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Google: Russian Hackers Target Ukrainians, European Allies via Phishing Attacks

Google: Russian Hackers Target Ukrainians, European Allies via Phishing Attacks

March 08, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
A broad range of threat actors, including Fancy Bear, Ghostwriter, and Mustang Panda, have launched phishing campaigns against Ukraine, Poland, and other European entities amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Google's Threat Analysis Group (TAG) said it took down two Blogspot domains that were used by the nation-state group FancyBear (aka APT28) – which is attributed to Russia's GRU military intelligence – as a landing page for its social engineering attacks. The disclosure comes close on the heels of an advisory from the Computer Emergency Response Team of Ukraine (CERT-UA)  warning  of phishing campaigns targeting Ukr.net users that involve sending messages from compromised accounts containing links to attacker-controlled credential harvesting pages. Another cluster of threat activity concerns webmail users of Ukr.net, Yandex.ru, wp.pl, rambler.ru, meta.ua, and i.ua, who have been at the receiving end of phishing attacks by a Belarusian threat actor tracked as Ghostwrit
Imperva Thwarts 2.5 Million RPS Ransom DDoS Extortion Attacks

Imperva Thwarts 2.5 Million RPS Ransom DDoS Extortion Attacks

March 04, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity company Imperva on Friday said it recently mitigated a ransom distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack targeting an unnamed website that peaked at 2.5 million requests per second (RPS). "While ransom DDoS attacks are not new, they appear to be evolving and becoming more interesting with time and with each new phase," Nelli Klepfish, security analyst at Imperva,  said . "For example, we've seen instances where the ransom note is included in the attack itself embedded into a URL request." The top sources of the attacks came from Indonesia, followed by the U.S., China, Brazil, India, Colombia, Russia, Thailand, Mexico, and Argentina. Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks are a subcategory of denial-of-service (DoS) attacks in which an army of connected online devices, known as a botnet, is used to overwhelm a target website with fake traffic in an attempt to render it unavailable to legitimate users. The California-headquartered firm s
Russia Releases List of IPs, Domains Attacking Its Infrastructure with DDoS Attacks

Russia Releases List of IPs, Domains Attacking Its Infrastructure with DDoS Attacks

March 03, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
As the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict continues to escalate, the Russian government on Thursday  released  a massive list containing 17,576 IP addresses and 166 domains that it said are behind a series of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks aimed at its domestic infrastructure. Some of the noticeable domains in the listing released by Russia's National Coordination Center for Computer Incidents (NCCCI) included the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and websites of several media publications such as the USA Today, 24News.ge, megatv.ge, and Ukraine's Korrespondent magazine. As part of its recommendations to counter the DDoS attacks, the agency is urging organizations to ringfence network devices, enable logging, change passwords associated with key infrastructure elements, turn off automatic software updates, disable third-party plugins on websites, enforce data backups, and watch out for phishing attacks. "Use Russ
Hackers Begin Weaponizing TCP Middlebox Reflection for Amplified DDoS Attacks

Hackers Begin Weaponizing TCP Middlebox Reflection for Amplified DDoS Attacks

March 02, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks leveraging a new amplification technique called TCP Middlebox Reflection have been detected for the first time in the wild, six months after the novel attack mechanism was presented in theory. "The attack […] abuses vulnerable firewalls and content filtering systems to reflect and amplify TCP traffic to a victim machine, creating a powerful DDoS attack," Akamai researchers  said  in a report published Tuesday. "This type of attack dangerously lowers the bar for DDoS attacks, as the attacker needs as little as 1/75th (in some cases) the amount of bandwidth from a volumetric standpoint," the researchers added. A distributed reflective denial-of-service ( DRDoS ) is a form of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack that relies on publicly accessible UDP servers and bandwidth amplification factors (BAFs) to overwhelm a victim's system with a high volume of UDP responses. In these attacks, the adversary sends a
Microsoft Finds FoxBlade Malware Hit Ukraine Hours Before Russian Invasion

Microsoft Finds FoxBlade Malware Hit Ukraine Hours Before Russian Invasion

March 01, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
UPDATE: It's worth noting that the malware Microsoft tracks as FoxBlade is the same as the data wiper that's been denominated HermeticWiper (aka KillDisk) . Microsoft on Monday disclosed that it detected a new round of offensive and destructive cyberattacks directed against Ukraine's digital infrastructure hours before Russia launched its first missile strikes last week. The intrusions involved the use of a never-before-seen malware package dubbed FoxBlade , according to the tech giant's Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC), noting that it added new signatures to its Defender anti-malware service to detect the exploit within three hours of the discovery. "These recent and ongoing cyberattacks have been precisely targeted, and we have not seen the use of the indiscriminate malware technology that spread across Ukraine's economy and beyond its borders in the  2017 NotPetya attack ," Microsoft's President and Vice Chair, Brad Smith,  said . Additio
China-linked Daxin Malware Targeted Multiple Governments in Espionage Attacks

China-linked Daxin Malware Targeted Multiple Governments in Espionage Attacks

March 01, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
A previously undocumented espionage tool has been deployed against selected governments and other critical infrastructure targets as part of a long-running espionage campaign orchestrated by China-linked threat actors since at least 2013. Broadcom's Symantec Threat Hunter team characterized the backdoor, named  Daxin , as a technologically advanced malware, allowing the attackers to carry out a variety of communications and information-gathering operations aimed at entities in the telecom, transportation, and manufacturing sectors that are of strategic interest to China. "Daxin malware is a highly sophisticated rootkit backdoor with complex, stealthy command-and-control (C2) functionality that enables remote actors to communicate with secured devices not connected directly to the internet," the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)  said  in an independent advisory. The implant takes the form of a Windows kernel driver that implements an elabor
Russia-Ukraine War: Phishing, Malware and Hacker Groups Taking Sides

Russia-Ukraine War: Phishing, Malware and Hacker Groups Taking Sides

February 25, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Ukraine's Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-UA) has warned of Belarusian state-sponsored hackers targeting its military personnel and related individuals as part of a phishing campaign mounted amidst Russia's military invasion of the country. "Mass  phishing emails  have recently been observed targeting private 'i.ua' and 'meta.ua' accounts of Ukrainian military personnel and related individuals," the CERT-UA  said . "After the account is compromised, the attackers, by the IMAP protocol, get access to all the messages." Subsequently, the attacks leverage the contact information stored in the victim's address book to propagate the phishing messages to other targets. The Ukrainian government attributed the activities to a threat actor tracked as UNC1151, a Minsk-based group whose "members are officers of the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Belarus." In a follow-up  update , the agency said the nation-state group a
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
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