Threat Report Portugal Q3 2020: Phishing and malware by numbers.

The Portuguese Abuse Open Feed 0xSI_f33d is an open sharing database with the ability to collect indicators from multiple sources, developed and maintained by Segurança-Informática. This feed is based on automatic searches and also has a strong contribution from the community. This makes it a reliable and trustworthy and continuously updated source, focused on the threats targeting Portuguese citizens.

The Threat Report Portugal: Q3 2020 compiles data collected on the malicious campaigns that occurred from July to August, Q3, of 2020. The campaigns were classified as either phishing or malware. In addition, the report highlights the threats, trends, and key takeaways of threats observed and reported into 0xSI_f33d. This report provides intelligence and indicators of compromise (IOCs) that organizations can use to fight current attacks, anticipating emerging threats, and manage security awareness in a better way.

 

Phishing and Malware Q3 2020

The results depicted in Figure 1 show that phishing campaigns (72,8%) were more prevalent than malware (27,2%) during Q3 2020. It is important to make a reference to the values of Q2, malware maintains the growth trend, with an increase of ~10% in this trimester.


Observing the threats by category from Jan – August, it is possible to verify that there was an increasing number of phishing campaigns during March, April, and Jun,  and this is a strong indicator related to the COVID-19 pandemic situation.

From Figure 2, January presented a total of 15 phishing campaigns, 29 in February and 46 during March. 196 campaigns were registered during April, 262 in April, and 204 in June. In Q3, July with 81, August 209, and September with a total of 137 were the incidents observed during these months. It is crucial to monitor this growth indicator to predict the trend for the next months, where probably campaigns related to the Christmas time should emerge in the wild.

On the other hand, May, June, and August were the months where malware was spotlighted, with the botnet Mirai, Emotet, and the infamous Lampion Trojan in place. This piece of malware was identified at the end of December 2019 using template emails from the Portuguese Government Finance & Tax and Energias de Portugal (EDP) with the goal of collecting banking details from victim’s devices. Also, other trojan bankers have been observed during Q3, including TroyStealer and Grandoreiro expanded now to Portugal. A new piece of malware was also tracked and analyzed during Q3 – trojan URSA/mispadu. The emergent URSA trojan is impacting many countries using a sophisticated loader and avoiding antivirus detection.

 

Malware by Numbers

Overall, the URSA trojan malware was one of the prevalent threats affecting Portuguese citizens during Q3 2020. Other trojan bankers variants and families affecting users from different banks in Portugal were also observed. These kinds of malwares come from Brazil and the attacks are disseminated via phishing campaigns. Criminals are also using smishing to enlarge the scope and to impact a large group of victims.

 

In a research conducted by Segurança-Informática, where the whole phishing chain related to MBWAY was described, it is possible to validate that criminals are using a fresh technique in order to obfuscate the messages to evade its detection. In detail, the usage of the Web Open Font Format allows deobfuscate the font style on-the-fly and the original text never exists on the landing-page. Another recurrent campaign that impersonates the NOVO BANCO was observed in-the-wild many times during these months and it was also analyzed and published during Q3 on Segurança Informática.

As mentioned, also a new trojan banker called URSA have made the headlines during Q3. Details about this recent threat can be accessed here.

 

Threats by Sector

Regarding the affected sectors (Figure 5), Banking was the most affected with both phishing and malware campaigns hitting Portuguese citizens during Q3 2020. Next, was Retail and Financing, as the most sectors affected in this season.


Threat campaigns during Q4 will be published on a daily basis into
0xSI_f33d, as well as additional incidents and investigations that are being documented and published on Segurança-Informatica.

The infographic containing the report can be downloaded from here in printable format: PDF or PNG.

 

 

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