Disneyland Malware Team: It’s a Puny World After All – Krebs on Security

A financial cybercrime group calling itself the Disneyland Team has been making liberal use of visually confusing phishing domains that spoof popular bank brands using Punycode, an Internet standard that allows web browsers to render domain names with non-Latin alphabets like Cyrillic.

The Disneyland Team uses common misspellings for top bank brands in its domains. For example, one domain the gang has used since March 2022 is ushank[.]com — which was created to phish U.S. Bank customers.

But this group also usually makes use of Punycode to make their phony bank domains look more legit. The U.S. financial services firm Ameriprise uses the domain ameriprise.com; the Disneyland Team’s domain for Ameriprise customers is https://www.xn--meripris-mx0doj[.]com [brackets added to defang the domain], which displays in the browser URL bar as ạmeriprisẹ[.]com.

Look carefully, and you’ll notice small dots beneath the “a” and the second “e”. You could be forgiven if you mistook one or both of those dots for a spec of dust on your computer screen or mobile device.

This candid view inside the Disneyland Team comes from Alex Holden, founder of the Milwaukee-based cybersecurity consulting firm Hold Security. Holden’s analysts gained access to a Web-based control panel the crime group has been using to keep track of victim credentials (see screenshot above). The panel reveals the gang has been operating dozens of Punycode-based phishing domains for the better part of 2022.

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