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Maritime Cyber Security & Threats December 2019 Week Two

By December 18, 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 SeenSubject Line UsedMalware DetectionsSending EmailTargets
Dec 2, 2019MV Thor Magnhild - Request quotation for deck and engine storeW32/Trojan_AitInject.AQ!trsales >indra.es
Dec 4, 2019Dec 4, 2019 MT Celsius Macau V4240 201905 - Onsan, Mejillones Agency Appointment Backdoor:MSIL/Bladabindi.MMS!MTB "Max Chan" womarpools.comBackdoor:MSIL/Bladabindi.MMS!MTB"Max Chan" womarpools.com
Dec 4, 2019MV OCEAN HERO : CTM DELIVERYTrojan:Win32/Sonbokli.A!cl"Hanaro Marine Suppliers, S.A." ikmc.net
Dec 6, 2019MV IRIS TRIUMPH- CALLINGTrojan:Win32/Wacatac.B!mlCAPTAIN ROGER" Dec 6, 2019 MV IRIS TRIUMPH- CALLING
Trojan:Win32/Wacatac.B!ml "CAPTAIN ROGER" Target not reported
Dec 10, 2019MV ROSCO LEMONTrojan:Win32/Sonbokli.A!clBAOSOURCE SHIPPING arget not reported
Dec 10, 2019MT TBN - EPDA FOR HUANGPUTrojan:Win32/Wacatac.B!ml"Pitt Yun Cui" sg.wilmar-intl.com

In the above collections for MV Rosco Lemon, MV Iris Triumph and others, we see malicious actors using these vessel names to try and spoof companies in the maritime supply chain.

An unsuspecting employee receiving this email would see nothing out of the ordinary in the Subject Line, which may cause them to open the email. The body of the email message advises: “According to the attached Final DA of MV ROSCO LEMON, there is balance in our favor of USD 66,185.28” and enticing the recipient to open the attached document. Opening the document would trigger malware delivery. Opening any infected email, could cause a 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 / chemical industries with additional malware.MV Rosco Lemon is a Bulk Cargo Carrier under the Hong Kong flag. Analysis reveals that a malicious email was sent to an unreported domain with a subject line of: “MV ROSCO LEMON” and an attachment identified as malware. The malware that was attempted to be sent is Trojan:Win32/Sonbokli.A!cl [1].

In another example, we see a subject line of: “MV IRIS TRIUMPH- CALLING” The MV Iris Triumph is another general cargo vessel under the Hong Kong flag, currently en route to an unknown Japanese port. This would likely appear to be a legitimate email and entice the recipient to open the attached document and thus download malware like the listed Trojan:Win32/Wacatac.B!ml malware detected by Microsoft.

In the contents of the email using the subject line “MV IRIS TRIUMPH- CALLING” we see the author of the malicious email  enticing the recipient to open an attachment. However, doing so could trigger the attached malware to be installed. The language used in the email attempts to add to its legitimacy using an authentic looking form in the email content and a call to action for the recipient to “Please see attached”.

[1]https://virustotal.com/en/file/0c1d3807cca11a4d7a7034bfeb5ed37970d053ae4c2036dce210244de9cc9fad/analysis/

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
rachel@asanmm.com Trojan:Win32/Sonbokli.A!cl
hanaro-cs@ikmc.net MSIL/Kryptik.TXC!tr
80829@8f9af9b.comMSOffice/CVE_2017_11882.C!exploit
josiane@oceantravel-togo.comTrojan:Win32/Wacatac.B!ml
odin@dutchmarinecontractors.comMSOffice/CVE_2017_11882.C!exploit

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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