Top 4 Ways Emotet Breaches Banking Security

3 min readAug 23, 2021
Emotet Trojan

Did you know in 2018, a company in the United States spent over $1 million to recover from a malware attack? Emotet is a high-profile malware attack and was originally developed to impede banking details like customer’s personal information or banking details.

The global disruption has accelerated our reliance on e-commerce in our day-to-day. Now, take a step back and imagine that you are flooded with top pick recommendations and recent purchase emails from your favorite e-commerce website. Among those, one of the purchases is not so familiar.

The usual response to it is to check the details in receipt of the purchase by clicking on the attachment in the email. But Beware!! It can be an Emotet attack. This article talks in detail about malware and the ways it spreads.

What is Emotet?

Emotet is an advanced banking trojan that cybersecurity agencies rank amongst the most costly and destructive affecting the big financial institutions. In fact, the infection may arrive either via a malicious script, macro-enabled document files, or a malicious link. Furthermore, it has gone through a few iterations. Early versions arrived as malicious JavaScript files.

Later versions evolved to use macro-enabled documents to retrieve the virus payload from command and control (C&C) servers run by the attackers. Since then, it has also evolved into a malware distribution service known as Malware-as-a-service (MaaS).

MaaS is a lease of software for carrying out cyber attacks. Broadly used against websites containing customer’s sensitive financial information either to gather and store the information or to disrupt their business operation in general.

Additionally, the clients of such services are offered the control of attack and its technical support. It can also be used against people to gain information such as personal identification numbers or details, bank or credit card numbers, and passwords.

Fortunately, AI technologies are one step ahead of the hacker’s plans and it catches them off guard. Several times, AI systems have put a full stop to the Emotet in real-time.

How Does The Emotet Trojan Spread?

Emotet spreads through phishing email attacks. Once the attachment in the malware email is accessed it raids on your contacts list and sends itself to everyone you are connected to digitally. Since familiar senders send these emails, the emails do not seem like sailing close to the wind. Hence, the user is more inclined to click bad URLs and download infected files.

Since 2015, anti-analysis tactics have been present in Emotet. The tactic enables malware to detect when it is running within a secure environment. This tactic brought a revolution in malware products.

Subsequently, after 2018, Emotet’s payload consists of a packed file containing the main component and an anti-analysis module. The anti-analysis module identifies an antivirus-protected machine by performing multiple checks, then loads the main component.

Additionally, Emotet can self download an updated version or any other threat. Following are some existing versions of Emotet download modules:

  • Financial Information Snatcher:

This segment targets the financial information entered by the user by blocking network traffic from the browser. This is the primary purpose of the trojan. Hence this is what gave Emotet its reputation as a banking Trojan.

  • Email Credential Abstractor:

This segment deals with the abstraction of email credentials from email client software.

  • Browser Data Stealer :

This segment deals with stealing information such as browsing history and saved passwords.

  • PST Infostealer :

The Personal Storage Table (PST) reads through Outlook’s message archives and extracts the user’s names and email addresses of the messages, in all probability to use for spamming.

Recently, with a newer version, Emotet hops from infected devices and servers to Wi-Fi networks. These networks can spread the infection like a domino effect in other devices, possibly causing an infinite loop.

At a time when people are insecure about their digital security, we need better security practices to reassure people that their online banking experiences are both safe and secure. Securing Wi-Fi devices is crucial in curbing threats.




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