Known as Kardphisher and "in the wild" since April, 2007, last week the malware author of this trojan horse mimicking the Windows XP activation interface while collecting the credit card details the end user has submitted, has made significant changes to visual interface and usability of the trojan, consequently improving its authenticity. Guess what happens when a gullible end user falls victim into this social engineering attack?
Their credit card details end up automatically into an IRC channel specifically set for that purposes. Some of changes in the new version include more legitimately looking color scheme, improved restrictions making it much harder for the end user to close the application without submitting their credit card details, built-in validation of credit cards and email, next to displaying the current product key to make the application look more legitimate. Once the user enters all the validated data, the new version of the tool automatically removes itself as if the activation was successful. Moreover, a bogus "verified by Visa" message that is also requesting social security number and a date of birth makes the trojan the perfect tool in the hands of identity thieves relying on nothing else but plain simple social engineering impersonating Microsoft.
The latest Kardphisher may indeed by filling in all the gaps from the previous version, but the trojan can never scale as efficiently as crimeware "in the middle" does for the time being. Among the main growth factors for the increasing number of such malware remains the fact that throughout the entire year proprietary crimeware kits costing several thousand dollars on average started leaking out, allowing many new entrants to start using what once used to be a highly exclusive tool in the arsenal of the experienced cybercriminal.