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Russian Hacker Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering Linked to Ryuk Ransomware

Russian Hacker Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering Linked to Ryuk Ransomware
Feb 08, 2023 Cryptocurrency / Endpoint Security
A Russian national on February 7, 2023, pleaded guilty in the U.S. to money laundering charges and for attempting to conceal the source of funds obtained in connection with Ryuk ransomware attacks. Denis Mihaqlovic Dubnikov, 30, was  arrested  in Amsterdam in November 2021 before he was extradited from the Netherlands in August 2022. He is awaiting sentencing on April 11, 2023. "Between at least August 2018 and August 2021, Dubnikov and his co-conspirators laundered the proceeds of Ryuk ransomware attacks on individuals and organizations throughout the United States and abroad," the Department of Justice (DoJ)  said . Dubnikov and his accomplices are said to have engaged in various criminal schemes designed to obscure the trail of the ill-gotten proceeds. According to DoJ, a chunk of the 250 Bitcoin ransom paid by a U.S. company in July 2019 after a Ryuk attack was sent to Dubnikov in exchange for about $400,000. The crypto was subsequently converted to Tether and trans

Linux Variant of Clop Ransomware Spotted, But Uses Faulty Encryption Algorithm

Linux Variant of Clop Ransomware Spotted, But Uses Faulty Encryption Algorithm
Feb 07, 2023 Encryption / Linux
The first-ever Linux variant of the Clop ransomware has been detected in the wild, but with a faulty encryption algorithm that has made it possible to reverse engineer the process. "The ELF executable contains a flawed encryption algorithm making it possible to decrypt locked files without paying the ransom," SentinelOne researcher Antonis Terefos  said  in a report shared with The Hacker News. The cybersecurity firm, which has made available a decryptor , said it observed the ELF version on December 26, 2022, while also noting its similarities to the Windows flavor when it comes using the same encryption method. The detected sample is said to be part of a larger attack targeting educational institutions in Colombia, including La Salle University, around the same time. The university was added to the criminal group's leak site in early January 2023, per  FalconFeedsio . Known to have been active since 2019, the Clop (stylized as Cl0p) ransomware operation  suffered

VMware Finds No Evidence of 0-Day in Ongoing ESXiArgs Ransomware Spree

VMware Finds No Evidence of 0-Day in Ongoing ESXiArgs Ransomware Spree
Feb 07, 2023 Endpoint Security / Zero-Day
VMware on Monday said it found no evidence that threat actors are leveraging an unknown security flaw, i.e., a zero-day, in its software as part of an  ongoing ransomware attack spree  worldwide. "Most reports state that End of General Support (EoGS) and/or significantly out-of-date products are being targeted with known vulnerabilities which were previously addressed and disclosed in VMware Security Advisories (VMSAs)," the virtualization services provider  said . The company is further recommending users to upgrade to the latest available supported releases of vSphere components to mitigate known issues and  disable the OpenSLP service  in ESXi. "In 2021, ESXi 7.0 U2c and ESXi 8.0 GA began shipping with the service disabled by default," VMware added. The announcement comes as unpatched and unsecured VMware ESXi servers around the world have been targeted in a  large-scale   ransomware campaign  dubbed ESXiArgs by likely exploiting a two-year-old bug VMware p

GuLoader Malware Using Malicious NSIS Executables to Target E-Commerce Industry

GuLoader Malware Using Malicious NSIS Executables to Target E-Commerce Industry
Feb 06, 2023 Cyber Attack / Endpoint Security
E-commerce industries in South Korea and the U.S. are at the receiving end of an ongoing GuLoader malware campaign, cybersecurity firm Trellix disclosed late last month. The malspam activity is notable for transitioning away from malware-laced Microsoft Word documents to NSIS executable files for loading the malware. Other countries targeted as part of the campaign include Germany, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan and Japan. NSIS , short for Nullsoft Scriptable Install System, is a script-driven open source tool used to develop installers for the Windows operating system. While attack chains in 2021 leveraged a ZIP archive containing a macro-laced Word document to drop an executable file tasked with loading GuLoader, the new phishing wave employs NSIS files embedded within ZIP or ISO images to activate the infection. "Embedding malicious executable files in archives and images can help threat actors evade detection," Trellix researcher Nico Paulo Yturriaga  said . Over the cours

Prilex PoS Malware Evolves to Block Contactless Payments to Steal from NFC Cards

Prilex PoS Malware Evolves to Block Contactless Payments to Steal from NFC Cards
Feb 01, 2023 Payment Security / Risk
The Brazilian threat actors behind an advanced and modular point-of-sale (PoS) malware known as  Prilex  have reared their head once again with new updates that allow it to block contactless payment transactions. Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky  said  it detected three versions of Prilex (06.03.8080, 06.03.8072, and 06.03.8070) that are capable of targeting NFC-enabled credit cards, taking its criminal scheme a notch higher. Having evolved out of ATM-focused malware into PoS malware over the years since going operational in 2014, the threat actor has steadily incorporated new features that are designed to facilitate credit card fraud, including a technique called  GHOST transactions . While contactless payments have taken off in a big way, in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the underlying motive behind the new functionality is to disable the feature so as to force the user to insert the card into the PIN pad. To that end, the latest version of Prilex, which Kaspersky disc

New Report Reveals NikoWiper Malware That Targeted Ukraine Energy Sector

New Report Reveals NikoWiper Malware That Targeted Ukraine Energy Sector
Jan 31, 2023 Cyber War / Malware
The Russia-affiliated Sandworm used yet another wiper malware strain dubbed  NikoWiper  as part of an attack that took place in October 2022 targeting an energy sector company in Ukraine. "The NikoWiper is based on  SDelete , a command line utility from Microsoft that is used for securely deleting files," cybersecurity company ESET  revealed  in its latest APT Activity Report shared with The Hacker News. The Slovak cybersecurity firm said the attacks coincided with  missile strikes  orchestrated by the Russian armed forces aimed at the Ukrainian energy infrastructure, suggesting overlaps in objectives. The disclosure comes merely days after ESET attributed Sandworm to a Golang-based data wiper known as  SwiftSlicer  that was deployed against an unnamed Ukrainian entity on January 25, 2023. The advanced persistent threat (APT) group linked to Russia's foreign military intelligence agency GRU has also been implicated in a partially successful attack targeting national

British Cyber Agency Warns of Russian and Iranian Hackers Targeting Key Industries

British Cyber Agency Warns of Russian and Iranian Hackers Targeting Key Industries
Jan 27, 2023 Nation-State-Sponsored Attacks
The U.K. National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) on Thursday warned of spear-phishing attacks mounted by Russian and Iranian state-sponsored actors for information-gathering operations. "The attacks are not aimed at the general public but targets in specified sectors, including academia, defense, government organizations, NGOs, think tanks, as well as politicians, journalists, and activists," the NCSC  said . The agency attributed the intrusions to  SEABORGIUM  (aka Callisto, COLDRIVER, and TA446) and  APT42  (aka ITG18, TA453, and Yellow Garuda). The similarities in the modus operandi aside, there is no evidence the two groups are collaborating with each other. The activity is typical of spear-phishing campaigns, where the threat actors send messages tailored to the targets, while also taking enough time to research their interests and identify their social and professional circles. The initial contact is designed to appear innocuous in an attempt to gain their trust and

Researchers Uncover Connection b/w Moses Staff and Emerging Abraham's Ax Hacktivists Group

Researchers Uncover Connection b/w Moses Staff and Emerging Abraham's Ax Hacktivists Group
Jan 26, 2023
New research has linked the operations of a politically motivated hacktivist group known as Moses Staff to another nascent threat actor named  Abraham's Ax  that emerged in November 2022. This is based on "several commonalities across the iconography, videography, and leak sites used by the groups, suggesting they are likely operated by the same entity," Secureworks Counter Threat Unit (CTU)  said  in a report shared with The Hacker News. Moses Staff, tracked by the cybersecurity firm under the moniker  Cobalt Sapling , made its  first appearance  on the threat landscape in September 2021 with the goal of primarily targeting Israeli organizations. The geopolitical group is believed to be  sponsored  by the Iranian government and has since been linked to a string of espionage and sabotage attacks that make use of tools like  StrifeWater RAT  and open source utilities such as  DiskCryptor  to harvest sensitive information and lock victim data on infected hosts. The cr

North Korean Hackers Turn to Credential Harvesting in Latest Wave of Cyberattacks

North Korean Hackers Turn to Credential Harvesting in Latest Wave of Cyberattacks
Jan 25, 2023 Cryptocurrency / Malware
A North Korean nation-state group notorious for crypto heists has been attributed to a new wave of malicious email attacks as part of a "sprawling" credential harvesting activity targeting a number of industry verticals, marking a significant shift in its strategy. The state-aligned threat actor is being tracked by Proofpoint under the name  TA444 , and by the larger cybersecurity community as APT38,  BlueNoroff , Copernicium, and Stardust Chollima. TA444 is "utilizing a wider variety of delivery methods and payloads alongside blockchain-related lures, fake job opportunities at prestigious firms, and salary adjustments to ensnare victims," the enterprise security firm  said  in a report shared with The Hacker News. The advanced persistent threat is something of an aberration among state-sponsored groups in that its operations are financially motivated and geared towards generating illicit revenue for the Hermit Kingdom as opposed to espionage and data theft. T

Chinese Hackers Utilize Golang Malware in DragonSpark Attacks to Evade Detection

Chinese Hackers Utilize Golang Malware in DragonSpark Attacks to Evade Detection
Jan 24, 2023 Cyber Espionage / Golang
Organizations in East Asia are being targeted by a likely Chinese-speaking actor dubbed DragonSpark while employing uncommon tactics to go past security layers. "The attacks are characterized by the use of the little known open source SparkRAT and malware that attempts to evade detection through Golang source code interpretation," SentinelOne  said  in an analysis published today. A striking aspect of the intrusions is the consistent use of SparkRAT to conduct a variety of activities, including stealing information, obtaining control of an infected host, or running additional PowerShell instructions. The threat actor's end goals remain unknown as yet, although espionage or cybercrime is likely to be the motive. DragonSpark's ties to China stem from the use of the  China Chopper  web shell to deploy malware – a widely used attack pathway among Chinese threat actors. Furthermore, not only do the open source tools used in the cyber assaults originate from develope

Emotet Malware Makes a Comeback with New Evasion Techniques

Emotet Malware Makes a Comeback with New Evasion Techniques
Jan 24, 2023 Cyber Threat / Cyber Crime
The Emotet malware operation has continued to refine its tactics in an effort to fly under the radar, while also acting as a conduit for other dangerous malware such as Bumblebee and IcedID. Emotet, which officially  reemerged  in late 2021 following a coordinated takedown of its infrastructure by authorities earlier that year, has continued to be a persistent threat that's distributed via phishing emails. Attributed to a cybercrime group tracked as  TA542  (aka Gold Crestwood or Mummy Spider), the virus has  evolved  from a banking trojan to a malware distributor since its first appearance in 2014. The malware-as-a-service (MaaS) is also modular, capable of deploying an array of proprietary and freeware components that can exfiltrate sensitive information from compromised machines and carry out other post-exploitation activities. Two latest additions to Emotet's module arsenal comprise an  SMB spreader  that's designed to facilitate lateral movement using a list of h

Gamaredon Group Launches Cyberattacks Against Ukraine Using Telegram

Gamaredon Group Launches Cyberattacks Against Ukraine Using Telegram
Jan 20, 2023 Cyber War / Cyber Attack
The Russian state-sponsored cyber espionage group known as Gamaredon has continued its digital onslaught against Ukraine, with recent attacks leveraging the popular messaging app Telegram to strike military and law enforcement sectors in the country. "The Gamaredon group's network infrastructure relies on multi-stage Telegram accounts for victim profiling and confirmation of geographic location, and then finally leads the victim to the next stage server for the final payload," the BlackBerry Research and Intelligence Team  said  in a report shared with The Hacker News. "This kind of technique to infect target systems is new." Gamaredon , also known by names such as Actinium, Armageddon, Iron Tilden, Primitive Bear, Shuckworm, Trident Ursa, and Winterflounder, is known for its assaults aimed at Ukrainian entities since at least 2013. Last month, Palo Alto Networks Unit 42  disclosed  the threat actor's unsuccessful attempts to break into an unnamed petrol

Earth Bogle Campaign Unleashes NjRAT Trojan on Middle East and North Africa

Earth Bogle Campaign Unleashes NjRAT Trojan on Middle East and North Africa
Jan 18, 2023 Cyber Threat / Malware
An ongoing campaign dubbed  Earth Bogle  is leveraging geopolitical-themed lures to deliver the NjRAT remote access trojan to victims across the Middle East and North Africa. "The threat actor uses public cloud storage services such as files[.]fm and failiem[.]lv to host malware, while compromised web servers distribute NjRAT," Trend Micro  said  in a report published Wednesday. Phishing emails, typically tailored to the victim's interests, are loaded with malicious attachments to activate the infection routine. This takes the form of a Microsoft Cabinet (CAB) archive file containing a Visual Basic Script dropper to deploy the next-stage payload. Alternatively, it's suspected that the files are distributed via social media platforms such as Facebook and Discord, in some cases even creating bogus accounts to serve ads on pages impersonating legitimate news outlets. The CAB files, hosted on cloud storage services, also masquerade as sensitive voice recordings to e

Hackers Can Abuse Legitimate GitHub Codespaces Feature to Deliver Malware

Hackers Can Abuse Legitimate GitHub Codespaces Feature to Deliver Malware
Jan 17, 2023 Threat Response / Malware
New research has found that it is possible for threat actors to abuse a legitimate feature in GitHub Codespaces to deliver malware to victim systems. GitHub Codespaces  is a cloud-based configurable development environment that allows users to debug, maintain, and commit changes to a given codebase from a web browser or via an integration in Visual Studio Code. It also comes with a port forwarding feature that makes it possible to access a web application that's running on a particular port within the codespace directly from the browser on a local machine for testing and debugging purposes. "You can also forward a port manually, label forwarded ports, share forwarded ports with members of your organization, share forwarded ports publicly, and add forwarded ports to the codespace configuration," GitHub  explains  in its documentation. It's  important  to note here that any forwarded port that's made public will also permit any party with knowledge of the URL

New Backdoor Created Using Leaked CIA's Hive Malware Discovered in the Wild

New Backdoor Created Using Leaked CIA's Hive Malware Discovered in the Wild
Jan 16, 2023 Threat Landscape / Malware
Unidentified threat actors have deployed a new backdoor that borrows its features from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)'s  Hive  multi-platform  malware suite , the source code of which was  released  by WikiLeaks in November 2017. "This is the first time we caught a variant of the CIA Hive attack kit in the wild, and we named it  xdr33  based on its embedded Bot-side certificate CN=xdr33," Qihoo Netlab 360's Alex Turing and Hui Wang  said  in a technical write-up published last week. xdr33 is said to be propagated by exploiting an unspecified N-day security vulnerability in F5 appliances. It communicates with a command-and-control (C2) server using SSL with forged Kaspersky certificates. The intent of the backdoor, per the Chinese cybersecurity firm, is to harvest sensitive information and act as a launchpad for subsequent intrusions. It improves upon Hive by adding new C2 instructions and functionalities, among other implementation changes. The  ELF

Cacti Servers Under Attack as Majority Fail to Patch Critical Vulnerability

Cacti Servers Under Attack as Majority Fail to Patch Critical Vulnerability
Jan 14, 2023 Server Security / Patch Management
A majority of internet-exposed Cacti servers have not been patched against a recently patched critical security vulnerability that has come under active exploitation in the wild. That's according to attack surface management platform Censys, which  found  only 26 out of a total of 6,427 servers to be running a  patched version  of Cacti (1.2.23 and 1.3.0). The  issue  in question relates to  CVE-2022-46169  (CVSS score: 9.8), a combination of authentication bypass and command injection that enables an unauthenticated user to execute arbitrary code on an affected version of the open-source, web-based monitoring solution. Details about the flaw, which impacts versions 1.2.22 and below, were first revealed by SonarSource. The flaw was reported to the project maintainers on December 2, 2022. "A hostname-based authorization check is not implemented safely for most installations of Cacti," SonarSource researcher Stefan Schiller  noted  earlier this month, adding "uns

Beware: Tainted VPNs Being Used to Spread EyeSpy Surveillanceware

Beware: Tainted VPNs Being Used to Spread EyeSpy Surveillanceware
Jan 13, 2023 VPN / Surveillanceware
Tainted VPN installers are being used to deliver a piece of surveillanceware dubbed  EyeSpy  as part of a malware campaign that started in May 2022. It uses "components of SecondEye – a legitimate monitoring application – to spy on users of 20Speed VPN, an Iranian-based VPN service, via trojanized installers," Bitdefender  said  in an analysis. A majority of the infections are said to originate in Iran, with smaller detections in Germany and the U.S., the Romanian cybersecurity firm added. SecondEye, according to  snapshots  captured via the Internet Archive, claims to be a commercial monitoring software that can work as a "parental control system or as an online watchdog." As of November 2021, it's offered for sale anywhere between $99 to $200. It comes with a wide range of features that allows it to take screenshots, record microphone, log keystrokes, gather files and saved passwords from web browsers, and remotely control the machines to run arbitrary c

IcedID Malware Strikes Again: Active Directory Domain Compromised in Under 24 Hours

IcedID Malware Strikes Again: Active Directory Domain Compromised in Under 24 Hours
Jan 12, 2023 Active Directory / Malware
A recent IcedID malware attack enabled the threat actor to compromise the Active Directory domain of an unnamed target less than 24 hours after gaining initial access, while also borrowing techniques from other groups like Conti to meet its goals. "Throughout the attack, the attacker followed a routine of recon commands, credential theft, lateral movement by abusing Windows protocols, and executing Cobalt Strike on the newly compromised host," Cybereason researchers  said  in a report published this week. IcedID , also known by the name BokBot, started its life as a banking trojan in 2017 before evolving into a  dropper for other malware , joining the likes of  Emotet ,  TrickBot ,  Qakbot ,  Bumblebee , and  Raspberry Robin . Attacks involving the delivery of IcedID have  leveraged a variety of methods , especially in the wake of  Microsoft's decision to block macros  from Office files downloaded from the web. The intrusion detailed by Cybereason is no different in

Rackspace Confirms Play Ransomware Gang Responsible for Recent Breach

Rackspace Confirms Play Ransomware Gang Responsible for Recent Breach
Jan 06, 2023 Cloud Security / Cyber Threat
Cloud services provider Rackspace on Thursday confirmed that the ransomware gang known as Play was responsible for last month's breach. The security incident, which took place on December 2, 2022, leveraged a previously unknown security exploit to gain initial access to the Rackspace Hosted Exchange email environment. "This zero-day exploit is associated with  CVE-2022-41080 ," the Texas-based company  said . "Microsoft disclosed CVE-2022-41080 as a privilege escalation vulnerability and did not include notes for [it] being part of a remote code execution chain that was exploitable." Rackspace's forensic investigation found that the threat actor accessed the Personal Storage Table ( .PST ) of 27 customers out of a total of nearly 30,000 customers on the Hosted Exchange email environment. However, the company said there is no evidence the adversary viewed, misused, or distributed the customer's emails or data from those personal storage folders. It

The FBI's Perspective on Ransomware

The FBI's Perspective on Ransomware
Jan 04, 2023 Threat Detection / SASE Platform
Ransomware: contemporary threats, how to prevent them and how the FBI can help In April 2021, Dutch supermarkets faced a food shortage. The cause wasn't a drought or a sudden surge in the demand for avocados. Rather, the reason was a ransomware attack. In the past years, companies, universities, schools, medical facilities and other organizations have been targeted by ransomware threat actors, turning ransomware into the internet's most severe security crisis. The Ransomware Landscape Ransomware has existed for more than 30 years, but it became a lucrative source of income for cyber actors and gangs in the past decade. Since 2015, ransomware gangs have been targeting organizations instead of individuals. Consequently, ransom sums have increased significantly, reaching millions of dollars. Ransomware is effective because it pressures victims in two, complementary ways. First, by threatening victims to destroy their data. Second, by threatening to publicize the attack. The s
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