Now, new research has shown that cybercriminals tend to rely on off-the-shelf malware and free hacking tools to conduct attacks across West African banks.
In an exclusive research piece by Symantec, researchers have listed out the most popular tools and methods chosen by attackers. Some of the tools deployed were priced very low. When it came to paid software, penetration testing tool Cobalt Strike took the spotlight.
Four types of attacks
From 2017, a string of cyber attacks was witnessed in the West African region, especially attacks targeting banks. Symantec, which conducted an extensive investigation into the matter, found out that there were four kinds of attacks.
"Living off the land" tactics
The attackers behind these incidents were observed to be adopting "living off the land" tactics. Such tactics focus on exploiting operating systems or network administration tools to compromise target networks. This makes it difficult to detect the intrusion since they hide behind legitimate tools.
The researchers stated that the set of incidents studied by them shared common tactics and type of tools. Due to the use of off-the-shelf malware in the attacks, it is more difficult to establish attribution to any threat actor group.
Moreover, until recently, no attacks were observed targeting the financial institutions in the Western African region. This indicates the increasing reach of cybercriminals globally.