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Advanced StrongPity Hackers Target Syria and Turkey with Retooled Spyware

Advanced StrongPity Hackers Target Syria and Turkey with Retooled Spyware

June 30, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers today uncovered new details of watering hole attacks against the Kurdish community in Syria and Turkey for surveillance and intelligence exfiltration purposes. The advanced persistent threat behind the operation, called StrongPity , has retooled with new tactics to control compromised machines, cybersecurity firm Bitdefender said in a report shared with The Hacker News. "Using watering hole tactics to selectively infect victims and deploying a three-tier C&C infrastructure to thwart forensic investigations, the APT group leveraged Trojanized popular tools, such as archivers, file recovery applications, remote connections applications, utilities, and even security software, to cover a wide range of options that targeted victims might be seeking," the researchers said. With the timestamps of the analyzed malware samples used in the campaign coinciding with the Turkish offensive into north-eastern Syria (codenamed Operation Peace Spring )
e-Commerce Site Hackers Now Hiding Credit Card Stealer Inside Image Metadata

e-Commerce Site Hackers Now Hiding Credit Card Stealer Inside Image Metadata

June 29, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
In what's one of the most innovative hacking campaigns, cybercrime gangs are now hiding malicious code implants in the metadata of image files to covertly steal payment card information entered by visitors on the hacked websites. "We found skimming code hidden within the metadata of an image file (a form of steganography) and surreptitiously loaded by compromised online stores," Malwarebytes researchers said last week. "This scheme would not be complete without yet another interesting variation to exfiltrate stolen credit card data. Once again, criminals used the disguise of an image file to collect their loot." The evolving tactic of the operation, widely known as web skimming or a Magecart attack, comes as bad actors are finding different ways to inject JavaScript scripts, including misconfigured AWS S3 data storage buckets and exploiting content security policy to transmit data to a Google Analytics account under their control. Using Steganography
WikiLeaks Founder Charged With Conspiring With LulzSec & Anonymous Hackers

WikiLeaks Founder Charged With Conspiring With LulzSec & Anonymous Hackers

June 25, 2020Swati Khandelwal
The United States government has filed a superseding indictment against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange accusing him of collaborating with computer hackers, including those affiliated with the infamous LulzSec and "Anonymous" hacking groups. The new superseding indictment does not contain any additional charges beyond the prior 18-count indictment filed against Assange in May 2019, but it does "broaden the scope of the conspiracy surrounding alleged computer intrusions with which Assange was previously charged," the DoJ said. In May 2019, Assange was charged with 18 counts under the old U.S. Espionage Act for unlawfully publishing classified military and diplomatic documents on his popular WikiLeaks website in 2010, which he obtained from former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning. Assange has been alleged to have obtained those classified documents by conspiring with Manning to crack a password hash to a classified U.S. Department of Defense comput
Hackers Target Military and Aerospace Staff by Posing as HRs Offering Jobs

Hackers Target Military and Aerospace Staff by Posing as HRs Offering Jobs

June 17, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers today took the wraps off a new sophisticated cyber-espionage campaign directed against aerospace and military organizations in Europe and the Middle East with an aim to spy on key employees of the targeted firms and, in some case, even to siphon money. The campaign, dubbed " Operation In(ter)ception " because of a reference to "Inception" in the malware sample, took place between September to December 2019, according to a new report cybersecurity firm ESET shared with The Hacker News. "The primary goal of the operation was espionage," the researchers told The Hacker News. "However, in one of the cases we investigated, the attackers tried to monetize access to a victim's email account through a business email compromise (BEC) attack as the final stage of the operation." The financial motivation behind the attacks, coupled with similarities in targeting and development environment, have led ESET to suspect Laz
Spies Can Listen to Your Conversations by Watching a Light Bulb in the Room

Spies Can Listen to Your Conversations by Watching a Light Bulb in the Room

June 13, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
You might not believe it, but it's possible to spy on secret conversations happening in a room from a nearby remote location just by observing a light bulb hanging in there—visible from a window—and measuring the amount of light it emits. A team of cybersecurity researchers has developed and demonstrated a novel side-channel attacking technique that can be applied by eavesdroppers to recover full sound from a victim's room that contains an overhead hanging bulb. The findings were published in a new paper  by a team of academics—Ben Nassi, Yaron Pirutin, Adi Shamir, Yuval Elovici and Boris Zadov—from the Israeli's Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the Weizmann Institute of Science, which will also be presented at the Black Hat USA 2020 conference later this August. The technique for long-distance eavesdropping, called " Lamphone ," works by capturing minuscule sound waves optically through an electro-optical sensor directed at the bulb and using it t
Magecart Targets Emergency Services-related Sites via Insecure S3 Buckets

Magecart Targets Emergency Services-related Sites via Insecure S3 Buckets

June 09, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Hacking groups are continuing to leverage misconfigured AWS S3 data storage buckets to insert malicious code into websites in an attempt to swipe credit card information and carry out malvertising campaigns. In a new report shared with The Hacker News, cybersecurity firm RiskIQ said it identified three compromised websites belonging to Endeavor Business Media last month that are still hosting JavaScript skimming code — a classic tactic embraced by Magecart , a consortium of different hacker groups who target online shopping cart systems. The unpatched affected websites host emergency services-related content and chat forums catering to firefighters, police officers, and security professionals, per RiskIQ. www[.]officer[.]com www[.]firehouse[.]com www[.]securityinfowatch[.]com The cyber firm said it hasn't heard back from Endeavor Business Media despite reaching out to the company to address the issues. As a consequence, it's working with Swiss non-profit cyber
New USBCulprit Espionage Tool Steals Data From Air-Gapped Computers

New USBCulprit Espionage Tool Steals Data From Air-Gapped Computers

June 04, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
A Chinese threat actor has developed new capabilities to target air-gapped systems in an attempt to exfiltrate sensitive data for espionage, according to a newly published research by Kaspersky yesterday. The APT, known as Cycldek, Goblin Panda, or Conimes, employs an extensive toolset for lateral movement and information stealing in victim networks, including previously unreported custom tools, tactics, and procedures in attacks against government agencies in Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos. "One of the newly revealed tools is named USBCulprit and has been found to rely on USB media in order to exfiltrate victim data," Kaspersky said. "This may suggest Cycldek is trying to reach air-gapped networks in victim environments or relies on physical presence for the same purpose." First observed by CrowdStrike in 2013, Cycldek has a long history of singling out defense, energy, and government sectors in Southeast Asia, particularly Vietnam, using decoy documents th
Chinese Researchers Disrupt Malware Attack That Infected Thousands of PCs

Chinese Researchers Disrupt Malware Attack That Infected Thousands of PCs

May 27, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Chinese security firm Qihoo 360 Netlab said it partnered with tech giant Baidu to disrupt a malware botnet infecting over hundreds of thousands of systems. The botnet was traced back to a group it calls ShuangQiang (also called Double Gun ), which has been behind several attacks since 2017 aimed at compromising Windows computers with MBR and VBR bootkits , and installing malicious drivers for financial gain and hijack web traffic to e-commerce sites. In addition to using images uploaded to Baidu Tieba to distribute configuration files and malware — a technique called steganography — the group has begun using Alibaba Cloud storage to host configuration files and Baidu's analytics platform Tongji to manage the activity of its infected hosts, the researchers said. The initial compromise relies on luring unsuspecting users to install game launching software from sketchy game portals that contain malicious code under the guise of a patch. Once the user downloads and inst
New ComRAT Malware Uses Gmail to Receive Commands and Exfiltrate Data

New ComRAT Malware Uses Gmail to Receive Commands and Exfiltrate Data

May 26, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers today uncovered a new advanced version of ComRAT backdoor, one of the earliest known backdoors used by the Turla APT group, that leverages Gmail's web interface to covertly receive commands and exfiltrate sensitive data. "ComRAT v4 was first seen in 2017 and known still to be in use as recently as January 2020," cybersecurity firm ESET said in a report shared with The Hacker News. "We identified at least three targets: two Ministries of Foreign Affairs in Eastern Europe and a national parliament in the Caucasus region." Turla , also known as Snake, has been active for over a decade with a long history of the watering hole and spear-phishing campaigns against embassies and military organizations at least since 2004. The group's espionage platform started off as Agent.BTZ , in 2007, before it evolved to ComRAT , in addition to gaining additional capabilities to achieve persistence and to steal data from a local network. It
Iranian APT Group Targets Governments in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia

Iranian APT Group Targets Governments in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia

May 21, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Today, cybersecurity researchers shed light on an Iranian cyber espionage campaign directed against critical infrastructures in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Bitdefender said the intelligence-gathering operations were conducted by Chafer APT (also known as APT39 or Remix Kitten), a threat actor known for its attacks on telecommunication and travel industries in the Middle East to collect personal information that serves the country's geopolitical interests. "Victims of the analyzed campaigns fit into the pattern preferred by this actor, such as air transport and government sectors in the Middle East," the researchers said in a report (PDF) shared with The Hacker News, adding at least one of the attacks went undiscovered for more than a year and a half since 2018. "The campaigns were based on several tools, including 'living off the land' tools, which makes attribution difficult, as well as different hacking tools and a custom-built backdoor." Kn
U.S Defense Warns of 3 New Malware Used by North Korean Hackers

U.S Defense Warns of 3 New Malware Used by North Korean Hackers

May 13, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Yesterday, on the 3rd anniversary of the infamous global WannaCry ransomware outbreak for which North Korea was blamed, the U.S. government released information about three new malware strains used by state-sponsored North Korean hackers. Called COPPERHEDGE, TAINTEDSCRIBE, and PEBBLEDASH, the malware variants are capable of remote reconnaissance and exfiltration of sensitive information from target systems, according to a joint advisory released by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Department of Defense (DoD). The three new malware strains are the latest addition to a long list of over 20 malware samples , including BISTROMATH, SLICKSHOES, HOPLIGHT, and ELECTRICFISH , among others, that have been identified by the security agencies as originating as part of a series of malicious cyber activity by the North Korean government it calls Hidden Cobra , or widely known by the moniker Lazarus Group. Full
This Asia-Pacific Cyber Espionage Campaign Went Undetected for 5 Years

This Asia-Pacific Cyber Espionage Campaign Went Undetected for 5 Years

May 07, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
An advanced group of Chinese hackers has recently been spotted to be behind a sustained cyber espionage campaign targeting government entities in Australia, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, and Brunei—which went undetected for at least five years and is still an ongoing threat. The group, named 'Naikon APT,' once known as one of the most active APTs in Asia until 2015, carried out a string of cyberattacks in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region in search of geopolitical intelligence. According to the latest investigation report Check Point researchers shared with The Hacker News, the Naikon APT group had not gone silent for the last 5 years, as initially suspected; instead, it was using a new backdoor, called " Aria-body ," to operate stealthily. "Given the characteristics of the victims and capabilities presented by the group, it is evident that the group's purpose is to gather intelligence and spy on the countries whose governments it
Hackers Breach LineageOS, Ghost, DigiCert Servers Using SaltStack Vulnerability

Hackers Breach LineageOS, Ghost, DigiCert Servers Using SaltStack Vulnerability

May 03, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Days after cybersecurity researchers sounded the alarm over two critical vulnerabilities in the SaltStack configuration framework , a hacking campaign has already begun exploiting the flaws to breach servers of LineageOS, Ghost, and DigiCert. Tracked as CVE-2020-11651 and CVE-2020-11652 , the disclosed flaws could allow an adversary to execute arbitrary code on remote servers deployed in data centers and cloud environments. The issues were fixed by SaltStack in a release published on April 29th. "We expect that any competent hacker will be able to create 100% reliable exploits for these issues in under 24 hours," F-Secure researchers had previously warned in an advisory last week. LineageOS, a maker of an open-source operating system based on Android, said it detected the intrusion on May 2nd at around 8 pm Pacific Time. "Around 8 pm PST on May 2nd, 2020, an attacker used a CVE in our SaltStack master to gain access to our infrastructure," the company n
Targeted Phishing Attacks Successfully Hacked Top Executives At 150+ Companies

Targeted Phishing Attacks Successfully Hacked Top Executives At 150+ Companies

April 30, 2020Mohit Kumar
In the last few months, multiple groups of attackers successfully compromised corporate email accounts of at least 156 high-ranking officers at various firms based in Germany, the UK, Netherlands, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Dubbed ' PerSwaysion ,' the newly spotted cyberattack campaign leveraged Microsoft file-sharing services—including Sway, SharePoint, and OneNote—to launch highly targeted phishing attacks. According to a report Group-IB Threat Intelligence team published today and shared with The Hacker News, PerSwaysion operations attacked executives of more than 150 companies around the world, primarily with businesses in finance, law, and real estate sectors. "Among these high-ranking officer victims, more than 20 Office365 accounts of executives, presidents, and managing directors appeared." So far successful and still ongoing, most PerSwaysion operations were orchestrated by scammers from Nigeria and South Africa who used a Vue.js JavaScript framewor
U.S. Offers Rewards up to $5 Million for Information on North Korean Hackers

U.S. Offers Rewards up to $5 Million for Information on North Korean Hackers

April 15, 2020Mohit Kumar
The United States agencies today released a joint advisory warning the world about the 'significant cyber threat' posed by North Korean state-sponsored hackers to the global banking and financial institutions. Besides a summary of recent cyberattacks attributed to North Korean hackers, the advisory—issued by U.S. Departments of State, the Treasury, and Homeland Security, and the FBI—also contains a comprehensive guide intends to help the international community, industries, and other governments defend against North Korea's illicit activities. "In particular, the United States is deeply concerned about North Korea's malicious cyber activities, which the U.S. government refers to as HIDDEN COBRA. The DPRK has the capability to conduct disruptive or destructive cyber activities affecting U.S. critical infrastructure," the advisory says . "The DPRK also uses cyber capabilities to steal from financial institutions, and has demonstrated a pattern of d
Dell Releases A New Cybersecurity Utility To Detect BIOS Attacks

Dell Releases A New Cybersecurity Utility To Detect BIOS Attacks

April 14, 2020Wang Wei
Computer manufacturing giant Dell has released a new security tool for its commercial customers that aims to protect their computers from stealthy and sophisticated cyberattacks involving the compromise of the BIOS. Dubbed ' SafeBIOS Events & Indicators of Attack ' (IoA), the new endpoint security software is a behavior-based threat detection system that alerts users when BIOS settings of their computers undergo some unusual changes. BIOS (Basic Input Output System) is a small but highly-privileged program that handles critical operations and starts your computer before handing it over to your operating system. Protecting the BIOS program is crucial because: Changes to the system BIOS settings could allow malicious software to run during the boot process, Once a hacker takes over the BIOS, he can stealthily control the targeted computer and gain access to the data stored on it, Malware in BIOS remains persistent and doesn't get away even when you format or
Hackers Targeting Critical Healthcare Facilities With Ransomware During Coronavirus Pandemic

Hackers Targeting Critical Healthcare Facilities With Ransomware During Coronavirus Pandemic

April 14, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
As hospitals around the world are struggling to respond to the coronavirus crisis, cybercriminals—with no conscience and empathy—are continuously targeting healthcare organizations, research facilities, and other governmental organizations with ransomware and malicious information stealers. The new research, published by Palo Alto Networks and shared with The Hacker News, confirmed that "the threat actors who profit from cybercrime will go to any extent, including targeting organizations that are in the front lines and responding to the pandemic on a daily basis." While the security firm didn't name the latest victims, it said a Canadian government healthcare organization and a Canadian medical research university both suffered ransomware attacks, as criminal groups seek to exploit the crisis for financial gain. The attacks were detected between March 24 and March 26 and were initiated as part of the coronavirus-themed phishing campaigns that have become widespr
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