The Dyre malware affecting the corporate banking sector has successfully stolen upwards of million dollars from unsuspecting companies since its inception in mid-2014, according to IBM's Security Intelligence report.
In a span of seven months the global infection rate has shot up from 500 to more than 4000 with North America being the most affected region.
While such a threat is not new to the banking sector what sets Dyre apart is its wealth of features that combines Spear phishing, malware (initial infection via Upatre), social engineering, complex process injections, the Deep Web and even Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) alongside the constant updates that makes its detection tough.
The malware works in multiple steps.
Spear phishing: An organization is as strong as its weakest link. Dyre uses this adage to the full as it targets employees of an organization with mails that contains the malware delivered in a zip file. Unsuspecting employees might download the zip file having a scr or an exe file which is actually the malware known as Upatre (pronounced like “up a tree”), which begins the initial infection of the target machine.
First Stage Malware: Upatre then establishes contact with the Control and Command servers and downloads and installs Dyre to the system and deletes itself.
Second Stage Malware: Dyre establishes persistence in the system and connects to nodes at Invisible Internet Project that would enable it to communicate information without revealing destination or content.It also sends emails to victim's contact list aiming to increase its list of potential victims.It then hooks to the victim's browsers to intercept log in credentials by routing them to fake pages when the victim tries to visit web sites of the targeted bank.
Advanced Social Engineering: Social engineering is the alarming aspect of Dyre Wolf campaign. In addition to providing fake pages to extract log in data from individuals, it can at times display a message to the consumer asking them to call the bank at a specified number. Dyre wolf operators at the other end of the line act professionally and extract information under the guise of verification. This is done to circumvent bank's two stage authentication processes.
Wire Transfer and DDoS: After obtaining credentials, they log into the accounts and request for wire transfer of large sums. The money is moved from account to account quickly to make tracing and reversal impossible. Following this the affected consumer faces DDoS from the bank pages which hinders detection and investigation.
Dyre is operated by a highly organized and well funded group of cyber criminals in Eastern Europe.
The only way to prevent this seems to be to avoid the first infection of the system arising from a vulnerable employee. Employees need to be trained well on regarding such malwares, spear-phishing campaigns. Other preventive measures include stripping executables from email attachments, preventing installation from temp folders, using updated anti-virus, two factor authentications etc.