Attack targets firms from the automobile industry in Europe

Attackers are sending emails containing a new information-stealing Trojan program to customer service departments, Symantec researchers said

Cybercriminals are using a new information-stealing malware program to target companies from the automobile industry in Europe, security researchers warned.

The attack campaign started in early August and primarily targeted rental, insurance, transport and secondary market businesses for commercial and agricultural vehicles, according to a new report by researchers from antivirus vendor Symantec.

The attackers distributed their malware program through spear-phishing emails claiming to originate from a company called Technik Automobile that was seeking to acquire used and pre-owned vehicles. The emails contained an attachment called TechnikAutomobileGMBH.pdf.zip that was supposedly a list of vehicles, but in fact contained an installer for a Trojan program called Carbon Grabber.

"The malicious file will decrypt another executable from its body and inject code into Microsoft Outlook, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox processes on the compromised computer," said Symantec researcher Lionel Payet in a blog post Friday. "The malware hooks the browser APIs [application programming interfaces], allowing it to steal information before it is encrypted and sent out to the network."

Like other man-in-the-browser Trojan programs, Carbon Grabber is capable of stealing log-in credentials for various Web services, including online banking websites and internal Web applications. It can also steal Microsoft Outlook credentials and use them to send emails on behalf of the victims.

The Carbon Grabber malware appeared earlier this year on the underground market and is used by more than one cybercriminal group, Payet said.

In the attack campaign observed by Symantec, the rogue emails were sent to the customer service departments of the targeted companies.

"Customer service departments are often granted a great deal of access within a company as they are required to perform a multitude of administrative and financial tasks on a daily basis," Payet wrote. It's not clear if the attackers behind this campaign are only driven by financial motives, but if their attack is successful they gain a foothold in the victim's business, he said.

The automobile industry has been the primary target for Carbon Grabber attacks, accounting for 48 percent of the victims observed by Symantec. However, the malware has also affected companies from other business sectors including public services, finance, charity, energy, research, telecommunications and tourism.

According to Symantec's data, the victim distribution by country is: Germany (38 percent), the Netherlands (31 percent), Italy (24 percent) and the U.K. (7 percent).

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags securitymalwarespywaresymantecDesktop security

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

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?