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All You Need to Know About Emotet in 2022

All You Need to Know About Emotet in 2022
November 26, 2022The Hacker News
For 6 months, the infamous Emotet botnet has shown almost no activity, and now it's distributing malicious spam. Let's dive into details and discuss all you need to know about the notorious malware to combat it. Why is everyone scared of Emotet? Emotet  is by far one of the most dangerous trojans ever created. The malware became a very destructive program as it grew in scale and sophistication. The victim can be anyone from corporate to private users exposed to spam email campaigns. The botnet distributes through phishing containing malicious Excel or Word documents. When users open these documents and enable macros, the Emotet DLL downloads and then loads into memory. It searches for email addresses and steals them for spam campaigns. Moreover, the botnet drops additional payloads, such as Cobalt Strike or other attacks that lead to ransomware. The polymorphic nature of Emotet, along with the many modules it includes, makes the malware challenging to identify. The Emotet

Notorious Emotet Malware Returns With High-Volume Malspam Campaign

Notorious Emotet Malware Returns With High-Volume Malspam Campaign
November 21, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The notorious Emotet malware has returned with renewed vigor as part of a high-volume malspam campaign designed to drop payloads like  IcedID  and  Bumblebee . "Hundreds of thousands of emails per day" have been sent since early November 2022, enterprise security company Proofpoint  said  last week, adding, "the new activity suggests Emotet is returning to its full functionality acting as a delivery network for major malware families." Among the primary countries targeted are the U.S., the U.K., Japan, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Mexico, and Brazil. The Emotet-related activity was last observed in July 2022, although  sporadic   infections  have been  reported  since then. In mid-October, ESET  revealed  that Emotet may be readying for a new wave of attacks, pointing out updates to its "systeminfo" module. The malware, which is attributed to a threat actor known as Mummy Spider (aka Gold Crestwood or TA542), staged a revival of sorts late last yea

Emotet Botnet Distributing Self-Unlocking Password-Protected RAR Files to Drop Malware

Emotet Botnet Distributing Self-Unlocking Password-Protected RAR Files to Drop Malware
October 21, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The notorious  Emotet botnet  has been linked to a new wave of malspam campaigns that take advantage of password-protected archive files to drop CoinMiner and Quasar RAT on compromised systems. In an  attack chain  detected by Trustwave SpiderLabs researchers, an invoice-themed ZIP file lure was found to contain a nested self-extracting (SFX) archive, the first archive acting as a conduit to launch the second. While phishing attacks like these traditionally require persuading the target into opening the attachment, the cybersecurity company said the campaign sidesteps this hurdle by making use of a batch file to automatically supply the password to unlock the payload. The first SFX archive file further makes use of either a PDF or Excel icon to make it appear legitimate, when, in reality, it contains three components: the password-protected second SFX RAR file, the aforementioned batch script which launches the archive, and a decoy PDF or image. "The execution of the batch f

New Ursnif Variant Likely Shifting Focus to Ransomware and Data Theft

New Ursnif Variant Likely Shifting Focus to Ransomware and Data Theft
October 20, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The Ursnif malware has become the latest malware to shed its roots as a banking trojan to revamp itself into a generic backdoor capable of delivering next-stage payloads, joining the likes of Emotet, Qakbot, and TrickBot. "This is a significant shift from the malware's original purpose to enable banking fraud, but is consistent with the broader threat landscape," Mandiant researchers Sandor Nemes, Sulian Lebegue, and Jessa Valdez  disclosed  in a Wednesday analysis. The refreshed and refactored variant, first spotted by the Google-owned threat intelligence firm in the wild on June 23, 2022, has been codenamed LDR4, in what's being seen as an attempt to lay the groundwork for potential ransomware and data theft extortion operations. Ursnif, also called Gozi or ISFB, is one of the oldest banker malware families, with  the earliest documented attacks  going as far back as 2007. Check Point, in August 2020, mapped the " divergent evolution of Gozi " over th

New Report Uncovers Emotet's Delivery and Evasion Techniques Used in Recent Attacks

New Report Uncovers Emotet's Delivery and Evasion Techniques Used in Recent Attacks
October 10, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Threat actors associated with the notorious Emotet malware are continually shifting their tactics and command-and-control (C2) infrastructure to escape detection, according to new research from VMware. Emotet  is the work of a threat actor tracked as Mummy Spider (aka TA542), emerging in June 2014 as a banking trojan before morphing into an all-purpose loader in 2016 that's capable of delivering second-stage payloads such as ransomware. While the botnet's infrastructure was  taken down  as part of a coordinated law enforcement operation in January 2021, Emotet bounced back in November 2021 through another malware known as  TrickBot . Emotet's resurrection, orchestrated by the now-defunct Conti team, has since paved the way for Cobalt Strike infections and, more recently, ransomware attacks involving  Quantum and BlackCat . "The ongoing adaptation of Emotet's execution chain is one reason the malware has been successful for so long," researchers from VMwa

Emotet Botnet Started Distributing Quantum and BlackCat Ransomware

Emotet Botnet Started Distributing Quantum and BlackCat Ransomware
September 19, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The Emotet malware is now being leveraged by ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) groups, including Quantum and BlackCat, after  Conti's official retirement  from the threat landscape this year. Emotet  started off as a banking trojan in 2014, but updates added to it over time have transformed the malware into a highly potent threat that's capable of downloading other payloads onto the victim's machine, which would allow the attacker to control it remotely. Although the infrastructure associated with the invasive malware loader was taken down as part of a law enforcement effort in January 2021, the Conti ransomware cartel is said to have  played an instrumental role  in its comeback late last year. "From November 2021 to Conti's dissolution in June 2022, Emotet was an exclusive Conti ransomware tool, however, the Emotet infection chain is currently attributed to Quantum and BlackCat," AdvIntel  said  in an advisory published last week. Typical attack sequences

New Emotet Variant Stealing Users' Credit Card Information from Google Chrome

New Emotet Variant Stealing Users' Credit Card Information from Google Chrome
June 09, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Image Source: Toptal The notorious Emotet malware has turned to deploy a new module designed to siphon credit card information stored in the Chrome web browser. The credit card stealer, which exclusively singles out Chrome, has the ability to exfiltrate the collected information to different remote command-and-control (C2) servers, according to enterprise security company  Proofpoint , which observed the component on June 6. The development comes amid a  spike  in  Emotet   activity  since it was resurrected late last year following a 10-month-long hiatus in the wake of a law enforcement operation that  took down its attack infrastructure  in January 2021. Emotet, attributed to a threat actor known as TA542 (aka Mummy Spider or Gold Crestwood), is an advanced, self-propagating and modular trojan that's delivered via email campaigns and is used as a distributor for other payloads such as ransomware. As of April 2022, Emotet is still the most popular malware with a global impac

Emotet Testing New Delivery Ideas After Microsoft Disables VBA Macros by Default

Emotet Testing New Delivery Ideas After Microsoft Disables VBA Macros by Default
April 26, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The threat actor behind the prolific Emotet botnet is testing new attack methods on a small scale before co-opting them into their larger volume malspam campaigns, potentially in response to Microsoft's move to disable Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) macros by default across its products. Calling the new activity a "departure" from the group's typical behavior, Proofpoint alternatively  raised the possibility  that the latest set of phishing emails distributing the malware show that the operators are now "engaged in more selective and limited attacks in parallel to the typical massive scale email campaigns." Emotet, the handiwork of a cybercrime group tracked as  TA542  (aka Mummy Spider or  Gold Crestwood ), staged a  revival of sorts  late last year after a 10-month-long hiatus following a coordinated law enforcement operation to take down its attack infrastructure. Since then, Emotet  campaigns  have targeted thousands of customers with tens of

Hackers Hijack Email Reply Chains on Unpatched Exchange Servers to Spread Malware

Hackers Hijack Email Reply Chains on Unpatched Exchange Servers to Spread Malware
March 28, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
A new email phishing campaign has been spotted leveraging the tactic of conversation hijacking to deliver the IcedID info-stealing malware onto infected machines by making use of unpatched and publicly-exposed Microsoft Exchange servers. "The emails use a social engineering technique of conversation hijacking (also known as thread hijacking)," Israeli company Intezer said in a report shared with The Hacker News. "A forged reply to a previous stolen email is being used as a way to convince the recipient to open the attachment. This is notable because it increases the credibility of the phishing email and may cause a high infection rate." The latest wave of attacks, detected in mid-March 2022, is said to have targeted organizations within energy, healthcare, law, and pharmaceutical sectors. IcedID, aka BokBot, like its counterparts TrickBot and  Emotet , is a  banking trojan  that has evolved to become an entry point for more sophisticated threats, including hu

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

Emotet Botnet's Latest Resurgence Spreads to Over 100,000 Computers
March 10, 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

Rebirth of Emotet: New Features of the Botnet and How to Detect it

Rebirth of Emotet: New Features of the Botnet and How to Detect it
February 28, 2022The Hacker News
One of the most dangerous and infamous threats is back again. In January 2021, global officials took down the botnet. Law enforcement sent a destructive update to the Emotet's executables. And it looked like the end of the trojan's story.  But the malware never ceased to surprise.  November 2021, it was reported that TrickBot no longer works alone and delivers Emotet. And ANY.RUN with colleagues in the industry were among the first to notice the emergence of Emotet's malicious documents. First Emotet malicious documents And this February, we can see a very active wave with crooks running numerous attacks, hitting the top in the rankings. If you are interested in this topic or researching malware, you can make use of the special help of  ANY.RUN , the interactive sandbox for the detection and analysis of cyber threats. Let's look at the new version's changes that this disruptive malware brought this time.  Emotet history Emotet is a sophisticated, constantly

Emotet Now Using Unconventional IP Address Formats to Evade Detection

Emotet Now Using Unconventional IP Address Formats to Evade Detection
January 24, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Social engineering campaigns involving the deployment of the Emotet malware botnet have been observed using "unconventional" IP address formats for the first time in a bid to sidestep detection by security solutions. This involves the use of hexadecimal and octal representations of the IP address that, when processed by the underlying operating systems, get automatically converted "to the dotted decimal quad representation to initiate the request from the remote servers," Trend Micro's Threat Analyst, Ian Kenefick,  said  in a report Friday. The infection chains, as with previous Emotet-related attacks, aim to trick users into enabling document macros and automate malware execution. The document uses Excel 4.0 Macros, a feature that has been  repeatedly   abused  by malicious actors to deliver malware. Once enabled, the macro invokes a URL that's obfuscated with carets, with the host incorporating a hexadecimal representation of the IP address — "h

Microsoft Issues Windows Update to Patch 0-Day Used to Spread Emotet Malware

Microsoft Issues Windows Update to Patch 0-Day Used to Spread Emotet Malware
December 15, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Microsoft has rolled out  Patch Tuesday updates  to address multiple security vulnerabilities in Windows and other software, including one actively exploited flaw that's being abused to deliver Emotet, TrickBot, or Bazaloader malware payloads. The latest monthly release for December fixes a total of 67 flaws, bringing the total number of bugs patched by the company this year to 887, according to the  Zero Day Initiative . Seven of the 67 flaws are rated Critical and 60 are rated as Important in severity, with five of the issues publicly known at the time of release. It's worth noting that this is in addition to the  21 flaws  resolved in the Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser. The most critical of the lot is  CVE-2021-43890  (CVSS score: 7.1), a Windows AppX installer spoofing vulnerability that Microsoft said could be exploited to achieve arbitrary code execution. The lower severity rating is indicative of the fact that code execution hinges on the logged-on user level,

140,000 Reasons Why Emotet is Piggybacking on TrickBot in its Return from the Dead

140,000 Reasons Why Emotet is Piggybacking on TrickBot in its Return from the Dead
December 08, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
The operators of TrickBot malware have infected an estimated 140,000 victims across 149 countries a little over a year after attempts were to dismantle its infrastructure, even as the advanced Trojan is fast becoming an entry point for Emotet, another botnet that was taken down at the start of 2021. Most of the victims detected since November 1, 2020, are from Portugal (18%), the U.S. (14%), and India (5%), followed by Brazil (4%), Turkey (3%), Russia (3%), and China (3%), Check Point Research noted in a report shared with The Hacker News, with government, finance, and manufacturing entities emerging the top affected industry verticals. "Emotet is a strong indicator of future ransomware attacks, as the malware provides ransomware gangs a backdoor into compromised machines," said the researchers, who detected 223 different Trickbot campaigns over the course of the last six months. Both TrickBot and Emotet are botnets, which are a network of internet-connected devices infe
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