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The Hacker News - Cybersecurity News and Analysis: Cyber Attack

Researchers Find Additional Infrastructure Used By SolarWinds Hackers

Researchers Find Additional Infrastructure Used By SolarWinds Hackers
April 22, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
The sprawling  SolarWinds cyberattack  which came to light last December was known for its sophistication in the breadth of tactics used to infiltrate and persist in the target infrastructure, so much so that Microsoft went on to call the threat actor behind the campaign "skillful and methodic operators who follow operations security (OpSec) best practices to minimize traces, stay under the radar, and avoid detection." As further proof of this, new research published today shows that the threat actor carefully planned each stage of the operation to "avoid creating the type of patterns that make tracking them simple," thus deliberately making forensic analysis difficult. By analyzing telemetry data associated with previously published indicators of compromise, RiskIQ said it identified an additional set of 18 servers with high confidence that likely communicated with the targeted, secondary Cobalt Strike payloads delivered via the TEARDROP and RAINDROP malware, r

Facebook Busts Palestinian Hackers' Operation Spreading Mobile Spyware

Facebook Busts Palestinian Hackers' Operation Spreading Mobile Spyware
April 21, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Facebook on Wednesday said it took steps to dismantle malicious activities perpetrated by two state-sponsored hacking groups operating out of Palestine that abused its platform to distribute malware. The social media giant attributed the attacks to a network connected to the Preventive Security Service ( PSS ), the security apparatus of the State of Palestine, and another threat actor known as Arid Viper (aka Desert Falcon and APT-C-23), the latter of which is alleged to be connected to the cyber arm of Hamas. The two digital espionage campaigns, active in 2019 and 2020, exploited a range of devices and platforms, such as Android, iOS, and Windows, with the PSS cluster primarily targeting domestic audiences in Palestine. The other set of attacks went after users in the Palestinian territories and Syria and, to a lesser extent Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon, and Libya. Both the groups appear to have leveraged the platform as a springboard to launch a variety of social engineering attacks in

3 Zero-Day Exploits Hit SonicWall Enterprise Email Security Appliances

3 Zero-Day Exploits Hit SonicWall Enterprise Email Security Appliances
April 20, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
SonicWall has addressed three critical security vulnerabilities in its hosted and on-premises email security (ES) product that are being actively exploited in the wild. Tracked as CVE-2021-20021 and CVE-2021-20022, the  flaws  were discovered and reported to the company by FireEye's Mandiant subsidiary on March 26, 2021, after the cybersecurity firm detected post-exploitation web shell activity on an internet-accessible system within a customer's environment that had SonicWall's ES application running on a Windows Server 2012 installation. A third flaw (CVE-2021-20023) identified by FireEye was disclosed to SonicWall on April 6, 2021. FireEye is tracking the malicious activity under the moniker UNC2682. "These vulnerabilities were executed in conjunction to obtain administrative access and code execution on a SonicWall ES device," researchers Josh Fleischer, Chris DiGiamo, and Alex Pennino  said . The adversary leveraged these vulnerabilities, with intimate

WARNING: Hackers Exploit Unpatched Pulse Secure 0-Day to Breach Organizations

WARNING: Hackers Exploit Unpatched Pulse Secure 0-Day to Breach Organizations
April 20, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
If Pulse Connect Secure gateway is part of your organization network, you need to be aware of a newly discovered critical zero-day authentication bypass vulnerability (CVE-2021-22893) that is currently being exploited in the wild and for which there is no patch available yet. At least two threat actors have been behind a series of intrusions targeting defense, government, and financial organizations in the U.S. and elsewhere by leveraging critical vulnerabilities in Pulse Secure VPN devices to circumvent multi-factor authentication protections and breach enterprise networks. "A combination of prior vulnerabilities and a previously unknown vulnerability discovered in April 2021,  CVE-2021-22893 , are responsible for the initial infection vector," cybersecurity firm FireEye  said  on Tuesday, identifying 12 malware families associated with the exploitation of Pulse Secure VPN appliances. The company is also tracking the activity under two threat clusters UNC2630 and UNC271

US Sanctions Russia and Expels 10 Diplomats Over SolarWinds Cyberattack

US Sanctions Russia and Expels 10 Diplomats Over SolarWinds Cyberattack
April 15, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
The U.S. and U.K. on Thursday formally attributed the supply chain attack of IT infrastructure management company SolarWinds with "high confidence" to government operatives working for Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR). "Russia's pattern of malign behaviour around the world – whether in cyberspace, in election interference or in the aggressive operations of their intelligence services – demonstrates that Russia remains the most acute threat to the U.K.'s national and collective security," the U.K. government  said  in a statement. To that effect, the U.S. Department of the Treasury has imposed sweeping sanctions against Russia for "undermining the conduct of free and fair elections and democratic institutions" in the U.S. and for its role in facilitating the sprawling SolarWinds hack, while also barring six technology companies in the country that provide support to the cyber program run by Russian Intelligence Services. The com

Detecting the "Next" SolarWinds-Style Cyber Attack

Detecting the "Next" SolarWinds-Style Cyber Attack
April 13, 2021The Hacker News
The SolarWinds attack , which succeeded by utilizing the sunburst malware , shocked the cyber-security industry. This attack achieved persistence and was able to evade internal systems long enough to gain access to the source code of the victim. Because of the far-reaching SolarWinds deployments, the perpetrators were also able to infiltrate many other organizations, looking for intellectual property and other assets. Among the co-victims: US government, government contractors, Information Technology companies, and NGOs. An incredible amount of sensitive data was stolen from several customers after a trojanized version of SolarWinds' application was installed on their internal structures. Looking at the technical capabilities of the malware, as you will see, this particular attack was quite impressive. A particular file, named  SolarWinds.Orion.Core.BusinessLayer.dll  is a SolarWinds digitally signed component of the Orion software framework. The threat actors installed a back

Alert — There's A New Malware Out There Snatching Users' Passwords

Alert — There's A New Malware Out There Snatching Users' Passwords
April 09, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A previously undocumented malware downloader has been spotted in the wild in phishing attacks to deploy credential stealers and other malicious payloads. Dubbed " Saint Bot ," the malware is said to have first appeared on the scene in January 2021, with indications that it's under active development. "Saint Bot is a downloader that appeared quite recently, and slowly is getting momentum. It was seen dropping stealers (i.e.  Taurus  Stealer) or further loaders ( example ), yet its design allows [it] to utilize it for distributing any kind of malware," said Aleksandra "Hasherezade" Doniec, a threat intelligence analyst at Malwarebytes . "Furthermore, Saint Bot employs a wide variety of techniques which, although not novel, indicate some level of sophistication considering its relatively new appearance." The infection chain analyzed by the cybersecurity firm begins with a phishing email containing an embedded ZIP file ("bitcoin.zip&qu

Researchers uncover a new Iranian malware used in recent cyberattacks

Researchers uncover a new Iranian malware used in recent cyberattacks
April 08, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
An Iranian threat actor has unleashed a new cyberespionage campaign against a possible Lebanese target with a backdoor capable of exfiltrating sensitive information from compromised systems. Cybersecurity firm Check Point attributed the operation to APT34, citing similarities with previous techniques used by the threat actor as well as based on its pattern of victimology. APT34  (aka OilRig) is known for its reconnaissance campaigns aligned with the strategic interests of Iran, primarily hitting financial, government, energy, chemical, and telecommunications industries in the Middle East. The group typically resorts to targeting individuals through the use of booby-trapped job offer documents, delivered directly to the victims via LinkedIn messages. Although the latest campaign bears some of the same hallmarks, the exact mode of delivery remains unclear as yet. The Word document analyzed by Check Point — which was  uploaded  to VirusTotal from Lebanon on January 10 — claims to of

Hackers Exploit Unpatched VPNs to Install Ransomware on Industrial Targets

Hackers Exploit Unpatched VPNs to Install Ransomware on Industrial Targets
April 08, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Unpatched Fortinet VPN devices are being targeted in a series of attacks against industrial enterprises in Europe to deploy a new strain of ransomware called "Cring" inside corporate networks. At least one of the hacking incidents led to the temporary shutdown of a production site, said cybersecurity firm Kaspersky in a report published on Wednesday, without publicly naming the victim. The attacks happened in the first quarter of 2021, between January and March. "Various details of the attack indicate that the attackers had carefully analyzed the infrastructure of the targeted organization and prepared their own infrastructure and toolset based on the information collected at the reconnaissance stage,"  said  Vyacheslav Kopeytsev, a security researcher at Kaspersky ICS CERT. The disclosure comes days after the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)  warned  of advanced persistent threat (APT) actor

PHP Site's User Database Was Hacked In Recent Source Code Backdoor Attack

PHP Site's User Database Was Hacked In Recent Source Code Backdoor Attack
April 07, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
The maintainers of the PHP programming language have issued an update regarding the security incident that came to light late last month, stating that the actors may have gotten hold of a user database containing their passwords to make unauthorized changes to the repository. "We no longer believe the git.php.net server has been compromised. However, it is possible that the master.php.net user database leaked," Nikita Popov  said  in a message posted on its mailing list on April 6. On March 28, unidentified actors used the names of Rasmus Lerdorf and Popov to  push malicious commits  to the "php-src" repository hosted on the git.php.net server that involved adding a backdoor to the PHP source code in an instance of a software supply chain attack. While this was initially treated as a compromise of the git.php.net server, further investigation into the incident has revealed that the commits were a result of pushing them using HTTPS and password-based authentica

Hackers From China Target Vietnamese Military and Government

Hackers From China Target Vietnamese Military and Government
April 06, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A hacking group related to a Chinese-speaking threat actor has been linked to an advanced cyberespionage campaign targeting government and military organizations in Vietnam. The attacks have been attributed with low confidence to the advanced persistent threat (APT) called  Cycldek  (or Goblin Panda, Hellsing, APT 27, and Conimes), which is known for using spear-phishing techniques to compromise diplomatic targets in Southeast Asia, India, and the U.S. at least since 2013. According to researchers from Kaspersky, the offensive, which was observed between June 2020 and January 2021, leverages a method called DLL side-loading to execute shellcode that decrypts a final payload dubbed " FoundCore ." DLL side-loading  has been a tried-and-tested technique used by various threat actors as an obfuscation tactic to bypass antivirus defenses. By loading malicious DLLs into legitimate executables, the idea is to mask their malicious activity under a trusted system or software proc

22-Year-Old Charged With Hacking Water System and Endangering Lives

22-Year-Old Charged With Hacking Water System and Endangering Lives
April 01, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A 22-year-old man from the U.S. state of Kansas has been indicted on charges that he unauthorizedly accessed a public water facility's computer system, jeopardizing the residents' safety and health in the local community. Wyatt A. Travnichek, 22, of Ellsworth County, Kansas, has been charged with one count of tampering with a public water system and one count of reckless damage to a protected computer during unauthorized access, according to the Department of Justice (DoJ). "By illegally tampering with a public drinking water system, the defendant threatened the safety and health of an entire community,"  said  Lance Ehrig, Special Agent in Charge of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Criminal Investigation Division in Kansas. "EPA and its law enforcement partners are committed to upholding the laws designed to protect our drinking water systems from harm or threat of harm. Today's indictment sends a clear message that individuals who intentionall

Hackers Set Up a Fake Cybersecurity Firm to Target Security Experts

Hackers Set Up a Fake Cybersecurity Firm to Target Security Experts
March 31, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A North Korean government-backed campaign targeting cybersecurity researchers with malware has re-emerged with new tactics in their arsenal as part of a fresh social engineering attack. In an update shared on Wednesday, Google's Threat Analysis Group said the attackers behind the operation set up a fake security company called SecuriElite and a slew of social media accounts across Twitter and LinkedIn in an attempt to trick unsuspecting researchers into visiting the company's booby-trapped website "where a browser exploit was waiting to be triggered." "The new website claims the company is an offensive security company located in Turkey that offers pentests, software security assessments and exploits," TAG's Adam Weidemann  said . The website is said to have gone live on March 17. A total of eight Twitter profiles and seven LinkedIn profiles, who claimed to be vulnerability researchers and human resources personnel at different security firms (inclu

Black Kingdom Ransomware Hunting Unpatched Microsoft Exchange Servers

Black Kingdom Ransomware Hunting Unpatched Microsoft Exchange Servers
March 25, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
More than a week after Microsoft released a  one-click mitigation tool  to mitigate cyberattacks targeting on-premises Exchange servers, the company  disclosed  that patches have been applied to 92% of all internet-facing servers affected by the ProxyLogon vulnerabilities. The development, a 43% improvement from the previous week, caps off a whirlwind of espionage and malware campaigns that hit thousands of companies worldwide, with as many as 10 advanced persistent threat (APT) groups opportunistically moving quickly to exploit the bugs. According to telemetry data from RiskIQ, there are roughly 29,966 instances of Microsoft Exchange servers still exposed to attacks, down from 92,072 on March 10. While Exchange servers were under assault by multiple Chinese-linked state-sponsored hacking groups prior to  Microsoft's patch  on March 2, the release of  public proof-of-concept  exploits fanned a feeding frenzy of infections, opening the door for escalating attacks like ransomwar

Purple Fox Rootkit Can Now Spread Itself to Other Windows Computers

Purple Fox Rootkit Can Now Spread Itself to Other Windows Computers
March 23, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Purple Fox , a Windows malware previously known for infecting machines by using exploit kits and phishing emails, has now added a new technique to its arsenal that gives it worm-like propagation capabilities. The ongoing campaign makes use of a "novel spreading technique via indiscriminate port scanning and exploitation of exposed SMB services with weak passwords and hashes," according to  Guardicore researchers , who say the attacks have spiked by about 600% since May 2020. A total of 90,000 incidents have been spotted through the rest of 2020 and the beginning of 2021. First discovered in March 2018, Purple Fox is distributed in the form of malicious ".msi" payloads hosted on nearly 2,000 compromised Windows servers that, in turn, download and execute a component with  rootkit capabilities , which enables the threat actors to hide the malware on the machine and make it easy to evade detection. Guardicore says Purple Fox hasn't changed much post-exploitat

WARNING: A New Android Zero-Day Vulnerability Is Under Active Attack

WARNING: A New Android Zero-Day Vulnerability Is Under Active Attack
March 22, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Google has disclosed that a now-patched vulnerability affecting Android devices that use Qualcomm chipsets is being weaponized by adversaries to launch targeted attacks. Tracked as CVE-2020-11261 (CVSS score 8.4), the flaw concerns an "improper input validation" issue in Qualcomm's Graphics component that could be exploited to trigger memory corruption when an attacker-engineered app requests access to a huge chunk of the device's memory. "There are indications that CVE-2020-11261 may be under limited, targeted exploitation," the search giant said in an updated January security bulletin on March 18. CVE-2020-11261 was discovered and reported to Qualcomm by Google's Android Security team on July 20, 2020, after which it was fixed in January 2021. It's worth noting that the access vector for the vulnerability is "local," meaning that exploitation requires local access to the device. In other words, to launch a successful attack, the

Tesla Ransomware Hacker Pleads Guilty; Swiss Hacktivist Charged for Fraud

Tesla Ransomware Hacker Pleads Guilty; Swiss Hacktivist Charged for Fraud
March 19, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
The U.S. Department of Justice yesterday announced updates on two separate cases involving cyberattacks—a Swiss hacktivist and a Russian hacker who planned to plant malware in the Tesla company. A Swiss hacker who was involved in the intrusion of cloud-based surveillance firm Verkada and exposed camera footage from its customers was charged by the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) on Thursday with conspiracy, wire fraud, and identity theft. Till Kottmann (aka "deletescape" and "tillie crimew"), 21, of Lucerne, Switzerland, and their co-conspirators were accused of hacking dozens of companies and government agencies since 2019 by targeting their "git" and other source code repositories and posting the proprietary data of more than 100 entities on a website called git[.]rip, according to the indictment. Kottmann is alleged to have cloned the source code and other confidential files containing hard-coded administrative credentials and access keys, using th
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