One million machines, including routers, used to attack banks

Akamai's Ryan Barnett reports on two attacks against the service's financial customers last year: attackers used nearly 1m compromised systems to attempt to log in to users' accounts using logins and passwords from earlier breaches.

Many of the attacks originated from proxies, but the response team found a high number of Xyxel and Arris home routers -- provided by ISPs in an insecure state and not patched after deployment.

While distributed attacks are common, this story is a kind of trifecta of infosec badness: hacked, headless IoT devices rented to customers who aren't allowed to reconfigure them; email/password breaches leaked from insecure services being leveraged on the assumption of password re-use; and attacks originating from a million IPs -- all directed to financial accounts in a way that could clean out its victims of their life's savings.

We analyzed two ATO attack campaigns that took place February 10-17, 2016. During this time, many domains were attacked, however 93% of the attacking IPs were part of a campaign that targeted two specific customers and three domains. These two targeted campaigns were many orders of magnitude greater than all the other ATO attacks combined.

In the repeated attacks against a customer in the financial services industry, 999,980 IPs were e involved in the attacks against the customer's login page. One campaign was responsible for more than 90% of the total attack volume. Here is a closer look at this campaign:

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993,547 distinct IPs

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427,444,261 accounts checked

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22,555 IPs previously blocked based on WAF event logs

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The rate of the attack was steady as 75% of attackers participated for multiple days, as shown in Figure 3-17.

Web Application Defender's Field Report: Account Takeover Campaigns Spotlight

[Ryan Barnett/Akamai]


(Image: ZyXEL Prestige 600 series 20070304, Warko, PD)


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