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FBI, U.S. Treasury and CISA Warn of North Korean Hackers Targeting Blockchain Companies

FBI, U.S. Treasury and CISA Warn of North Korean Hackers Targeting Blockchain Companies
April 18, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Treasury Department, warned of a new set of ongoing cyber attacks carried out by the Lazarus Group targeting blockchain companies. Calling the activity cluster  TraderTraitor , the infiltrations involve the North Korean state-sponsored advanced persistent threat (APT) actor striking entities operating in the Web3.0 industry since at least 2020. Targeted organizations include cryptocurrency exchanges, decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols, play-to-earn cryptocurrency video games, cryptocurrency trading companies, venture capital funds investing in cryptocurrency, and individual holders of large amounts of cryptocurrency or valuable non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The attack chains commence with the threat actor reaching out to victims via different communication platforms to lure them into downloading weaponized cryptocurrency apps for Windows and macOS, subse

New Hacking Campaign Targeting Ukrainian Government with IcedID Malware

New Hacking Campaign Targeting Ukrainian Government with IcedID Malware
April 17, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The Computer Emergency Response Team of Ukraine (CERT-UA) has warned of a new wave of social engineering campaigns delivering IcedID malware and leveraging Zimbra exploits with the goal of stealing sensitive information. Attributing the IcedID phishing attacks to a threat cluster named UAC-0041, the agency  said  the infection sequence begins with an email containing a Microsoft Excel document (Мобілізаційний реєстр.xls or Mobilization Register.xls) that, when opened, prompts the users to enable macros, leading to the deployment of IcedID. The  information-stealing malware , also known as BokBot, has followed a similar trajectory to that of TrickBot, Emotet, and ZLoader, evolving from its earlier roots as a banking trojan to a full-fledged crimeware service that facilities the retrieval of next-stage implants such as ransomware. The  second set of targeted intrusions  relate to a new threat group dubbed UAC-0097, with the email including a number of image attachments with a  Cont

Lazarus Group Behind $540 Million Axie Infinity Crypto Hack and Attacks on Chemical Sector

Lazarus Group Behind $540 Million Axie Infinity Crypto Hack and Attacks on Chemical Sector
April 16, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The U.S. Treasury Department has implicated the North Korea-backed Lazarus Group (aka Hidden Cobra) in the theft of $540 million from video game Axie Infinity's Ronin Network last month. On Thursday, the Treasury  tied  the Ethereum  wallet address  that received the stolen digital currency to the threat actor and sanctioned the funds by adding the address to the Office of Foreign Assets Control's (OFAC) Specially Designated Nationals ( SDN ) List. "The FBI, in coordination with Treasury and other U.S. government partners, will continue to expose and combat the DPRK's use of illicit activities – including cybercrime and cryptocurrency theft – to generate revenue for the regime," the intelligence and law enforcement agency  said  in a statement. The cryptocurrency heist, the second-largest cyber-enabled theft to date, involved the siphoning of 173,600 Ether (ETH) and 25.5 million USD Coins from the Ronin cross-chain bridge, which allows users to transfer their

U.S. Warns of APT Hackers Targeting ICS/SCADA Systems with Specialized Malware

U.S. Warns of APT Hackers Targeting ICS/SCADA Systems with Specialized Malware
April 13, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The U.S. government on Wednesday warned of nation-state actors deploying specialized malware to maintain access to industrial control systems (ICS) and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) devices. "The APT actors have developed custom-made tools for targeting ICS/SCADA devices," multiple U.S. agencies  said  in an alert. "The tools enable them to scan for, compromise, and control affected devices once they have established initial access to the operational technology (OT) network." The joint federal advisory comes courtesy of the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE), the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the National Security Agency (NSA), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The custom-made tools are specifically designed to single out Schneider Electric programmable logic controllers (PLCs), OMRON Sysmac NEX PLCs, and Open Platform Communications Unified Architecture (OPC UA) servers. On top of that, the unnamed actors

Hamas-linked Hackers Targeting High-Ranking Israelis Using 'Catfish' Lures

Hamas-linked Hackers Targeting High-Ranking Israelis Using 'Catfish' Lures
April 07, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
A threat actor with affiliations to the cyber warfare division of Hamas has been linked to an "elaborate campaign" targeting high-profile Israeli individuals employed in sensitive defense, law enforcement, and emergency services organizations. "The campaign operators use sophisticated social engineering techniques, ultimately aimed to deliver previously undocumented backdoors for Windows and Android devices," cybersecurity company Cybereason  said  in a Wednesday report. "The goal behind the attack was to extract sensitive information from the victims' devices for espionage purposes." The monthslong intrusions, codenamed " Operation Bearded Barbie ," have been attributed to an Arabic-speaking and politically-motivated group called Arid Viper, which operates out of the Middle East and is also known by the monikers APT-C-23 and Desert Falcon. Most recently, the threat actor was  held responsible  for attacks aimed at Palestinian activists

Multiple Hacker Groups Capitalizing on Ukraine Conflict for Distributing Malware

Multiple Hacker Groups Capitalizing on Ukraine Conflict for Distributing Malware
April 04, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
At least three different advanced persistent threat (APT) groups from across the world have launched spear-phishing campaigns in mid-March 2022 using the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war as a lure to distribute malware and steal sensitive information. The campaigns, undertaken by El Machete, Lyceum, and SideWinder, have targeted a variety of sectors, including energy, financial, and governmental sectors in Nicaragua, Venezuela, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. "The attackers use decoys ranging from official-looking documents to news articles or even job postings, depending on the targets and region," Check Point Research  said  in a report. "Many of these lure documents utilize malicious macros or template injection to gain an initial foothold into the targeted organizations, and then launch malware attacks." The infection chains of  El Machete , a Spanish-speaking threat actor first documented in August 2014 by Kaspersky, involve the use of macro-laced decoy doc

Russian Wiper Malware Likely Behind Recent Cyberattack on Viasat KA-SAT Modems

Russian Wiper Malware Likely Behind Recent Cyberattack on Viasat KA-SAT Modems
April 01, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The cyberattack aimed at Viasat that temporarily knocked KA-SAT modems offline on February 24, 2022, the same day Russian military forces invaded Ukraine, is believed to have been the consequence of wiper malware, according to the  latest research  from SentinelOne. The findings come a day after the U.S. telecom company  disclosed  that it was the target of a multifaceted and deliberate" cyberattack against its KA-SAT network, linking it to a "ground-based network intrusion by an attacker exploiting a misconfiguration in a VPN appliance to gain remote access to the trusted management segment of the KA-SAT network." Upon gaining access, the adversary issued "destructive commands" on tens of thousands of modems belonging to the satellite broadband service that "overwrote key data in flash memory on the modems, rendering the modems unable to access the network, but not permanently unusable." But SentinelOne said it uncovered a new piece of malware (

Hackers Increasingly Using 'Browser-in-the-Browser' Technique in Ukraine Related Attacks

Hackers Increasingly Using 'Browser-in-the-Browser' Technique in Ukraine Related Attacks
March 31, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
A Belarusian threat actor known as Ghostwriter (aka UNC1151) has been spotted leveraging the recently disclosed browser-in-the-browser (BitB) technique as part of their credential phishing campaigns exploiting the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian conflict. The method, which  masquerades  as a legitimate domain by simulating a browser window within the browser, makes it possible to mount convincing social engineering campaigns. "Ghostwriter actors have quickly adopted this new technique, combining it with a previously observed technique, hosting credential phishing landing pages on compromised sites," Google's Threat Analysis Group (TAG)  said  in a new report, using it to siphon credentials entered by unsuspected victims to a remote server. Among other groups  using the war as a lure  in phishing and malware campaigns to deceive targets into opening fraudulent emails or links include  Mustang Panda  and  Scarab  as well as nation-state actors from Iran, North Korea, and Russia

New Report on Okta Hack Reveals the Entire Episode LAPSUS$ Attack

New Report on Okta Hack Reveals the Entire Episode LAPSUS$ Attack
March 29, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
An independent security researcher has shared what's a detailed timeline of events that transpired as the notorious LAPSUS$ extortion gang broke into a third-party provider linked to the cyber incident at Okta in late January 2022. In a set of screenshots posted on Twitter, Bill Demirkapi  published  a two-page "intrusion timeline" allegedly prepared by Mandiant, the cybersecurity firm hired by Sitel to investigate the security breach. Sitel, through its acquisition of Sykes Enterprises in September 2021, is the third-party service provider that provides customer support on behalf of Okta. The authentication services provider revealed last week that on January 20, it was alerted to a new factor that was added to a Sitel customer support engineer's Okta account, an attempt that it said was successful and blocked. The incident only came to light two months later after LAPSUS$  posted screenshots  on their Telegram channel as evidence of the breach on March 22. The

U.S. Charges 4 Russian Govt. Employees Over Hacking Critical Infrastructure Worldwide

U.S. Charges 4 Russian Govt. Employees Over Hacking Critical Infrastructure Worldwide
March 25, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The U.S. government on Thursday released a cybersecurity advisory outlining multiple intrusion campaigns conducted by state-sponsored Russian cyber actors from 2011 to 2018 that targeted the energy sector in the U.S. and beyond. "The [Federal Security Service] conducted a multi-stage campaign in which they gained remote access to U.S. and international Energy Sector networks, deployed ICS-focused malware, and collected and exfiltrated enterprise and ICS-related data," the U.S. government  said , attributing the attacks to an APT actor known as  Energetic Bear . In addition, the Justice Department  charged  four Russian government employees, including three officers of the Russian Federal Security Service and a computer programmer at the Central Scientific Research Institute of Chemistry and Mechanics (TsNIIKhM), for their roles in carrying out the attacks on oil refineries, nuclear facilities, and energy companies. The four Russian nationals are Pavel Aleksandrovich Akul

U.S. Government Warns Companies of Potential Russian Cyber Attacks

U.S. Government Warns Companies of Potential Russian Cyber Attacks
March 22, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The U.S. government on Monday once again cautioned of potential cyber attacks from Russia in retaliation for  economic sanctions  imposed by the west on the country following its  military assault on Ukraine  last month. "It's part of Russia's playbook," U.S. President Joe Biden  said  in a  statement , citing "evolving intelligence that the Russian Government is exploring options." The development comes as the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) warned of "possible threats" to U.S. and international satellite communication (SATCOM) networks in the wake of a cyber attack targeting  Viasat KA-SAT network , used extensively by the Ukrainian military, roughly around the time when Russian armed forces invaded Ukraine on February 24. "Successful intrusions into SATCOM networks could create risk in SATCOM network providers' customer environments," the agencies  said . T

Google Uncovers 'Initial Access Broker' Working with Conti Ransomware Gang

Google Uncovers 'Initial Access Broker' Working with Conti Ransomware Gang
March 18, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Google's Threat Analysis Group (TAG) took the wraps off a new  initial access broker  that it said is closely affiliated to a Russian cyber crime gang notorious for its Conti and Diavol ransomware operations. Dubbed Exotic Lily, the financially motivated threat actor has been observed exploiting a now-patched critical flaw in the Microsoft Windows MSHTML platform ( CVE-2021-40444 ) as part of widespread phishing campaigns that involved sending no fewer than 5,000 business proposal-themed emails a day to 650 targeted organizations globally. "Initial access brokers are the opportunistic locksmiths of the security world, and it's a full-time job," TAG researchers Vlad Stolyarov and Benoit Sevens  said . "These groups specialize in breaching a target in order to open the doors — or the Windows — to the malicious actor with the highest bid." Exotic Lily, first spotted in September 2021, is said to have been involved in data exfiltration and deployment of the

CaddyWiper: Yet Another Data Wiping Malware Targeting Ukrainian Networks

CaddyWiper: Yet Another Data Wiping Malware Targeting Ukrainian Networks
March 15, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Two weeks after details emerged about a second data wiper strain delivered in attacks against Ukraine, yet another destructive malware has been detected amid Russia's continuing military invasion of the country. Slovak cybersecurity company ESET dubbed the third wiper " CaddyWiper ," which it said it first observed on March 14 around 9:38 a.m. UTC. Metadata associated with the executable (" caddy.exe ") shows that the malware was compiled at 7:19 a.m. UTC, a little over two hours prior to its deployment. CaddyWiper is notable for the fact that it doesn't share any similarities with previously discovered wipers in Ukraine, including  HermeticWiper  (aka FoxBlade or KillDisk) and  IsaacWiper  (aka Lasainraw), the two of which have been deployed in systems belonging to government and commercial entities. "The ultimate goal of the attackers is the same as with IsaacWiper and HermeticWiper: make the systems unusable by erasing user data and partition i

Emotet Botnet's Latest Resurgence Spreads to Over 100,000 Computers

Emotet Botnet's Latest Resurgence Spreads to Over 100,000 Computers
March 09, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The insidious Emotet botnet, which staged a return in November 2021 after a 10-month-long hiatus, is once again exhibiting signs of steady growth, amassing a swarm of over 100,000 infected hosts for perpetrating its malicious activities. "While Emotet has not yet attained the same scale it once had, the botnet is showing a strong resurgence with a total of approximately 130,000 unique bots spread across 179 countries since November 2021," researchers from Lumen's Black Lotus Labs  said  in a report. Emotet, prior to its  takedown  in late January 2021 as part of a coordinated law enforcement operation dubbed "Ladybird," had infected no fewer than 1.6 million devices globally, acting as a conduit for cybercriminals to install other types of malware, such as banking trojans or ransomware, onto compromised systems. The malware  officially resurfaced  in November 2021  using TrickBot  as a delivery vehicle, with the latter  shuttering its attack infrastructure

Hackers Abuse Mitel Devices to Amplify DDoS Attacks by 4 Billion Times

Hackers Abuse Mitel Devices to Amplify DDoS Attacks by 4 Billion Times
March 09, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Threat actors have been observed abusing a high-impact reflection/amplification method to stage sustained distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks for up to 14 hours with a record-breaking amplification ratio of 4,294,967,296 to 1. The attack vector – dubbed TP240PhoneHome ( CVE-2022-26143 ) – has been weaponized to launch significant DDoS attacks targeting broadband access ISPs, financial institutions, logistics companies, gaming firms, and other organizations. "Approximately 2,600 Mitel MiCollab and MiVoice Business Express collaboration systems acting as PBX-to-Internet gateways were incorrectly deployed with an abusable system test facility exposed to the public Internet," Akamai researcher Chad Seaman said in a joint advisory . "Attackers were actively leveraging these systems to launch reflection/amplification DDoS attacks of more than 53 million packets per second (PPS)." DDoS reflection attacks typically involve spoofing the IP address of a vic
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