Attack targets firms from the automobile industry in Europe

Attackers are sending emails containing a new information-stealing Trojan program to customer service departments, Symantec researchers said

Cybercriminals are using a new information-stealing malware program to target companies from the automobile industry in Europe, security researchers warned.

The attack campaign started in early August and primarily targeted rental, insurance, transport and secondary market businesses for commercial and agricultural vehicles, according to a new report by researchers from antivirus vendor Symantec.

The attackers distributed their malware program through spear-phishing emails claiming to originate from a company called Technik Automobile that was seeking to acquire used and pre-owned vehicles. The emails contained an attachment called TechnikAutomobileGMBH.pdf.zip that was supposedly a list of vehicles, but in fact contained an installer for a Trojan program called Carbon Grabber.

"The malicious file will decrypt another executable from its body and inject code into Microsoft Outlook, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox processes on the compromised computer," said Symantec researcher Lionel Payet in a blog post Friday. "The malware hooks the browser APIs [application programming interfaces], allowing it to steal information before it is encrypted and sent out to the network."

Like other man-in-the-browser Trojan programs, Carbon Grabber is capable of stealing log-in credentials for various Web services, including online banking websites and internal Web applications. It can also steal Microsoft Outlook credentials and use them to send emails on behalf of the victims.

The Carbon Grabber malware appeared earlier this year on the underground market and is used by more than one cybercriminal group, Payet said.

In the attack campaign observed by Symantec, the rogue emails were sent to the customer service departments of the targeted companies.

"Customer service departments are often granted a great deal of access within a company as they are required to perform a multitude of administrative and financial tasks on a daily basis," Payet wrote. It's not clear if the attackers behind this campaign are only driven by financial motives, but if their attack is successful they gain a foothold in the victim's business, he said.

The automobile industry has been the primary target for Carbon Grabber attacks, accounting for 48 percent of the victims observed by Symantec. However, the malware has also affected companies from other business sectors including public services, finance, charity, energy, research, telecommunications and tourism.

According to Symantec's data, the victim distribution by country is: Germany (38 percent), the Netherlands (31 percent), Italy (24 percent) and the U.K. (7 percent).

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags symantecsecurityDesktop securityspywaremalware

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?