Home Digitalisation Maritime Cyber Security & Threats May 2020 WeekTwo

Maritime Cyber Security & Threats May 2020 WeekTwo

Red Sky Alliance, perform weekly queries of  backend databases, identifying all new data containing Motor Vessel (MV) and Motor Tanker (MT) in the subject line of malicious emails.  Email subject line Motor Vessel (MV) or Motor Tanker (MT) keyword usage is a common lure to entice users in the maritime industry to open emails containing malicious attachments.

With our cyber security partner we are providing a weekly list of Motor Vessels where it is observed that the vessel is being impersonated, with associated malicious emails.

The identified emails attempted to deliver malware or phishing links to compromise the vessels and/or parent companies.  Users should be aware of the subject lines used and the email addresses that are attempting to deliver the messages.

In the above collection, we see malicious actors attempting to use vessel names to try to spoof companies in the maritime supply chain.  This week we observed a large percentage of these malicious emails attempting to deliver Windows password stealing trojan malware.    Some of the new vessel names used this week include “SEA FAITH” and “MSC CARLA,” among others.

Analysts observed another malicious email containing the subject line “// SHIPMENT ADVISE // SEA SHIPMENT/28CTNS HB/L # DAC0024943 COB: 11-MAY-2020.” The email is disguised as a bill of lading for an unnamed shipment from the Seahorse Ship Agencies PVT. LTD.  In this case the email appears to have been sent from a dealership portal instead of being sent through a standard email client such as Outlook or Apple Mail.

The sender “Ajit Lund” is sending the message from “mst-dealer.com” but signs the message body with a logo from the Seahorse Ship Agencies PVT. LTD. Company.  Also, mail[.]mst-dealer[.]com appears to be a login portal with a Mazda logo on the main page.  The email message is generic enough to be used as a template and does not appear to name a particular ship or shipment.

The email recipient in this case is “[email protected].” The domain shasha[.]com is registered to Shasha Denims LTD. in Bangladesh.  There is one marketing executive identified with the first name of Shidul, but it is unclear if this is the same employee being targeted in this email.

The malicious email attachment filename is “ETA_BILL_OF_LADING.gz” indicating the file is a .gzip filetype.  Upon opening the file, the victim would activate Trojan:Win32/Sonbokli.A!cl malware.[1]  This variant of malware uses Microsoft Powershell to download a malicious .otf file from a malicious command and control server.

Analysts observed another malicious email containing the subject line used last week, “RE: M/T ALPHA MARINE – No.2 Cargo Pump Elec. Motor Overhaul.” The email was sent from “JINSAN MARINE MANAGEMENT CO., LTD.” JINSAN Marine Management claims to be one of the world’s top twenty marine suppliers and engine parts sales agents of Hyundai Engine and Marine Machinery since 2010.[2]

The sending domain does indeed appear to be registered to JINSAN Marine, so it is unclear if the account has been taken over by bad actors to spread malware, or if the sender is knowingly sending malware.  It is common for attackers to spread malware by impersonating a victim from a previous cyber-attack.  Although the recipients are undisclosed, analysts believe with medium confidence that the parties being targeted have some financial/business investment in the Motor Tanker (M/T) Alpha Marine.

The email contains a malicious .xlsx Excel spreadsheet attachment labeled “EPDA – MT ALPHA MARINE.xlsx.”  The attachment contains Trojan:Win32/Occamy.AA malware which can be used to exfiltrate and steal sensitive data from the victim’s machine.[3]  This malware can also be used to remotely install/activate ransomware.

These analysis results illustrate how a recipient could be fooled into opening an infected email.   Doing so could cause the recipient to become an infected member of the maritime supply chain and thus possibly infect victim vessels, port facilities and/or shore companies in the marine, agricultural, and other industries with additional malware.

Fraudulent emails designed to make recipients hand over sensitive information, extort money or trigger malware installation on shore-based or vessel IT networks remains one of the biggest day-to-day cyber threats facing the maritime industry.  These threats often carry a financial liability to one or all those involved in the maritime transportation supply chain.   Preventative cyber protection offers a strong first-line defense by preventing deceptive messages from ever reaching staff inboxes, but malicious hackers are developing new techniques to evade current detection daily.  Using preemptive information from Red Sky Alliance-RedXray diagnostic tool, our Vessel Impersonation reports, and Maritime Blacklists offer a proactive solution to stopping cyber-attacks.    Recent studies suggest cyber-criminals are researching their targets and tailoring emails for staff in specific roles.  Another tactic is to spoof emails from the chief executive or other high-ranking maritime contemporaries in the hope staff lower down the supply chain will drop their awareness and follow the spoofed email obediently.  Analysts across the industry are beginning to see maritime-specific examples of these attacks.

Pre-empt, don’t just defend

Preventative cyber protection offers a strong first-line defense by preventing deceptive messages from ever reaching staff inboxes, but malicious hackers are developing new techniques to evade current detection daily. Using preemptive information from Red Sky Alliance RedXray diagnostic tool, our Vessel Impersonation reports and Maritime Blacklists offer a proactive solution to stopping cyber-attacks. Recent studies suggest cyber-criminals are researching their targets and tailoring emails for staff in specific roles. Another tactic is to spoof emails from the chief executive or other high-ranking maritime contemporaries in the hope staff lower down the supply chain will drop their awareness and follow the spoofed email obediently. Analysts across the industry are beginning to see maritime-specific examples of these attacks.

The more convincing an email appears, the greater the chance employees will fall for a scam.  To address this residual risk, software-based protection should be treated as one constituent of a wider strategy that also encompasses the human-element as well as organizational workflows and procedures.

Source: Dryad Global