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FBI Seizes $500,000 Ransomware Payments and Crypto from North Korean Hackers

FBI Seizes $500,000 Ransomware Payments and Crypto from North Korean Hackers

Jul 21, 2022
The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) has announced the seizure of $500,000 worth of Bitcoin from North Korean hackers who extorted digital payments from several organizations by using a new ransomware strain known as Maui. "The seized funds include ransoms paid by healthcare providers in Kansas and Colorado," the DoJ  said  in a press release issued Tuesday. The recovery of the bitcoin ransoms comes after the agency said it took control of two cryptocurrency accounts that were used to receive payments to the tune of $100,000 and $120,000 from the medical centers. The DoJ did not disclose where the rest of the payments originated from. "Reporting cyber incidents to law enforcement and cooperating with investigations not only protects the United States, it is also good business," said Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the DoJ's National Security Division. "The reimbursement to these victims of the ransom shows why it pays to work with law en
State-Backed Hackers Targeting Journalists in Widespread Espionage Campaigns

State-Backed Hackers Targeting Journalists in Widespread Espionage Campaigns

Jul 14, 2022
Nation-state hacking groups aligned with China, Iran, North Korea, and Turkey have been targeting journalists to conduct espionage and spread malware as part of a series of campaigns since early 2021. "Most commonly, phishing attacks targeting journalists are used for espionage or to gain key insights into the inner workings of another government, company, or other area of state-designated import," Proofpoint  said  in a report shared with The Hacker News. The ultimate goal of the "sustained" intrusions, the enterprise security firm said, is to gain a competitive intelligence edge or spread disinformation and propaganda. Proofpoint said it identified two Chinese hacking groups, TA412 (aka  Zirconium  or Judgment Panda) and  TA459 , targeting media personnel with malicious emails containing web beacons and weaponized documents respectively that were used to amass information about the recipients' network environments and drop  Chinoxy  malware. In a simila
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North Korean Maui Ransomware Actively Targeting U.S. Healthcare Organizations

North Korean Maui Ransomware Actively Targeting U.S. Healthcare Organizations

Jul 07, 2022
In a new joint cybersecurity advisory, U.S. cybersecurity and intelligence agencies have warned about the use of Maui ransomware by North Korean government-backed hackers to target the healthcare sector since at least May 2021. "North Korean state-sponsored cyber actors used Maui ransomware in these incidents to encrypt servers responsible for healthcare services—including electronic health records services, diagnostics services, imaging services, and intranet services," the authorities  noted . The  alert  comes courtesy of the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Department of the Treasury. Cybersecurity firm Stairwell, whose findings formed the basis of the advisory, said the lesser-known ransomware family stands out because of a lack of several key features commonly associated with ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) groups. This includes the absence of "embedded ransom note to provide recov
As New Clues Emerges, Experts Wonder: Is REvil Back?

As New Clues Emerges, Experts Wonder: Is REvil Back?

Jul 05, 2022
Change is a part of life, and nothing stays the same for too long, even with hacking groups, which are at their most dangerous when working in complete silence. The notorious REvil  ransomware  gang, linked to the infamous JBS and Kaseya, has resurfaced three months after the arrest of its members in Russia. The Russian domestic intelligence service, the FSB, had caught 14 people from the gang. In this apprehension, the 14 members of the gang were found in possession of 426 million roubles, $600,000, 500,000 euros, computer equipment, and 20 luxury cars were brought to justice. REvil Ransomware Gang- The Context The financially-motivated cybercriminal threat group Gold Southfield controlled ransomware group known as REvil emerged in 2019 and spread like wildfire after extorting $11 million from the meat-processor JBS. REvil would incentivize its affiliates to carry out cyberattacks for them by giving a percentage of the ransom pay-outs to those who help with infiltration activitie
APT Hackers Targeting Industrial Control Systems with ShadowPad Backdoor

APT Hackers Targeting Industrial Control Systems with ShadowPad Backdoor

Jun 28, 2022
Entities located in Afghanistan, Malaysia, and Pakistan are in the crosshairs of an attack campaign that targets unpatched Microsoft Exchange Servers as an initial access vector to deploy the ShadowPad malware. Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky, which first detected the activity in mid-October 2021,  attributed  it to a previously unknown Chinese-speaking threat actor. Targets include organizations in the telecommunications, manufacturing, and transport sectors. "During the initial attacks, the group exploited an MS Exchange vulnerability to deploy ShadowPad malware and infiltrated  building automation systems  of one of the victims," the company said. "By taking control over those systems, the attacker can reach other, even more sensitive systems of the attacked organization." ShadowPad , which emerged in 2015 as the successor to PlugX, is a privately sold modular malware platform that has been put to use by many Chinese espionage actors over the years.  W
Critical PHP Vulnerability Exposes QNAP NAS Devices to Remote Attacks

Critical PHP Vulnerability Exposes QNAP NAS Devices to Remote Attacks

Jun 23, 2022
QNAP, Taiwanese maker of network-attached storage (NAS) devices, on Wednesday said it's in the process of fixing a critical three-year-old PHP vulnerability that could be abused to achieve remote code execution. "A vulnerability has been reported to affect PHP versions 7.1.x below 7.1.33, 7.2.x below 7.2.24, and 7.3.x below 7.3.11 with improper nginx config," the hardware vendor  said  in an advisory. "If exploited, the vulnerability allows attackers to gain remote code execution." The vulnerability, tracked as  CVE-2019-11043 , is rated 9.8 out of 10 for severity on the CVSS vulnerability scoring system. That said, it's required that Nginx and php-fpm are running in appliances using the following QNAP operating system versions - QTS 5.0.x and later QTS 4.5.x and later QuTS hero h5.0.x and later QuTS hero h4.5.x and later QuTScloud c5.0.x and later "As QTS, QuTS hero or QuTScloud does not have nginx installed by default, QNAP NAS are not aff
Europol Busts Phishing Gang Responsible for Millions in Losses

Europol Busts Phishing Gang Responsible for Millions in Losses

Jun 22, 2022
Europol on Tuesday announced the dismantling of an organized crime group that dabbled in phishing, fraud, scams, and money laundering activities. The cross-border operation, which involved law enforcement authorities from Belgium and the Netherlands, saw the arrests of nine individuals in the Dutch nation. The suspects are men between the ages of 25 and 36 from Amsterdam, Almere, Rotterdam, and Spijkenisse and a 25-year-old woman from Deventer, according to a  statement  from the National Police Force. Also confiscated as part of 24 house searches were firearms, ammunition, jewelry, designer clothing, expensive watches, electronic devices, tens of thousands of euros in cash, and cryptocurrency, the officials said. "The criminal group contacted victims by email, text message and through mobile messaging applications," the agency  noted . "These messages were sent by the members of the gang and contained a phishing link leading to a bogus banking website." Unsu
Atlassian Confluence Flaw Being Used to Deploy Ransomware and Crypto Miners

Atlassian Confluence Flaw Being Used to Deploy Ransomware and Crypto Miners

Jun 18, 2022
A recently patched  critical security flaw  in Atlassian Confluence Server and Data Center products is being actively weaponized in real-world attacks to drop cryptocurrency miners and ransomware payloads. In at least two of the Windows-related incidents observed by cybersecurity vendor Sophos, adversaries exploited the vulnerability to deliver Cerber ransomware and a  crypto miner  called z0miner on victim networks. The bug ( CVE-2022-26134 , CVSS score: 9.8), which was  patched  by Atlassian on June 3, 2022, enables an unauthenticated actor to inject malicious code that paves the way of remote code execution (RCE) on affected installations of the collaboration suite. All supported versions of Confluence Server and Data Center are affected. Other notable malware pushed as part of disparate instances of attack activity include Mirai and Kinsing bot variants, a rogue package called  pwnkit , and Cobalt Strike by way of a web shell deployed after gaining an initial foothold into the
Chinese Hackers Exploited Sophos Firewall Zero-Day Flaw to Target South Asian Entity

Chinese Hackers Exploited Sophos Firewall Zero-Day Flaw to Target South Asian Entity

Jun 17, 2022
A sophisticated Chinese advanced persistent threat (APT) actor exploited a critical security vulnerability in Sophos' firewall product that came to light earlier this year to infiltrate an unnamed South Asian target as part of a highly-targeted attack. "The attacker implement[ed] an interesting web shell backdoor, create[d] a secondary form of persistence, and ultimately launch[ed] attacks against the customer's staff," Volexity  said  in a report. "These attacks aimed to further breach cloud-hosted web servers hosting the organization's public-facing websites." The zero-day flaw in question is tracked as  CVE-2022-1040  (CVSS score: 9.8), and concerns an authentication bypass vulnerability that can be weaponized to execute arbitrary code remotely. It affects Sophos Firewall versions 18.5 MR3 (18.5.3) and earlier. The cybersecurity firm, which issued a patch for the flaw on March 25, 2022, noted that it was abused to "target a small set of spec
Panchan: A New Golang-based Peer-To-Peer Botnet Targeting Linux Servers

Panchan: A New Golang-based Peer-To-Peer Botnet Targeting Linux Servers

Jun 15, 2022
A new Golang-based peer-to-peer (P2P) botnet has been spotted actively targeting Linux servers in the education sector since its emergence in March 2022. Dubbed  Panchan  by Akamai Security Research, the malware "utilizes its built-in concurrency features to maximize spreadability and execute malware modules" and "harvests SSH keys to perform lateral movement." The feature-packed botnet, which relies on a basic list of default SSH passwords to carry out a  dictionary attack  and expand its reach, primarily functions as a cryptojacker designed to hijack a computer's resources to mine cryptocurrencies. The cybersecurity and cloud service company noted it first spotted Panchan's activity on March 19, 2022, and attributed the malware to a likely Japanese threat actor based on the language used in the administrative panel baked into the binary to edit the mining configuration. Panchan is known to deploy and execute two miners, XMRig and nbhash, on the host
Cloudflare Saw Record-Breaking DDoS Attack Peaking at 26 Million Request Per Second

Cloudflare Saw Record-Breaking DDoS Attack Peaking at 26 Million Request Per Second

Jun 15, 2022
Cloudflare on Tuesday disclosed that it had acted to prevent a record-setting 26 million request per second (RPS) distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack last week, making it the largest HTTPS DDoS attack detected to date. The web performance and security company said the attack was directed against an unnamed customer website using its Free plan and emanated from a "powerful" botnet of 5,067 devices, with each node generating approximately 5,200 RPS at peak. The botnet is said to have created a flood of more than 212 million HTTPS requests within less than 30 seconds from over 1,500 networks in 121 countries, including Indonesia, the U.S., Brazil, Russia, and India. Roughly 3% of the attack came through Tor nodes. The attack "originated mostly from Cloud Service Providers as opposed to Residential Internet Service Providers, indicating the use of hijacked virtual machines and powerful servers to generate the attack — as opposed to much weaker Internet of Things
Unpatched Travis CI API Bug Exposes Thousands of Secret User Access Tokens

Unpatched Travis CI API Bug Exposes Thousands of Secret User Access Tokens

Jun 14, 2022
An unpatched security issue in the Travis CI API has left tens of thousands of developers' user tokens exposed to potential attacks, effectively allowing threat actors to breach cloud infrastructures, make unauthorized code changes, and initiate supply chain attacks. "More than 770 million logs of free tier users are available, from which you can easily extract tokens, secrets, and other credentials associated with popular cloud service providers such as GitHub, AWS, and Docker Hub," researchers from cloud security firm Aqua  said  in a Monday report. Travis CI is a  continuous integration  service used to build and test software projects hosted on cloud repository platforms such as GitHub and Bitbucket. The issue, previously reported in 2015 and  2019 , is rooted in the fact that the  API  permits access to historical logs in cleartext format, enabling a malicious party to even "fetch the logs that were previously unavailable via the API." The logs go all
HelloXD Ransomware Installing Backdoor on Targeted Windows and Linux Systems

HelloXD Ransomware Installing Backdoor on Targeted Windows and Linux Systems

Jun 13, 2022
Windows and Linux systems are being targeted by a ransomware variant called HelloXD, with the infections also involving the deployment of a backdoor to facilitate persistent remote access to infected hosts. "Unlike other ransomware groups, this ransomware family doesn't have an active leak site; instead it prefers to direct the impacted victim to negotiations through  Tox chat  and onion-based messenger instances," Daniel Bunce and Doel Santos, security researchers from Palo Alto Networks Unit 42,  said  in a new write-up. HelloXD  surfaced in the wild on November 30, 2021, and is based off leaked code from Babuk, which was  published  on a Russian-language cybercrime forum in September 2021. The ransomware family is no exception to the norm in that the operators follow the tried-and-tested approach of  double extortion  to demand cryptocurrency payments by exfiltrating a victim's sensitive data in addition to encrypting it and threatening to publicize the inform
Microsoft Blocks Iran-linked Lebanese Hackers Targeting Israeli Companies

Microsoft Blocks Iran-linked Lebanese Hackers Targeting Israeli Companies

Jun 03, 2022
Microsoft on Thursday said it took steps to disable malicious activity stemming from abuse of OneDrive by a previously undocumented threat actor it tracks under the chemical element-themed moniker Polonium. In addition to removing the offending accounts created by the Lebanon-based activity group, the tech giant's Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) said it suspended over 20 malicious OneDrive applications created by Polonium andd that it notified affected organizations. "The observed activity was coordinated with other actors affiliated with Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), based primarily on victim overlap and commonality of tools and techniques," MSTIC  assessed  with "moderate confidence." The adversarial collective is believed to have breached more than 20 organizations based in Israel and one intergovernmental organization with operations in Lebanon since February 2022. Targets of interest included entities in the manufacturing
U.S. Proposes $1 Million Fine on Colonial Pipeline for Safety Violations After Cyberattack

U.S. Proposes $1 Million Fine on Colonial Pipeline for Safety Violations After Cyberattack

May 10, 2022
The U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has proposed a penalty of nearly $1 million to Colonial Pipeline for violating federal safety regulations, worsening the impact of the ransomware attack last year. The $986,400 penalty is the result of an inspection conducted by the regulator of the pipeline operator's control room management ( CRM ) procedures from January through November 2020. The PHMSA  said  that "a probable failure to adequately plan and prepare for manual shutdown and restart of its pipeline system [...] contributed to the national impacts when the pipeline remained out of service after the May 2021 cyberattack." Colonial Pipeline, operator of the largest U.S. fuel pipeline, was forced to temporarily take its systems offline in the wake of a  DarkSide ransomware attack  in early May 2021, disrupting gas supply and prompting a  regional emergency declaration  across 17 states. The inciden
Ukrainian CERT Warns Citizens of a New Wave of Attacks Distributing Jester Malware

Ukrainian CERT Warns Citizens of a New Wave of Attacks Distributing Jester Malware

May 09, 2022
The Computer Emergency Response Team of Ukraine (CERT-UA) has warned of phishing attacks that deploy an information-stealing malware called Jester Stealer on compromised systems. The mass email campaign carries the subject line "chemical attack" and contains a link to a macro-laced Microsoft Excel file, opening which leads to computers getting infected with Jester Stealer. The attack, which requires potential victims to enable macros after opening the document, works by downloading and executing an .EXE file that is retrieved from compromised web resources, CERT-UA detailed. Jester Stealer, as documented by Cyble in February 2022, comes with features to steal and transmit login credentials, cookies, and credit card information along with data from passwords managers, chat messengers, email clients, crypto wallets, and gaming apps to the attackers. It's purchasable for $99 per month or $249 for lifetime access. "The hackers get the stolen data via Telegram usi
Chinese "Override Panda" Hackers Resurface With New Espionage Attacks

Chinese "Override Panda" Hackers Resurface With New Espionage Attacks

May 02, 2022
A Chinese state-sponsored espionage group known as Override Panda has resurfaced in recent weeks with a new phishing attack with the goal of stealing sensitive information. "The Chinese APT used a spear-phishing email to deliver a beacon of a Red Team framework known as 'Viper,'" Cluster25  said  in a report published last week. "The target of this attack is currently unknown but with high probability, given the previous history of the attack perpetrated by the group, it might be a government institution from a South Asian country." Override Panda, also called  Naikon , Hellsing, and Bronze Geneva, is known to operate on behalf of Chinese interests since at least 2005 to conduct intelligence-gathering operations targeting  ASEAN countries . Attack chains unleashed by the threat actor have involved the use of decoy documents attached to spear-phishing emails that are designed to entice the intended victims to open and compromise themselves with malware
Russian Hackers Targeting Diplomatic Entities in Europe, Americas, and Asia

Russian Hackers Targeting Diplomatic Entities in Europe, Americas, and Asia

May 02, 2022
A Russian state-sponsored threat actor has been observed targeting diplomatic and government entities as part of a series of phishing campaigns commencing on January 17, 2022. Threat intelligence and incident response firm Mandiant attributed the attacks to a hacking group tracked as APT29 (aka Cozy Bear), with some set of the activities associated with the crew assigned the moniker  Nobelium  (aka UNC2452/2652). "This latest wave of spear phishing showcases APT29's enduring interests in obtaining diplomatic and foreign policy information from governments around the world," Mandiant  said  in a report published last week. The initial access is said to have been aided through spear-phishing emails masquerading as administrative notices, using legitimate but compromised email addresses from other diplomatic entities. These emails contain an HTML dropper attachment called ROOTSAW (aka  EnvyScout ) that, when opened, triggers an infection sequence that delivers and exec
Microsoft Documents Over 200 Cyberattacks by Russia Against Ukraine

Microsoft Documents Over 200 Cyberattacks by Russia Against Ukraine

Apr 29, 2022
At least six different Russia-aligned actors launched no less than 237 cyberattacks against Ukraine from February 23 to April 8, including 38 discrete destructive attacks that irrevocably destroyed files in hundreds of systems across dozens of organizations in the country. "Collectively, the cyber and kinetic actions work to disrupt or degrade Ukrainian government and military functions and undermine the public's trust in those same institutions," the company's Digital Security Unit (DSU)  said  in a special report. The major malware families that have been leveraged for destructive activity as part of Russia's relentless digital assaults include:  WhisperGate ,  HermeticWiper  ( FoxBlade  aka KillDisk),  HermeticRansom  (SonicVote),  IssacWiper  (Lasainraw),  CaddyWiper ,  DesertBlade ,  DoubleZero  (FiberLake), and  Industroyer2 . WhisperGate, HermeticWiper, IssacWiper, and CaddyWiper are all data wipers designed to overwrite data and render machines unboot
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