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Searching Mammoths utilizing Telegram bot

Increasingly individuals these days want to purchase items on-line. And why not? It’s handy, items might be delivered to the doorstep, and in the event you select one in all 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 will 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.

Lately 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 applied as a Telegram bot that, when activated, gives a number of easy-to-navigate menus within the type of clickable buttons that may accommodate many scammers directly. On this blogpost we’ll deal with toolkit evaluation and options, and on the construction of the group(s) that use itWe now have named this toolkit Telekopye.

This weblog put up is the primary of a two-part collection the place we take a better take a look at Telekopye and present a number of 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 completely) these widespread in Russia.
  • Telekopye creates phishing net 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, resulting from 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 several 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 consult 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 primarily based on the language utilized in feedback within the code (we have now added machine translations to English in brackets in numerous photographs on this blogpost) and the vast majority of focused markets. Regardless that the primary targets of Neanderthals are on-line markets widespread 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 frequent with Russia, like JOFOGAS and Sbazar. Simply as an example how huge a few of these marketplaces are, the OLX platform had, in accordance with Fortune, 11 billion web page views and eight.5 million transactions per thirty days in 2014.

We had been in a position to accumulate a number of variations of Telekopye, suggesting steady growth. All of those variations are used to create phishing net pages, and ship phishing e mail and SMS messages. As well as, some variations of Telekopye can retailer sufferer knowledge (normally card particulars or e mail addresses) on disk the place the bot is run. Telekopye may be very versatile however doesn’t comprise any chatbot AI performance. Therefore, it doesn’t truly carry out the scams; it solely eases the technology 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 lively. The most recent model of Telekopye we have now been in a position to collect was from April eleventh, 2022. We assess that Telekopye has been in use since not less than 2015 and, primarily based on snippets of dialog between Neanderthals, that totally 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 components of the rip-off, as seen in Determine 2, that Neanderthals comply with. First, Neanderthals discover their victims (Mammoths). Then they attempt to earn their belief and persuade them that they’re reliable (why that is wanted we’ll talk about partially 2). When Neanderthals suppose {that a} Mammoth sufficiently trusts them, they use Telekopye to create a phishing net web page from a premade template and ship the URL to the Mammoth (the URL will also be despatched by way of SMS or e mail). After the mammoth submits card particulars by way of 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 totally different methods akin 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 totally different functionalities that Neanderthals can use to their full extent. These functionalities embrace sending phishing emails, producing phishing net pages, sending SMS messages, creating QR codes, and creating phishing screenshots. Within the following sections, we’ll deal with probably the most helpful components 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 reveals one of many menus of Telekopye in a working Telegram group. Notably noteworthy are the buttons “My adverts”, exhibiting 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 so on.


Telekopye interface

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

Phishing web page technology

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

To make the phishing web site creation course of simpler, these web site templates are organized by international locations they aim. Determine 4 reveals a easy creation menu the place some templates are sorted in accordance with totally different international locations. 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 high, proper nook.

Determine 5 reveals one such phishing net web page, probably 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 net web page look-alike that’s nearly unrecognizable from the unique (or not less than seems like one thing one would count on from the reliable 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 net web page impersonating eBay

These phishing domains usually are not simple to identify. Often, Neanderthals register a site after which create subdomains for every focused market in such a method 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 reliable 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 monitor 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. Fee is cut up into three components:

1.    Fee to the Telekopye administrator.

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

3.    Precise payout.

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

As soon as a Neanderthal turns into eligible for a payout, he asks Telekopye for one. Telekopye checks the Neanderthal’s steadiness, ultimate request is authorized 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 at any time when 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 at any time when a Neanderthal desires 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, most likely to have the ability to confirm that the transaction is logged. Determine 9 reveals 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 software known as “BTC Change bot”, probably an unbiased Telegram bot, or transfers the cash manually. Nevertheless, we have now noticed growing integration of payout-related options into Telekopye, so this may occasionally 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 reveals the code to spoof the e-mail headers From and Reply-To in order that the e-mail messages seem extra reliable.


Telekopye mail code

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

Determine 11 reveals one in all many templates used to create phishing e mail our bodies. No extra info has been given, so default values are proven, as an alternative of user-defined textual content, for %title% and %quantity%. A malicious URL is hidden behind the “Go to cost” button.

Telekopye checkout template

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

SMS help

In addition to phishing emails, Telekopye permits Neanderthals to create and ship SMS messages in an analogous method. Determine 12 illustrates the piece of code accountable 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 kind of 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 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 acquired and not using a malicious hyperlink

Telekopye depends closely on on-line providers akin to smscab.ru or smshub.org to ship SMS messages. We now have analyzed an older variant, the place Telekopye used one hardcoded telephone quantity shared amongst all Neanderthals. Nevertheless, probably as a result of blocking one telephone quantity would end in blocking all Neanderthals’ messages, this characteristic 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 labeled 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 provides 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 might create faux photographs that are supposed to appear to be reliable screenshots. On this part, we’ll focus first on the creation of those faux screenshots, a characteristic just like creating phishing web sites.

In contrast to faux net pages which can be generated from HTML templates, the bottom for faux screenshots is a JPG picture with some key components eliminated. These components embrace the supposed paid worth, debit/bank card quantity, title, identify, and so on. 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 are not any interactive buttons, in contrast to the e-mail and phishing net web page counterparts.


Fake screenshot

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

There’s a excessive emphasis on making the inserted textual content match in addition to doable, so Telekopye helps a number of totally 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 totally different from creating phishing net pages. A Neanderthal solely wants to produce a couple of bits of knowledge, and Telekopye creates a faux screenshot/picture from them.

In Render bot folders additionally it is doable to see one in all these templates within the means of creation. Determine 17 reveals 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 happy with how the ultimate product seems, they add it to the bot for different Neanderthals to make use of as a brand new template.

Telekopye invoice

Determine 17. Pretend test 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 engines like google can not cross-reference them. We assume that if the picture was discovered on a web based market, AI antispam safety would flag it as malicious. This transformation may 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 technology performance (Determine 18). This may imply one in all two issues. Both it’s a part of the payout course of or they’re making an attempt to make it a brand new trick for scamming. A possible purpose is that Mammoths don’t suppose twice when paying by way of a QR code. So we estimate that there’s going to be a small enhance in scams utilizing these sorts of methods.


Telekopye QR creation

Determine 18. Code that generates QR codes

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

Telekopye payout confirmation

Determine 19. Fee 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 now have noticed some variants enriching this listing with a couple of additions, however these 5 roles stay the idea. We deal with every function in additional element within the sections under.

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


A person with this function 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 form of punishment for breaking them (Determine 20).


Telekopye rules

Determine 20. Guidelines of Telekopye chat group


That is the most typical function that the majority new Neanderthals begin with. With this function, Neanderthals are ready to make use of each Telekopye characteristic, excluding moderation of the group. Throughout payout, this function 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 function is a direct improve of the Employee function. The one distinction is that Neanderthals with this function don’t have to offer such a big proportion of their payout to the platform proprietor.

To get this function, Neanderthals should show their usefulness – pull off quite a lot of scams or obtain a certain quantity of stolen funds.

Typically it’s doable to see that this function is reserved for help bots. We’re not sure what these bots are.


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


Directors are the best function within the group. They will use Telekopye to its full extent. On high of moderators’ capabilities, they will modify Telekopye settings – add phishing net web page templates, change/add e mail addresses that the bot makes use of, and alter payout charges, payout sort, and so on.

The right way to keep away from being scammed

The best solution to inform whether or not you might be being focused by a Neanderthal making an attempt to steal your cash is by wanting 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 at any time when doable when coping with secondhand items on on-line marketplaces. Such trades usually are not protected by well-known establishments or providers. These scams are solely doable as a result of Neanderthals fake they already paid on-line/despatched an merchandise. Sadly, generally in-person supply isn’t doable and in that case you’ll want to be further cautious.

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

Be careful for strong-arm arguments like “I’ll ship cash via service XYZ. Are you aware the way it works?”. Ask if one other cost sort is feasible and particularly if they’re prepared to just accept cost from a service you might be accustomed to. This isn’t foolproof as a result of scammers have a number of templates, however you may be capable to acknowledge a faux template extra simply whenever you use a cost technique identified to you.

Be further cautious when clicking on hyperlinks in SMS messages or emails, even when they appear as if they arrive from a good supply. Neanderthals are not any strangers to e mail spoofing. An excellent rule of thumb is to ask your self whether or not you purchased one thing that may make respected sources ship you emails like that. If you’re uncertain, go to the supposed service’s web site straight (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 not less than 2015. We centered on one model, analyzing its most important 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 discovered that this software continues to be in use and in lively growth. The second Telekopye weblog put up, which might be launched later, uncovers the internal working of the rip-off teams.


The creator wish 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 presents personal APT intelligence experiences and knowledge feeds. For any inquiries about this service, go to the ESET Menace 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 Data

Telekopye is used to collect debit/bank card particulars, telephone numbers, emails, and so on. by way of phishing net 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: Internet Portal Seize

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


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