The Cardinal RAT was first detected back in 2017 when it was employed in 27 attacks successfully. The targets were various companies operating in different sectors. In the current attack, the targets are Israeli companies that are dealing in the financial sector, forex trading and cryptocurrency specifically. It is not yet known what the reach of the Cardinal RAT campaign is this time.
It is believed that the Cardinal RAT is being propagated via the very common spam email campaign method. This means that the user would receive an email that would contain an infected, macro-laced file, usually a document, mimicking a legitimate company or institution. If the computer users fall for this trick and open the attachment, they would give Cardinal RAT access to their systems.
The creators of the Cardinal RAT have not changed their piece of malware too much in the two years between the two campaigns. They have, however, made slight improvements in the obfuscation methods used by Cardinal RAT, which would help ensure that the threat remains undetected by anti-malware applications. Furthermore, the authors of this RAT have boosted its capabilities of detecting whether it has been put in a malware-debugging environment. Authors of malware are careful about this as they do not want malware researchers to dissect their creations particularly. Of course, its self-preservation features are not the only features of the Cardinal RAT. This nasty piece of malware is capable of collecting all data types from the infiltrated computer – screenshots, Web browser cookies, keystrokes and login credentials. Then, the compiled information is transferred to the servers of the attackers. Needless to say, when a business has its sensitive data in the hands of ill-intended individuals, it is in a lot of trouble.
Companies in the financial sector, if handling the cash and personal data of their clients especially, can never afford to overlook cybersecurity because cyber crooks are always lurking in the shadows looking for an easy target.