Attack campaign uses keylogger to hijack key business email accounts

Companies from 18 countries were targeted with the Olympic Vision keylogger, researchers warn

A new email-based attack campaign is targeting key employees from companies in the U.S., Middle East and Asia with the goal of compromising their computers and email accounts.

This type of attack is known as business email compromise (BEC) and involves attackers hijacking the email accounts of business executives or accounting employees who typically authorize financial transactions inside organizations.

Their hijacked email accounts can then be used to trick other employees, suppliers or business partners to initiate fraudulent payments to accounts controlled by the attackers.

Security researchers from antivirus firm Trend Micro recently detected an attack against companies from 18 countries where key employees were targeted with emails that contained a commercial keylogger program called Olympic Vision.

The rogue emails masqueraded as messages from business partners pertaining to recent bank transfers and invoices with alleged errors. Instead of real documents, the emails had the Olympic Vision keylogger attached.

This malware program is not very sophisticated, but for the purpose of these attacks it doesn't need to be. A toolkit to customize and generate the malicious installer can be acquired for as little as $25 on the black market.

Once installed on a computer, Olympic Vision steals information about: the system configuration; log-in credentials saved in browsers, email clients, FTP programs and instant messaging applications; key strokes; network information; clipboard images and text. It can also take screen shots.

This information helps attackers to identify valuable computers, gain access to email accounts and understand the internal accounting workflows of the targeted companies. They can then use the information to convince others to initiate fraudulent payments.

"We looked at the trail of Olympic Vision keyloggers being used in the wild to check for organized activity, and were able to trace the identities of the actors, and positively identified two Nigerian cybercriminals -- one operating from Lagos, and the other from Kuala Lumpur," the Trend Micro researchers said in a blog post.

Business Email Compromise has become a serious issue over the past two years, the FBI estimating that businesses worldwide have lost over a billion dollars to such scams. Reports earlier this year claimed that Belgian bank Crelan lost 70 million euros and Austrian airplane parts manufacturer FACC Operations lost 50 million euros following BEC attacks.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?