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Chinese Hackers Used NSA Hacking Tools Before Shadow Brokers Leaked Them

Chinese Hackers Used NSA Hacking Tools Before Shadow Brokers Leaked Them

May 07, 2019Swati Khandelwal
In a shocking revelation, it turns out that a hacking group believed to be sponsored by Chinese intelligence had been using some of the zero-day exploits linked to the NSA's Equation Group almost a year before the mysterious Shadow Brokers group leaked them. According to a new report published by cybersecurity firm Symantec, a Chinese-linked group, which it calls Buckeye , was using the NSA-linked hacking tools as far back as March 2016, while the Shadow Brokers dumped some of the tools on the Internet in April 2017. Active since at least 2009, Buckeye—also known as APT3, Gothic Panda, UPS Team, and TG-0110—is responsible for a large number of espionage attacks, mainly against defence and critical organizations in the United States. Although Symantec did not explicitly name China in its report, researchers with a high degree of confidence have previously attributed [ 1 , 2 ] Buckeye hacking group to an information security company, called Boyusec, who is working on beh
Cryptocurrency Mining Malware Infected Over Half-Million PCs Using NSA Exploit

Cryptocurrency Mining Malware Infected Over Half-Million PCs Using NSA Exploit

February 01, 2018Swati Khandelwal
2017 was the year of high profile data breaches and ransomware attacks, but from the beginning of this year, we are noticing a faster-paced shift in the cyber threat landscape, as cryptocurrency-related malware is becoming a popular and profitable choice of cyber criminals. Several cybersecurity firms are reporting of new cryptocurrency mining viruses that are being spread using EternalBlue —the same NSA exploit that was leaked by the hacking group Shadow Brokers and responsible for the devastating widespread ransomware threat WannaCry . Researchers from Proofpoint discovered a massive global botnet dubbed "Smominru," a.k.a Ismo, that is using EternalBlue SMB exploit (CVE-2017-0144) to infect Windows computers to secretly mine Monero cryptocurrency, worth millions of dollars, for its master. Active since at least May 2017, Smominru botnet has already infected more than 526,000 Windows computers, most of which are believed to be servers running unpatched versions of Wi
Bad Rabbit Ransomware Uses Leaked 'EternalRomance' NSA Exploit to Spread

Bad Rabbit Ransomware Uses Leaked 'EternalRomance' NSA Exploit to Spread

October 27, 2017Mohit Kumar
A new widespread ransomware worm, known as " Bad Rabbit ," that hit over 200 major organisations, primarily in Russia and Ukraine this week leverages a stolen NSA exploit released by the Shadow Brokers this April to spread across victims' networks. Earlier it was reported that this week's crypto-ransomware outbreak did not use any National Security Agency-developed exploits, neither EternalRomance nor EternalBlue , but a recent report from Cisco's Talos Security Intelligence revealed that the Bad Rabbit ransomware did use EternalRomance exploit. NotPetya ransomware (also known as ExPetr and Nyetya) that infected tens of thousands of systems back in June also leveraged the EternalRomance exploit , along with another NSA's leaked Windows hacking exploit EternalBlue, which was used in the WannaCry ransomware outbreak. Bad Rabbit Uses EternalRomance SMB RCE Exploit Bad Rabbit does not use EternalBlue but does leverage EternalRomance RCE exploit to spread
Bad Rabbit: New Ransomware Attack Rapidly Spreading Across Europe

Bad Rabbit: New Ransomware Attack Rapidly Spreading Across Europe

October 24, 2017Mohit Kumar
A new widespread ransomware attack is spreading like wildfire around Europe and has already affected over 200 major organisations, primarily in Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and Germany, in the past few hours. Dubbed " Bad Rabbit ," is reportedly a new Petya-like targeted ransomware attack against corporate networks, demanding 0.05 bitcoin (~ $285) as ransom from victims to unlock their systems. According to an initial analysis provided by the Kaspersky, the ransomware was distributed via drive-by download attacks, using fake Adobe Flash players installer to lure victims' in to install malware unwittingly. "No exploits were used, so the victim would have to manually execute the malware dropper, which pretends to be an Adobe Flash installer. We’ve detected a number of compromised websites, all of which were news or media websites." Kaspersky Lab said . However, security researchers at ESET have detected Bad Rabbit malware as ' Win32/Diskcoder.D ' —
WannaCry Inspires Banking Trojan to Add Self-Spreading Ability

WannaCry Inspires Banking Trojan to Add Self-Spreading Ability

August 02, 2017Swati Khandelwal
Although the wave of WannaCry and Petya ransomware has now been slowed down, money-motivated hackers and cyber criminals have taken lessons from the global outbreaks to make their malware more powerful. Security researchers have now discovered at least one group of cyber criminals that are attempting to give its banking Trojan the self-spreading worm-like capabilities that made recent ransomware attacks go worldwide. The new version of credential stealing TrickBot banking Trojan, known as " 1000029 " ( v24 ), has been found using the Windows Server Message Block (SMB)—that allowed WannaCry and Petya to spread across the world quickly. TrickBot is a banking Trojan malware that has been targeting financial institutions across the world since last year. The Trojan generally spreads via email attachments impersonating invoices from a large unnamed "international financial institution," but actually leads victims to a fake login page used to steal credenti
Original Author of Petya Ransomware is Back & He Wants to Help NotPetya Victims

Original Author of Petya Ransomware is Back & He Wants to Help NotPetya Victims

June 29, 2017Swati Khandelwal
The author of original Petya ransomware is back. After 6 months of silence, the author of the now infamous Petya ransomware appeared today on Twitter to help victims unlock their files encrypted by a new version of Petya, also known as NotPetya . "We're back having a look in NotPetya," tweeted Janus, a name Petya creator previously chose for himself from a villain in James Bond. "Maybe it's crackable with our privkey. Please upload the first 1MB of an infected device, that would help." This statement made by the Petya author suggests he may have held onto a master decryption key , which if it works for the new variant of Petya infected files, the victims would be able to decrypt their files locked in the recent cyber outcry. Janus sold Petya as a Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) to other hackers in March 2016, and like any regular ransomware, original Petya was designed to lock victim's computer, then return them when a ransom is paid. This
Microsoft to Remove SMBv1 Protocol in Next Windows 10 Version (RedStone 3)

Microsoft to Remove SMBv1 Protocol in Next Windows 10 Version (RedStone 3)

June 20, 2017Mohit Kumar
The Server Message Block version 1 (SMBv1) — a 30-year-old file sharing protocol which came to light last month after the devastating WannaCry outbreak — will be removed from the upcoming Windows 10 (1709) Redstone 3 Update. The SMBv1 is one of the internet's most ancient networking protocols that allows the operating systems and applications to read and write data to a system and a system to request services from a server. The WannaCry ransomware , which wreaked havoc last month, was also leveraging an NSA's Windows SMB exploit, dubbed EternalBlue , leaked by the Shadow Brokers in its April data dump. The WannaCry ransomware menace shut down hospitals , telecommunication providers, and many businesses worldwide, infecting hundreds of thousands of unpatched Windows servers running SMBv1 in more than 150 countries within just 72 hours on 12th of May. Although Microsoft patched the vulnerability in SMBv1 in March in MS17-010 , the company meanwhile strongly advised us
Wanna Cry Again? NSA’s Windows 'EsteemAudit' RDP Exploit Remains Unpatched

Wanna Cry Again? NSA’s Windows 'EsteemAudit' RDP Exploit Remains Unpatched

May 25, 2017Mohit Kumar
Brace yourselves for a possible 'second wave' of massive global cyber attack, as SMB ( Server Message Block) was not the only network protocol whose zero-day exploits created by NSA were exposed in the Shadow Brokers dump last month. Although Microsoft released patches for SMB flaws for supported versions in March and unsupported versions immediately after the outbreak of the WannaCry ransomware, the company ignored to patch other three NSA hacking tools, dubbed " EnglishmanDentist ," " EsteemAudit ," and " ExplodingCan ." It has been almost two weeks since WannaCry ransomware began to spread, which infected nearly 300,000 computers in more than 150 countries within just 72 hours, though now it has been slowed down. For those unaware, WannaCry exploited a Windows zero-day SMB bug that allowed remote hackers to hijack PCs running on unpatched Windows OS and then spread itself to other unpatched systems using its wormable capability.
Newly Found Malware Uses 7 NSA Hacking Tools, Where WannaCry Uses 2

Newly Found Malware Uses 7 NSA Hacking Tools, Where WannaCry Uses 2

May 22, 2017Swati Khandelwal
A security researcher has identified a new strain of malware that also spreads itself by exploiting flaws in Windows SMB file sharing protocol, but unlike the WannaCry Ransomware that uses only two leaked NSA hacking tools , it exploits all the seven. Last week, we warned you about multiple hacking groups exploiting leaked NSA hacking tools, but almost all of them were making use of only two tools: EternalBlue and DoublePulsar. Now, Miroslav Stampar, a security researcher who created famous 'sqlmap' tool and now a member of the Croatian Government CERT, has discovered a new network worm, dubbed EternalRocks , which is more dangerous than WannaCry and has no kill-switch in it. Unlike WannaCry, EternalRocks seems to be designed to function secretly in order to ensure that it remains undetectable on the affected system. However, Stampar learned of EternalRocks after it infected his SMB honeypot . The NSA exploits used by EternalRocks, which Stampar called " Do
WannaCry Ransomware That's Hitting World Right Now Uses NSA Windows Exploit

WannaCry Ransomware That's Hitting World Right Now Uses NSA Windows Exploit

May 12, 2017Swati Khandelwal
Update —  After reading this article, if you want to know, what has happened so far in past 4 days and how to protect your computers from WannaCry, read our latest article " WannaCry Ransomware: Everything You Need To Know Immediately . "  Earlier today, a massive ransomware campaign hit computer systems of hundreds of private companies and public organizations across the globe – which is believed to be the most massive ransomware delivery campaign to date. The Ransomware in question has been identified as a variant of ransomware known as WannaCry (also known as 'Wana Decrypt0r,' 'WannaCryptor' or 'WCRY'). Like other nasty ransomware variants, WannaCry also blocks access to a computer or its files and demands money to unlock it. Once infected with the WannaCry ransomware, victims are asked to pay up to $300 in order to remove the infection from their PCs; otherwise, their PCs render unusable, and their files remain locked. In separate ne
Leaked NSA Hacking Tools Being Used to Hack Thousands of Vulnerable Windows PCs

Leaked NSA Hacking Tools Being Used to Hack Thousands of Vulnerable Windows PCs

April 22, 2017Swati Khandelwal
Script kiddies and online criminals around the world have reportedly started exploiting NSA hacking tools leaked last weekend to compromise hundreds of thousands of vulnerable Windows computers exposed on the Internet. Last week, the mysterious hacking group known as Shadow Brokers leaked a set of Windows hacking tools targeting Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows 7 and 8, and Windows 2012, allegedly belonged to the NSA's Equation Group. What's Worse? Microsoft quickly downplayed the security risks by releasing patches for all exploited vulnerabilities , but there are still risks in the wild with unsupported systems as well as with those who haven't yet installed the patches. Multiple security researchers have performed mass Internet scans over the past few days and found tens of thousands of Windows computers worldwide infected with DoublePulsar , a suspected NSA spying implant, as a result of a free tool released on GitHub for anyone to use. Security r
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