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Avalanche spam gang tap the power of ZeuS to boost cybercrime earnings

(PresseBox) (London, ) Reports that the world's most prolific phishing gang have diversified their operations over from conventional phishing emails to distributing the ZeuS Trojan is another sign that hackers are becoming incredibly sophisticated, says Imperva, the data security specialist.

More than anything, the attack vectors used by the Avalanche botnet gang, who have taken two years to migrate to the new fraud architecture, indicate that criminal hackers are now using lateral thinking to develop their fraudulent modus operandi, says Amichai Shulman, Imperva's chief technology officer.

"What is apparent from our research is that the Avalanche cybercrime gang - who were reportedly responsible for two-thirds of the world's phishing attacks this time last year - are also using advanced programming techniques" he said.

The Imperva CTO continues, "The problem is that the banks, nor the users, are realizing that the client browser is actually under the control of the hacker. So although a user is in fact authenticated to the bank, all transactions are actually being performed from that moment on by the Trojan."

Imperva's research teams, he went on to say, concluded that using a man-in-the-browser attack, similarly to those uncovered in September, enables the electronic criminals to stage automated withdrawals. The problem of detecting this type of fraud is made all the more difficult as the banks are not aware that the initiator of the transaction is not the actual owner of the account but basically, an automated process," he said.

"This is why some financial institutions, such as Sainsbury's Bank (, now require users to confirm by mobile phone text message when a new account payee is set up," he added.

"Until the banks are able to prevent against this type of complex malware-driven fraud, the cybercriminal gangs will continue to evolve their already sophisticated strategies to beat the banks - and their customers"

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Imperva Inc.

Imperva is the global leader in data security. With more than 1,200 direct customers and 25,000 cloud customers, Imperva's customers include leading enterprises, government organizations, and managed service providers who rely on Imperva to prevent sensitive data theft from hackers and insiders. The award-winning Imperva SecureSphere is the only solution that delivers full activity monitoring for databases, applications and file systems. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter or visit our blog.