In the latest trends, there are malicious actors attempting to use vessel names to try to spoof companies in the maritime supply chain. This week the partner observed a wide variety of maritime-related subject lines. Some of the new vessel names used this week include “MV Great Jin” and “MV Hyundai Voyager” among others.

In addition, analysts observed malicious subject line, “INQUIRY - RIO DE JANEIRO PORT - ETA: 19/12” used this week. This email leverages a few techniques to get the targeted users to open the malicious attachments. Interestingly the same subject line was used to target multiple different recipients.

These malicious emails all seem to have been sent from one group, or individual. The sender uses the single alias “Mohammed Yousef Abdul” with every email. The following email addresses were used to send malware to multiple targets using the subject line above:

  • ABC[at]dlm[.]ru
  • Contactos[at]siegensa[.]com
  • Ntcn[at]yugrusiagro[.]ru

Multiple unique recipients were targeted by these malicious emails. The targeted industries point to attackers looking to either steal intellectual property, or to infiltrate vendors and suppliers as part of a future supply chain attack. Employees at the following companies were targeted by this actor:

  • Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS)Kenya’s government agency responsible for the provision of Standards, Metrology, and Conformity Assessment services.
  • CEVAHeadquartered in the United States, this company claims to be the leading licensor of wireless connectivity and smart sensing technologies.
  • Daewon Logipia Co. Ltd.Korean company which claims its is one of the leading international project logistics management and freight forwarding companies.
  • PR HoffmanHeadquartered in the United States, this company is identified as a an “ industry leader in wafer lapping and polishing machines and consumables.”

The message body is the same for all of the emails observed. It begins with a generic “Good day” greeting which is common among malicious emails. The message asks the recipient to open the attached file without specifying what it is; another common tactic used by attackers.

The attacker's signature does not specify the company they work for. Also, the domain listed in the signature (whaletimemaritime[.]com) does not appear in any of the sending email addresses showing a mismatch between the sending email and email signature. This is another indicator that the email is illegitimate.

The email contains a malicious HTML (web page) file which is identified as phishing malware. Just as the subject line and message body are the same throughout all of the malicious emails, the attachment appears to be the same as well. The attached html file, titled “INQUIRY-DEC-2384.html,” would be downloaded by the target. Once the target opens the downloaded file, they will see a prompt to input their password to “view the spreadsheet file.”

Attackers even auto-filled the username field for the targets so that they only had to input their password to view the file. When the target inputs their password, they are led to the next page which is not actually a spreadsheet with data, but a screenshot of one (.png file).

The attackers are likely capturing these credentials and storing them to sell or use later. The fact that the spreadsheet screenshot is visible in Google Drive indicates attackers are seeking Google Drive or Microsoft Office credentials. The fact that any password unlocks the screenshot indicates that attackers are not verifying the validity of these credentials during the phishing attack lowering the sophistication of the attack.

In a separate maritime cyber incident this week, Norwegian cruise company Hurtigruten experienced a ransomware attack which took some of its services offline. The company announced that the attack affected the “entire worldwide digital infrastructure.” This company is one of the many which is already struggling significantly due to the impacts of the COVID-19. They claim they were targeted by ransomware but have not identified the specific variant which was used.

Red Sky Alliance malicious email data shows that the company has been targeted recently with an email containing a malicious attachment. In early December 2020, an email was sent to chief.officer[at]fr[.]hurtigruten[.]com. The sending email address impersonates an employee from Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), which was recently the victim of a major cyber attack and is also one of the largest shipping companies in the world. Analysis of the email header indicates that the sending email was spoofed and attackers have not taken over a legitimate MSC email account.

The message body starts off with a generic “Dear Valued Customer” greeting and is signed by MSC’s “Credit and Collections Dept.” Attached to the email is malicious .xlsm containing TrojanDownloader:O97M/Dridex.DR!MTB malware. This malware is used by attackers to steal banking and financial credentials associated with a target. However, this malware can be used to download other malicious modules and malware such as ransomware.

According to information from the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), this malware is attributed to Evil Corp, or TA505. This is one of the groups listed on the US Treasury’s OFAC Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List). The following statement was published in October 2020 by the Dept. of Treasury:

Under the authority of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) or the Trading with the Enemy Act (TWEA), U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions, directly or indirectly, with individuals or entities on OFAC’s SDN List, other blocked persons, and those covered by comprehensive country or region embargoes (e.g., Cuba, the Crimea region of Ukraine, Iran, North Korea, and Syria)