New StrelaStealer Phishing Assaults Hit Over 100 Organizations in E.U. and U.S.

StrelaStealer Phishing Attack

Cybersecurity researchers have detected a brand new wave of phishing assaults that purpose to ship an ever-evolving data stealer known as StrelaStealer.

The campaigns influence greater than 100 organizations within the E.U. and the U.S., Palo Alto Networks Unit 42 researchers mentioned in a brand new report revealed as we speak.

“These campaigns come within the type of spam emails with attachments that finally launch the StrelaStealer’s DLL payload,” the corporate said in a report revealed as we speak.

“In an try and evade detection, attackers change the preliminary electronic mail attachment file format from one marketing campaign to the subsequent, to stop detection from the beforehand generated signature or patterns.”

First disclosed in November 2022, StrelaStealer is supplied to siphon electronic mail login information from well-known electronic mail shoppers and exfiltrate them to an attacker-controlled server.

Since then, two large-scale campaigns involving the malware have been detected in November 2023 and January 2024 focusing on excessive tech, finance, skilled and authorized, manufacturing, authorities, power, insurance coverage, and development sectors within the E.U. and the U.S.


These assaults additionally purpose to ship a brand new variant of the stealer that packs in higher obfuscation and anti-analysis methods, whereas being propagated by way of invoice-themed emails bearing ZIP attachments, marking a shift from ISO information.

Current inside the ZIP archives is a JavaScript file that drops a batch file, which, in flip, launches the stealer DLL payload utilizing rundll32.exe, a reputable Home windows element answerable for operating 32-bit dynamic-link libraries.

The stealer malware additionally depends on a bag of obfuscation methods to render evaluation troublesome in sandboxed environments.

“With every new wave of electronic mail campaigns, menace actors replace each the e-mail attachment, which initiates the an infection chain, and the DLL payload itself,” the researchers mentioned.

The disclosure comes as Broadcom-owned Symantec revealed that faux installers for well-known purposes or cracked software program hosted on GitHub, Mega or Dropbox are serving as a conduit for a stealer malware referred to as Stealc.

Phishing campaigns have additionally been noticed delivering Revenge RAT and Remcos RAT (aka Rescoms), with the latter delivered via a cryptors-as-a-service (CaaS) known as AceCryptor, per ESET.

StrelaStealer Phishing Attack

“Through the second half of [2023], Rescoms turned probably the most prevalent malware household packed by AceCryptor,” the cybersecurity agency mentioned, citing telemetry information. “Over half of those makes an attempt occurred in Poland, adopted by Serbia, Spain, Bulgaria, and Slovakia.”

Different distinguished off-the-shelf malware packed inside AceCryptor in H2 2023 embrace SmokeLoader, STOP ransomware, RanumBot, Vidar, RedLine, Tofsee, Fareit, Pitou, and Stealc. It is value noting that many of those malware strains have additionally been disseminated by way of PrivateLoader.

One other social engineering rip-off noticed by Secureworks Counter Menace Unit (CTU) has been discovered to focus on people looking for details about just lately deceased people on search engines like google and yahoo with faux obituary notices hosted on bogus web sites, driving site visitors to the websites by way of SEO (website positioning) poisoning in an effort to in the end push adware and different undesirable packages.

“Guests to those websites are redirected to e-dating or grownup leisure web sites or are instantly offered with CAPTCHA prompts that set up net push notifications or popup adverts when clicked,” the corporate said.


“The notifications show false virus alert warnings from well-known antivirus purposes like McAfee and Home windows Defender, they usually persist within the browser even when the sufferer clicks one of many buttons.”

“The buttons hyperlink to reputable touchdown pages for subscription-based antivirus software program packages, and an affiliate ID embedded within the hyperlink rewards menace actors for brand spanking new subscriptions or renewals.”

Whereas the exercise is at the moment restricted to filling fraudsters’ coffers by way of affiliate packages, the assault chains might be simply repurposed to ship data stealers and different malicious packages.

The event additionally follows the invention a brand new exercise cluster tracked as Fluffy Wolf that is capitalizing on phishing emails containing an executable attachment to ship a cocktail of threats, equivalent to MetaStealer, Warzone RAT, XMRig miner, and a reputable remote desktop device known as Distant Utilities.

The marketing campaign is an indication that even unskilled menace actors can leverage malware-as-a-service (MaaS) schemes to conduct profitable assaults at scale and plunder delicate data, which may then be monetized additional for revenue.

“Though mediocre by way of technical abilities, these menace actors obtain their targets by utilizing simply two units of instruments: reputable remote entry providers and cheap malware,” BI.ZONE said.

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