Sophos Reports on Rampant Raccoon Stealer Campaign that Uses Telegram and Adds Cryptomining and Cryptocurrency Theft

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Stealer is Delivered to Targets Bundled with Ransomware and Other Malicious Content

Sean Gallagher, Senior Threat Researcher at Sophos

Dubai, UAE: Sophos, a global leader in next-generation cybersecurity, has published new research, “Trash Panda as a Service: Raccoon Stealer Steals Cookies, Cryptocoins and More,” detailing how a stealer disguised as pirated software grabs cryptocurrencies and information while dropping malicious content, such as cryptominers, on targeted systems. 

“With much of daily and professional life now reliant on services delivered through a web browser, the operators behind information-stealing malware are increasingly targeting stored web credentials that provide access to a lot more than they could get by just stealing stored password hashes,” said Sean Gallagher, senior threat researcher at Sophos. 

“The campaign we’ve been tracking shows Raccoon Stealer grabbing passwords, cookies, and the ‘autofill’ text for websites, including credit card data and other personally identifying information that may be stored by a browser. Thanks to a recent ‘clipper’ update that changes the clipboard or destination information for a cryptocurrency transaction, Raccoon Stealer also now targets crypto-wallets, and it can retrieve or load files – such as additional malware – on infected systems. That’s a lot of stuff that cybercriminals can easily monetize for a service that is ‘rented out’ at $75 for a week’s use.”

Raccoon Stealer is usually spread by spam email. However, in the campaign Sophos investigated, it is distributed through droppers that the operators disguised as cracked software installers. These droppers bundle Raccoon Stealer with additional attack tools, including malicious browser extensions, YouTube click-fraud bots, and Djvu/Stop, a ransomware targeted primarily at home users.

The operators behind this Raccoon Stealer campaign also used the Telegram chat service for the first time for command-and-control communications, according to Sophos researchers.

“Information stealers fill an important niche in the cybercrime ecosystem. They offer a quick return on investment and represent an easy and cheap entry point for bigger attacks,” said Gallagher. “Cybercriminals often sell stolen identity credentials on ‘dark’ marketplaces, allowing other attackers, including ransomware operators or Initial Access Brokers, to take advantage of them for their own criminal intentions – such as breaking into a corporate network through a workplace chat service. Or attackers can use credentials for further attacks targeting other users on the same platform. There is a constant demand for stolen user credentials – especially credentials providing access to legitimate services that attackers can use to easily host or spread more malware. Information stealers may look like lower-level threats, but they’re not.”

Sophos recommends that organizations that use online services for workplace chat and collaboration use multi-factor authentication (MFA) to protect employees’ accounts and ensure that all employees have up-to-date malware protection on any computer they access remote work-related services from.

Sophos Intercept X protects users by detecting the actions and behaviors of malware like Raccoon Stealer, including scanning for suspicious activity in memory and protecting against fileless malware. 

Sophos advises consumers to install a security solution on the devices that they and their families use for online communications and gaming, such as Sophos Home, to protect everyone from malware and cyberthreats. It is also good security practice to avoid downloading and installing unlicensed software from any source. Always check first to make sure it’s legitimate. 

About Sophos:

Sophos is a worldwide leader in next-generation cybersecurity, protecting more than 500,000 organizations and millions of consumers in more than 150 countries from today’s most advanced cyberthreats. Powered by threat intelligence, AI and machine learning from SophosLabs and SophosAI, Sophos delivers a broad portfolio of advanced products and services to secure users, networks and endpoints against ransomware, malware, exploits, phishing and the wide range of other cyberattacks. Sophos provides a single integrated cloud-based management console, Sophos Central – the centerpiece of an adaptive cybersecurity ecosystem that features a centralized data lake that leverages a rich set of open APIs available to customers, partners, developers, and other cybersecurity vendors. Sophos sells its products and services through reseller partners and managed service providers (MSPs) worldwide. Sophos is headquartered in Oxford, U.K.