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Microsoft Warns of Surge in Cyber Attacks Targeting Internet-Exposed OT Devices

Microsoft Warns of Surge in Cyber Attacks Targeting Internet-Exposed OT Devices

May 31, 2024 OT Security / Threat Intelligence
Microsoft has emphasized the need for securing internet-exposed operational technology (OT) devices following a spate of cyber attacks targeting such environments since late 2023. "These repeated attacks against OT devices emphasize the crucial need to improve the security posture of OT devices and prevent critical systems from becoming easy targets," the Microsoft Threat Intelligence team said . The company noted that a cyber attack on an OT system could allow malicious actors to tamper with critical parameters used in industrial processes, either programmatically via the programmable logic controller (PLC) or using the graphical controls of the human-machine interface (HMI), resulting in malfunctions and system outages. It further said that OT systems often lack adequate security mechanisms, making them ripe for exploitation by adversaries and carry out attacks that are "relatively easy to execute," a fact compounded by the additional risks introduced by direc
U.S. Treasury Sanctions Iranian Firms and Individuals Tied to Cyber Attacks

U.S. Treasury Sanctions Iranian Firms and Individuals Tied to Cyber Attacks

Apr 24, 2024 Cyber Attack / Cyber Espionage
The U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on Monday sanctioned two firms and four individuals for their involvement in malicious cyber activities on behalf of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Cyber Electronic Command (IRGC-CEC) from at least 2016 to April 2021. This includes the front companies Mehrsam Andisheh Saz Nik (MASN) and Dadeh Afzar Arman (DAA), as well as the Iranian nationals Alireza Shafie Nasab, Reza Kazemifar Rahman, Hossein Mohammad Harooni, and Komeil Baradaran Salmani. "These actors targeted more than a dozen U.S. companies and government entities through cyber operations, including spear-phishing and malware attacks," the Treasury Department  said . Concurrent with the sanctions, the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ)  unsealed  an indictment against the four individuals for orchestrating cyber attacks targeting the U.S. government and private entities. Furthermore, a  reward of up to $10 million  has been an
Why SaaS Security is Suddenly Hot: Racing to Defend and Comply

Why SaaS Security is Suddenly Hot: Racing to Defend and Comply

Jun 13, 2024SaaS Security / Shadow IT
Recent supply chain cyber-attacks are prompting cyber security regulations in the financial sector to tighten compliance requirements, and other industries are expected to follow. Many companies still don't have efficient methods to manage related time-sensitive SaaS security and compliance tasks. Free SaaS risk assessment tools are an easy and practical way to bring visibility and initial control to SaaS sprawl and Shadow AI. These tools now offer incremental upgrades , helping security professionals meet their company budget or maturity level.  Regulatory pressure, SaaS and AI proliferation, and increased risk of breaches or data leaks through 3rd party apps, make SaaS security one of the hottest areas for practitioners to learn and adopt. New regulations will require robust third-party SaaS risk lifecycle management that begins with SaaS service discovery and third-party risk management (TPRM) and ends with the requirement from CISOs to report incidents in their supply chain
U.S. Charges 7 Chinese Nationals in Major 14-Year Cyber Espionage Operation

U.S. Charges 7 Chinese Nationals in Major 14-Year Cyber Espionage Operation

Mar 26, 2024 Cyber Espionage / Malware
The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) on Monday unsealed indictments against seven Chinese nationals for their involvement in a hacking group that targeted U.S. and foreign critics, journalists, businesses, and political officials for about 14 years. The defendants include Ni Gaobin (倪高彬), Weng Ming (翁明), Cheng Feng (程锋), Peng Yaowen (彭耀文), Sun Xiaohui (孙小辉), Xiong Wang (熊旺), and Zhao Guangzong (赵光宗).  The suspected cyber spies have been charged with conspiracy to commit computer intrusions and conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with a state-sponsored threat group tracked as  APT31 , which is also known as Altaire,  Bronze Vinewood , Judgement Panda, and Violet Typhoon (formerly Zirconium). The hacking collective has been  active since at least 2010 . Specifically, their responsibilities entail testing and exploiting the malware used to conduct the intrusions, managing the attack infrastructure, and conducting surveillance of specific U.S. entities, federal prosecutors no
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websiteWing SecuritySaaS Security / Shadow IT
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China-Linked Group Breaches Networks via Connectwise, F5 Software Flaws

China-Linked Group Breaches Networks via Connectwise, F5 Software Flaws

Mar 22, 2024 Cyber Defense / Vulnerability
A China-linked threat cluster leveraged security flaws in Connectwise ScreenConnect and F5 BIG-IP software to deliver custom malware capable of delivering additional backdoors on compromised Linux hosts as part of an "aggressive" campaign. Google-owned Mandiant is  tracking  the activity under its uncategorized moniker  UNC5174  (aka Uteus or Uetus), describing it as a "former member of Chinese hacktivist collectives that has since shown indications of acting as a contractor for China's Ministry of State Security (MSS) focused on executing access operations." The threat actor is believed to have orchestrated widespread attacks against Southeast Asian and U.S. research and education institutions, Hong Kong businesses, charities and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and U.S. and U.K. government organizations between October and November 2023, and again in February 2024 using the ScreenConnect bug. Initial access to target environments is facilitated by t
Russian Hackers May Have Targeted Ukrainian Telecoms with Upgraded 'AcidPour' Malware

Russian Hackers May Have Targeted Ukrainian Telecoms with Upgraded 'AcidPour' Malware

Mar 22, 2024 Linux / Cyber Warfare
The data wiping malware called  AcidPour  may have been deployed in attacks targeting four telecom providers in Ukraine, new findings from SentinelOne show. The cybersecurity firm also confirmed connections between the malware and AcidRain, tying it to threat activity clusters associated with Russian military intelligence. "AcidPour's expanded capabilities would enable it to better disable embedded devices including networking, IoT, large storage (RAIDs), and possibly ICS devices running Linux x86 distributions," security researchers Juan Andres Guerrero-Saade and Tom Hegel  said . AcidPour is a variant of  AcidRain , a wiper that was used to render Viasat KA-SAT modems operable at the onset of the Russo-Ukrainian war in early 2022 and cripple Ukraine's military communications. It also builds upon the latter's features, while targeting Linux systems running on x86 architecture. AcidRain, on the other hand, is compiled for MIPS architecture. Where AcidRain w
U.S. Sanctions Russians Behind 'Doppelganger' Cyber Influence Campaign

U.S. Sanctions Russians Behind 'Doppelganger' Cyber Influence Campaign

Mar 21, 2024 National Security / Data Privacy
The U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on Wednesday announced sanctions against two 46-year-old Russian nationals and the respective companies they own for engaging in cyber influence operations. Ilya Andreevich Gambashidze (Gambashidze), the founder of the Moscow-based company Social Design Agency (SDA), and Nikolai Aleksandrovich Tupikin (Tupikin), the CEO and current owner of Russia-based Company Group Structura LLC (Structura), have been accused of providing services to the Russian government in connection to a "foreign malign influence campaign." The disinformation campaign is tracked by the broader cybersecurity community under the name  Doppelganger , which is known to target audiences in Europe and the U.S. using inauthentic news sites and social media accounts. "SDA and Structura have been identified as key actors of the campaign, responsible for providing [the Government of the Russian Federation] with a variety of servic
Suspected Russian Data-Wiping 'AcidPour' Malware Targeting Linux x86 Devices

Suspected Russian Data-Wiping 'AcidPour' Malware Targeting Linux x86 Devices

Mar 19, 2024 Linux / Cyber Espionage
A new variant of a data wiping malware called AcidRain has been detected in the wild that's specifically designed for targeting Linux x86 devices. The malware, dubbed AcidPour, is compiled for Linux x86 devices, SentinelOne's Juan Andres Guerrero-Saade said in a series of posts on X. "The new variant [...] is an ELF binary compiled for x86 (not MIPS) and while it refers to similar devices/strings, it's a largely different codebase," Guerrero-Saade  noted . AcidRain  first came to light  in the early days of the Russo-Ukrainian war, with the malware deployed against KA-SAT modems from U.S. satellite company Viasat. An ELF binary compiled for MIPS architectures, it is capable of wiping the filesystem and different known storage device files by recursively iterating over common directories for most Linux distributions. The cyber attack was  subsequently attributed  to Russia by the Five Eyes nations, along with Ukraine and the European Union. AcidPour, as the
APT28 Hacker Group Targeting Europe, Americas, Asia in Widespread Phishing Scheme

APT28 Hacker Group Targeting Europe, Americas, Asia in Widespread Phishing Scheme

Mar 18, 2024 Cyber Warfare / Malware
The Russia-linked threat actor known as  APT28  has been linked to multiple ongoing phishing campaigns that employ lure documents imitating government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Europe, the South Caucasus, Central Asia, and North and South America. "The uncovered lures include a mixture of internal and publicly available documents, as well as possible actor-generated documents associated with finance, critical infrastructure, executive engagements, cyber security, maritime security, healthcare, business, and defense industrial production," IBM X-Force  said  in a report published last week. The tech company is tracking the activity under the moniker  ITG05 , which is also known as Blue Athena, BlueDelta, Fancy Bear, Fighting Ursa, Forest Blizzard (formerly Strontium), FROZENLAKE, Iron Twilight, Pawn Storm, Sednit, Sofacy, TA422, and UAC-028. The disclosure comes more than three months after the adversary was spotted using decoys related to the ongoing I
DDoS Attacks on the Environmental Services Industry Surge by 61,839% in 2023

DDoS Attacks on the Environmental Services Industry Surge by 61,839% in 2023

Jan 15, 2024 Server Security / Cyber Attack
The environmental services industry witnessed an "unprecedented surge" in HTTP-based distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, accounting for half of all its HTTP traffic. This marks a 61,839% increase in DDoS attack traffic year-over-year, web infrastructure and security company Cloudflare said in its DDoS threat report for 2023 Q4 published last week. "This surge in cyber attacks coincided with  COP 28 , which ran from November 30th to December 12th, 2023," security researchers Omer Yoachimik and Jorge Pacheco  said , describing it as a "disturbing trend in the cyber threat landscape." The uptick in HTTP attacks targeting environmental services websites is part of a larger trend observed annually over the past few years, specifically during COP 26 and COP 27, as well as other United Nations environment-related resolutions or announcements. "This recurring pattern underscores the growing intersection between environmental issues and cyber security, a nexus that is increasingl
New BiBi-Windows Wiper Targets Windows Systems in Pro-Hamas Attacks

New BiBi-Windows Wiper Targets Windows Systems in Pro-Hamas Attacks

Nov 13, 2023 Cyber Warfare / Malware
Cybersecurity researchers have warned about a Windows version of a wiper malware that was previously observed targeting Linux systems in cyber attacks aimed at Israel. Dubbed  BiBi-Windows Wiper  by BlackBerry, the wiper is the Windows counterpart of  BiBi-Linux Wiper , which has been put to use by a pro-Hamas hacktivist group in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war last month. "The Windows variant [...] confirms that the threat actors who created the wiper are continuing to build out the malware, and indicates an expansion of the attack to target end user machines and application servers," the Canadian company  said  Friday. Slovak cybersecurity firm ESET is  tracking  the actor behind the wiper under the name BiBiGun, noting that the Windows variant (bibi.exe) is designed to overwrite data in the C:\Users directory recursively with junk data and append ".BiBi" to the filename. The BiBi-Windows Wiper artifact is said to have been compiled on October 21, 2023, two
Russian Hackers Sandworm Cause Power Outage in Ukraine Amidst Missile Strikes

Russian Hackers Sandworm Cause Power Outage in Ukraine Amidst Missile Strikes

Nov 10, 2023 Cyber Warfare / Network Security
The notorious Russian hackers known as  Sandworm  targeted an electrical substation in Ukraine last year, causing a brief power outage in October 2022. The findings come from Google's Mandiant, which described the hack as a "multi-event cyber attack" leveraging a novel technique for impacting industrial control systems (ICS). "The actor first used OT-level living-off-the-land ( LotL ) techniques to likely trip the victim's substation circuit breakers, causing an unplanned power outage that coincided with mass missile strikes on critical infrastructure across Ukraine," the company  said . "Sandworm later conducted a second disruptive event by deploying a new variant of  CaddyWiper  in the victim's IT environment." The threat intelligence firm did not reveal the location of the targeted energy facility, the duration of the blackout, and the number of people who were impacted by the incident. The development marks Sandworm's  continuous
Ex-CIA employee charged with leaking 'Vault 7' hacking tools to Wikileaks

Ex-CIA employee charged with leaking 'Vault 7' hacking tools to Wikileaks

Jun 19, 2018
A 29-year-old former CIA computer programmer who was charged with possession of child pornography last year has now been charged with masterminding the largest leak of classified information in the agency's history. Joshua Adam Schulte , who once created malware for both the CIA and NSA to break into adversaries computers, was indicted Monday by the Department of Justice on 13 charges of allegedly stealing and transmitting thousands of classified CIA documents , software projects , and hacking utilities . Schulte has also been suspected of leaking the stolen archive of documents to anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks, who then began publishing the classified information in March 2017 in a series of leaks under the name " Vault 7 ." It is yet unconfirmed whether Schulte leaked documents to WikiLeaks and if yes, then when, but he had already been a suspect since January 2017 of stealing classified national defense information from the CIA in 2016. According to
22-Year-Old Hacker Pleads Guilty to 2014 Yahoo Hack, Admits Helping Russian Intelligence

22-Year-Old Hacker Pleads Guilty to 2014 Yahoo Hack, Admits Helping Russian Intelligence

Nov 29, 2017
Karim Baratov , a 22-year-old Kazakhstan-born Canadian citizen, has pleaded guilty to hacking charges over his involvement in massive 2014 Yahoo data breach that affected all three billion yahoo accounts . In March, the US Justice Department announced charges against two Russian intelligence officers (Dmitry Dokuchaev and Igor Sushchin) from Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) and two hackers (Alexsey Belan and Karim Baratov) for breaking into yahoo servers in 2014. While Karim Baratov (Kay, a.k.a Karim Taloverov, a.k.a Karim Akehmet Tokbergenov) was arrested in Toronto at his Ancaster home by the Toronto Police Department in March this year, Alexsey Belan and both FSB officers currently reside in Russia, unlikely to be extradited. In the federal district court in San Francisco on Tuesday, Baratov admitted to helping the Russian spies and pleaded guilty to a total of nine counts which includes: One count of conspiring to violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act by
How Microsoft Cleverly Cracks Down On "Fancy Bear" Hacking Group

How Microsoft Cleverly Cracks Down On "Fancy Bear" Hacking Group

Jul 21, 2017
What could be the best way to take over and disrupt cyber espionage campaigns? Hacking them back? Probably not. At least not when it's Microsoft, who is continuously trying to protect its users from hackers, cyber criminals and state-sponsored groups. It has now been revealed that Microsoft has taken a different approach to disrupt a large number of cyber espionage campaigns conducted by " Fancy Bear " hacking group by using the lawsuit as a tool — the tech company cleverly hijacked some of its servers with the help of law. Microsoft used its legal team last year to sue Fancy Bear in a federal court outside Washington DC, accusing the hacking group of computer intrusion, cybersquatting, and reserving several domain names that violate Microsoft's trademarks, according to a detailed report published  by the Daily Beast. Fancy Bear — also known as APT28, Sofacy, Sednit, and Pawn Storm — is a sophisticated hacking group that has been in operation since at least
The Evolution of Cyber Threat; Interview with IntelCrawler's Researchers

The Evolution of Cyber Threat; Interview with IntelCrawler's Researchers

Dec 16, 2013
Today I desire to propose an interview with Andrey Komarov , CEO of IntelCrawler and Dan Clements , President of IntelCrawler. IntelCrawler  is a multi-tier intelligence aggregator, which gathers information and cyber prints from a starting big data pool of over 3, 000, 000, 000 IPv4 and over 200, 000, 000 domain names, which are scanned for analytics and dissemination to drill down to a desired result. I have prepared for them a series of answers and questions to analyze significant evolutions in the cyber-threat landscape: Q. Which are the most concerning cyber threats for private businesses and government organizations? A. Avoiding talking about usual and standard things, of course, the most dangerous and annoying is the emergence of fundamentally new vulnerabilities in critical applications and systems. " Zero day " vulnerabilities market is developing every day and taking the shape of a part of the future cyber warfare market , as it is still in the process of formati
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