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Malware Attack on South Korean Entities Was Work of Andariel Group

Malware Attack on South Korean Entities Was Work of Andariel Group

June 16, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A malware campaign targeting South Korean entities that came to light earlier this year has been attributed to a North Korean nation-state hacking group called Andariel, once again indicating that  Lazarus  attackers are following the trends and their  arsenal  is in  constant development . "The way Windows commands and their options were used in this campaign is almost identical to previous Andariel activity," Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky  said  in a deep-dive published Tuesday. Victims of the attack are in the manufacturing, home network service, media, and construction sectors. Designated as part of the Lazarus constellation, Andariel is known for unleashing attacks on South Korean organizations and businesses using specifically tailored methods created for maximum effectivity. In September 2019, the sub-group, along with Lazarus and Bluenoroff, was  sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department  for their malicious cyber activity on critical infrastructure. Anda
NoxPlayer Supply-Chain Attack is Likely the Work of Gelsemium Hackers

NoxPlayer Supply-Chain Attack is Likely the Work of Gelsemium Hackers

June 14, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A new cyber espionage group named Gelsemium has been linked to a  supply chain attack targeting the NoxPlayer  Android emulator that was disclosed earlier this year. The findings come from a systematic analysis of multiple campaigns undertaken by the APT crew, with evidence of the earliest attack dating back all the way to 2014 under the codename  Operation TooHash  based on malware payloads deployed in those intrusions. "Victims of these campaigns are located in East Asia as well as the Middle East and include governments, religious organizations, electronics manufacturers and universities," cybersecurity firm ESET  said  in an analysis published last week. "Gelsemium's whole chain might appear simple at first sight, but the exhaustive configurations, implanted at each stage, modify on-the-fly settings for the final payload, making it harder to understand." Targeted countries include China, Mongolia, North and South Korea, Japan, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Saudi
U.S. Recovers $2.3 Million Ransom Paid to Colonial Pipeline Hackers

U.S. Recovers $2.3 Million Ransom Paid to Colonial Pipeline Hackers

June 08, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
In a major blow, the U.S. Department of Justice on Monday said it has recovered 63.7 bitcoins (currently valued at $2.3 million) paid by Colonial Pipeline to the DarkSide ransomware extortionists on May 8, pursuant to a seizure warrant that was authorized by the Northern District of California. The  ransomware attack  also hobbled the pipeline company's fuel supply, prompting the government to issue an  emergency declaration , even as the company shelled out a ransom amount of approximately  75 bitcoins  ($4.4 million as of May 8) to regain access to its systems. A week after the highly publicized incident, the ransomware-as-a-service syndicate disbanded with a May 14 farewell message to affiliates, stating that its internet servers and cryptocurrency stash were  seized  by unknown law enforcement entities. While DarkSide's announcement was perceived as an exit scam, the latest move from DoJ confirms earlier speculations of law enforcement involvement. Stating that "
Hackers Breached Colonial Pipeline Using Compromised VPN Password

Hackers Breached Colonial Pipeline Using Compromised VPN Password

June 07, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
The ransomware cartel that masterminded the  Colonial Pipeline attack  early last month crippled the pipeline operator's network using a compromised virtual private network (VPN) account password, the latest investigation into the incident has revealed. The development, which was  reported  by Bloomberg on Friday, involved gaining an initial foothold into the networks as early as April 29 through the VPN account, which allowed employees to access the company's networks remotely. The VPN login — which didn't have multi-factor protections on — was unused but active at the time of the attack, the report said, adding the password has since been discovered inside a batch of leaked passwords on the dark web, suggesting that an employee of the company may have reused the same password on another account that was previously breached. It's, however, unclear how the password was obtained, Charles Carmakal, senior vice president at the cybersecurity firm Mandiant, was quoted a
Necro Python Malware Upgrades With New Exploits and Crypto Mining Capabilities

Necro Python Malware Upgrades With New Exploits and Crypto Mining Capabilities

June 03, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
New upgrades have been made to a Python-based "self-replicating, polymorphic bot" called Necro in what's seen as an attempt to improve its chances of infecting vulnerable systems and evading detection. "Although the bot was originally discovered earlier this year, the latest activity shows numerous changes to the bot, ranging from different command-and-control (C2) communications and the addition of new exploits for spreading, most notably vulnerabilities in VMWare vSphere, SCO OpenServer, Vesta Control Panel and SMB-based exploits that were not present in the earlier iterations of the code," researchers from Cisco Talos  said  in a deep-dive published today. Said to be in development as far back as 2015,  Necro  (aka N3Cr0m0rPh) targets both Linux and Windows devices, with heightened activity observed at the start of the year as part of a malware campaign dubbed " FreakOut " that was found exploiting  vulnerabilities  in network-attached storage (
Researchers Uncover Hacking Operations Targeting Government Entities in South Korea

Researchers Uncover Hacking Operations Targeting Government Entities in South Korea

June 02, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A North Korean threat actor active since 2012 has been behind a new espionage campaign targeting high-profile government officials associated with its southern counterpart to install an Android and Windows backdoor for collecting sensitive information. Cybersecurity firm Malwarebytes attributed the activity to a threat actor tracked as Kimsuky, with the targeted entities comprising of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador of the Embassy of Sri Lanka to the State, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Nuclear Security Officer, and the Deputy Consul General at Korean Consulate General in Hong Kong. The attacks also involved collecting information about other organizations and universities in the country, including the Korea Internet and Security Agency (KISA), Seoul National University, and Daishin Securities. Malwarebytes, however, noted that there is no evidence of active targeting or compromise by the adversary. The development is only the latest in a series of surveil
Google Researchers Discover A New Variant of Rowhammer Attack

Google Researchers Discover A New Variant of Rowhammer Attack

May 25, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A team of security researchers from Google has demonstrated yet another variant of the Rowhammer vulnerability that targets increasingly smaller DRAM chips to bypass all current mitigations, making it a persistent threat to chip security. Dubbed "Half-Double," the new hammering technique hinges on the weak coupling between two memory rows that are not immediately adjacent to each other but one row removed in an attempt to tamper with data stored in memory and attack a system . "Unlike  TRRespass , which exploits the blind spots of manufacturer-dependent defenses, Half-Double is an intrinsic property of the underlying silicon substrate," the researchers  noted . "This is likely an indication that the electrical coupling responsible for Rowhammer is a property of distance, effectively becoming stronger and longer-ranged as cell geometries shrink down. Distances greater than two are conceivable." Rowhammer attacks are similar to  speculative execution  
FBI Analyst Charged With Stealing Counterterrorism and Cyber Threat Info

FBI Analyst Charged With Stealing Counterterrorism and Cyber Threat Info

May 22, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) indicted an employee of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for illegally removing numerous national security documents and willfully retaining them at her personal residence during a 13-year period from June 2004 to December 2017.  The federal indictment charged Kendra Kingsbury, 48, with two counts of having unauthorized possession of documents relating to the national defense, according to an  unsealed indictment  that was made public on Friday. Kingsbury worked as an intelligence analyst in the FBI's Kansas City Division for more than 12 years, until her suspension in 2017. "The breadth and depth of classified national security information retained by the defendant for more than a decade is simply astonishing,"  said  Alan E. Kohler, Jr. Assistant Director of the FBI's Counterintelligence Division, in a statement. Stating that Kingsbury knew she was not authorized to remove and retain access to these sensitive govern
Microsoft Warns of Data Stealing Malware That Pretends to Be Ransomware

Microsoft Warns of Data Stealing Malware That Pretends to Be Ransomware

May 21, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Microsoft on Thursday warned of a "massive email campaign" that's pushing a Java-based STRRAT malware to steal confidential data from infected systems while disguising itself as a ransomware infection. "This RAT is infamous for its ransomware-like behavior of appending the file name extension .crimson to files without actually encrypting them," the Microsoft Security Intelligence team  said  in a series of tweets. The new wave of attacks, which the company spotted last week, commences with spam emails sent from compromised email accounts with "Outgoing Payments" in the subject line, luring the recipients into opening malicious PDF documents that claim to be remittances, but in reality, connect to a rogue domain to download the STRRAT malware. Besides establishing connections to a command-and-control server during execution, the malware comes with a range of features that allow it to collect browser passwords, log keystrokes, and run remote command
Watering Hole Attack Was Used to Target Florida Water Utilities

Watering Hole Attack Was Used to Target Florida Water Utilities

May 20, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
An investigation undertaken in the aftermath of the  Oldsmar water plant hack  earlier this year has revealed that an infrastructure contractor in the U.S. state of Florida hosted malicious code on its website in what's known as a watering hole attack. "This malicious code seemingly targeted water utilities, particularly in Florida, and more importantly, was visited by a browser from the city of Oldsmar on the same day of the poisoning event," Dragos researcher Kent Backman  said  in a write-up published on Tuesday. The site, which belongs to a Florida-based general contractor involved in building water and wastewater treatment facilities, had no bearing on the intrusion, the American industrial cybersecurity firm said. Watering hole attacks typically allow an adversary to compromise a specific group of end-users by compromising a carefully selected website, which members of that group are known to visit, with an intention to gain access to the victim's system an
Pakistan-Linked Hackers Added New Windows Malware to Its Arsenal

Pakistan-Linked Hackers Added New Windows Malware to Its Arsenal

May 14, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybercriminals with suspected ties to Pakistan continue to rely on social engineering as a crucial component of its operations as part of an evolving espionage campaign against Indian targets, according to new research. The attacks have been linked to a group called  Transparent Tribe , also known as Operation C-Major, APT36, and Mythic Leopard, which has created fraudulent domains mimicking legitimate Indian military and defense organizations, and other fake domains posing as file-sharing sites to host malicious artifacts. "While military and defense personnel continue to be the group's primary targets, Transparent Tribe is increasingly targeting diplomatic entities, defense contractors, research organizations and conference attendees, indicating that the group is expanding its targeting," researchers from Cisco Talos  said  on Thursday. These domains are used to deliver maldocs distributing  CrimsonRAT , and ObliqueRAT, with the group incorporating new phishing, lu
Rapid7 Source Code Breached in Codecov Supply-Chain Attack

Rapid7 Source Code Breached in Codecov Supply-Chain Attack

May 14, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity company Rapid7 on Thursday revealed that unidentified actors improperly managed to get hold of a small portion of its source code repositories in the aftermath of the software supply chain compromise targeting Codecov earlier this year. "A small subset of our source code repositories for internal tooling for our [Managed Detection and Response] service was accessed by an unauthorized party outside of Rapid7," the Boston-based firm  said  in a disclosure. "These repositories contained some internal credentials, which have all been rotated, and alert-related data for a subset of our MDR customers." On April 15, software auditing startup Codecov alerted customers that its Bash Uploader utility had been infected with a backdoor as early as January 31 by unknown parties to gain access to authentication tokens for various internal software accounts used by developers. The incident didn't come to light until April 1. "The actor gained access bec
U.S. Declares Emergency in 17 States Over Fuel Pipeline Cyber Attack

U.S. Declares Emergency in 17 States Over Fuel Pipeline Cyber Attack

May 11, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
The ransomware attack  against Colonial Pipeline's networks has prompted the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to issue a  regional emergency declaration  in 17 states and the District of Columbia (D.C.). The declaration provides a temporary exemption to Parts 390 through 399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations ( FMCSRs ), allowing alternate transportation of gasoline, diesel, and refined petroleum products to address supply shortages stemming from the attack. "Such [an] emergency is in response to the unanticipated shutdown of the Colonial pipeline system due to network issues that affect the supply of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products throughout the Affected States," the directive said. "This Declaration addresses the emergency conditions creating a need for immediate transportation of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products and provides necessary relief." The states
Ransomware Cyber Attack Forced the Largest U.S. Fuel Pipeline to Shut Down

Ransomware Cyber Attack Forced the Largest U.S. Fuel Pipeline to Shut Down

May 09, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Colonial Pipeline , which carries 45% of the fuel consumed on the U.S. East Coast, on Saturday said it halted operations due to a ransomware attack,  once again demonstrating  how infrastructure is vulnerable to cyber attacks. "On May 7, the Colonial Pipeline Company learned it was the victim of a cybersecurity attack," the company  said  in a statement posted on its website. "We have since determined that this incident involves ransomware. In response, we proactively took certain systems offline to contain the threat, which has temporarily halted all pipeline operations, and affected some of our IT systems." Colonial Pipeline is the largest refined products pipeline in the U.S., a 5,500 mile (8,851 km) system involved in transporting over 100 million gallons from the Texas city of Houston to New York Harbor. Cybersecurity firm FireEye's Mandiant incident response division is said to be assisting with the investigation, according to reports from  Bloomberg
Top 12 Security Flaws Russian Spy Hackers Are Exploiting in the Wild

Top 12 Security Flaws Russian Spy Hackers Are Exploiting in the Wild

May 08, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Cyber operatives affiliated with the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) have switched up their tactics in response to previous public disclosures of their attack methods, according to a  new advisory  jointly published by intelligence agencies from the U.K. and U.S. Friday. "SVR cyber operators appear to have reacted [...] by changing their TTPs in an attempt to avoid further detection and remediation efforts by network defenders," the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC)  said . These include the deployment of an open-source tool called  Sliver  to maintain their access to compromised victims as well as leveraging the ProxyLogon flaws in Microsoft Exchange servers to conduct post-exploitation activities. The development follows the  public attribution  of SVR-linked actors to the  SolarWinds  supply-chain attack last month. The adversary is also tracked under different monikers, such as Advanced Persistent Threat 29 (APT29), the Dukes, CozyBear, and Yttrium. T
 New Stealthy Rootkit Infiltrated Networks of High-Profile Organizations

New Stealthy Rootkit Infiltrated Networks of High-Profile Organizations

May 07, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
An unknown threat actor with the capabilities to evolve and tailor its toolset to target environments infiltrated high-profile organizations in Asia and Africa with an evasive Windows rootkit since at least 2018. Called  'Moriya ,' the malware is a "passive backdoor which allows attackers to inspect all incoming traffic to the infected machine, filter out packets that are marked as designated for the malware and respond to them," said Kaspersky researchers Mark Lechtik and Giampaolo Dedola in a Thursday deep-dive. The Russian cybersecurity firm termed the ongoing espionage campaign  'TunnelSnake .' Based on telemetry analysis, less than 10 victims around the world have been targeted to date, with the most prominent targets being two large diplomatic entities in Southeast Asia and Africa. All the other victims were located in South Asia. The first reports of Moriya emerged last November when Kaspersky said it discovered the stealthy implant in the networks
New Pingback Malware Using ICMP Tunneling to Evade C&C Detection

New Pingback Malware Using ICMP Tunneling to Evade C&C Detection

May 04, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Researchers on Tuesday disclosed a novel malware that uses a variety of tricks to stay under the radar and evade detection, while stealthily capable of executing arbitrary commands on infected systems. Called 'Pingback,' the Windows malware leverages Internet Control Message Protocol ( ICMP ) tunneling for covert bot communications, allowing the adversary to utilize ICMP packets to piggyback attack code, according to an analysis published today by Trustwave. Pingback (" oci.dll ") achieves this by getting loaded through a legitimate service called  MSDTC  (Microsoft Distributed Transaction Coordinator) — a component responsible for handling database operations that are distributed over multiple machines — by taking advantage of a method called  DLL search order hijacking , which involves using a genuine application to preload a malicious DLL file. Naming the malware as one of the plugins required for supporting  Oracle ODBC  interface in MSDTC is key to the atta
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
Passwordstate Warns of Ongoing Phishing Attacks Following Data Breach

Passwordstate Warns of Ongoing Phishing Attacks Following Data Breach

April 30, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Click Studios, the Australian software firm which confirmed a  supply chain attack  affecting its Passwordstate password management application, has warned customers of an ongoing phishing attack by an unknown threat actor. "We have been advised a bad actor has commenced a phishing attack with a small number of customers having received emails requesting urgent action," the company  said  in an updated advisory released on Wednesday. "These emails are not sent by Click Studios." Last week, Click Studios said attackers had employed sophisticated techniques to compromise Passwordstate's update mechanism, using it to drop malware on user computers. Only customers who performed In-Place Upgrades between April 20, 8:33 PM UTC, and April 22, 0:30 AM UTC are said to be affected. While Passwordstate serves about 29,000 customers, the Adelaide-based firm maintained that the total number of impacted customers is very low. It's also urging users to refrain from po
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