TMitch: Fileless malware attacks remotely at ATM

TMitch Fileless malware: One day, bank employees discovered an empty ATM: there was no money, no trace of physical interaction with the machine, no malicious software. After Kaspersky Lab's experts spent enough time researching this mysterious case, they were able not only to understand the tools of digital crime used for robbery but also to replicate the attack themselves, discovering a breach in the bank's security system . TMitch

In February of 2017, Kaspersky Lab published the results of one research on mysterious fileless attacks on banks: criminals used malware that attacks memory to "infect" banking networks. But why do that?

The "ATMitch" case gave us the overall picture.

The investigation began after the bank's forensic experts recovered and shared with Kaspersky Lab two files that contained malware log files from the ATM hard drive (kl.txt and LogFile.txt). These were the only files left after the attack: the malicious executable files could not be recovered because the digital criminals had removed the malware after the robbery. But even this small amount of data was enough for Kaspersky Lab to conduct a successful research.

Erase / rewind

Within the logs, her experts Kaspersky Lab were able to identify snippets of information in plain text, a feature that helped them create a YARA rule for publicly storing malware and find a sample. YARA rules - basic search strings - help analysts find, group, and categorize related malware samples and link to them based on suspicious activity patterns in similar systems or networks.

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After a day of waiting, the experts found a desired sample of malware - "tv.dll", or "ATMitch", as it was later named. This was found free twice: once in Kazakhstan and once in Russia.

This malicious software was installed and remote from an ATM through the target bank: remote management of ATM machines. After installing and connecting to the ATM, malware ATMitch communicates with the ATM as it is a legitimate software. This allows attackers to execute a list of commands, such as collecting information about the number of ATM cassettes. It also allows criminals to distribute money at any time, at the touch of a button.

Usually, criminals start by getting information about the amount of money a machine has. After that, a criminal may send a mandate to distribute any number of banknotes from any cassette. After withdrawing money in this odd way, criminals need only to grab money and leave. An ATM robbery like this takes only a few seconds!

Once the ATM robbery has taken place, the malware deletes its traces.

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Who is behind the attacks?

It is not yet known who is behind the attacks. Using open exploit code, common Windows utilities, and unknown domains during the first stage of its operation make it almost impossible to identify the team leader. However, "tv.dll", used in the ATM attack stage, contains a Russian-language source, and known groups that could fit into this profile are GCMAN and Carbanak.

"Attackers may still be active. But do not panic! Combating this type of attack requires a specific set of skills from the security specialist that protected the target body. Successful violation and deployment of data from a network can only take place through common and legitimate tools. After the attack, criminals can clear all the data that could lead to their detection without leaving any trace. To address these issues, forensic data arising from memory is critical to analyzing malware and its operations. And as our case proves, a carefully directed incident can help resolve even the most "perfect" digital crime, said Sergey Golovanov, Principal Security Researcher of Kaspersky Lab.

Technical details and compromise indicators are also provided to service customers Kaspersky Intelligence Services.

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Written by Dimitris

Dimitris hates on Mondays .....

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