The Underground Economist: Volume 2, Issue 17

The Underground Economist: Volume 2, Issue 17
5 minute read

Welcome back to The Underground Economist: Volume 2, Issue 17, an intelligence focused blog series illuminating dark web findings in digestible tidbits from our ZeroFox Dark Ops intelligence team. The Dark Ops team scours the dark web, extending visibility and engagement into places traditional security teams can’t reach to share meaningful and insightful intelligence on the trends and tactics threat actors are leveraging across the dark web and criminal underground. Here’s the latest for the week of September 16, 2022.

Threat Actor Selling ‘Qyick’ Ransomware

Untested threat actor “lucrostm” advertised a ransomware variant dubbed “Qyick”, on the English language Dark Web forum “CryptBB.” According to the actor, this variant follows the growing trend of ransomware gangs utilizing intermittent encryption for their projects. This technique allows operators to encrypt a victim’s files faster than traditional methods and avoid detection by most antivirus products by only encrypting a portion of the targeted files’ content during an attack. Additional features of the ransomware include:

  • Written in Go
  • Prevents Event Tracing for Windows (ETW) from logging system events
  • Malware executes on all target machines on network at the same time
  • Obfuscates malicious C2 communications

The actor specified that the current ransomware version does not support an automated method for data exfiltration. However, the actor plans to add this functionality in the future.

If legitimate, ZeroFox researchers assess that a deal involving  the sale of “Qyick” ransomware would very likely lead to the proliferation of new ransomware gangs, since most established, Russian-speaking ransomware groups typically offer affiliate programs instead of selling their projects outright.

Verified Financial Services Accounts For Sale

New and untested threat actor “Stealthway” advertised verified accounts for different financial services, and their corresponding PII, on the predominantly Russian language Deep Web forum “Exploit.” Capable threat actors could almost certainly leverage these accounts to cash out stolen funds or commit other fraud, since the accounts are verified using real, compromised data. The shop, also known as “Stealthway,” has various accounts available, including:

  • PayPal
  • Apple Pay
  • Venmo
  • Coinbase
  • Binance
  • BlackCatCard
  • Revolut

After purchase, the actor claims that buyers will also receive a copy of the stolen PII that was used to verify the accounts.

The shop also has scanned copies of documents containing sensitive data of victims from all over the world that threat actors are highly likely to use for identity theft, including: 

  • SSNs
  • Driver’s licenses
  • Passports 
  • Photos of victims holding IDs
  • Credit scores
  • Background checks

Custom Fraud Bots Service Advertised

New and untested threat actor “ATOM INC” advertised a service to develop custom bots for fraudulent operations, on the predominantly Russian language Deep Web forum “WWH-Club.” ZeroFox researchers are observing an uptick in more threat actors automating their operations on secure messaging applications, like Telegram or Discord, as these platforms are free to use and offer more security and flexibility than traditional Deep or Dark Web marketplaces.  

The actor claims that they can build custom Telegram bots with obfuscated code, offering better security to bad actors, including attempts to reverse engineer the source code to reveal the true identities of both buyers and sellers. The actor also claims to develop custom bots for VK and Discord. 

If legitimate, ZeroFox researchers assess this service is likely to expand, with the growing interest in automation, and because the actor is allegedly recruiting for an affiliate program.

Threat Actor Offering Spamming & Phishing Infrastructure Setup

Moderately credible threat actor “Anunnaki” advertised a service to install the infrastructure needed to perform spamming and phishing campaigns at scale, on the predominantly Russian language Deep Web forum “XSS.” The actor claims to utilize a setup to ensure that a high volume of spam messages will be successfully delivered to the inboxes of the intended victims. 

Despite the actor’s lack of credibility on the forum, ZeroFox researchers assess this service is likely to facilitate successful spam and phishing campaigns, as the actor agreed to use an escrow service, requiring them to make a deposit before brokering a deal.

ZeroFox researchers note that the actor is likely offering this service in response to automated competitors, since similar tools leveraging automation cannot adapt to changes in anti-spam policies or other fraud management tools as quickly as competitors that rely more on manual functionality.

For more insights from the ZeroFox Intelligence team, download our new Quarterly Threat Landscape Report.

Tags: Cyber TrendsDeep & Dark WebThreat Intelligence

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