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Cyber Security & Threats November 2019 Week Two

By November 15, 2019Intelligence Insights
The case for pre-emptive defence

Vessel Impersonation Report

Dryad Global’s cyber security partners, Red Sky Alliance, perform weekly queries of  backend databases, identifying all new data containing Motor Vessel (MV) and Motor Tanker (MT) in the subject line of malicious emails.  Email subject line Motor Vessel (MV) or Motor Tanker (MT) keyword usage is a common lure to entice users in the maritime industry to open emails containing malicious attachments.

With our cyber security partner we are providing a weekly list of Motor Vessels where it is observed that the vessel is being impersonated, with associated malicious emails.

The identified emails attempted to deliver malware or phishing links to compromise the vessels and/or parent companies.  Users should be aware of the subject lines used and the email addresses that are attempting to deliver the messages.

Tactical Cyber Intelligence Reporting

First Seen Subject Line Used Malware DetectionsSending email Targets
Nov 8, 2019MV LE MIN VOY1793 CALLING FOR DISCHARGINGTrojan:Script/Oneeva.A!ml - Microsoft
Mr.YANG Hao Lin


Nov 8, 2019MV HAESUNG TBN EPDA REQUESTHEUR:Trojan-Downloader.VBS.Agent.gen - KasperskyARLYN
<[email protected]>

Nov 9, 2019AGENT NOMINATION - MV. COLUMBA / SEA NET - LDG 50,000MT 12% MOLOO OF LIME STONE IN BULKHEUR:TrojanDownloader.VBS.Agent.gen - KasperskySEA NET SHIPPING CO., LTD. <[email protected]>caf9

In the above collections for MV Le Min, MV Haesung and MV Columba we see malicious actors using these vessel names to try and spoof companies in the maritime supply chain.

MV Le Min is a general cargo ship operating under the flag of China. Analysis reveals that a malicious email was sent to at least one domain that appears to be obfuscated. The malware that was attempted to be sent is Trojan:Script/Oneeva.A!m. The subject line of the malicious email is: “MV LE MIN VOY1793 CALLING FOR DISCHARGING”.

In another example, we see a subject line of: “MV HAESUNG TBN EPDA REQUEST” The intended target of this malicious email is a domain which also appears to be obfuscated. The MV Haesung is a real gas carrier ship sailing under the flag of Korea, currently docked near Seoul, South Korea. At first glance by any recipient of this email, a gas carrier vessel is appearing to request shipping documents.  To any employee of a shipping or logistics company that may be expecting the arrival of the MV Haesung, this would appear to be a legitimate email and would likely entice them to click on the email and thus download malware like the listed HEUR:Trojan-Downloader.VBS.Agent.gen malware detected by Kaspersky.

Our Experts Say

Dryad Assessment

Fraudulent emails designed to make recipients hand over sensitive information, extort money or trigger malware installation on shore-based or vessel IT networks remains one of the biggest day-to-day cyber threats facing the maritime industry.  These threats often carry a financial liability to one or all those involved in the maritime transportation supply chain.

Pre-empt, don’t just defend

Preventative cyber protection offers a strong first-line defense by preventing deceptive messages from ever reaching staff inboxes, but malicious hackers are developing new techniques to evade current detection daily.  Using preemptive information from Wapack Labs RedXray diagnostic tool, our Vessel Impersonation reports and Maritime Blacklists offer a proactive solution to stopping cyber-attacks.  Recent studies suggest cyber-criminals are researching their targets and tailoring emails for staff in specific roles.  Another tactic is to spoof emails from the chief executive or other high-ranking maritime contemporaries in the hope staff lower down the supply chain will drop their awareness and follow the spoofed email obediently.  Analysts are beginning to see maritime-specific examples of these attacks.  A recent incident in the Gulf of Guinea saw cyber criminals send spoof emails requesting a cargo manifest, with a view to possibly attacking the vessel and targeting the containers with the highest-value contents.

Global Dryad

The more convincing an email appears, the greater the chance employees will fall for a scam.  To address this residual risk, software-based protection should be treated as one constituent of a wider strategy that also encompasses the human-element as well as organizational workflows and procedures.

It is imperative to:

  • Train all levels of the marine supply chain to realize they are under constant cyber-attack.
  • Stress maintaining constant attention to real-world cyber consequences of careless cyber practices or general inattentiveness.
  • Provide practical guidance on how to look for a potential phishing attempt.
  • Use direct communication to verify emails and supply chain email communication.
  • Use Red Sky Alliance RedXray proactive support, our Vessel impersonation information and use the Maritime Black Lists to proactively block cyber attacks from identified malicious actors.

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