Bank robbers of today are nothing like their counterparts of the past. Modern-day Bonnie and Clyde operate remotely, carrying out their operations from hundreds of miles away, simply using their laptops. On top of that, every year, the barrier of entry for aspiring criminals is gradually getting lower, with malicious software becoming more accessible and cheaper.
To effectively protect their infrastructure, financial institutions must prioritize attack prevention and timely detection of cyber threats. To this end, malware sandboxes are tools that can aid them in achieving these goals.
For Example, Recently, GBHackers reported that XWorm RAT (Remote Access Trojan), Sold Malware-as-a-Service, opens vast hacking opportunities.
What is a Malware Sandbox?
A malware sandbox is an essential tool that offers users a secure and isolated environment for safely analyzing and evaluating malware. By executing malware within a sandbox, users can closely monitor its behavior and gain valuable insights into its functionality. It also makes it easier to gather indicators of compromise (IOCs), which are unique features of each piece of malware like file hashes, network signatures, and behavior patterns that can be used to identify and find it again.
Let’s take a closer look at the most common types of attacks against banks and what roles sandboxes can play in prevention and mitigation.
Ransomware poses a significant threat to banks, with the ability to encrypt data and, thus, bring organizations’ operations to a complete halt. This not only causes financial losses but also damages the reputation of the institution.
One such example is LockBit, a notorious ransomware responsible for numerous bank attacks in the past year. Its sophisticated nature allows it to spread through entire networks, targeting Active Directory servers and infiltrating every corner of the organization.
While the average ransom demanded by the criminals behind LockBit is typically below $100,000, high-profile organizations like Royal Mail have been targeted with demands reaching millions of dollars.
In the case of ransomware attacks, security experts can use malware sandboxes to safely execute any malicious program and observe its behavior without risking the actual network or data. This helps in understanding the propagation methods and identifying the actual weaknesses in the organization’s security infrastructure.
Additionally, sandboxes are also useful for proactive security. For instance, the ANY.RUN sandbox offers real-time threat intelligence feeds that contain the latest IOCs collected from thousands of malicious files and URLs analyzed by ANY.RUN’s users in public mode. By using this service, banks can ensure timely detection of new threats.
Analyzing any suspicious attachment or URL in a free interactive malware sandbox like ANY.RUN can instantly provide you with a conclusive verdict.
Email remains the most commonly exploited attack vector employed by threat actors. In this realm, one particular threat that poses a significant challenge to banks is spear phishing. Unlike traditional phishing attempts, spear phishing involves meticulous planning and a higher level of sophistication.
Attackers carefully craft targeted emails that appear genuine, with the intention of deceiving recipients within the company. These deceptive emails often contain attachments, which, when opened, can lead to the infection of the recipient’s computer with various types of malware.
To avoid falling victim to phishing campaigns, banks can introduce proper security measures, one of which can be the use of sandboxes. By uploading email attachments to a sandbox, it is possible to safely determine whether they are malicious or not.
At the same time, in many cases, attackers can employ various evasion techniques, including placing malware inside password-protected archives that automated sandboxing solutions may fail to analyze.
To overcome this limitation, services like ANY.RUN offer a fully interactive virtual machine environment. This allows for comprehensive investigation of files and links in a setup that closely resembles that of a regular computer, while ensuring safety from any potential harm.
Attackers also may attempt to gain access to bank employees’ accounts through fake web pages designed to trick unsuspecting users into entering their login credentials, which the attackers then capture and exploit.
Once inside, they can initiate fraudulent transactions, steal funds, or even manipulate account details to their advantage. The danger lies in the fact that these fake login screens appear genuine, often replicating the exact look and feel of the legitimate service.
Have a look at this example of a fake web page imitating the login screen of Microsoft Teams. Quite often, people find it challenging to differentiate between genuine and fraudulent websites, which unfortunately increases the chances of unsuspecting individuals becoming victims of such attacks.
In banking, if employees’ credentials are exposed to threat actors, it can lead to a wide range of problems, ranging from the theft of sensitive information to the infection of the organization’s key infrastructure. To avoid it, any suspicious link can be first checked by a malware sandbox.
To effectively defend against cyber attacks and ensure prompt detection, banks must implement a robust multi-layer defense system. An essential component of this system is sandboxing. By analyzing malware in a secure environment, organizations can acquire vital intelligence to safeguard their infrastructure.
Discover how the ANY.RUN sandbox can enhance your organization’s security posture with a 14-day free trial that offers Windows 10 and 11 VMs, a private space for your team, extensive set of analysis tools, and comprehensive reports with IOCs and configs.