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The Hacker News - Most Trusted Cyber Security and Computer Security Analysis: APT Hackers

Hackers Use Evilnum Malware to Target Cryptocurrency and Commodities Platforms

Hackers Use Evilnum Malware to Target Cryptocurrency and Commodities Platforms

July 21, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The advanced persistent threat (APT) actor tracked as Evilnum is once again exhibiting signs of renewed activity aimed at European financial and investment entities. "Evilnum is a backdoor that can be used for data theft or to load additional payloads," enterprise security firm Proofpoint  said  in a report shared with The Hacker News. "The malware includes multiple interesting components to evade detection and modify infection paths based on identified antivirus software." Targets include organizations with operations supporting foreign exchanges, cryptocurrency, and decentralized finance (DeFi). The latest spate of attacks are said to have commenced in late 2021. The findings also dovetail with a report from Zscaler last month that  detailed  low-volume targeted attack campaigns launched against companies in Europe and the U.K. Active since 2018,  Evilnum  is tracked by the wider cybersecurity community using the names TA4563 and DeathStalker, with infection
Experts Uncover New Espionage Attacks by Chinese 'Mustang Panda' Hackers

Experts Uncover New Espionage Attacks by Chinese 'Mustang Panda' Hackers

May 06, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The China-based threat actor known as Mustang Panda has been observed refining and retooling its tactics and malware to strike entities located in Asia, the European Union, Russia, and the U.S. "Mustang Panda is a highly motivated APT group relying primarily on the use of topical lures and social engineering to trick victims into infecting themselves," Cisco Talos  said  in a new report detailing the group's evolving modus operandi. The group is known to have targeted a wide range of organizations since at least 2012, with the actor primarily relying on email-based social engineering to gain initial access to drop PlugX, a backdoor predominantly deployed for long-term access. Phishing messages attributed to the campaign contain malicious lures masquerading as official European Union reports on the ongoing conflict in Ukraine or Ukrainian government reports, both of which download malware onto compromised machines. Also observed are phishing messages tailored to ta
Researchers Trace Widespread Espionage Attacks Back to Chinese 'Cicada' Hackers

Researchers Trace Widespread Espionage Attacks Back to Chinese 'Cicada' Hackers

April 05, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
A Chinese state-backed advanced persistent threat (APT) group known for singling out Japanese entities has been attributed to a new long-running espionage campaign targeting new geographies, suggesting a "widening" of the threat actor's targeting. The widespread intrusions, which are believed to have commenced at the earliest in mid-2021 and continued as recently as February 2022, have been tied to a group tracked as Cicada , which is also known as APT10, Stone Panda, Potassium, Bronze Riverside, or MenuPass Team. "Victims in this Cicada (aka APT10) campaign include government, legal, religious, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in multiple countries around the world, including in Europe, Asia, and North America," researchers from the Symantec Threat Hunter Team, part of Broadcom Software,  said  in a report shared with The Hacker News. "There is a strong focus on victims in the government and NGO sectors, with some of these organizations worki
Chinese Hackers Target VMware Horizon Servers with Log4Shell to Deploy Rootkit

Chinese Hackers Target VMware Horizon Servers with Log4Shell to Deploy Rootkit

April 01, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
A Chinese advanced persistent threat tracked as Deep Panda has been observed exploiting the  Log4Shell vulnerability  in VMware Horizon servers to deploy a backdoor and a novel rootkit on infected machines with the goal of stealing sensitive data. "The nature of targeting was opportunistic insofar that multiple infections in several countries and various sectors occurred on the same dates,"  said  Rotem Sde-Or and Eliran Voronovitch, researchers with Fortinet's FortiGuard Labs, in a report released this week. "The victims belong to the financial, academic, cosmetics, and travel industries." Deep Panda , also known by the monikers Shell Crew, KungFu Kittens, and Bronze Firestone, is said to have been active since at least 2010, with recent attacks "targeting legal firms for data exfiltration and technology providers for command-and-control infrastructure building,"  according  to Secureworks. Cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, which assigned the panda
Russian Ransomware Gang Retool Custom Hacking Tools of Other APT Groups

Russian Ransomware Gang Retool Custom Hacking Tools of Other APT Groups

March 14, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
A Russian-speaking ransomware outfit likely targeted an unnamed entity in the gambling and gaming sector in Europe and Central America by repurposing custom tools developed by other APT groups like Iran's MuddyWater, new research has found. The unusual attack chain involved the abuse of stolen credentials to gain unauthorized access to the victim network, ultimately leading to the deployment of Cobalt Strike payloads on compromised assets,  said  Felipe Duarte and Ido Naor, researchers at Israeli incident response firm Security Joes, in a report published last week. Although the infection was contained at this stage, the researchers characterized the compromise as a case of a suspected ransomware attack. The intrusion is said to have taken place in February 2022, with the attackers making use of post-exploitation tools such as  ADFind , NetScan,  SoftPerfect , and  LaZagne . Also employed is an AccountRestore executable to brute-force administrator credentials and a forked ver
Researchers Find New Evidence Linking Kwampirs Malware to Shamoon APT Hackers

Researchers Find New Evidence Linking Kwampirs Malware to Shamoon APT Hackers

March 14, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
New findings released last week showcase the overlapping source code and techniques between the operators of  Shamoon  and  Kwampirs , indicating that they "are the same group or really close collaborators." "Research evidence shows identification of co-evolution between both Shamoon and Kwampirs malware families during the known timeline," Pablo Rincón Crespo of Cylera Labs  said . "If Kwampirs is based on the original Shamoon, and Shamoon 2 and 3 campaign code is based on Kwampirs, […] then the authors of Kwampirs would be potentially the same as the authors of Shamoon, or must have a very strong relationship, as has been seen over the course of many years," Rincón Crespo added. Shamoon, also known as DistTrack, functions as an information-stealing malware that also incorporates a destructive component that allows it to overwrite the Master Boot Record (MBR) with arbitrary data so as to render the infected machine inoperable. The malware, developed
Iranian Hackers Using New PowerShell Backdoor in Cyber Espionage Attacks

Iranian Hackers Using New PowerShell Backdoor in Cyber Espionage Attacks

February 01, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
An advanced persistent threat group with links to Iran has updated its malware toolset to include a novel PowerShell-based implant called PowerLess Backdoor , according to new research published by Cybereason. The Boston-headquartered cybersecurity company attributed the malware to a hacking group known as Charming Kitten (aka Phosphorous, APT35, or  TA453 ), while also calling out the backdoor's evasive PowerShell execution. "The PowerShell code runs in the context of a .NET application, thus not launching 'powershell.exe' which enables it to evade security products," Daniel Frank, senior malware researcher at Cybereason,  said . "The toolset analyzed includes extremely modular, multi-staged malware that decrypts and deploys additional payloads in several stages for the sake of both stealth and efficacy." The threat actor, which is active since at least 2017, has been behind a series of campaigns in recent years, including those wherein the adversa
Molerats Hackers Hiding New Espionage Attacks Behind Public Cloud Infrastructure

Molerats Hackers Hiding New Espionage Attacks Behind Public Cloud Infrastructure

January 22, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
An active espionage campaign has been attributed to the threat actor known as Molerats that abuses legitimate cloud services like Google Drive and Dropbox to host malware payloads and for command-and-control and the exfiltration of data from targets across the Middle East. The cyber offensive is believed to have been underway since at least July 2021,  according  to cloud-based information security company Zscaler, continuing  previous efforts  by the hacking group to conduct reconnaissance on the target hosts and plunder sensitive information. Molerats , also tracked as TA402, Gaza Hackers Team, and Extreme Jackal, is an advanced persistent threat (APT) group that's largely focused on entities operating in the Middle East. Attack activity associated with the actor has leveraged geopolitical and military themes to entice users to open Microsoft Office attachments and click on malicious links. The latest campaign detailed by Zscaler is no different in that it makes use of deco
Microsoft Seizes 42 Malicious Web Domains Used By Chinese Hackers

Microsoft Seizes 42 Malicious Web Domains Used By Chinese Hackers

December 07, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Microsoft on Monday announced the seizure of 42 domains used by a China-based cyber espionage group that set its sights on organizations in the U.S. and 28 other countries pursuant to a legal warrant issued by a federal court in the U.S. state of Virginia. The Redmond company attributed the malicious activities to a group it pursues as Nickel , and by the wider cybersecurity industry under the monikers APT15, Bronze Palace, Ke3Chang, Mirage, Playful Dragon, and Vixen Panda. The advanced persistent threat (APT) actor is believed to have been active since at least 2012. "Nickel has targeted organizations in both the private and public sectors, including diplomatic organizations and ministries of foreign affairs in North America, Central America, South America, the Caribbean, Europe and Africa," Microsoft's Corporate Vice President for Customer Security and Trust, Tom Burt, said . "There is often a correlation between Nickel's targets and China's geopolitical int
APT C-23 Hackers Using New Android Spyware Variant to Target Middle East Users

APT C-23 Hackers Using New Android Spyware Variant to Target Middle East Users

November 24, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A threat actor known for striking targets in the Middle East has evolved its Android spyware yet again with enhanced capabilities that allow it to be stealthier and more persistent while passing off as seemingly innocuous app updates to stay under the radar. The new variants have "incorporated new features into their malicious apps that make them more resilient to actions by users, who might try to remove them manually, and to security and web hosting companies that attempt to block access to, or shut down, their command-and-control server domains," Sophos threat researcher Pankaj Kohli  said  in a report published Tuesday. Also known by the monikers  VAMP ,  FrozenCell ,  GnatSpy , and  Desert Scorpion , the mobile spyware has been a preferred tool of choice for the APT-C-23 threat group since at least 2017, with  successive iterations  featuring extended surveillance functionality to vacuum files, images, contacts and call logs, read notifications from messaging apps, r
Iranian Hackers Target Several Israeli Organizations With Supply-Chain Attacks

Iranian Hackers Target Several Israeli Organizations With Supply-Chain Attacks

August 18, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
IT and communication companies in Israel were at the center of a supply chain attack campaign spearheaded by an Iranian threat actor that involved impersonating the firms and their HR personnel to target victims with fake job offers in an attempt to penetrate their computers and gain access to the company's clients. The attacks, which occurred in two waves in May and July 2021, have been linked to a hacker group called Siamesekitten (aka Lyceum or Hexane) that has primarily singled out oil, gas, and telecom providers in the Middle East and in Africa at least since 2018, researchers from ClearSky  said  in a report published Tuesday. Infections undertaken by the adversary commenced with identifying potential victims, who were then enticed with "alluring" job offers in well-known companies like ChipPc and Software AG by posing as human resources department employees from the impersonated firms, only to lead the victims to a phishing website containing weaponized files t
New Chinese Malware Targeted Russia's Largest Nuclear Submarine Designer

New Chinese Malware Targeted Russia's Largest Nuclear Submarine Designer

May 03, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A threat actor believed to be working on behalf of Chinese state-sponsored interests was recently observed targeting a Russia-based defense contractor involved in designing nuclear submarines for the naval arm of the Russian Armed Forces. The phishing attack, which singled out a general director working at the Rubin Design Bureau, leveraged the infamous "Royal Road" Rich Text Format (RTF) weaponizer to deliver a previously undocumented Windows backdoor dubbed " PortDoor ," according to Cybereason's Nocturnus threat intelligence team. "Portdoor has multiple functionalities, including the ability to do reconnaissance, target profiling, delivery of additional payloads, privilege escalation, process manipulation static detection antivirus evasion, one-byte XOR encryption, AES-encrypted data exfiltration and more," the researchers  said  in a write-up on Friday. Rubin Design Bureau is a submarine design center located in Saint Petersburg, accounting fo
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