Cybercriminals will leverage AI as an attack vector and an attack surface

A jointly developed new report by Europol, the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) and Trend Micro looking into current and predicted criminal uses of artificial intelligence (AI) has been released.  It provides law enforcers, policymakers and other organisations with information on existing and potential attacks leveraging AI and recommendations on how to mitigate these risks.

The report concludes that cybercriminals will leverage AI both as an attack vector and an attack surface.  Deep fakes are currently the best-known use of AI as an attack vector.  However, the report warns that new screening technology will be needed in the future to mitigate the risk of disinformation campaigns and extortion, as well as threats that target AI data sets.

For example, AI could be used to support:

  • convincing social engineering attacks at scale;
  • document-scraping malware to make attacks more efficient;
  • evasion of image recognition and voice biometrics;
  • ransomware attacks, through intelligent targeting and evasion;
  • data pollution, by identifying blind spots in detection rules.

The paper also warns that AI systems are being developed to enhance the effectiveness of malware and to disrupt anti-malware and facial recognition systems.

The EAST Payments Task Force is focussed on payment issues related to social engineering, malware, ransomware and other cyber threats, and notes that this report is an important step forward in assessing the rapid evolution of cybercrime.

The three organisations make several recommendations to conclude the report:

  • harness the potential of AI technology as a crime-fighting tool to future-proof the cybersecurity industry and policing;
  • continue research to stimulate the development of defensive technology;
  • promote and develop secure AI design frameworks;
  • de-escalate politically loaded rhetoric on the use of AI for cybersecurity purposes;
  • leverage public-private partnerships and establish multidisciplinary expert groups.

For more information and to download the report visit Europol’s website

Corporate Network Attacks

Corporate Network AttacksIn August 2020 EAST published Central/Host Fraud definitions which cover corporate attacks against central infrastructure like banking host systems in order to perform different Modus Operandi not directly connected to a Terminal.  These definitions were produced by the EAST Expert Group on All Terminal Fraud (EGAF).

The compromise of a corporate network is the first step with these types of incidents.  This can be done by external attackers as well as by internal employees of the institution.  Attackers typically try to get access to this critical infrastructure, enabling the three different Corporate Networks Attacks shown below.

  • Card Processing
  • Fund Transfer
  • Remote Malware Distribution and Control

The third one relates to control of a financial institution’s network leading to illegitimate file distribution in order to install and execute ATM specific malware.  The different malware Modus Operandi actually used within the corporate network attack can be Jackpotting (also known as ATM Cash-out), Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) and SW-Skimming.  These are described in EAST’s Terminal Fraud Definitions.

In October 2020 The PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) released a bulletin ‘The Threat Of ATM Cash-Outs Payment Security’.

EAST Executive Director Lachlan Gunn speaks to Jeremy King, the PCI SSC Regional Head for Europe and Otto de Jong, Chair of EAST EGAF and DBNL Anti-Fraud Officer for ING.

Lachlan Gunn:  Thank you both for agreeing to speak today on this key issue.

Why did EAST produce Central/Host Fraud Definitions?

Otto de Jong:  It is vital that the way that corporate network attacks are described is consistent to allow law enforcement and industry responders to accurately report what they are seeing in a way that allows for standardisation of reporting.  This optimises the ability of organisations to mitigate and defend against the evolving threats and helps law enforcement when conducting follow up investigations to such crimes.  The aim is for these fraud definitions to be adopted globally by the Industry and Law enforcement when describing or reporting payment terminal fraud.  The INTERPOL Financial Crimes Unit is recommending the usage of EAST definitions for Payment Card Fraud, and we hope that other law enforcement agencies will do the same.

Why did the PCI Security Standards Council issue an industry threat bulletin on ATM Cash-outs?

Jeremy King: We have heard from many of our stakeholders in the European payment community that ATM “cash-outs” are a growing concern across the globe. We felt, as a leader in payment security, now was the time to issue a bulletin with our friends and colleagues from the ATMIA who’s industry is well aware of these daily threats.

Otto de Jong:  This is indeed timely.  The most recent EAST Payment Terminal Crime Report shows that ‘cash-out’ through black box attacks is a growing threat.  ATM malware and logical attacks against ATMs were up 269% (from 35 to 129) and all the reported attacks were Black Box attacks.

What businesses are at risk of this devious attack?

Jeremy King: Financial institutions, and payment processors are most at financial risk and likely to be the target of these large-scale, coordinated attacks. These institutions stand to potentially lose millions of dollars in a very short time period and can have exposure in multiple countries throughout Europe and around the world as the result of this highly organised, well-orchestrated criminal attack.

Otto de Jong: In addition to financial institutions and payment processors, recent corporate network attacks have demonstrated that this is also a threat to key infrastructure companies like utility companies, universities, hospitals and so on.   This year the corporate network attack threat is evolving from targeting the payment system (cash out or swift transactions) to ransomware attacks (bitcoins).

What are some detection best practices to detect these threats before they can cause damage?

Jeremy King: Since ATM ‘cash-out’ attacks can happen quickly and drain millions of dollars in a short period of time, the ability to detect these threats before they can cause damage is critical. Some ways to detect this type of attack are:

  • Velocity monitoring of underlying accounts and volume
  • 24/7 monitoring capabilities including File Integrity Monitoring Systems (FIMs)
  • Reporting system that sounds the alarm immediately when suspicious activity is identified
  • Development and practice of an incident response management system
  • Check for unexpected traffic sources (e.g. IP addresses)
  • Look for unauthorized execution of network tools

Otto de Jong: Monitoring systems can also be compromised.  Checking of related monitoring mechanisms, such as globally operated by card schemes, can be helpful to identify this kind of attack.

What are some prevention best practices to stop this attack from happening in the first place?

Jeremy King: The best protection to mitigate against ATM ‘cash-outs’ is to adopt a layered defence that includes people, processes, and technology. Some recommendations to prevent ATM ‘cash-outs’ include:

  • Strong access controls to your systems and identification of third-party risks
  • Employee monitoring systems to guard against an “inside job”
  • Continuous phishing training for employees
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Strong password management
  • Require layers of authentication/approval for remote changes to account balances and transaction limits
  • Implementation of required security patches in a timely manner (ASAP)
  • Regular penetration testing
  • Frequent reviews of access control mechanisms and access privileges
  • Strict separation of roles that have privileged access to ensure no one user ID can perform sensitive functions
  • Installation of file integrity monitoring software that can also serve as a detection mechanism
  • Strict adherence to the entire PCI DSS

Otto de Jong: In addition, every institution with an IT infrastructure should perform a threat risk assessment to spot weakness in their system.  This should be evaluated on an annual basis.  Performing penetration tests annually by independent assessors must be part of such an assessment.

Lachlan Gunn:  That concludes the Q&A session.  Many thanks again to you both.  Hopefully this will help to further raise awareness of the risks posed by corporate network attacks, what can be done to detect them, how to protect against them and also how to classify attacks to allow for accurate reporting and follow up by law enforcement and the industry.

IOCTA 2020 Published by Europol

IOCTA 2020Europol has published its Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment for 2020 (IOCTA 2020).   This highlights the dynamic and evolving threats from cybercrime and provides a unique law enforcement focused assessment of emerging challenges and key developments in the space.  The data collection for the IOCTA 2020 took place during the lockdown implemented as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Indeed, the pandemic prompted significant change and criminal innovation in the area of cybercrime.  Criminals devised both new modi operandi and adapted existing ones to exploit the situation, new attack vectors and new groups of victims.

So much has changed since Europol published last year’s IOCTA. The global  pandemic forced the reimagination of our societies and the reinvention of the way we work and live.  During the lockdown, people turned to the Internet for a sense of normality: shopping, working and learning online at a scale never seen before.  The IOCTA 2020 seeks to map the evolving cybercrime threat landscape and understand how law enforcement responds to it.  Although the COVID-19 crisis has shown how criminals actively take advantage of society at its most vulnerable, this opportunistic behaviour should not overshadow the overall threat landscape. In many cases, COVID-19 has enhanced existing problems, some of which are shown below:

CROSS-CUTTING CRIME

  • Social engineering and phishing remain an effective threat to enable other types of cybercrime.  Criminals use innovative methods to increase the volume and sophistication of their attacks, and inexperienced cybercriminals can carry out phishing campaigns more easily through crime as-a-service.  Criminals quickly exploited the pandemic to attack vulnerable people; phishing, online scams and the spread of fake news became an ideal strategy for cybercriminals seeking to sell items they claim will prevent or cure COVID-19.
  • Encryption continues to be a clear feature of an increasing number of services and tools.  One of the principal challenges for law enforcement is how to access and gather relevant data for criminal investigations.  The value of being able to access data of criminal communication on an encrypted network is perhaps the most effective illustration of how encrypted data can provide law enforcement with crucial leads beyond the area of cybercrime.

MALWARE REIGNS SUPREME

  • Ransomware attacks have become more sophisticated, targeting specific organisations in the public and private sector through victim reconnaissance.  While the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered an increase in cybercrime, ransomware attacks were targeting the healthcare industry long before the crisis. Moreover, criminals have included another layer to their ransomware attacks by threatening to auction off the comprised data, increasing the pressure on the victims to pay the ransom.  Advanced forms of malware are a top threat in the EU: criminals have transformed some traditional banking Trojans into modular malware to cover more PC digital fingerprints, which are later sold for different needs.

PAYMENT FRAUD: SIM SWAPPING A NEW TREND

  • SIM swapping, which allows perpetrators to take over accounts, is one of the new trends in IOCTA 2020.  As a type of account takeover, SIM swapping provides criminals access to sensitive user accounts.  Criminals fraudulently swap or port victims’ SIMs to one in the criminals’ possession in order to intercept the one-time password step of the authentication process.

CRIMINAL ABUSE OF THE DARK WEB

  • In 2019 and early 2020 there was a high level of volatility on the dark web. The lifecycle of dark web market places has shortened and there is no clear dominant market that has risen over the past year. Tor remains the preferred infrastructure, however criminals have started to use other privacy-focused, decentralised marketplace platforms to sell their illegal goods. Although this is not a new phenomenon, these sorts of platforms have started to increase over the last year. OpenBazaar is noteworthy, as certain threats have emerged on the platform over the past year such as COVID-19-related items during the pandemic.

Countering the ransomware threat

The risks of becoming a victim of a ransomware attack continue to increase as criminals exploit organisational vulnerabilities and typically use spear-phishing emails to target potential victims.  According to Europol cases have been rising alarmingly in the past few months and have brought critical activities such as hospitals and governments to a standstill.

Garmin was a recent victim of a cyber attack that encrypted some of their systems. The alleged ransomware attack is thought to be the work of ‘Evil Corp’, a group of Russian hackers that allegedly mainly targets US corporations.  Garmin services started to go offline on Thursday 23 July 2020 and many of the most popular services, including Garmin Connect and most of the Strava integrations, were unavailable to users over the weekend period.  According to Garmin ‘Affected systems are being restored and we expect to return to normal operation over the next few days.’

To counter ransomware a free scheme called No More Ransom is helping victims fight back without paying the hackers. Since its launch four years ago the No More Ransom decryption tool repository has registered over 4.2 million visitors from 188 countries and has stopped an estimated $632 million in ransom demands from ending up in criminals’ pockets.

Powered by the contributions of its 163 partners, the portal has added 28 tools in the past year and can now decrypt 140 different types of ransomware infections. The portal is available in 36 languages.  All the key figures can be seen in Europol’s dedicated infographic.

How No More Ransom works

No More Ransom is the first public-private partnership of its kind helping victims of ransomware recover their encrypted data without having to pay the ransom amount to cybercriminals.

To do this, simply go to the website nomoreransom.org and follow the Crypto Sheriff steps to help identify the ransomware strain affecting the device. If a solution is available, a link will be provided to download for free the decryption tool.

Prevention remains the best cure

No More Ransom goes a long way to help people impacted by ransomware, but there are still many types of ransomware out there without a fix. Fortunately, there are some preventative steps you can take to protect yourself from ransomware:

  • Always keep a copy of your most important files somewhere else: in the cloud, on another drive offline, on a memory stick, or on another computer.
  • Use reliable and up-to-date anti-virus software.
  • Do not download programs from suspicious sources.
  • Do not open attachments in e-mails from unknown senders, even if they look important and credible.
  • And if you are a victim, do not pay the ransom!

Do you have an innovative solution for ransomware families not covered yet in the portal to help victims recover their files without giving into the demands of the criminals? If so then Europol would like to hear from you.

What is Ransomware?

The EAST Payments Task Force (EPTF) defines ransomware as ‘A type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid.’  It is a form of data compromise.  An overview of all EAST Fraud Definitions can be seen here.

Tips and Advice From Europol

 

50th EAST Meeting hosted by PSA in Vienna

The 50th EAST Meeting (National Members) was hosted by Payment Services Austria (PSA) in Vienna on 12th February 2020. The meeting was chaired by Martine Hemmerijckx of Worldline NV/SA, who co-founded EAST with Lachlan Gunn, EAST Executive Director, in 2004.

This was a milestone meeting and the last in the current format as, in June 2020, EAST will hold its 1st Global Congress.  In recognition of her work in founding and supporting EAST, and on behalf of the EAST Board and members, Lachlan presented Martine with an award.

National country crime updates were provided by 20 countries, and a global update by HSBC.  Topics covered included payment fraud and the continuing evolution of payment technology and related threats, terminal related fraud attacks, malware and logical attacks, and ATM related physical attacks.

The Criminal Intelligence Service Austria presented on the prevention of e-commerce fraud.  The European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) at Europol gave a presentation on forthcoming Europol activities for 2020, with a specific focus on Carding Action Week (CAW) .  This was followed by a presentation from the Gulf Cooperation Council Police (GCCPOL) that gave an update on payment and fraud issues seen by their 6 member countries.

Presentations were also given by the EAST Payments Task Force (EPTF) and the EAST Expert Group on All Terminal Fraud (EGAF).  An update was given by the EAST Expert Group on ATM and ATS Physical Attacks (EGAP).

EAST Fraud Update 1-2020 will be produced later this month, based on the national country crime updates provided at the 50th EAST Meeting.  EAST Fraud Updates are available on the EAST Website to EAST Members.

49th EAST Meeting hosted by LINK in London

The 49th EAST Meeting (National Members) was hosted by the LINK Scheme in London on 8th October 2019. National country crime updates were provided by 20 countries, and a global update by HSBC.  Topics covered included payment fraud and the continuing evolution of payment technology and related threats, terminal related fraud attacks, malware and logical attacks, and ATM related physical attacks.

The European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) at Europol gave a presentation on the ‘Genesis’ dark web marketplace where cyber-criminals are selling digital fingerprints (bots).  This was followed by a presentation from the INTERPOL Financial Crimes unit on ATM and payment crime.

The Gulf Cooperation Council Police (GCCPOL) then shared an update on payment and fraud issues seen by their 6 member countries. In recognition of their first attendance at an EAST Meeting, GCCPOL representative Major Mohammed Khalid Alabsi presented the current Chair of EAST, Ms Veronica Borgogna (BANCOMAT SpA), with a mementoe of the occasion.  EAST Executive Director Lachlan Gunn said: “We are delighted to be strengthening our relationship with the GCC and the Arab States of the Gulf, another step forward in enhancing the global value of our National Member platform.”

Presentations were also given by the EAST Expert Group on All Terminal Fraud (EGAF) and the EAST Expert Group on ATM and ATS Physical Attacks (EGAP).  An update was given by the EAST Payments Task Force (EPTF).

EAST Fraud Update 3-2019 will be produced later this month, based on the national country crime updates provided at the 49th EAST Meeting.  EAST Fraud Updates are available on the EAST Website to EAST Members.

Terminal Fraud Update – EAST FCS Seminars 2019

Terminal Fraud

Act now to save your place for the Terminal Fraud Seminar that will be held by the EAST Expert Group on All Terminal Fraud (EGAF) on 9th October 2019.

SESSION FOCUS – LOGICAL SECURITY UPDATE

This session will focus on logical attacks against ATMs. These can be split into two types – black box attacks and malware attacks.

Terminal FraudEAST EGAF Chair, Otto de Jong of ING Bank, will first present on black box attacks. These are a type of jackpotting attack. The criminals connect an unauthorised device (or black box) which sends dispense commands directly to the ATM cash dispenser in order to ‘Cash-Out’ the ATM. He will cover the latest developments for this type of attack methodology.

Terminal FraudThen Terence Devereux of Diebold Nixdorf will present an update on malware attacks. For these attacks the criminals use unauthorised software, or authorised software run in an unauthorised manner, on the ATM’s PC. These attacks are focussed on either jackpotting (most common), or card skimming, as follows:

  • Jackpotting: Targets control of the cash dispense function in order to ‘cash-out’ the ATM
  • Man-In-The-Middle (MitM): Targets communication between the ATM’s PC and the acquirer host system in order to falsify host responses and dispense cash without debiting the criminal’s account
  • SW-Skimming: Targets card and PIN data in order to create counterfeit cards for subsequent fraudulent transactions

This interactive event follows the basic structure of EAST EGAF Member meetings. Attendance at EAST EGAF meetings is limited, as it is a working group, and this event enables a wider participation and the opportunity for all attendees to engage with the Group and its organizers.

Terminal Fraud

The EAST FCS Seminars will be co-located with RBR’s ATM & Cyber Security 2019 event, although separate registration is required.


2019 EAST FCS ATM Physical Attack Seminar Sponsors

 

 

 

 

Additional sponsorship opportunities are still available

Terminal Fraud Update – EAST FCS Seminars 2019

Terminal Fraud

Act now to save your place for the Terminal Fraud Seminar that will be held by the EAST Expert Group on All Terminal Fraud (EGAF) on 9th October 2019.

Terminal Fraud TERMINAL FRAUD SEMINAR- PROGRAMME UPDATE

  • EAST Executive Director Lachlan Gunn will share the latest Terminal Fraud Statistics published by EAST, covering the period January to June 2019;
  • Veronica Borgogna of BANCOMAT S.p.A will provide a national threat assessment for Italy
  • and Ben Birtwistle of RBS will provide a national threat assessment for the UK

The national threat assessments will cover card compromise and logical/malware attacks

This interactive event follows the basic structure of EAST EGAF Member meetings.  Attendance at EAST EGAF meetings is limited, as it is a working group, and this event enables a wider participation and the opportunity for all attendees to engage with the Group and its organizers.

ATM Physical Attacks

The EAST FCS Seminars will be co-located with RBR’s ATM & Cyber Security 2019 event, although separate registration is required.


2019 EAST FCS ATM Physical Attack Seminar Sponsor

Additional sponsorship opportunities are still available

48th EAST Meeting hosted by Europol in The Hague

The 48th EAST Meeting (National Members) was hosted by Europol at their Headquarters in The Hague on 5th June 2019. Presentations were made by the European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) and the European Serious Organised Crime Centre (ESOCC).

National country crime updates were provided by 18 countries, and a global update by HSBC. Topics covered included payment fraud and the evolution of payment technology, ATM malware and logical attacks, terminal related fraud attacks and ATM related physical attacks.

Presentations were also given by the EAST Payments Task Force (EPTF), the EAST Expert Group on All Terminal Fraud (EGAF) and the EAST Expert Group on ATM and ATS Physical Attacks (EGAP).

EAST Fraud Update 2-2019 will be produced later this month, based on the national country crime updates provided at the meeting. EAST Fraud Updates are available on the EAST Website to EAST Members.

48th EAST Meeting

2019 EAST FCS Seminars – Programme Announcement

EAST FCS

The programme for the 2019 EAST FCS Seminars is now available.

Two concurrent seminars will be held on 9th October 2019:

EAST FCS Terminal Fraud Seminar (organised by the EAST Expert Group on All Terminal Fraud (EGAF)

This interactive event follows the basic structure of EAST EGAF Member meetings.  An introduction to the Group will be followed by a presentation of the latest EAST Fraud Statistics (H1 2019) and a high-level overview of the European situation by Europol.  Then a session will then focus on the terminal fraud situation in four countries/regions, followed by a short discussion.  This will be followed by a practical demonstration of Project Checkcard, aimed at checking the validity of EMV cards, followed by a session topic still tbc.  Attendance at EAST EGAF meetings is limited due to the size of the Group and this event enables a wider participation and the opportunity for all attendees to engage with the Group and its organizers.

EAST FCS ATM Physical Attacks Seminar (organised by the EAST Expert Group on ATM & ATS Physical Attacks (EGAP)

This interactive event follows the basic structure of EAST EGAP Member meetings.  An introduction to the Group will be followed by presentation of the latest EAST Physical Attack Statistics (H1 2019) and recent attack definitions, and a high-level overview of the European situation.  Then a session will focus on the ATM physical attack situation in five countries, which will be followed by a session on banknote infrared recognition.  The event will conclude with a Q&A session on all attack types and counter-measures.  Attendance at EAST EGAP meetings is limited, as it is a working group, and this event enables a wider participation and the opportunity for all attendees to engage with the Group and its organizers.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE TERMINAL FRAUD SEMINAR

Otto de Jong, of ING Bank and Chair of EAST EGAF, will host the Terminal Fraud Seminar and chair the discussion on Threat Assessments – Europe;

Tobias Wieloch, of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3), will provide an overview of terminal fraud in Europe from Europol’s perspective;

Arnt Olav Rottereng, of EVRY ATM Services, will update on the terminal fraud situation in the Nordics;

and Tobias Heckmann, Software Developer at the University of Applied Sciences Bingen, will present and demonstrate Project CheckCard, an investigation tool designed to assist law enforcement to validate whether or not a smart card is genuine.