Experts warns of a new extortion campaign based on the Breach Compilation archive

Pierluigi Paganini October 05, 2018

Cybaze ZLab spotted a new scam campaign that is targeting some of its Italian customers, crooks leverage credentials in Breach Compilation archive.

Security experts from Cybaze ZLab have spotted a new scam campaign that is targeting some of its Italian customers.

Crooks attempted to monetize the availability of a huge quantity of credentials available in the underground market to target unaware netizens in a new extortion scheme.

The number of spam messages associated with this campaign is rapidly increasing, the attackers behind this campaign used the credentials collected in the infamous database dubbed ‘Breach Compilation’.

This Breach Compilation archive contains about 1.4 Billion of clear text credentials gathered in a series of data breaches.

At the time it is still unclear if the attackers have created a pool of emails used in the spam campaign or are exploiting credential stuffing attack to attempt to access email accounts of unaware users and use them to send out spam messages.

The credential stuffing attacks involve botnets to try stolen login credentials usually obtained through phishing attacks and data breaches. This kind of attacks is very efficient due to the bad habit of users of reusing the same password over multiple services.

In the following image is reported as an example, one of the messages used in this campaign.

The message is a classical email scam used by cyber criminals to threaten the victim to reveal to the public that he watches porn videos. Crooks claim to have the recording of the victim while watching the videos, but it is absolutely false.

Crooks blackmail the victims and request the payment of a fee in Bitcoin to avoid spreading the video.

To be more convincing and trick victims into paying the fee, the hackers include in the body of the email the password used by the victim as a proof of the attack. This password was extracted from the Breach Compilation archive.

Experts from Cybaze have analyzed several samples of email belonging to this campaign, most of them in English. One of their customers received a scam message in a poor Italian-writing.

Crooks ask the victims to pay a fee of $3000 worth of Bitcoin, while the message written in Italian ask for $350, a circumstance that suggests that other threat actors are using the same technique.

The attackers may have implemented an automated mechanism to send scam emails to the addresses in the archive and create for each of them a Bitcoin wallet.

Experts from Cybaze have analyzed a couple of wallets associated with the scam messages, in one case they found a number of transactions that suggest victim made the payment.

The Bitcoin address with associated 9 transactions is 1Lughwk11SAsz54wZJ3bpGbNqGfVanMWzk

It is essential to share awareness about this campaign to avoid that other victims will fail victims of this type of extortion.

As usual, let me suggest to avoid use same credentials across multiple web services, you can check if your email is involved in a data breach by querying the free service

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – Breach Compilation, scam campaign)

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