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China-Linked Hackers Adopt Two-Stage Infection Tactic to Deploy Deuterbear RAT

China-Linked Hackers Adopt Two-Stage Infection Tactic to Deploy Deuterbear RAT
May 17, 2024 Malware / Artificial Intelligence
Cybersecurity researchers have shed more light on a remote access trojan (RAT) known as Deuterbear used by the China-linked  BlackTech  hacking group as part of a cyber espionage campaign targeting the Asia-Pacific region this year. "Deuterbear, while similar to Waterbear in many ways, shows advancements in capabilities such as including support for shellcode plugins, avoiding handshakes for RAT operation, and using HTTPS for C&C communication," Trend Micro researchers Pierre Lee and Cyris Tseng  said  in a new analysis. "Comparing the two malware variants, Deuterbear uses a shellcode format, possesses anti-memory scanning, and shares a traffic key with its downloader unlike Waterbear." BlackTech , active since at least 2007, is also tracked by the broader cybersecurity community under the monikers Circuit Panda, Earth Hundun, HUAPI, Manga Taurus, Palmerworm, Red Djinn, and Temp.Overboard. Cyber attacks orchestrated by the group have long involved the deplo

Kimsuky APT Deploying Linux Backdoor Gomir in South Korean Cyber Attacks

Kimsuky APT Deploying Linux Backdoor Gomir in South Korean Cyber Attacks
May 17, 2024 Linux / Malware
The  Kimsuky  (aka Springtail) advanced persistent threat (APT) group, which is linked to North Korea's Reconnaissance General Bureau (RGB), has been observed deploying a Linux version of its GoBear backdoor as part of a campaign targeting South Korean organizations. The backdoor, codenamed  Gomir , is "structurally almost identical to GoBear, with extensive sharing of code between malware variants," the Symantec Threat Hunter Team, part of Broadcom,  said  in a new report. "Any functionality from GoBear that is operating system-dependent is either missing or reimplemented in Gomir." GoBear was  first documented  by South Korean security firm S2W in early February 2024 in connection with a campaign that delivered a malware called Troll Stealer (aka TrollAgent), which overlaps with known Kimsuky malware families like AppleSeed and AlphaSeed. A subsequent analysis by the AhnLab Security Intelligence Center (ASEC) revealed that the malware is distributed via t

North Korean Hackers Deploy New Golang Malware 'Durian' Against Crypto Firms

North Korean Hackers Deploy New Golang Malware 'Durian' Against Crypto Firms
May 10, 2024 Malware / Cyber Espionage
The North Korean threat actor tracked as Kimsuky has been observed deploying a previously undocumented Golang-based malware dubbed  Durian  as part of highly-targeted cyber attacks aimed at two South Korean cryptocurrency firms. "Durian boasts comprehensive backdoor functionality, enabling the execution of delivered commands, additional file downloads, and exfiltration of files," Kaspersky  said  in its APT trends report for Q1 2024. The attacks, which occurred in August and November 2023, entailed the use of legitimate software exclusive to South Korea as an infection pathway, although the precise mechanism used to manipulate the program is currently unclear. What's known is that the software establishes a connection to the attacker's server, leading to the retrieval of a malicious payload that kicks off the infection sequence. The first-stage serves as an installer for additional malware and a means to establish persistence on the host. It also paves the way fo

Guide: Secure Your Privileged Access with Our Expert-Approved Template

cyber security
websiteDelineaIT Security / Access Control Security
Transform your Privileged Access Management with our Policy Template—over 40 expertly crafted statements to elevate compliance and streamline your security.

New Guide: How to Scale Your vCISO Services Profitably

New Guide: How to Scale Your vCISO Services Profitably
May 09, 2024vCISO / Regulatory Compliance
Cybersecurity and compliance guidance are in high demand among SMEs. However, many of them cannot afford to hire a full-time CISO. A  v CISO can answer this need by offering on-demand access to top-tier cybersecurity expertise. This is also an opportunity for MSPs and MSSPs to grow their business and bottom line. MSPs and MSSPs that expand their offerings and provide vCISO services will cater to SME requirements and concerns. By answering this market gap, they can grow their customer base as well as upsell to existing clients. This will lead to recurring revenue and increased profitability. Developing and scaling vCISO services requires a well-thought-out plan. This will help guide you through the required processes, anticipate and overcome challenges and optimize resource use. To aid you, we introduce a comprehensive and actionable  guide: "How to Scale Your vCISO Services Profitably" . The guide was developed based on the experience of industry leader  Cynom i, who has helped hun

APT42 Hackers Pose as Journalists to Harvest Credentials and Access Cloud Data

APT42 Hackers Pose as Journalists to Harvest Credentials and Access Cloud Data
May 07, 2024 Cyber Espionage / Malware
The Iranian state-backed hacking outfit called  APT42  is making use of enhanced social engineering schemes to infiltrate target networks and cloud environments. Targets of the attack include Western and Middle Eastern NGOs, media organizations, academia, legal services and activists, Google Cloud subsidiary Mandiant said in a report published last week. "APT42 was observed  posing as journalists  and event organizers to build trust with their victims through ongoing correspondence, and to deliver invitations to conferences or legitimate documents," the company  said . "These social engineering schemes enabled APT42 to harvest credentials and use them to gain initial access to cloud environments. Subsequently, the threat actor covertly exfiltrated data of strategic interest to Iran, while relying on built-in features and open-source tools to avoid detection." APT42 (aka Damselfly and UNC788),  first documented  by the company in September 2022, is an Iranian st

Russia's APT28 Exploited Windows Print Spooler Flaw to Deploy 'GooseEgg' Malware

Russia's APT28 Exploited Windows Print Spooler Flaw to Deploy 'GooseEgg' Malware
Apr 23, 2024 National Security Agency / Threat Intelligence
The Russia-linked nation-state threat actor tracked as  APT28  weaponized a security flaw in the Microsoft Windows Print Spooler component to deliver a previously unknown custom malware called GooseEgg. The post-compromise tool, which is said to have been used since at least June 2020 and possibly as early as April 2019, leveraged a now-patched flaw that allowed for privilege escalation (CVE-2022-38028, CVSS score: 7.8). It was  addressed  by Microsoft as part of updates released in October 2022, with the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) credited for reporting the flaw at the time. According to new findings from the tech giant's threat intelligence team,  APT28  – also called Fancy Bear and Forest Blizzard (formerly Strontium) – weaponized the bug in attacks targeting Ukrainian, Western European, and North American government, non-governmental, education, and transportation sector organizations. "Forest Blizzard has used the tool [...] to exploit the CVE-2022-38028 vu

BlackTech Targets Tech, Research, and Gov Sectors New 'Deuterbear' Tool

BlackTech Targets Tech, Research, and Gov Sectors New 'Deuterbear' Tool
Apr 19, 2024 Network Security / Firmware Security
Technology, research, and government sectors in the Asia-Pacific region have been targeted by a threat actor called  BlackTech  as part of a recent cyber attack wave. The intrusions pave the way for an updated version of modular backdoor dubbed Waterbear as well as its enhanced successor referred to as Deuterbear. Cybersecurity firm Trend Micro is tracking the threat actor under the moniker Earth Hundun, which is known to be active since at least 2007. It also goes by other names such as Circuit Panda, HUAPI, Manga Taurus, Palmerworm, Red Djinn, and Temp.Overboard. "Waterbear is known for its complexity, as it uses a number of evasion mechanisms to minimize the chance of detection and analysis," Trend Micro researchers Cyris Tseng and Pierre Lee  said  in an analysis last week. "In 2022, Earth Hundun began using the latest version of Waterbear — also known as Deuterbear — which has several changes, including anti-memory scanning and decryption routines, that make us

Russian APT Deploys New 'Kapeka' Backdoor in Eastern European Attacks

Russian APT Deploys New 'Kapeka' Backdoor in Eastern European Attacks
Apr 17, 2024 Ransomware / Cyber Espionage
A previously undocumented "flexible" backdoor called  Kapeka  has been "sporadically" observed in cyber attacks targeting Eastern Europe, including Estonia and Ukraine, since at least mid-2022. The findings come from Finnish cybersecurity firm WithSecure, which attributed the malware to the Russia-linked advanced persistent threat (APT) group tracked as  Sandworm  (aka APT44 or Seashell Blizzard). Microsoft is tracking the same malware under the name KnuckleTouch. "The malware [...] is a flexible backdoor with all the necessary functionalities to serve as an early-stage toolkit for its operators, and also to provide long-term access to the victim estate," security researcher Mohammad Kazem Hassan Nejad  said . Kapeka comes fitted with a dropper that's designed to launch and execute a backdoor component on the infected host, after which it removes itself. The dropper is also responsible for setting up persistence for the backdoor either as a schedul

Researchers Identify Multiple China Hacker Groups Exploiting Ivanti Security Flaws

Researchers Identify Multiple China Hacker Groups Exploiting Ivanti Security Flaws
Apr 05, 2024 Advanced Persistent Threat
Multiple China-nexus threat actors have been linked to the zero-day exploitation of three security flaws impacting Ivanti appliances (CVE-2023-46805, CVE-2024-21887, and CVE-2024-21893). The clusters are being tracked by Mandiant under the uncategorized monikers  UNC5221 , UNC5266, UNC5291,  UNC5325 , UNC5330, and UNC5337. Also previously linked to the exploitation spree is a Chinese hacking crew called UNC3886 , whose tradecraft is notable for weaponizing zero-day bugs in Fortinet and VMware to breach target networks. The Google Cloud subsidiary said it has also observed financially motivated actors exploiting CVE-2023-46805 and CVE-2024-21887, likely in an attempt to conduct cryptocurrency mining operations. "UNC5266 overlaps in part with UNC3569, a China-nexus espionage actor that has been observed exploiting vulnerabilities in Aspera Faspex, Microsoft Exchange, and Oracle Web Applications Desktop Integrator, among others, to gain initial access to target environments,"

Finland Blames Chinese Hacking Group APT31 for Parliament Cyber Attack

Finland Blames Chinese Hacking Group APT31 for Parliament Cyber Attack
Mar 28, 2024 Cyber Espionage / Malware
The Police of Finland (aka Poliisi) has formally accused a Chinese nation-state actor tracked as APT31 for orchestrating a cyber attack targeting the country's Parliament in 2020. The intrusion, per the authorities, is said to have occurred between fall 2020 and early 2021. The agency described the ongoing criminal probe as both demanding and time-consuming, involving extensive analysis of a "complex criminal infrastructure." The breach was  first disclosed  in December 2020, with the Finnish Security and Intelligence Service (Supo)  describing  it as a  state-backed cyber espionage operation  designed to penetrate the Parliament's information systems. "The police have previously informed that they are investigating the hacking group APT31's connections with the incident," Poliisi said. "These connections have now been confirmed by the investigation, and the police have also identified one suspect." APT31 , also called Altaire, Bronze Vin

U.S. Charges 7 Chinese Nationals in Major 14-Year Cyber Espionage Operation

U.S. Charges 7 Chinese Nationals in Major 14-Year Cyber Espionage Operation
Mar 26, 2024 Cyber Espionage / Malware
The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) on Monday unsealed indictments against seven Chinese nationals for their involvement in a hacking group that targeted U.S. and foreign critics, journalists, businesses, and political officials for about 14 years. The defendants include Ni Gaobin (倪高彬), Weng Ming (翁明), Cheng Feng (程锋), Peng Yaowen (彭耀文), Sun Xiaohui (孙小辉), Xiong Wang (熊旺), and Zhao Guangzong (赵光宗).  The suspected cyber spies have been charged with conspiracy to commit computer intrusions and conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with a state-sponsored threat group tracked as  APT31 , which is also known as Altaire,  Bronze Vinewood , Judgement Panda, and Violet Typhoon (formerly Zirconium). The hacking collective has been  active since at least 2010 . Specifically, their responsibilities entail testing and exploiting the malware used to conduct the intrusions, managing the attack infrastructure, and conducting surveillance of specific U.S. entities, federal prosecutors no

Chinese Hackers Exploiting Ivanti VPN Flaws to Deploy New Malware

Chinese Hackers Exploiting Ivanti VPN Flaws to Deploy New Malware
Feb 29, 2024 Threat intelligence / Vulnerability
At least two different suspected China-linked cyber espionage clusters, tracked as  UNC5325  and  UNC3886 , have been attributed to the exploitation of security flaws in Ivanti Connect Secure VPN appliances. UNC5325 abused  CVE-2024-21893  to deliver a wide range of new malware called LITTLELAMB.WOOLTEA, PITSTOP, PITDOG, PITJET, and PITHOOK, as well as attempted to maintain persistent access to compromised appliances, Mandiant said. The Google-owned threat intelligence firm has assessed with moderate confidence that UNC5325 is associated with UNC3886 owing to source code overlaps in LITTLELAMB.WOOLTEA and PITHOOK with malware used by the latter. It's worth pointing out that  UNC3886  has a track record of leveraging zero-day flaws in Fortinet and VMware solutions to deploy a variety of implants like VIRTUALPITA, VIRTUALPIE, THINCRUST, and CASTLETAP. "UNC3886 has primarily targeted the defense industrial base, technology, and telecommunication organizations located in the U.S. and

Iranian Hackers Target Middle East Policy Experts with New BASICSTAR Backdoor

 Iranian Hackers Target Middle East Policy Experts with New BASICSTAR Backdoor
Feb 19, 2024 Malware / Cyber Espionage
The Iranian-origin threat actor known as Charming Kitten has been linked to a new set of attacks aimed at Middle East policy experts with a new backdoor called  BASICSTAR  by creating a fake webinar portal. Charming Kitten, also called APT35, CharmingCypress, Mint Sandstorm, TA453, and Yellow Garuda, has a history of orchestrating a wide range of social engineering campaigns that cast a wide net in their targeting, often singling out think tanks, NGOs, and journalists. "CharmingCypress often employs unusual social engineering tactics, such as engaging targets in prolonged conversations over email before sending links to malicious content," Volexity researchers Ankur Saini, Callum Roxan, Charlie Gardner, and Damien Cash  said . Last month, Microsoft  revealed  that high-profile individuals working on Middle Eastern affairs have been targeted by the adversary to deploy malware such as MischiefTut and MediaPl (aka EYEGLASS) that are capable of harvesting sensitive informatio

Russian Turla Hackers Target Polish NGOs with New TinyTurla-NG Backdoor

Russian Turla Hackers Target Polish NGOs with New TinyTurla-NG Backdoor
Feb 15, 2024 Malware / Cyber Espionage
The Russia-linked threat actor known as Turla has been observed using a new backdoor called  TinyTurla-NG  as part of a three-month-long campaign targeting Polish non-governmental organizations in December 2023. "TinyTurla-NG, just like TinyTurla, is a small 'last chance' backdoor that is left behind to be used when all other unauthorized access/backdoor mechanisms have failed or been detected on the infected systems," Cisco Talos  said  in a technical report published today. TinyTurla-NG is so named for exhibiting similarities with TinyTurla, another implant used by the adversarial collective in intrusions aimed at the U.S., Germany, and Afghanistan since at least 2020. TinyTurla was  first documented  by the cybersecurity company in September 2021. Turla, also known by the names Iron Hunter, Pensive Ursa, Secret Blizzard (formerly Krypton), Snake, Uroburos, and Venomous Bear, is a Russian state-affiliated threat actor linked to the Federal Security Service (FSB

Nation-State Actors Weaponize Ivanti VPN Zero-Days, Deploying 5 Malware Families

Nation-State Actors Weaponize Ivanti VPN Zero-Days, Deploying 5 Malware Families
Jan 12, 2024 Vulnerability / Threat Intelligence
As many as five different malware families were deployed by suspected nation-state actors as part of post-exploitation activities leveraging  two zero-day vulnerabilities  in Ivanti Connect Secure (ICS) VPN appliances since early December 2023. "These families allow the threat actors to circumvent authentication and provide backdoor access to these devices," Mandiant  said  in an analysis published this week. The Google-owned threat intelligence firm is tracking the threat actor under the moniker  UNC5221 .  The attacks leverage an exploit chain comprising an authentication bypass flaw (CVE-2023-46805) and a code injection vulnerability (CVE-2024-21887) to take over susceptible instances. Volexity, which attributed the activity to a suspected Chinese espionage actor named UTA0178, said the twin flaws were used to gain initial access, deploy webshells, backdoor legitimate files, capture credentials and configuration data, and pivot further into the victim environment. Ac

Kimsuky Hackers Deploying AppleSeed, Meterpreter, and TinyNuke in Latest Attacks

Kimsuky Hackers Deploying AppleSeed, Meterpreter, and TinyNuke in Latest Attacks
Dec 29, 2023 Malware / Cyber Threat
Nation-state actors affiliated to North Korea have been observed using spear-phishing attacks to deliver an assortment of backdoors and tools such as AppleSeed, Meterpreter, and TinyNuke to seize control of compromised machines. South Korea-based cybersecurity company AhnLab attributed the activity to an advanced persistent threat group known as  Kimsuky . "A notable point about attacks that use AppleSeed is that similar methods of attack have been used for many years with no significant changes to the malware that are used together," the AhnLab Security Emergency Response Center (ASEC)  said  in an analysis published Thursday. Kimsuky , active for over a decade, is known for its targeting of a wide range of entities in South Korea, before expanding its focus to include other geographies in 2017. It was  sanctioned  by the U.S. government late last month for amassing intelligence to support North Korea's strategic objectives. The threat actor's espionage campaigns are realized th
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