Home Cyber Security Researchers Expose Prolific Puma’s Underground Hyperlink Shortening Service

Researchers Expose Prolific Puma’s Underground Hyperlink Shortening Service

Researchers Expose Prolific Puma’s Underground Hyperlink Shortening Service


Link Shortening Service

A risk actor often called Prolific Puma has been sustaining a low profile and working an underground hyperlink shortening service that is provided to different risk actors for at the least over the previous 4 years.

Prolific Puma creates “domains with an RDGA [registered domain generation algorithm] and use these domains to offer a hyperlink shortening service to different malicious actors, serving to them evade detection whereas they distribute phishing, scams, and malware,” Infoblox stated in a brand new evaluation pieced collectively from Area Title System (DNS) analytics.

With malicious actors identified to make use of hyperlink shorteners for phishing assaults, the adversary performs an necessary function within the cybercrime provide chain, registering between 35,000 to 75,000 distinctive domains since April 2022. Prolific Puma can also be a DNS risk actor for leveraging DNS infrastructure for nefarious functions.

A notable side of the risk actor’s operations is the usage of an American area registrar and internet hosting firm named NameSilo for registration and identify servers because of its affordability and an API that facilitates bulk registration.


Prolific Puma, which doesn’t promote its shortening service on underground markets, has additionally been noticed resorting to strategic growing old to park registered domains for a number of weeks previous to internet hosting their service with nameless suppliers.

“Prolific Puma domains are alphanumeric, pseudo-random, with variable size, usually 3 or 4 characters lengthy, however we have now additionally noticed SLD labels so long as 7 characters,” Infoblox defined.

Moreover, the risk actor has registered 1000’s of domains within the U.S. top-level area (usTLD) since Might 2023, repeatedly utilizing an electronic mail deal with containing a reference to the track OCT 33 by a psychedelic soul band referred to as Black Pumas: blackpumaoct33@ukr[.]internet.

Link Shortening Service

The true-world identification and origins of Prolific Puma stays unknown as but. That stated, a number of risk actors are stated to be utilizing the providing to take guests to phishing and rip-off websites, CAPTCHA challenges, and even different shortened hyperlinks created by a special service.

In a single occasion of a phishing-cum-malware assault documented by Infoblox, victims clicking on a shortened hyperlink are taken to a touchdown web page that requests them to offer private particulars and make a fee, and in the end infect their techniques with browser plugin malware.

The disclosure comes weeks after the corporate uncovered one other persistent DNS risk actor codenamed Open Tangle that leverages a big infrastructure of lookalike domains of reputable monetary establishments to focus on shoppers for phishing and smishing assaults.

“Prolific Puma demonstrates how the DNS could be abused to assist felony exercise and stay undetected for years,” it stated.

Kopeechka Hacking Instrument Floods On-line Platforms with Bogus Accounts

The event additionally follows a brand new report from Development Micro, which discovered that lesser-skilled cybercriminals are utilizing a brand new software referred to as Kopeechka (which means “penny” in Russian) to automate the creation of a whole lot of faux social media accounts in just some seconds.

“The service has been energetic because the starting of 2019 and offers straightforward account registering providers for standard social media platforms, together with Instagram, Telegram, Fb, and X (previously Twitter),” safety researcher Cedric Pernet stated.

Kopeechka offers two varieties of completely different electronic mail addresses to assist with the mass-registration course of: electronic mail addresses hosted in 39 domains owned by the risk actor and people which might be hosted on extra standard electronic mail internet hosting providers resembling Gmail, Hotmail, Outlook, Rambler, and Zoho Mail.


“Kopeechka doesn’t really present entry to the precise mailboxes,” Pernet defined. “When customers request for mailboxes to create social media accounts, they solely get the e-mail deal with reference and the precise electronic mail that accommodates the affirmation code or URL.”

It is suspected that these electronic mail addresses are both compromised or created by the Kopeechka actors themselves.

With on-line providers incorporating telephone quantity verification to finish registration, Kopeechka allows its prospects to select from 16 completely different on-line SMS providers, most of which originate from Russia.

Moreover accelerating cybercrime and equipping risk actors to launch full-fledged operations at scale, such instruments – created as a part of the “as-a-service” enterprise mannequin – spotlight the professionalization of the felony ecosystem.

“Kopeechka’s providers can facilitate a simple and reasonably priced technique to mass-create accounts on-line, which could possibly be useful to cybercriminals,” Pernet stated.

“Whereas Kopeechka is especially used for a number of accounts creation, it can be utilized by cybercriminals who need to add a level of anonymity to their actions, as they don’t want to make use of any of their very own electronic mail addresses to create accounts on social media platforms.”

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