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Maritime Cyber Security & Threats November 2019 Week Four

By November 28, 2019Intelligence Insights
The case for pre-emptive defence

Vessel Impersonation Report

Dryad Global’s cyber security partners, 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.

Tactical Cyber Intelligence Reporting

First Seen Subject Line Used Malware DetectionsSending email Targets
Nov 22, 2019BUNKER ESTIMATE - MV SEA HORSE 20TH MAY.2019Trojan:Win32/Skeeyah.A!MTB
- Microsoft

YEOSU OCEAN CO.,LTD." woas.net
Nov 23, 2019MT DELIA //CTM REQUEST with ETA 31st Nov 20192Trojan:Script/Casur.A!cl - Microsoft\"China Construction Bank\" <309cd38@e49cdf609f3ac2.com>
Nov 25, 2019MV BAO XIANG LING-ARRIVAL NOTICEMSOffice/CVE_2017_11882.C!exploit - Fortinet"Hengxin Shipping Co.,Ltd." Target not reported

In the above collections for MV Sea Horse, MT Delia, MV Bao Xiang Ling and others, we see malicious actors using these vessel names to try and spoof companies in the maritime supply chain.

MT Delia is an oil and chemical tanker under the Panama flag. Analysis reveals that a malicious email was sent to at least one domain which appears to be obfuscated. The malware that was attempted to be sent is Trojan:Script/Casur.A!c. The subject line of the malicious email is: “MT DELIA //CTM REQUEST with ETA 31st Nov 20192”.

In another example, we see a subject line of: “MV BAO XIANG LING-ARRIVAL NOTICE” The MT Bao Xiang Ling is a bulk carrier ship under the China flag, currently moored in Tangshan, East of Beijing. At first glance by any recipient of this email, a bulk carrier vessel is notifying the reader of its apparent arrival to a port. To any employee of a port that may be expecting the arrival of the MV Bao Xiang Ling, this would appear to be a legitimate email and would likely entice them to click on the email and thus download malware like the listed MSOffice/CVE_2017_11882.C!exploit malware detected by Fortinet.

In the contents of the email using the subject line “MV BAO XIANG LING-ARRIVAL NOTICE” we see the author of the email further instructing the user to open the provided attachment within the email by using the common shipping terms  “arrival notice”, “cargo details” and “cargo manifest”. The language used in the email attempts to add to its legitimacy.

Our Experts Say

Dryad Assessment

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.

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.

Global Dryad

Weekly Maritime Watchlist

Top 5 Malicious Maritime Email Senders

SenderMaware Sent
info@masciabruneli.com HEUR:Trojan.Script.Generic

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.

It is imperative to:

  • Train all levels of the marine supply chain to realize they are under constant cyber-attack.
  • Stress maintaining constant attention to real-world cyber consequences of careless cyber practices or general inattentiveness.
  • Provide practical guidance on how to look for a potential phishing attempt.
  • Use direct communication to verify emails and supply chain email communication.
  • Use Red Sky Alliance RedXray proactive support, our Vessel impersonation information and use the Maritime Black Lists to proactively block cyber attacks from identified malicious actors.

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