italian users. Malware variants signal their presence to 66.199.241.98/forum.php and try to obtain campaigns to participate in, this is a sample detection rate for the latest fake news items one, and more details on the domains and nameservers used in the latest campaign :

news_report-pdf_content.exe
Scanners result : 14/31 (45.17%)
Backdoor.Win32.Agent.gvk; Backdoor:Win32/Agent.ACG
File size: 45056 bytes
MD5...: c4849207a94d1db4a0211f88e84b0b59
SHA1..: 32ef2a074d563370f46738565ecf9bb53c75909c
SHA256: 12a124cc2352f3ef68ddf06e0ed111c617d95cffd807dc502ae474960a60411c

An internal nameservers ecosystem within the botnet, active and resolving :

ns1.ns4.ns2.ns3.id759.com
ns3.ns1.id759.com
ns1.ns2.ns1.ns4.ns2.ns3.id759.com
ns1.ns2.ns3.id759.com
ns1.ns2.ns4.id759.com
ns1.ns4.ns4.ns2.ns3.id759.com
ns2.id759.com
ns2.ns1.ns2.ns3.id759.com
ns2.ns1.ns2.ns4.id759.com
ns3.ns2.ns1.ns2.ns3.id759.com
ns4.ns1.ns1.ns2.ns3.id759.com

Yet another internal nameservers ecosystem within the botnet :

ns1.serial43.in
ns2.serial43.in
ns3.serial43.in
ns4.serial43.in
ns1.ns1.ns1.serial43.in
ns1.ns2.ns1.ns1.serial43.in
ns1.ns2.ns2.serial43.in
ns1.ns4.ns1.ns1.serial43.in
ns2.ns1.ns2.serial43.in
ns2.ns1.ns4.ns1.ns1.serial43.in
ns2.ns2.ns1.ns1.serial43.in

To sum up - these are all of the domains currently active and used for the malware/spam/phishing campaigns on behalf of this botnet :

server52.org
set45.net
site83.net
sid95.com
shell54.com
siteid64.com
setup36.com
share73.com
service28.biz

There are several scenarious related to this particular botnet. Despite that it's the same piece of malware that's successfully adding new zombies to the infected population, the diversity of the campaigns, as well as the fact that for instance share73.com is registered by casta4000 @ mail.ru and is into the "reklama uslug" business which translates to advertising services, in this case spam and phishing emails sending on demand, access to the botnet could be either offered on demand, or the service itself performed in a typical managed spamming appliance outsourced business model. Are they also vertically integrating in respect to the fast-fluxing? Yes they are, since they're achieving it without the need to hire a managed fast-flux provider, which isn't excluding the possibility that they aren't in fact one themselves, as it's evident they've got the capability to become one.
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