A new DRIDEX email scam has been discovered that has prompted an angry reaction from Swedish furniture retailer Ikea. The criminals behind the malware have targeted Ikea customers by sending fake emails encouraging them to open a DRIDEX-infected email attachment. It has been estimated that hundreds of thousands of emails have been sent in the past few days alone.

As is common with spam emails, users are not specifically targeted. Instead the senders of the emails rely on volume. This is why targeting a retailer the size of Ikea is particularly effective. The chances of an email arriving in the inbox of a customer is relatively high in Europe. Many individuals regularly visit IKEA or have done so in the past.

What is particularly worrying about this campaign is the fact the emails look genuine. They contain an attachment which appears to be a purchase receipt from IKEA. The receipt looks exactly the same as one supplied by the store.

IKEA is concerned that the spam emails will tarnish the company’s reputation, even though there is nothing the company could have done to prevent the campaign from being launched. The advice provided is not to open any attachments in emails that appear to have been sent by the furniture retailer.

What is DRIDEX Malware?

DRIDEX is a nasty malware designed to steal online banking login names and passwords, and is a new variant of CRIDEX: A known form of malware with a worm and Trojan variant (W32.Cridex and Trojan.Cridex). The new form of the Cridex malware achieves its objective via HTML injection. This is a technique used by hackers to inject code to exploit vulnerabilities in popular applications such as Java or ActiveX. HTML injection modifies page content.

This method of attack is effective as the user is fooled into thinking a site being visited can be trusted, as the page is located within a trusted domain. When the user enters a login name and password, these are then sent on to the hacker. In this case, the user would reveal their bank logins and passwords, which would then be used to make fraudulent transfers to a hacker’s account.

DRIDEX malware first emerged in November last year and attacks have mainly affected computer users in Europe. Due to the ease at which the perpetrators of this campaign can obtain users’ banking credentials, this malware is particularly dangerous. All users, not just IKEA customers, should be particularly wary about opening email attachments or responding to emails containing links to webpages, especially if the emails are sent from individuals not known to the email recipient.

The malware was first used in the UK, but has since spread around Europe and has now been received in Sweden where IKEA is based. To date it has been estimated that the malware has allowed the perpetrators of the campaign to obtain around £20 million from fraudulent transfers, in addition to $10 million from U.S. banks.  IKEA is now monitoring the situation and is attempting to identify the source of the emails; however, since the perpetrators of campaigns such as this are typically mobile, it is particularly difficult to catch the criminals responsible.

How is it possible to protect against DRIDEX Malware?

Email scams such as this are becoming increasingly common and users can easily be fooled into installing malware. DRIDEX appears to be primarily transmitted by spam email attachments.

Fortunately, there is an easy way of protecting against a DRIDEX malware infection. Since spam emails are now becoming harder to spot, the easiest solution is to prevent DRIDEX emails from being delivered. To do that, a spam filter such as SpamTitan is required.

SpamTitan is able to identify spam emails containing DRIDEX as the signature of the malware is present in the Anti-Virus engines used by the software. SpamTitan uses two separate AV engines which increases the probability of the malware being detected.

Since new malware is being devised and sent with increasing regularity, all email users should also be taught how to identify potential phishing emails as a failsafe to ensure. This will help to ensure they do not become another email scam victim, or inadvertently compromise their employer’s network.