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Attackers Use Fraudulent Certificates to “Hold Up” a Major Brazilian Bank

Attackers Use Fraudulent Certificates to “Hold Up” a Major Brazilian Bank

Block Chain Bank Heist
April 7, 2017 | Emil Hanscom

Bank robbers are now using cyber weapons make off with the loot. Kaspersky Labs recently issued a report that revealed a massive cyber attack on a major Brazilian bank. The attack was incredibly pervasive: for five hours last fall, cyber criminals managed to intercept all of the bank’s online banking, mobile, ATM and investment transactions. 

Are fraudulent certificates fooling your customers?

We don’t know who was behind this attack, but Kaspersky believes it was orchestrated by a sophisticated cyber crime organization. However, we do know that encryption played a major role in this massive hijack. According to Kaspersky, bad actors transferred the bank's 36 domains to phony websites that used free HTTPS certificates from Let's Encrypt. These sites were presented as legitimate online services and collected the usernames and passwords of customers.

Let’s Encrypt issued certificates to over 21 million websites last year, and many cyber criminals are using these certificates for their own nefarious purposes. This attack in Brazil is just the latest example of the threats fraudulent certificates pose to organizations.

According to Kevin Bocek, chief security strategist for Venafi: “Cybercriminals can now steal money by taking advantage of the one security measure every Internet user has been trained to trust: the green padlock in web browsers. These padlocks are supposed to signify a trusted digital certificate is in use, but now bad actors can obtain them for free.” 

How prevalent are SSL and TLS certificates on the Dark Web? Find out. 

Unfortunately, many IT professionals underestimate the threats hiding in their certificates and encrypted traffic. “Security professionals don’t understand the scale and scope of this problem and they don’t have the tools they need to control it,” says Bocek. “This attack is part of a much larger problem that jeopardizes the system of trust behind all digital commerce.”

Bocek recommends organizations embrace security technologies, such as Certificate Transparency to identify both fraudulent and trusted certificates.

How well do you protect your customers from fraudulent certificates? 

Learn more about machine identity management. Explore now. 

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About the author

Emil Hanscom
Emil Hanscom

Emil is the Public Relations Manager at Venafi. Passionate about educating the global marketplace about infosec and machine-identity issues, they have consistently grown Venafi's global news coverage year over year.

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