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Searching Mammoths utilizing Telegram bot

Searching Mammoths utilizing Telegram bot


Increasingly individuals these days desire to purchase items on-line. And why not? It’s handy, items will likely be delivered to the doorstep, and when you select considered one of many on-line marketplaces, it’s even doable to avoid wasting cash. Sadly, scammers abuse this, concentrating on these providers and their prospects for the scammer’s profit. They’ll create an inventory for items they don’t personal or don’t intend to promote. As soon as the sufferer pays, they seemingly disappear into the ether.

Not too long ago we discovered the supply code of a toolkit that helps scammers a lot of their endeavors that they don’t have to be notably well-versed in IT, however solely want a silver tongue to influence their victims. This toolkit is carried out as a Telegram bot that, when activated, supplies a number of easy-to-navigate menus within the type of clickable buttons that may accommodate many scammers without delay. On this blogpost we’ll give attention to toolkit evaluation and options, and on the construction of the group(s) that use itWe have now named this toolkit Telekopye.

This weblog publish is the primary of a two-part collection the place we take a better have a look at Telekopye and present among the key options which can be very useful to scammers. Within the second half, we’ll focus extra on group operations.

Key factors of this blogpost

  • Telekopye is a toolkit that operates as a Telegram bot and helps scammers rip-off their victims.
  • Telekopye is designed to focus on on-line marketplaces; primarily (however not solely) these fashionable in Russia.
  • Telekopye creates phishing internet pages from predefined templates, and generates and sends phishing emails and SMS messages.
  • Customers and operators of Telekopye are organized in a transparent hierarchy.


We devised the identify Telekopye as a portmanteau of Telegram and kopye (копье), the Russian phrase for spear, as a consequence of the usage of extremely focused (aka spear-) phishing. Victims of this rip-off operation are known as Mammoths by the scammers (see Determine 1) and a number of other leads level to Russia because the nation of origin of the toolkit’s authors and customers. For the sake of readability, and following the identical logic, we’ll check with the scammers utilizing Telekopye as Neanderthals.

Telekopye meme

Determine 1. One of many memes (Mammoth misplaced) from a gaggle dialog posted by Neanderthals

Telekopye was uploaded to VirusTotal a number of occasions, primarily from Russia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan, from the place Neanderthals normally function based mostly on the language utilized in feedback within the code (we now have added machine translations to English in brackets in numerous photographs on this blogpost) and the vast majority of focused markets. Though the principle targets of Neanderthals are on-line markets fashionable in Russia, like OLX and YULA, we noticed that their targets are additionally on-line markets that aren’t native to Russia, like BlaBlaCar or eBay, and even others that don’t have anything in widespread with Russia, like JOFOGAS and Sbazar. Simply for instance how large a few of these marketplaces are, the OLX platform had, based on Fortune, 11 billion web page views and eight.5 million transactions per 30 days in 2014.

We have been in a position to acquire a number of variations of Telekopye, suggesting steady improvement. All of those variations are used to create phishing internet pages, and ship phishing e-mail and SMS messages. As well as, some variations of Telekopye can retailer sufferer information (normally card particulars or e-mail addresses) on disk the place the bot is run. Telekopye could be very versatile however doesn’t comprise any chatbot AI performance. Therefore, it doesn’t truly carry out the scams; it solely eases the era of content material utilized in such scams. In July 2023, we detected new domains that match the modus operandi of Telekopye operators, so they’re nonetheless energetic. The newest model of Telekopye we now have been in a position to collect was from April eleventh, 2022. We assess that Telekopye has been in use since no less than 2015 and, based mostly on snippets of dialog between Neanderthals, that completely different scammer teams are utilizing it.

Telekopye rip-off state of affairs

Due to human nature, scamming in on-line marketplaces appears to be very simple. It normally comes right down to a number of key elements of the rip-off, as seen in Determine 2, that Neanderthals observe. First, Neanderthals discover their victims (Mammoths). Then they attempt to earn their belief and persuade them that they’re authentic (why that is wanted we’ll talk about partially 2). When Neanderthals assume {that a} Mammoth sufficiently trusts them, they use Telekopye to create a phishing internet web page from a premade template and ship the URL to the Mammoth (the URL can be despatched through SMS or e-mail). After the mammoth submits card particulars through this web page, the Neanderthals use these card particulars to steal cash from the Mammoth’s credit score/debit card, whereas hiding the cash utilizing a number of completely different methods equivalent to laundering it via cryptocurrency. Based mostly on a number of dialog snippets, we assess that some crypto mixers are concerned. There’s a lacking hyperlink between when cash is scammed from the Mammoth and the payout to the Neanderthals, which is normally in cryptocurrency.

Telekopye scam overview

Determine 2. Overview of the Neanderthals’ rip-off

Telekopye performance

Telekopye has a number of completely different functionalities that Neanderthals can use to their full extent. These functionalities embrace sending phishing emails, producing phishing internet pages, sending SMS messages, creating QR codes, and creating phishing screenshots. Within the following sections, we’ll give attention to probably the most helpful elements of Telekopye for the typical Neanderthal.


Each Telegram group utilizing Telekopye consists of a number of Neanderthals that function concurrently and independently. Performance is obtainable via buttons, prone to make scamming simpler for Neanderthals.

Determine 3 exhibits one of many menus of Telekopye in a working Telegram group. Significantly noteworthy are the buttons “My advertisements”, displaying all opened listings (ongoing rip-off commercials) every Neanderthal has, and “My profile”, permitting Neanderthals to see their profile info on this platform, such because the variety of scams pulled off, sum of money prepared for subsequent payout, and many others.


Telekopye interface

Determine 3. Instance of Telekopye operator interface in a Telegram group

Phishing web page era

The core function of Telekopye is that it creates phishing internet pages from predefined HTML templates on demand. A Neanderthal must specify the sum of money, product identify and, based mostly on the template, further info like location to which the product will likely be despatched, image, weight, and purchaser’s identify. Then Telekopye takes all this info and creates a phishing internet web page. These phishing internet pages are designed to imitate completely different fee/financial institution login websites, credit score/debit card fee gateways, or just fee pages of various web sites.

To make the phishing web site creation course of simpler, these web site templates are organized by nations they aim. Determine 4 exhibits a easy creation menu the place some templates are sorted based on completely different nations. The one outlier is BlaBlaCar for country-independent car-sharing providers.


Creation menu

Determine 4. Creation menu for various phishing pages. Discover the Swedish flag is incorrectly related to Switzerland within the prime, proper nook.

Determine 5 exhibits one such phishing internet web page, doubtless not totally perfected but.

Uncomplete phishing website template

Determine 5. Stuffed in uncompleted phishing web site template (machine translations in brackets)

The completed product is seen in Determine 6, an eBay internet web page look-alike that’s nearly unrecognizable from the unique (or no less than seems to be like one thing one would count on from the authentic web site).  By clicking the Obtain %amount2% EUR button, a Mammoth is proven a faux credit score/debit card gateway.


Finished template

Determine 6. Completed template for phishing internet web page impersonating eBay

These phishing domains are usually not simple to identify. Often, Neanderthals register a website after which create subdomains for every focused market in such a means that the ultimate URL begins with the anticipated model identify. In Desk 1 discover that just one area olx.id7423[.]ru – is used to focus on the favored market OLX. An instance of a authentic area for the OLX market is olx.ua. In brief, they normally use .ru as their top-level domains and transfer second-level domains to the third-level area’s place.

Desk 1. Examples of a number of domains used for phishing

Service identify (RU)

Service identify

Phishing area

Respectable area

















Авито Аренда
































IZI ua

IZI ua







Transactions and payout

Neanderthals don’t switch cash stolen from Mammoths to their very own accounts. As an alternative, all of the Neanderthals use a shared Telekopye account managed by the Telekopye administrator. Telekopye retains observe of how profitable every Neanderthal is by logging related contributions to that shared account – both in a easy textual content file or a SQL database.

As a consequence, Neanderthals receives a commission by the Telekopye administrator. Cost is break up into three elements:

1.    Fee to the Telekopye administrator.

2.    Fee to recommender (advice system is mentioned later within the weblog publish).

3.    Precise payout.

The fee to the Telekopye administrator is 5–40%, relying on the Telekopye model and Neanderthal position (roles are additionally mentioned later within the weblog publish).

As soon as a Neanderthal turns into eligible for a payout, he asks Telekopye for one. Telekopye checks the Neanderthal’s steadiness, remaining request is permitted by the Telekopye administrator and, lastly, funds are transferred to the Neanderthal’s cryptocurrency pockets. In some Telekopye implementations, step one, asking for a payout, is automated and the negotiation is initiated every time a Neanderthal reaches a sure threshold of stolen cash from efficiently pulled off scams (e.g., 500 RUB). The method of the guide payout request is illustrated in Determine 7 and the related a part of the Telekopye supply code in Determine 8.

Payout diagram

Determine 7. Payout diagram

Telekopye payout code

Determine 8. Code that’s executed every time a Neanderthal needs to withdraw funds

Telekopye retains logs of processed payouts in a separate Telegram channel. A Neanderthal who’s paid additionally receives a hyperlink to this channel, in all probability to have the ability to confirm that the transaction is logged. Determine 9 exhibits an instance of such a logs channel.

Telekopye payout logs

Determine 9. Instance of payout logs in a Telegram channel

The Telekopye administrator doesn’t switch the cash via Telekopye itself. As an alternative, the admin makes use of both a instrument known as “BTC Trade bot”, doubtless an unbiased Telegram bot, or transfers the cash manually. Nonetheless, we now have noticed growing integration of payout-related options into Telekopye, so this will change sooner or later.

Sending phishing e-mail

Neanderthals can instruct Telekopye to create and ship e-mail messages. The sender is a predefined e-mail account shared between all of the Neanderthals. These e-mail accounts are sometimes related to the phishing domains arrange by Neanderthals. Determine 10 exhibits the code to spoof the e-mail headers From and Reply-To in order that the e-mail messages seem extra authentic.


Telekopye mail code

Determine 10. Code to craft phishing emails with a faux URL and spoofed sender tackle

Determine 11 exhibits considered one of many templates used to create phishing e-mail our bodies. No further info has been given, so default values are proven, as a substitute of user-defined textual content, for %title% and %quantity%. A malicious URL is hidden behind the “Go to fee” button.

Telekopye checkout template

Determine 11. E mail template that imitates a easy checkout e-mail

SMS help

Apart from phishing emails, Telekopye permits Neanderthals to create and ship SMS messages in the same method. Determine 12 illustrates the piece of code liable for creating and sending such messages.


Telekopye sms code

Determine 12. A part of the code to create SMS messages utilizing the net service [legitimate] smscab.ru

Some implementations of Telekopye even have predefined SMS texts in several languages. All SMS templates say roughly the identical factor, for instance, “Your merchandise has been paid for. To obtain funds, fill out the shape: <malicious_link>”. Examples of a number of SMS templates are proven in Determine 13, the place authentic Russian templates are proven.How this SMS seems to be when a Mammoth receives it may be seen in Determine 14.

Telekopye sms template text

Determine 13. Telekopye SMS template texts in Russian

Telekopye SMS example

Determine 14. Instance of an SMS created with a template textual content in Czech and obtained with out a malicious hyperlink

Telekopye depends closely on on-line providers equivalent to smscab.ru or smshub.org to ship SMS messages. We have now analyzed an older variant, the place Telekopye used one hardcoded telephone quantity shared amongst all Neanderthals. Nonetheless, doubtless as a result of blocking one telephone quantity would end in blocking all Neanderthals’ messages, this function was discontinued.

Picture manipulation

On this part, we describe how easy it’s for Neanderthals utilizing Telekopye to create convincing photographs and screenshots. Some variations of Telekopye have a element known as Render bot. Though Render bot might be categorised as a standalone bot, we’ll deal with it as a part of Telekopye.

When Render bot is added to a Telegram chat, we’re greeted with the preliminary message seen in Determine 15.

Telekopye initial renderbot message

Determine 15. The preliminary message from Render bot

This offers us good perception into how this a part of Telekopye works. We will classify the makes use of of Render bot into two classes. First, it may be used to mangle photographs in order that they don’t seem to be simple to cross-reference. Second, it could create faux photographs that are supposed to appear like authentic screenshots. On this part, we’ll focus first on the creation of those faux screenshots, a function much like creating phishing web sites.

Not like faux internet pages which can be generated from HTML templates, the bottom for faux screenshots is a JPG picture with some key elements eliminated. These elements embrace the supposed paid value, debit/bank card quantity, title, identify, and many others. This transformation is proven in Determine 16, the place there’s a side-by-side comparability of a plain template and a crammed template. As a result of these are photographs, there aren’t any interactive buttons, not like the e-mail and phishing internet web page counterparts.


Fake screenshot

Determine 16. Generated faux screenshot (template on the left, template crammed with pattern textual content on the best)

There’s a excessive emphasis on making the inserted textual content match in addition to doable, so Telekopye helps a number of completely different fonts. Simply as beforehand, all conduct is hardcoded and no AI is used. We discovered 9 templates for Sberbank, Avito, Youla, Qiwi, and some different providers.

From the Neanderthals’ perspective, creating these screenshots isn’t any completely different from creating phishing internet pages. A Neanderthal solely wants to provide a couple of bits of data, and Telekopye creates a faux screenshot/picture from them.

In Render bot folders additionally it is doable to see considered one of these templates within the technique of creation. Determine 17 exhibits a photograph of an bill for a parcel, with numbered fields. Builders of Telekopye erase all fields with numbers subsequent to them and attempt to match their very own font fashion and font measurement in them. When they’re glad with how the ultimate product seems to be, they add it to the bot for different Neanderthals to make use of as a brand new template.

Telekopye invoice

Determine 17. Pretend examine in progress of creation

One other no much less essential performance of this a part of Telekopye is picture manipulation. From the code and its feedback, it’s doable to collect that it is ready to change photographs of marketed items in order that serps can’t cross-reference them. We assume that if the picture was discovered on an internet market, AI antispam safety would flag it as malicious. This transformation could be very easy and consists of a vertical flip of the picture and a small change in distinction.

Experimental options

Due to content material from Telekopye supply information, we assess that the builders are attempting to experiment with differing types/variations of the rip-off. For instance, within the code, we see QR code era performance (Determine 18). This may imply considered one of two issues. Both it’s a part of the payout course of or they’re attempting to make it a brand new trick for scamming. A possible cause is that Mammoths don’t assume twice when paying through a QR code. So we estimate that there’s going to be a small improve in scams utilizing these sorts of methods.


Telekopye QR creation

Determine 18. Code that generates QR codes

From Determine 15 it seems to be as if Render bot can create faux checks for Sberbank. However in actuality, it could solely create fee confirmations (Determine 19).

Telekopye payout confirmation

Determine 19. Cost affirmation template


Teams of scammers utilizing Telekopye are organized right into a hierarchy with least to most privileges so as as follows:

1.    Directors

2.    Moderators

3.    Good staff / Assist bots

4.    Employees

5.    Blocked

We have now noticed some variants enriching this listing with a couple of additions, however these 5 roles stay the premise. We give attention to every position in additional element within the sections under.

Telekopye additionally employs a referral system. When a brand new Neanderthal needs to hitch the group, he must fill in an software (how a lot “trade” expertise he has, who invited him, and many others.). This software then must be accepted by Moderators or Directors to ensure that the brand new Neanderthal to hitch.


A person with this position just isn’t ready to make use of any a part of the Telekopye toolkit. Guidelines which can be a part of Telekopye supply code recommend that is some type of punishment for breaking them (Determine 20).


Telekopye rules

Determine 20. Guidelines of Telekopye chat group


That is the commonest position that the majority new Neanderthals begin with. With this position, Neanderthals are ready to make use of each Telekopye function, excluding moderation of the group. Throughout payout, this position has the worst fee charges, as seen in Desk 2.

Desk 2. Instance of payout charges


Fee to

Fee to recommender

Precise payout





Good staff/Assist bots




Good staff/Assist bots

This position is a direct improve of the Employee position. The one distinction is that Neanderthals with this position don’t have to present such a big share of their payout to the platform proprietor.

To get this position, Neanderthals should show their usefulness – pull off various scams or obtain a specific amount of stolen funds.

Typically it’s doable to see that this position is reserved for help bots. We aren’t sure what these bots are.


Moderators can promote and demote different members and approve new members. They can not modify Telekopye settings.


Directors are the best position within the group. They’ll use Telekopye to its full extent. On prime of moderators’ capabilities, they will modify Telekopye settings – add phishing internet web page templates, change/add e-mail addresses that the bot makes use of, and alter payout charges, payout kind, and many others.

keep away from being scammed

The best approach to inform whether or not you might be being focused by a Neanderthal attempting to steal your cash is by trying on the language used. It may be the language utilized in dialog, e-mail, or on the net web page itself. Sadly, this isn’t foolproof, and it has been noticed that a few of these rip-off makes an attempt have ironed out grammar and vocabulary errors.

Insist on in-person cash and items trade every time doable when coping with secondhand items on on-line marketplaces. Such trades are usually not protected by well-known establishments or providers. These scams are solely doable as a result of Neanderthals faux they already paid on-line/despatched an merchandise. Sadly, typically in-person supply just isn’t doable and in that case you want to be additional cautious.

Keep away from sending cash until you might be sure the place it should go. When you want to ship cash someplace, examine the online web page for grammatical errors and graphical disproportions. If you’re fortunate, a template can have some inaccuracies. Additionally examine the web site certificates and look intently on the URL, which may be made to appear like an actual hyperlink.

Be careful for strong-arm arguments like “I’ll ship cash via service XYZ. Have you learnt the way it works?”. Ask if one other fee kind is feasible and particularly if they’re keen to simply accept fee from a service you might be conversant in. This isn’t foolproof as a result of scammers have a number of templates, however you may be capable of acknowledge a faux template extra simply if you use a fee technique recognized to you.

Be additional cautious when clicking on hyperlinks in SMS messages or emails, even when they appear as if they arrive from a good supply. Neanderthals aren’t any strangers to e-mail spoofing. A superb rule of thumb is to ask your self whether or not you purchased one thing that will make respected sources ship you emails like that. If you’re not sure, go to the supposed service’s web site immediately (not utilizing the hyperlink within the e-mail/SMS) and ask. Most of those pages have buyer help and they’ll fortunately provide you with a hand.


We found and analyzed Telekopye, a toolkit that helps much less technical individuals pull off on-line scams extra simply. We estimate that Telekopye was in use since no less than 2015. We targeted on one model, analyzing its fundamental capabilities and uncovering how Telekopye works internally. These capabilities embrace creating phishing web sites, sending phishing SMS and emails, and creating faux screenshots. We additionally described the hierarchy of teams utilizing Telekopye. Due to our telemetry, we additionally came upon that this instrument remains to be in use and in energetic improvement. The second Telekopye weblog publish, which will likely be launched later, uncovers the internal working of the rip-off teams.


The creator want to thank Ondřej Novotný for the preliminary discovery.

For any inquiries about our analysis printed on WeLiveSecurity, please contact us at threatintel@eset.com.
ESET Analysis affords personal APT intelligence reviews and information feeds. For any inquiries about this service, go to the ESET Risk Intelligence web page.


A complete listing of Indicators of Compromise and samples can be found in our GitHub repository.









Telekopye rip-off toolkit




Telekopye rip-off toolkit




Telekopye rip-off toolkit





Internet hosting supplier

First seen






Area that’s used to check toolkit or rip-off sufferer.





Area that’s used to check toolkit or rip-off sufferer.





Area that’s used to check toolkit or rip-off sufferer.





Area that’s used to check toolkit or rip-off sufferer.





Area that’s used to check toolkit or rip-off sufferer.





Area that’s used to check toolkit or rip-off sufferer.





Area that’s used to check toolkit or rip-off sufferer.





Area that’s used to check toolkit or rip-off sufferer.





Area that’s used to check toolkit or rip-off sufferer.





Area that’s used to check toolkit or rip-off sufferer.





Area that’s used to check toolkit or rip-off sufferer.





Area that’s used to check toolkit or rip-off sufferer.





Area that’s used to check toolkit or rip-off sufferer.





Area that’s used to check toolkit or rip-off sufferer.

MITRE ATT&CK methods

This desk was constructed utilizing model 13 of the MITRE ATT&CK framework.







Collect Sufferer Identification Info

Telekopye is used to collect debit/bank card particulars, telephone numbers, emails, and many others. through phishing internet pages.

Useful resource Growth


Purchase Infrastructure: Domains

Telekopye operators register their very own domains.


Set up Accounts

Telekopye operators set up accounts on on-line marketplaces.


Set up Accounts: E mail Accounts

Telekopye operators arrange e-mail addresses related to the domains they register.


Compromise Accounts: E mail Accounts

Telekopye operators use compromised e-mail accounts to extend their stealthiness.


Develop Capabilities: Malware

Telekopye is customized malware.

Preliminary Entry


Phishing: Spearphishing Hyperlink

Telekopye sends hyperlinks to phishing web sites in emails or SMS messages.



Enter Seize: Net Portal Seize

Net pages created by Telekopye seize delicate info and report it to operators.




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