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Real-Time Phishing Emerges in Brazil

A real-time phishing campaign is targeting Brazil. This tactic is designed to emulate a banking Trojan by extracting critical data from its victims in real time via a live, interactive phishing attack.

According to IBM X-Force, the phishing scheme takes place over a web session between the attacker and the victim. It is able to mimic a target website’s look and feel, more so than just an idle phishing page. From afar and behind the scenes, cyber-criminals impersonate the victim’s bank and ask for all kinds of account details. Data stolen through interactive phishing can be commercialized on underground boards.

“Most likely, the criminal will access the compromised account from the bank’s website to make a transaction in real time, all the while milking more authentication details from the unsuspecting victim,” they said, in a blog post. “The emergence of this new method will likely contribute to rises in fraud in Brazil over the coming months.”

Typical tactics include sending emails impersonating a bank, redirecting users to fake sites, deploying pharming attacks, inducing malicious proxy changes, or launching fake windows or images on the victim’s desktop to rob access credentials, account information, card data and personally identifiable information (PII). But all of these have one downside: Most banks require users to provide personal details in real time to authenticate customers during digital transactions.

“This usually foils fraud attacks,” the researchers noted. “These details are called out-of-band authentication because they happen away from the user’s browser, via a smartphone, card reader or numeric code chart.”

Interactive phishing takes place via a real-time web session that dupes users with a seamless flow of changing screens and messages controlled by the attacker from a remote server. And it can give cyber-criminals real-time access to a time-based code issued by the bank for a given transaction.

“Using this type of interactive attack, criminals can better impersonate the victim’s trusted bank or service provider,” IBM noted. “Furthermore, with information being delivered from the victim according to the attacker’s request in real time, the chances of success are much higher.”

Interactive man-in-the-middle (MitM) phishing demonstrates increased sophistication, making attacks more believable through real-time data theft. And, the platform being used to carry it out is available on the Dark Web as a productized offering.

“The commercialization factor amplifies the prevalence and risk of any online threat,” said the researchers. “The same kit can be adapted to target any bank in any country. Service providers must acknowledge this risk and mitigate it ahead of time.”

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