Panda Banker Trojan Goes to Japan
The banking Trojan known as Panda Banker is now targeting financial institutions in Japan for what appears to be first time.
Also known as Panda Zeus, the malware was first observed in 2016, based on the leaked source code of the infamous Zeus banking Trojan. The threat has been involved in multiple infection campaigns targeting users worldwide, including an attack that leveraged poisoned Google searches for malware delivery.
Designed to steal user credentials via man-in-the-browser and webinjects that specify what websites to target and how, Panda Banker has received consistent, incremental updates ever since its first appearance on the threat landscape.
The Trojan is being sold as a kit on underground forums, meaning that it has a large number of users. Cybercriminals using it target various countries, likely based on their ability to convert the stolen credentials into real money.
Since the beginning of 2016, Panda Banker has been observed in campaigns targeting financial institutions in Italy, Canada, Australia, Germany, the United States, and the United Kingdom, and now in attacks focusing on Japan as well.
The Panda Banker iteration observed in the new attacks is version 2.6.6, which features the same capabilities as the previous releases, without significant changes.
However, not only does the malware feature webinjects targeting Japan now, but Arbor Networks security researchers discovered that none of the indicators of compromise (IOC) in this campaign overlaps with IOCs from previous attacks.
For the distribution of the malware, the threat actors behind these attacks used malicious advertisements (malvertising) to redirect victims to the RIG-v exploit kit. The toolkit then attempts to exploit vulnerabilities on the victims’ systems to download and execute the Trojan.
The campaign operators used multiple domains as their command and control (C&C) servers, but only one of them was found to be operational. The domain was registered to a Petrov Vadim using the email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
As part of the campaign, which the threat actor named ank, 27 webinjects were included in Panda Banker, 17 of which target Japanese banking websites. The remaining 10 target websites based in the United States: four search engines, 2 social media sites, an email site, a video search engine, an online shopping site, and an adult content hub.
The webinjects used in this campaign employ the Full Info Grabber automated transfer system (ATS) to capture user credentials and account information.
According to Arbor Networks, while this was the first time they encountered a Panda Banker variant targeting Japan, the country is no stranger to banking Trojans. Previously, it was hit by attacks that employed the Ursnif and Urlzone financial malware.
Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.