Casino Hacker

Casino Hacker – Many popular email programs such as Microsoft Outlook, Apple Mail, Thunderbird, etc. they have a useful feature that allows them to remember the e-mail addresses of people who have been e-mailed. Without this feature, people would have to retrieve email addresses from memory or copy and paste from the address book. The same feature allows attackers to secretly breach networks using a technique we developed in 2006 called Email Seeding.

This article explains how we used Email Seeding to break the network of a well-known and well-secured casino. As always, this article has been expanded to protect our client’s identity.

Casino Hacker

Casino Hacker

Our first goal was to gather information about the casino staff. To accomplish this, we’ve created a proprietary LinkedIn tool that uses a company’s name or domain and provides employee information. The information is compiled into a report of sorts that contains the name, title, employment history and contact information for each target person. Email address format is automatically determined by our tool.

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It’s in our best interest if our customers use Google apps like it was for the casino. This is because Google suffers from a username enumeration vulnerability that allows hackers to obtain legitimate email addresses. For example, if we enter [secure email] and the address does not exist, we will receive an error message. If we enter the same address as it exists, we don’t get an error message. Our LinkedIn tool has built-in functionality that exploits this vulnerability to allow us to compile a target list of email addresses for Spear Phishing and/or Social Engineering.

We used this tool to create a target list of casinos. We then put together a small offensive infrastructure to support the chameleon domain and its related services. The first step in this process is to register a chameleon domain, which is a domain designed to pretend to be a legitimate domain (with an SSL certificate and all). Historically, this has been achieved using the now deprecated IDN Homoglyph attack. Today, we rely on psychological tricks and affect the tendency of the human brain to auto-correct misspelled names while seeing them as correct.

For example, let’s pretend our casino is called Acme Corporation and their domain is A good chameleon domain would be or, both are different from (read them carefully). This method works well for long domains and unknown domains but is not suitable for short domains like or for example. We have methods for such domains but we will not discuss them here.

There are several advantages of using a chameleon domain over traditional email hijacking methods. An example is that chameleon domains have a large overlap. Not only can we send emails from chameleon domains but we can also receive emails. This advanced interaction capability helps facilitate vulnerable Social Engineering attacks. Additionally, since chameleon domains are real domains, they can be configured with SPF records, DKIM, etc. In fact, we often even purchase SSL certificates for our chameleon domains. All these factors contribute to building a reliable infrastructure. Finally, we always configure our chameleon domains with a catchall email address. This ensures that all emails sent to our domain will be received.

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Maintains active contracts with various Virtual Private Server (VPS) service providers. These providers enable us to spin and spin chameleon infrastructures in no time. It also allows us to move up and down distributed platforms for more advanced things like distributed attacks, IDS/IPS deployments, etc. When we use our email offloading method, we create a small infrastructure that provides DNS, email, web and commands. and control server for RADON.

For the casino, we sent an extended version of bind along with something similar to honey signals so we could know where to target humans. Localization is important for personalization because it helps avoid accidental face-to-face encounters. For example, if we pretend to be John in order to attack Sally and they meet at the office, there is a high risk of exposure of the operation.

With a small infrastructure set up, we started staffing. This was partially implemented using social media such as Twitter, Facebook, etc. Those employees who could not be reached using social media were contacted using a second email campaign. The campaign used a unique tracking URL embedded with a tracking image. Each time the host associated with the URL was resolved, our DNS server would tell us which IP address the resolution was made from. If an image was uploaded (most were uploaded) we would get the IP address as well as additional information about the browser, operating system used by our target, etc. We used IP address information to map bad geographic areas.

Casino Hacker

When we evaluated the data we collected, we found that casino employees (and contractors) worked from different locations. One employee, Jack Smith, was particularly interesting because his title was “Security Manager” and his linked profile talked about incident response and other related matters. It also turned out that Jack was working in a different geographical area than most potential beneficiaries. Jack became our main choice of model.

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When Jack was selected, we emailed 15 employees from [email protected] . That email is a chameleon address, note the “ec” is changed to “ce”. Jack’s real email address will be [email protected] . Although we cannot reveal the content of the email we sent, it was something like this:

Almost immediately after sending the email, we received three automated responses from the office. By the end of the next day we had 12 human responses showing that we had achieved 100% success. The 12 human responses were exciting because there was a high probability that we had succeeded in achieving our goals using Jack’s fake chameleon address.

After 4 days we received an email from an employee named Brian with the title “Director of IT Security”. Brian emailed us instead of emailing the real Jack because his email client autocompleted Jack’s email address with our address instead of Jack’s. Attached to the email was a Microsoft Word document. When we opened the document, we realized that we were looking at an incident report that Jack had emailed to Brian for comment.

Although the report provided a treasure trove of information that would be useful in carrying out various attacks, the document and the trusting relationship between Jack and Brian were more interesting. For most customers, we would embed the malware (RADON) in the script and use a macro or other low-tech execution method. For this client, given that they were a high-profile casino with high-value targets, we decided to use zero-day usage for Microsoft Word instead of something as noisy as a macro.

Heist Prep: Hacking Device

While the exploit worked, it wasn’t flawless. Despite this, we were sure that the exploit would be successful. The payload for this exploit was RADON, a homegrown zero-day malware, and it was configured to connect to our command and control server using three different methods. Each of the three technologies uses common Internet protocols and each communicates using seemingly normal methods to avoid detection. Full details of these techniques are not shared as we use them regularly.

We returned Brian our now armed Microsoft Word document with an email suggesting further updates had been made. Within 10 minutes of delivery, RADON called home and we secretly took control of Brian’s corporate desk.

The next step was to move to the sidelines and infect a few more targets to ensure we maintained access to the casino’s LAN. A common process for doing this would be to scan/probe the network and identify new targets. We wanted to proceed with caution because we didn’t know if the casino had any solutions to detect side moves. So, to maintain confidentiality, instead of scanning the local network we sniffed and monitored all network connections.

Casino Hacker

In addition to sniffing, our team also searched Brian’s computer for intelligence that would help facilitate lateral movement. The search was performed with extreme caution to avoid accessing potential bait files. Bait files, when opened, set off alarms that alert administrators and we couldn’t afford to get caught at such an early stage. In addition to collecting network and file system information, we also took screenshots every minute, enabled Brian’s microphone, took occasional webcam shots, and recorded his keystrokes using RADON.

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After a few hours of autodetection, we started analyzing our results. One of the first things that caught our attention was a screenshot of Brian using TeamViewer. This prompted us to search our keystroke logs for Brian’s TeamViewer credentials and when we did, we found them in no time. We used his captured credentials to log into TeamViewer and were presented with a long list of servers that owned the casino. What was even better was that the IDs of these servers were stored in each server profile so all we had to do was click and set the pwn. It was