According to experts at EndPoint security firm, crooks are buying many .om domains to carry on typosquatting attacks. Crooks are buying many .om domains to carry on typosquatting attacks. According to experts at EndPoint security firm, crooks are buying many .om domains with the purpose to fool clumsy users that mistype .om instead of .com .
Security researchers say that the .om domain from the country Oman are being exploited in typosquatting attacks and that more than 300 domains were bought and are using US company names, like Citibank, Dell, Macys and Gmail.
“Our research revealed that there is at least one major .om typosquatting campaign targeting many of the world’s largest organizations. It has already targeted over 300 well-known organizations, including Netflix, and given the spike in activity in February, is likely to only attempt to expand its reach in March.” states the blog post published by the security firm.
Mac OS X users are being targeted to be fooled by the typosquatting campaign and trick them to install malware, when they mistype a website and end up in a page where a fake Adobe Flash update pops up, and the user is tempted to install “flash” update, but in fact its installing the Genieo, an advertising component.
“[the victim] mistyped the domain “www.netflix.com” as “netflix.om” in his browser, accidentally dropping the “c” in “.com”. He did not get a DNS resolution error, which would have indicated the domain he typed doesn’t exist. Instead, due to the registration of “netflix.om” by a malicious actor, the domain resolved successfully.” continues the the post. “His browser was immediately redirected several times, and eventually landed on a “Flash Updater” page with all the usual annoying (and to an untrained user, terrifying) scareware pop-ups. “
Genieo is an adware / malware that usually poses as an Adobe Flash update, as a said previously, once the person clicks on it, it will drop an OS X DMG container. Once clicked on the DMG file, Genieo will install an extension in various supported browsers.
In the case of a Windows, user who visits one of the websites used by typosquatters , they will be redirect to an ad network where they are inundate with ads, like surveys, free electronics, antivirus products, and so on, all leading the user to download and execute something.
“Destination web pages will almost assuredly be riddled with advertisements, surveys to complete for free electronics, or scareware tactics to entice users to download and execute an antivirus suite that leads to further headaches and intrusive advertising,” Dufresne from Endgame told to Threatpost:
“We haven’t seen this escalate beyond typosquatters pushing the well-known Genieo malware and ad networks,”
“But given the volumes of misdirected traffic to .om, this could be used as an effective tool to distribute much more serious threats,”
In the investigation conducted by Endgame, 334 .om sites were analyzed, and looking to the registration pattern, 15 different hosting providers were used and many of the websites are hosted in providers located in New Jersey.
“Very unsurprisingly, the software stack on these servers was uniform,” said Duffresne, and he also added that many of the servers behind the domains have unpatched vulnerabilities meaning that they could allow remote access:
“These hosts could easily be exploited by other actors to serve up alternate (possibly worse) malicious content than what’s currently being served,”
The problem is that .om domain is country code top-level domain, also called ccTLD, this means that ccTLDs are not related with an internet corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers and disputes need to be solved by using local laws of Omar.
I strongly suggest you pay attention when typing the URL of a specific website, unfortunately, a great number of .om websites are already used by crooks for illegal activities.
If you are interested of the entire list of suspicious domains give a look here.
About the Author Elsio Pinto
Working as a cyber security solutions architect, Alisa focuses on application and network security. Before joining us she held a cyber security researcher positions within a variety of cyber security start-ups. She also experience in different industry domains like finance, healthcare and consumer products.