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New "SockDetour" Fileless, Socketless Backdoor Targets U.S. Defense Contractors

New "SockDetour" Fileless, Socketless Backdoor Targets U.S. Defense Contractors

February 25, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers have taken the wraps off a previously undocumented and stealthy custom malware called SockDetour that targeted U.S.-based defense contractors with the goal of being used as a secondary implant on compromised Windows hosts. "SockDetour is a backdoor that is designed to remain stealthily on compromised Windows servers so that it can serve as a backup backdoor in case the primary one fails," Palo Alto Networks' Unit 42 threat intelligence  said  in a report published Thursday. "It is difficult to detect, since it operates filelessly and socketlessly on compromised Windows servers." Even more concerningly, SockDetour is believed to have been used in attacks since at least July 2019, based on a compilation timestamp on the sample, implying that the backdoor successfully managed to slip past detection for over two-and-a-half years. The attacks have been attributed to a threat cluster it tracks as  TiltedTemple  (aka DEV-0322 by Microsof
Iran's MuddyWater Hacker Group Using New Malware in Worldwide Cyber Attacks

Iran's MuddyWater Hacker Group Using New Malware in Worldwide Cyber Attacks

February 25, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity agencies from the U.K. and the U.S. have laid bare a new malware used by the Iranian government-sponsored advanced persistent threat (APT) group in attacks targeting government and commercial networks worldwide. "MuddyWater actors are positioned both to provide stolen data and accesses to the Iranian government and to share these with other malicious cyber actors," the agencies  said . The joint advisory comes courtesy of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the U.S. Cyber Command Cyber National Mission Force (CNMF), and the U.K.'s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). The cyberespionage actor was  outed this year  as conducting malicious operations as part of Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) targeting a wide range of government and private-sector organizations, including telecommunications, defense, local government, and oil and natural gas sectors, in Asia, Afric
Putin Warns Russian Critical Infrastructure to Brace for Potential Cyber Attacks

Putin Warns Russian Critical Infrastructure to Brace for Potential Cyber Attacks

February 25, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The Russian government on Thursday warned of cyber attacks aimed at domestic critical infrastructure operators, as the country's full-blown invasion of Ukraine enters the second day. In addition to cautioning of the "threat of an increase in the intensity of computer attacks," Russia's National Computer Incident Response and Coordination Center  said  that the "attacks can be aimed at disrupting the functioning of important information resources and services, causing reputational damage, including for political purposes." "Any failure in the operation of [critical information infrastructure] objects due to a reason that is not reliably established, first of all, should be considered as the result of a computer attack," the agency added. Furthermore, it notified of possible influence operations undertaken to "form a negative image of the Russian Federation in the eyes of the world community," echoing a  similar alert  released by the U
Warning — Deadbolt Ransomware Targeting ASUSTOR NAS Devices

Warning — Deadbolt Ransomware Targeting ASUSTOR NAS Devices

February 24, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
ASUSTOR network-attached storage (NAS) devices have become the  latest   victim  of Deadbolt ransomware, less than a month after similar attacks singled out  QNAP NAS appliances . In response to the infections, the company has released firmware updates ( ADM 4.0.4.RQO2 ) to "fix related security issues." The company is also urging users to take the following actions to keep data secure – Change your password Use a strong password Change default HTTP and HTTPS ports. Default ports are 8000 and 8001 respectively Change web server ports (Default ports are 80 and 443) Turn off Terminal/SSH and SFTP services and other services you do not use, and Make regular backups and ensure backups are up to date The attacks primarily affect internet-exposed ASUSTOR NAS models running ADM operating systems including, but not limited to, AS5104T, AS5304T, AS6404T, AS7004T, AS5202T, AS6302T, and AS1104T.  Much like the intrusions targeting QNAP NAS devices, the threat actors claim t
New Wiper Malware Targeting Ukraine Amid Russia's Military Operation

New Wiper Malware Targeting Ukraine Amid Russia's Military Operation

February 23, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity firms ESET and Broadcom's Symantec said they discovered a new data wiper malware used in fresh attacks against hundreds of machines in Ukraine, as Russian forces formally launched a full-scale military operation against the country. The Slovak company dubbed the wiper " HermeticWiper " (aka  KillDisk.NCV ), with one of the malware samples compiled on December 28, 2021, implying that preparations for the attacks may have been underway for nearly two months. "The wiper binary is signed using a code signing certificate issued to Hermetica Digital Ltd," ESET said in a series of tweets. "The wiper abuses legitimate drivers from the EaseUS Partition Master software in order to corrupt data. As a final step the wiper reboots [the] computer." Specifically, HermeticWiper is delivered via the benign but signed EaseUS partition management driver that then proceeds to impair the first 512 bytes, the Master Boot Record ( MBR ) for every phys
Hackers Backdoor Unpatched Microsoft SQL Database Servers with Cobalt Strike

Hackers Backdoor Unpatched Microsoft SQL Database Servers with Cobalt Strike

February 21, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Vulnerable internet-facing Microsoft SQL (MS SQL) Servers are being targeted by threat actors as part of a new campaign to deploy the Cobalt Strike adversary simulation tool on compromised hosts. "Attacks that target MS SQL servers include attacks to the environment where its vulnerability has not been patched, brute forcing, and  dictionary attack  against poorly managed servers," South Korean cybersecurity company AhnLab Security Emergency Response Center (ASEC)  said  in a report published Monday. Cobalt Strike is a commercial, full-featured  penetration testing framework  that allows an attacker to deploy an agent named "Beacon" on the victim machine, granting the operator remote access to the system. Although billed as a red team threat simulation platform,  cracked versions  of the software have been  actively used  by a wide range of threat actors. Intrusions observed by ASEC involve the unidentified actor scanning port 1433 to check for exposed MS SQL s
Iranian State Broadcaster IRIB Hit by Destructive Wiper Malware

Iranian State Broadcaster IRIB Hit by Destructive Wiper Malware

February 21, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
An investigation into the cyberattack targeting Iranian national media corporation, Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), in late January 2022 revealed the deployment of a wiper malware and other custom implants, as the country's national infrastructure continues to face a  wave  of  attacks  aimed at inflicting serious damage. "This indicates that the attackers' aim was also to disrupt the state's broadcasting networks, with the damage to the TV and radio networks possibly more serious than officially reported," Tel Aviv-based cybersecurity firm Check Point  said  in a report published last week. The 10-second attack, which took place on January 27, involved the breach of state broadcaster IRIB to air pictures of Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization ( MKO ) leaders Maryam and Massoud Rajavi alongside a call for the assassination of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. "This is an extremely complex attack and only the owners of this technology co
PseudoManuscrypt Malware Spreading the Same Way as CryptBot Targets Koreans

PseudoManuscrypt Malware Spreading the Same Way as CryptBot Targets Koreans

February 18, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Numerous Windows machines located in South Korea have been targeted by a botnet tracked as PseudoManuscrypt since at least May 2021 by employing the same delivery tactics of another malware called CryptBot . "PseudoManuscrypt is disguised as an installer that is similar to a form of  CryptBot , and is being distributed," South Korean cybersecurity company AhnLab Security Emergency Response Center (ASEC)  said  in a report published today. "Not only is its file form similar to CryptBot, but it is also distributed via malicious sites exposed on the top search page when users search commercial software-related illegal programs such as Crack and Keygen," it added. According to ASEC, around 30 computers in the country are being consistently infected on a daily basis on average. PseudoManuscrypt was first documented by Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky in December 2021, when it  disclosed  details of a "mass-scale spyware attack campaign" infecting mo
Hackers Planted Fake Digital Evidence on Devices of Indian Activists and Lawyers

Hackers Planted Fake Digital Evidence on Devices of Indian Activists and Lawyers

February 11, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
A previously unknown hacking group has been linked to targeted attacks against human rights activists, human rights defenders, academics, and lawyers across India in an attempt to plant "incriminating digital evidence." Cybersecurity firm SentinelOne attributed the intrusions to a group it tracks as " ModifiedElephant ," an elusive threat actor that's been operational since at least 2012, whose activity aligns sharply with Indian state interests. "ModifiedElephant operates through the use of commercially available remote access trojans (RATs) and has potential ties to the commercial surveillance industry," the researchers  said . "The threat actor uses spear-phishing with malicious documents to deliver malware, such as  NetWire ,  DarkComet , and simple keyloggers." The primary goal of ModifiedElephant is to facilitate long-term surveillance of targeted individuals, ultimately leading to the delivery of "evidence" on the victim
Iranian Hackers Using New Marlin Backdoor in 'Out to Sea' Espionage Campaign

Iranian Hackers Using New Marlin Backdoor in 'Out to Sea' Espionage Campaign

February 09, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
An advanced persistent threat (APT) group with ties to Iran has refreshed its malware toolset to include a new backdoor dubbed  Marlin  as part of a long-running espionage campaign that started in April 2018. Slovak cybersecurity company ESET attributed the attacks — codenamed "Out to Sea"  — to a threat actor called  OilRig  (aka APT34), while also conclusively connecting its activities to a second Iranian group tracked under the name  Lyceum  (Hexane aka  SiameseKitten ). "Victims of the campaign include diplomatic organizations, technology companies, and medical organizations in Israel, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates," ESET noted in its  T3 2021 Threat Report  shared with The Hacker News. Active since at least 2014, the hacking group is known to strike Middle Eastern governments and a variety of business verticals, including chemical, energy, financial, and telecommunications. In April 2021, the actor targeted a Lebanese entity with an implant called
Russian APT Hackers Used COVID-19 Lures to Target European Diplomats

Russian APT Hackers Used COVID-19 Lures to Target European Diplomats

February 09, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The Russia-linked threat actor known as APT29 targeted European diplomatic missions and Ministries of Foreign Affairs as part of a series of spear-phishing campaigns mounted in October and November 2021. According to ESET's  T3 2021 Threat Report  shared with The Hacker News, the intrusions paved the way for the deployment of Cobalt Strike Beacon on compromised systems, followed by leveraging the foothold to drop additional malware for gathering information about the hosts and other machines in the same network. Also tracked under the names The Dukes, Cozy Bear, and Nobelium, the advanced persistent threat group is an infamous cyber-espionage group that has been active for more than a decade, with its attacks targeting Europe and the U.S., before it gained widespread attention for the  supply‐chain compromise  of SolarWinds, leading to further infections in several downstream entities, including U.S. government agencies in 2020. The spear-phishing attacks commenced with a COVI
Hackers Backdoored Systems at China's National Games Just Before Competition

Hackers Backdoored Systems at China's National Games Just Before Competition

February 07, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Systems hosting content pertaining to the National Games of China were successfully breached last year by an unnamed Chinese-language-speaking hacking group. Cybersecurity firm Avast, which  dissected  the intrusion, said that the attackers gained access to a web server 12 days prior to the start of the event on September 3 to drop multiple reverse web shells for remote access and achieve permanent foothold in the network. The  National Games of China , a multi-sport event held every four years, took place in the Shaanxi Province between September 15 and 27, 2021. The Czech company said it was unable to determine the nature of the information stolen by the hackers, adding it has "reason to believe [the attackers] are either native Chinese-language speakers or show high fluency in Chinese." The breach is said to have been resolved ahead of the start of the games. The initial access was facilitated by exploiting a vulnerability in the webserver. But before dropping the we
Chinese Hackers Target Taiwanese Financial Institutions with a new Stealthy Backdoor

Chinese Hackers Target Taiwanese Financial Institutions with a new Stealthy Backdoor

February 06, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
A Chinese advanced persistent threat (APT) group has been targeting Taiwanese financial institutions as part of a "persistent campaign" that lasted for at least 18 months. The intrusions, whose primary intent was espionage, resulted in the deployment of a backdoor called xPack , granting the adversary extensive control over compromised machines, Broadcom-owned Symantec said in a  report  published last week. What's notable about this campaign is the amount of time the threat actor lurked on victim networks, affording the operators ample opportunity for detailed reconnaissance and exfiltrate potentially sensitive information pertaining to business contacts and investments without raising any red flags. In one of the unnamed financial organizations, the attackers spent close to 250 days between December 2020 and August 2021, while a manufacturing entity had its network under their watch for roughly 175 days. Although the initial access vector used to the breach the ta
Hackers Exploited 0-Day Vulnerability in Zimbra Email Platform to Spy on Users

Hackers Exploited 0-Day Vulnerability in Zimbra Email Platform to Spy on Users

February 03, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
A threat actor, likely Chinese in origin, is actively attempting to exploit a zero-day vulnerability in the Zimbra open-source email platform as part of spear-phishing campaigns that commenced in December 2021. The espionage operation — codenamed " EmailThief " — was detailed by cybersecurity company Volexity in a technical report published Thursday, noting that successful exploitation of the cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability could result in the execution of arbitrary JavaScript code in the context of the user's Zimbra session. Volexity attributed the intrusions, which started on December 14, 2021, to a previously undocumented hacking group it's tracking under the moniker TEMP_HERETIC, with the assaults aimed at European government and media entities. The zero-day bug impacts the most recent open-source edition of Zimbra running  version 8.8.15 . The attacks are believed to have occurred in two phases; the first stage aimed at reconnaissance and distribut
New Malware Used by SolarWinds Attackers Went Undetected for Years

New Malware Used by SolarWinds Attackers Went Undetected for Years

February 02, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The threat actor behind the supply chain compromise of SolarWinds has continued to expand its malware arsenal with new tools and techniques that were deployed in attacks as early as 2019, once indicative of the elusive nature of the campaigns and the adversary's ability to maintain persistent access for years. According to cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, which  detailed the novel tactics  adopted by the Nobelium hacking group last week, two sophisticated malware families were placed on victim systems — a Linux variant of GoldMax and a new implant dubbed TrailBlazer — long before the scale of the attacks came to light. Nobelium, the Microsoft-assigned moniker for the  SolarWinds intrusion  in December 2020, is also tracked by the wider cybersecurity community under the names UNC2452 (FireEye), SolarStorm (Unit 42), StellarParticle (CrowdStrike), Dark Halo (Volexity), and Iron Ritual (Secureworks). The  malicious activities  have since been attributed to a Russian state-sponsore
Ukraine Continues to Face Cyber Espionage Attacks from Russian Hackers

Ukraine Continues to Face Cyber Espionage Attacks from Russian Hackers

February 01, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers on Monday said they uncovered evidence of attempted attacks by a Russia-linked hacking operation targeting a Ukrainian entity in July 2021. Broadcom-owned Symantec, in a new report published Monday, attributed the attacks to an actor tracked as Gamaredon (aka Shuckworm or Armageddon), a cyber-espionage collective known to be active since at least 2013. In November 2021, Ukrainian intelligence agencies  branded  the group as a "special project" of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), in addition to pointing fingers at it for carrying out over 5,000 cyberattacks against public authorities and critical infrastructure located in the country. Gamaredon attacks typically originate with phishing emails that trick the recipients into installing a custom remote access trojan called Pterodo. Symantec disclosed that, between July 14, 2021 and August 18, 2021, the actor installed several variants of the backdoor as well as deployed additional scripts
Reasons Why Every Business is a Target of DDoS Attacks

Reasons Why Every Business is a Target of DDoS Attacks

January 31, 2022The Hacker News
DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks are making headlines almost every day.  2021 saw a 434%  upsurge in DDoS attacks, 5.5 times higher than 2020.  Q3 2021 saw a 24%  increase in the number of DDoS attacks in comparison to Q3 2020.  Advanced DDoS attacks that are typically targeted, known as smart attacks, rose by 31% in the same period. Further,  73% of DDoS attacks  in Q3 2021 were multi-vector attacks that combined multiple techniques to attack the targeted systems. The largest percentage of DDoS targets (40.8%) was in the US Banks, and financial institutions were the biggest DDoS and DoS attack targets in the past couple of years.  Does this mean businesses and organizations that aren't in the banking and financial services sector are safe from  DDoS attacks ? Most definitely not! Every business is a potential DDoS target. Read on to know why and what measures to take to keep your business effectively protected.  Common DDoS Targets Even though every business can be ta
North Korean Hackers Using Windows Update Service to Infect PCs with Malware

North Korean Hackers Using Windows Update Service to Infect PCs with Malware

January 28, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The notorious  Lazarus Group  actor has been observed mounting a new campaign that makes use of the Windows Update service to execute its malicious payload, expanding the arsenal of living-off-the-land (LotL) techniques leveraged by the APT group to further its objectives. The Lazarus Group, also known as  APT38 , Hidden Cobra, Whois Hacking Team, and Zinc, is the moniker assigned to the North Korea-based nation-state hacking group that's been active since at least 2009. Last year, the threat actor was  linked  to an elaborate  social engineering campaign  targeting security researchers. The latest spear-phishing attacks, which  Malwarebytes  detected on January 18, originate from weaponized documents with job-themed lures impersonating the American global security and aerospace company Lockheed Martin. Opening the decoy Microsoft Word file triggers the execution of a malicious macro embedded within the document that, in turn, executes a Base64-decoded shellcode to inject a nu
QNAP Warns of DeadBolt Ransomware Targeting Internet-Facing NAS Devices

QNAP Warns of DeadBolt Ransomware Targeting Internet-Facing NAS Devices

January 27, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Taiwanese company QNAP has warned customers to secure network-attached storage (NAS) appliances and routers against a new ransomware variant called DeadBolt . "DeadBolt has been widely targeting all NAS exposed to the Internet without any protection and encrypting users' data for Bitcoin ransom," the company  said . "QNAP urges all QNAP NAS users to […] immediately update QTS to the latest available version." A query on IoT search engine Censys shows that at least 3,687 devices have been encrypted by the DeadBolt ransomware so far, with most NAS devices located in the U.S., Taiwan, France, Italy, the U.K., Hong Kong, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, and South Korea. In addition, QNAP is also urging users to check if their NAS devices are public-facing, and if so, take steps to turn off the port forwarding function of the router and disable the Universal Plug and Play ( UPnP ) function of the QNAP NAS. The advisory comes as  Bleeping Computer  revealed t
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