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Patchwork Hackers Target Chinese Research Organizations Using EyeShell Backdoor

Patchwork Hackers Target Chinese Research Organizations Using EyeShell Backdoor

Jul 31, 2023 Cyber Espionage / Malware
Threat actors associated with the hacking crew known as Patchwork have been spotted targeting universities and research organizations in China as part of a recently observed campaign. The activity, according to  KnownSec 404 Team , entailed the use of a backdoor codenamed  EyeShell . Patchwork , also known by the names Operation Hangover and Zinc Emerson, is suspected to be a threat group that operates on behalf of India. Active since at least December 2015, attack chains mounted by the outfit have a narrow focus and tend to single out Pakistan and China with custom implants such as BADNEWS via spear-phishing and watering hole attacks. The adversarial collective has been found to share tactical overlaps with other cyber-espionage groups with an Indian connection, including  SideWinder  and the  DoNot Team . Earlier this May, Meta  disclosed  that it took down 50 accounts on Facebook and Instagram operated by Patchwork, which took advantage of rogue messaging apps uploaded to the
Researchers Uncover SideWinder's Latest Server-Based Polymorphism Technique

Researchers Uncover SideWinder's Latest Server-Based Polymorphism Technique

May 09, 2023 Advanced Persistent Threat
The advanced persistent threat (APT) actor known as SideWinder has been accused of deploying a backdoor in attacks directed against Pakistan government organizations as part of a campaign that commenced in late November 2022. "In this campaign, the SideWinder advanced persistent threat (APT) group used a server-based polymorphism technique to deliver the next stage payload," the BlackBerry Research and Intelligence Team  said  in a technical report published Monday. Another campaign discovered by the Canadian cybersecurity company in early March 2023 shows that Turkey has also landed in the crosshairs of the threat actor's collection priorities. SideWinder  has been on the radar since at least 2012 and it's primarily known to target various Southeast Asian entities located across Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, Myanmar, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. Suspected to be an Indian state-sponsored group, SideWinder is also tracked under the monikers APT-C-17, APT-Q-39, Ha
Code Keepers: Mastering Non-Human Identity Management

Code Keepers: Mastering Non-Human Identity Management

Apr 12, 2024DevSecOps / Identity Management
Identities now transcend human boundaries. Within each line of code and every API call lies a non-human identity. These entities act as programmatic access keys, enabling authentication and facilitating interactions among systems and services, which are essential for every API call, database query, or storage account access. As we depend on multi-factor authentication and passwords to safeguard human identities, a pressing question arises: How do we guarantee the security and integrity of these non-human counterparts? How do we authenticate, authorize, and regulate access for entities devoid of life but crucial for the functioning of critical systems? Let's break it down. The challenge Imagine a cloud-native application as a bustling metropolis of tiny neighborhoods known as microservices, all neatly packed into containers. These microservices function akin to diligent worker bees, each diligently performing its designated task, be it processing data, verifying credentials, or
SideCopy Using Action RAT and AllaKore RAT to infiltrate Indian Organizations

SideCopy Using Action RAT and AllaKore RAT to infiltrate Indian Organizations

May 08, 2023 Cyber Espionage / Threat Intel
The suspected Pakistan-aligned threat actor known as  SideCopy  has been observed leveraging themes related to the Indian military research organization as part of an ongoing phishing campaign. This involves using a ZIP archive lure pertaining to India's Defence Research and Development Organization ( DRDO ) to deliver a malicious payload capable of harvesting sensitive information, Fortinet FortiGuard Labs  said  in a new report. The cyber espionage group, with  activity  dating back to at least 2019, targets entities that align with Pakistan government interests. It's believed to share overlaps with another Pakistani hacking crew called  Transparent Tribe . SideCopy's use of DRDO-related decoys for malware distribution was previously flagged by  Cyble  and Chinese cybersecurity firm  QiAnXin  in March 2023, and again by  Team Cymru  last month. Interestingly, the same attack chains have been observed to load and execute Action RAT as well as an open source remote ac
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WATCH: The SaaS Security Challenge in 90 Seconds

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Pakistani Hackers Use Linux Malware Poseidon to Target Indian Government Agencies

Pakistani Hackers Use Linux Malware Poseidon to Target Indian Government Agencies

Apr 19, 2023 Linux / Malware
The Pakistan-based advanced persistent threat (APT) actor known as  Transparent Tribe  used a two-factor authentication (2FA) tool used by Indian government agencies as a ruse to deliver a new Linux backdoor called Poseidon. "Poseidon is a second-stage payload malware associated with Transparent Tribe," Uptycs security researcher Tejaswini Sandapolla said in a technical report published this week. "It is a general-purpose backdoor that provides attackers with a wide range of capabilities to hijack an infected host. Its functionalities include logging keystrokes, taking screen captures, uploading and downloading files, and remotely administering the system in various ways." Transparent Tribe  is also tracked as APT36, Operation C-Major, PROJECTM, and Mythic Leopard, and has a track record of targeting Indian government organizations, military personnel, defense contractors, and educational entities. It has also repeatedly leveraged trojanized versions of Kavac
Transparent Tribe Hackers Distribute CapraRAT via Trojanized Messaging Apps

Transparent Tribe Hackers Distribute CapraRAT via Trojanized Messaging Apps

Mar 07, 2023 Spyware / Cyber Espionage
A suspected Pakistan-aligned advanced persistent threat (APT) group known as  Transparent Tribe  has been linked to an ongoing cyber espionage campaign targeting Indian and Pakistani Android users with a backdoor called  CapraRAT . "Transparent Tribe distributed the Android CapraRAT backdoor via trojanized secure messaging and calling apps branded as MeetsApp and MeetUp," ESET  said  in a report shared with The Hacker News. As many as 150 victims, likely with military or political leanings, are estimated to have been targeted, with the malware (APK package name " com.meetup.chat ") available to download from fake websites that masquerade as the official distribution centers of these apps. It's being suspected that the targets are lured through a honeytrap romance scam wherein the threat actor approaches the victims via another platform and persuades them to install the malware-laced apps under the pretext of "secure" messaging and calling. Howeve
New Hacking Cluster 'Clasiopa' Targeting Materials Research Organizations in Asia

New Hacking Cluster 'Clasiopa' Targeting Materials Research Organizations in Asia

Feb 23, 2023 Malware / Threat Intel
Materials research organizations in Asia have been targeted by a previously unknown threat actor using a distinct set of tools. Symantec, by Broadcom Software, is tracking the cluster under the moniker  Clasiopa . The origins of the hacking group and its affiliations are currently unknown, but there are hints that suggest the adversary could have ties to India. This includes references to "SAPTARISHI-ATHARVAN-101" in a custom backdoor and the use of the password "iloveindea1998^_^" for a ZIP archive. It's worth noting that  Saptarishi , meaning "Seven sages" in Sanskrit, refers to a group of seers who are revered in Hindu literature.  Atharvan  was an ancient Hindu priest and is believed to have co-authored one of the four  Vedas , a collection of religious scriptures in Hinduism. "While these details could suggest that the group is based in India, it is also quite likely that the information was planted as false flags, with the password in
NewsPenguin Threat Actor Emerges with Malicious Campaign Targeting Pakistani Entities

NewsPenguin Threat Actor Emerges with Malicious Campaign Targeting Pakistani Entities

Feb 09, 2023 Cyber Attack / Cyber Threat
A previously unknown threat actor dubbed  NewsPenguin  has been linked to a phishing campaign targeting Pakistani entities by leveraging the upcoming international maritime expo as a lure. "The attacker sent out targeted phishing emails with a weaponized document attached that purports to be an exhibitor manual for PIMEC-23," the BlackBerry Research and Intelligence Team said . PIMEC , short for Pakistan International Maritime Expo and Conference, is an  initiative  of the Pakistan Navy and is organized by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs with an aim to "jump start development in the maritime sector." It's scheduled to be held from February 10-12, 2023. The Canadian cybersecurity company said the attacks are designed to target marine-related entities and the event's visitors by tricking the message recipients into opening the seemingly harmless Microsoft Word document. Once the document is launched and macros are enabled, a method called  remote templa
Researchers Warn of Kavach 2FA Phishing Attacks Targeting Indian Govt. Officials

Researchers Warn of Kavach 2FA Phishing Attacks Targeting Indian Govt. Officials

Dec 23, 2022 Cyber Espionage / Pakistani Hackers
A new targeted phishing campaign has zoomed in on a two-factor authentication solution called Kavach that's used by Indian government officials. Cybersecurity firm Securonix dubbed the activity  STEPPY#KAVACH , attributing it to a threat actor known as SideCopy based on tactical overlaps with prior attacks. ".LNK files are used to initiate code execution which eventually downloads and runs a malicious C# payload, which functions as a remote access trojan (RAT)," Securonix researchers Den Iuzvyk, Tim Peck, and Oleg Kolesnikov  said  in a new report. SideCopy, a  hacking crew  believed to be of Pakistani origin and active since at least 2019, is said to share ties with another actor called  Transparent Tribe  (aka APT36 or Mythic Leopard). It's also known to impersonate attack chains leveraged by  SideWinder , a prolific nation-state group that disproportionately singles out Pakistan-based military entities, to deploy its own toolset. That said, this is not the
Researchers Detail New Malware Campaign Targeting Indian Government Employees

Researchers Detail New Malware Campaign Targeting Indian Government Employees

Nov 04, 2022
The Transparent Tribe threat actor has been linked to a new campaign aimed at Indian government organizations with trojanized versions of a two-factor authentication solution called Kavach . "This group abuses Google advertisements for the purpose of malvertising to distribute backdoored versions of Kavach multi-authentication (MFA) applications," Zscaler ThreatLabz researcher Sudeep Singh  said  in a Thursday analysis. The cybersecurity company said the advanced persistent threat group has also conducted low-volume credential harvesting attacks in which rogue websites masquerading as official Indian government portals were set up to lure unwitting users into entering their passwords. Transparent Tribe, also known by the monikers APT36, Operation C-Major, and Mythic Leopard, is a suspected Pakistan  adversarial collective  that has a  history  of striking Indian and Afghanistan entities. The latest attack chain is not the first time the threat actor has set its sights o
SideWinder APT Using New WarHawk Backdoor to Target Entities in Pakistan

SideWinder APT Using New WarHawk Backdoor to Target Entities in Pakistan

Oct 24, 2022
SideWinder, a prolific nation-state actor mainly known for targeting Pakistan military entities, compromised the official website of the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) to deliver a tailored malware called  WarHawk . "The newly discovered WarHawk backdoor contains various malicious modules that deliver Cobalt Strike, incorporating new TTPs such as  KernelCallBackTable injection  and Pakistan Standard Time zone check in order to ensure a victorious campaign," Zscaler ThreatLabz  said . The threat group, also called APT-C-17, Rattlesnake, and Razor Tiger, is  suspected  to be an Indian state-sponsored actor, although a report from Kaspersky earlier this May acknowledged previous indicators that led to the attribution have since disappeared, making it challenging it to link the threat cluster to a specific nation. More than 1,000 attacks are said to have been  launched by the group  since April 2020, an indication of SideWinder's newfound aggression
SideWinder Hackers Use Fake Android VPN Apps to Target Pakistani Entities

SideWinder Hackers Use Fake Android VPN Apps to Target Pakistani Entities

Jun 02, 2022
The threat actor known as SideWinder has added a new custom tool to its arsenal of malware that's being used in phishing attacks against Pakistani public and private sector entities. "Phishing links in emails or posts that mimic legitimate notifications and services of government agencies and organizations in Pakistan are primary attack vectors of the gang," Singapore-headquartered cybersecurity company Group-IB  said  in a Wednesday report. SideWinder, also tracked under the monikers Hardcore Nationalist, Rattlesnake, Razor Tiger, and T-APT-04, has been active since at least 2012 with a primary focus on Pakistan and other Central Asian countries like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Singapore, and Sri Lanka. Last month, Kaspersky  attributed  to this group over 1,000 cyber attacks that took place in the past two years, while calling out its persistence and sophisticated obfuscation techniques. The threat actor's modus operandi involves the use of spear-phishing
New Hacking Campaign by Transparent Tribe Hackers Targeting Indian Officials

New Hacking Campaign by Transparent Tribe Hackers Targeting Indian Officials

Mar 29, 2022
A threat actor of likely Pakistani origin has been attributed to yet another campaign designed to backdoor targets of interest with a Windows-based remote access trojan named CrimsonRAT since at least June 2021. "Transparent Tribe has been a highly active APT group in the Indian subcontinent," Cisco Talos researchers  said  in an analysis shared with The Hacker News. "Their primary targets have been government and military personnel in Afghanistan and India. This campaign furthers this targeting and their central goal of establishing long term access for espionage." Last month, the advanced persistent threat expanded its malware toolset to compromise Android devices with a backdoor named  CapraRAT  that exhibits a high "degree of crossover" with CrimsonRAT. The latest set of attacks detailed by Cisco Talos involves making use of fake domains that mimic legitimate government and related organizations to deliver the malicious payloads, including a Pytho
New CapraRAT Android Malware Targets Indian Government and Military Personnel

New CapraRAT Android Malware Targets Indian Government and Military Personnel

Feb 07, 2022
A politically motivated advanced persistent threat (APT) group has expanded its malware arsenal to include a new remote access trojan (RAT) in its espionage attacks aimed at Indian military and diplomatic entities. Called  CapraRAT  by Trend Micro, the implant is an Android RAT that exhibits a high "degree of crossover" with another Windows malware known as CrimsonRAT that's associated with Earth Karkaddan, a threat actor that's also tracked under the monikers APT36, Operation C-Major, PROJECTM, Mythic Leopard, and Transparent Tribe. The first concrete signs of APT36's existence  appeared  in  2016  as the group began distributing information-stealing malware through phishing emails with malicious PDF attachments targeting Indian military and government personnel. The group is believed to be of  Pakistani origin  and operational since at least 2013. The threat actor is also known to be consistent in its modus operandi, with the attacks predominantly banking o
DoNot Hacking Team Targeting Government and Military Entities in South Asia

DoNot Hacking Team Targeting Government and Military Entities in South Asia

Jan 20, 2022
A threat actor with potential links to an Indian cybersecurity company has been nothing if remarkably persistent in its attacks against military organizations based in South Asia, including Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, since at least September 2020 by deploying different variants of its bespoke malware framework. Slovak cybersecurity firm ESET attributed the highly targeted attack to a hacking group known as  Donot Team . "Donot Team has been consistently targeting the same entities with waves of spear-phishing emails with malicious attachments every two to four months," researchers Facundo Muñoz and Matías Porolli  said . Operating since at least 2016, Donot Team (also known as APT-C-35 and SectorE02) has been linked to a string of intrusions primarily targeting embassies, governments, and military entities in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Nepal with Windows and Android malware. In October 2021, Amnesty International  unearthed evidence  tying the group'
BADNEWS! Patchwork APT Hackers Score Own Goal in Recent Malware Attacks

BADNEWS! Patchwork APT Hackers Score Own Goal in Recent Malware Attacks

Jan 10, 2022
Threat hunters have shed light on the tactics, techniques, and procedures embraced by an Indian-origin hacking group called Patchwork as part of a renewed campaign that commenced in late November 2021, targeting Pakistani government entities and individuals with a research focus on molecular medicine and biological science. "Ironically, all the information we gathered was possible thanks to the threat actor infecting themselves with their own [remote access trojan], resulting in captured keystrokes and screenshots of their own computer and virtual machines," Malwarebytes Threat Intelligence Team  said  in a report published on Friday. Prominent victims that were successfully infiltrated include Pakistan's Ministry of Defense, National Defence University of Islamabad, Faculty of Bio-Sciences at UVAS Lahore, International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), H.E.J. Research Institute of Chemistry, and the Salim Habib University (SBU). Believed to have b
Pakistan-Linked Hackers Added New Windows Malware to Its Arsenal

Pakistan-Linked Hackers Added New Windows Malware to Its Arsenal

May 14, 2021
Cybercriminals with suspected ties to Pakistan continue to rely on social engineering as a crucial component of its operations as part of an evolving espionage campaign against Indian targets, according to new research. The attacks have been linked to a group called  Transparent Tribe , also known as Operation C-Major, APT36, and Mythic Leopard, which has created fraudulent domains mimicking legitimate Indian military and defense organizations, and other fake domains posing as file-sharing sites to host malicious artifacts. "While military and defense personnel continue to be the group's primary targets, Transparent Tribe is increasingly targeting diplomatic entities, defense contractors, research organizations and conference attendees, indicating that the group is expanding its targeting," researchers from Cisco Talos  said  on Thursday. These domains are used to deliver maldocs distributing  CrimsonRAT , and ObliqueRAT, with the group incorporating new phishing, lu
Warning — 5 New Trojanized Android Apps Spying On Users In Pakistan

Warning — 5 New Trojanized Android Apps Spying On Users In Pakistan

Jan 12, 2021
Cybersecurity researchers took the wraps off a new spyware operation targeting users in Pakistan that leverages trojanized versions of legitimate Android apps to carry out covert surveillance and espionage. Designed to masquerade apps such as the Pakistan Citizen Porta l, a Muslim prayer-clock app called Pakistan Salat Time , Mobile Packages Pakistan , Registered SIMs Checker , and TPL Insurance , the malicious variants have been found to obfuscate their operations to stealthily download a payload in the form of an Android Dalvik executable (DEX) file. "The DEX payload contains most of the malicious features, which include the ability to covertly exfiltrate sensitive data like the user's contact list and the full contents of SMS messages," Sophos threat researchers Pankaj Kohli and Andrew Brandt said. "The app then sends this information to one of a small number of command-and-control websites hosted on servers located in eastern Europe." Interestingly, t
3 Google Play Store Apps Exploit Android Zero-Day Used by NSO Group

3 Google Play Store Apps Exploit Android Zero-Day Used by NSO Group

Jan 07, 2020
Watch out! If you have any of the below-mentioned file managers and photography apps installed on your Android phone—even if downloaded from the official Google Store store⁠—you have been hacked and being tracked. These newly detected malicious Android apps are Camero , FileCrypt , and callCam that are believed to be linked to Sidewinder APT, a sophisticated hacking group specialized in cyber espionage attacks. According to cybersecurity researchers at Trend Micro, these apps were exploiting a critical use-after-free vulnerability in Android at least since March last year⁠—that's 7 months before the same flaw was first discovered as zero-day when Google researcher analysed a separate attack developed by Israeli surveillance vendor NSO Group. "We speculate that these apps have been active since March 2019 based on the certificate information on one of the apps," the researchers said . Tracked as CVE-2019-2215 , the vulnerability is a local privilege escalation
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