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The Hacker News - Cybersecurity News and Analysis: Malware

Hackers Turning to 'Exotic' Programming Languages for Malware Development

Hackers Turning to 'Exotic' Programming Languages for Malware Development
July 27, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Threat actors are increasingly shifting to "exotic" programming languages such as Go, Rust, Nim, and Dlang that can better circumvent conventional security protections, evade analysis, and hamper reverse engineering efforts. "Malware authors are known for their ability to adapt and modify their skills and behaviors to take advantage of newer technologies,"  said  Eric Milam, Vice President of threat research at BlackBerry. "That tactic has multiple benefits from the development cycle and inherent lack of coverage from protective products." On the one hand, languages like Rust are more secure as they offer guarantees like  memory-safe programming , but they can also be a double-edged sword when malware engineers abuse the same features designed to offer increased safeguards to their advantage, thereby making malware less susceptible to exploitation and thwart attempts to  activate a kill-switch  and render them powerless. Noting that binaries written i

Microsoft Warns of LemonDuck Malware Targeting Windows and Linux Systems

Microsoft Warns of LemonDuck Malware Targeting Windows and Linux Systems
July 26, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
An infamous cross-platform crypto-mining malware has continued to refine and improve upon its techniques to strike both Windows and Linux operating systems by setting its sights on older vulnerabilities, while simultaneously latching on to a variety of spreading mechanisms to maximize the effectiveness of its campaigns. "LemonDuck, an actively updated and robust malware that's primarily known for its botnet and cryptocurrency mining objectives, followed the same trajectory when it adopted more sophisticated behavior and escalated its operations," Microsoft  said  in a technical write-up published last week. "Today, beyond using resources for its traditional bot and mining activities, LemonDuck steals credentials, removes security controls, spreads via emails, moves laterally, and ultimately drops more tools for human-operated activity." The malware is notorious for its ability to propagate rapidly across an infected network to facilitate information theft an

XLoader Windows InfoStealer Malware Now Upgraded to Attack macOS Systems

XLoader Windows InfoStealer Malware Now Upgraded to Attack macOS Systems
July 21, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A popular malware known for stealing sensitive information from Windows machines has evolved into a new strain capable of also targeting Apple's macOS operating system. The upgraded malware, dubbed "XLoader," is a successor to another well-known Windows-based info stealer called Formbook that's known to vacuum credentials from various web browsers, capture screenshots, record keystrokes, and download and execute files from attacker-controlled domains. "For as low as $49 on the Darknet, hackers can buy licenses for the new malware, enabling capabilities to harvest log-in credentials, collect screenshots, log keystrokes, and execute malicious files," cybersecurity firm Check Point said in a report shared with The Hacker News. Distributed via spoofed emails containing malicious Microsoft Office documents, XLoader is estimated to infected victims spanning across 69 countries between December 1, 2020, and June 1, 2021, with 53% of the infections reported in

This New Malware Hides Itself Among Windows Defender Exclusions to Evade Detection

This New Malware Hides Itself Among Windows Defender Exclusions to Evade Detection
July 20, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers on Tuesday lifted the lid on a previously undocumented malware strain dubbed " MosaicLoader " that singles out individuals searching for cracked software as part of a global campaign. "The attackers behind MosaicLoader created a piece of malware that can deliver any payload on the system, making it potentially profitable as a delivery service," Bitdefender researchers said in a  report  shared with The Hacker News. "The malware arrives on target systems by posing as cracked installers. It downloads a malware sprayer that obtains a list of URLs from the C2 server and downloads the payloads from the received links." The malware has been so named because of its sophisticated internal structure that's orchestrated to prevent reverse-engineering and evade analysis. Attacks involving MosaicLoader rely on a well-established tactic for malware delivery called search engine optimization (SEO) poisoning, wherein cybercriminals purc

China's Cyberspies Targeting Southeast Asian Government Entities

China's Cyberspies Targeting Southeast Asian Government Entities
July 15, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A sweeping and "highly active campaign" that originally set its sights on Myanmar has broadened its focus to strike a number of targets located in the Philippines, according to new research. Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky, which first spotted the infections in October 2020, attributed them to a threat actor it tracks as " LuminousMoth ," which it connected with medium to high confidence to a Chinese state-sponsored hacking group called HoneyMyte or  Mustang Panda , given its observed victimology, tactics, and procedures. About 100 affected victims have been identified in Myanmar, while the number of victims jumped to nearly 1,400 in the Philippines, although the researchers noted that the actual targets were only a fraction of the initial numbers, including government entities located both within the two countries and abroad. The goal of the attacks is to affect a wide perimeter of targets with the aim of hitting a select few that are of strategic interes

Ransomware Attacks Targeting Unpatched EOL SonicWall SMA 100 VPN Appliances

Ransomware Attacks Targeting Unpatched EOL SonicWall SMA 100 VPN Appliances
July 15, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Networking equipment maker SonicWall is alerting customers of an "imminent" ransomware campaign targeting its Secure Mobile Access (SMA) 100 series and Secure Remote Access (SRA) products running unpatched and end-of-life 8.x firmware. The warning comes more than a month after reports emerged that remote access vulnerabilities in SonicWall SRA 4600 VPN appliances ( CVE-2019-7481 ) are being exploited as an initial access vector for ransomware attacks to breach corporate networks worldwide. "SonicWall has been made aware of threat actors actively targeting Secure Mobile Access (SMA) 100 series and Secure Remote Access (SRA) products running unpatched and end-of-life (EOL) 8.x firmware in an imminent ransomware campaign using stolen credentials," the company  said . "The exploitation targets a known vulnerability that has been patched in newer versions of firmware." SMA 1000 series products are not affected by the flaw, SonicWall noted, urging businesse

Google Details iOS, Chrome, IE Zero-Day Flaws Exploited Recently in the Wild

Google Details iOS, Chrome, IE Zero-Day Flaws Exploited Recently in the Wild
July 15, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Threat intelligence researchers from Google on Wednesday  shed more light  on four in-the-wild zero-days in Chrome, Safari, and Internet Explorer browsers that were exploited by malicious actors in different campaigns since the start of the year. What's more, three of the four zero-days were engineered by commercial providers and sold to and used by government-backed actors, contributing to an uptick in real-world attacks. The list of now-patched vulnerabilities is as follows - CVE-2021-1879 : Use-After-Free in QuickTimePluginReplacement (Apple WebKit) CVE-2021-21166 : Chrome Object Lifecycle Issue in Audio CVE-2021-30551 : Chrome Type Confusion in V8 CVE-2021-33742 : Internet Explorer out-of-bounds write in MSHTML Both Chrome zero-days — CVE-2021-21166 and CVE-2021-30551 — are believed to have been used by the same actor, and were delivered as one-time links sent via email to targets located in Armenia, with the links redirecting unsuspecting users to attacker-controlled

16 Cybercriminals Behind Mekotio and Grandoreiro Banking Trojan Arrested in Spain

16 Cybercriminals Behind Mekotio and Grandoreiro Banking Trojan Arrested in Spain
July 14, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Spanish law enforcement agencies on Wednesday arrested 16 individuals belonging to a criminal network in connection with operating two banking trojans as part of a social engineering campaign targeting financial institutions in Europe. The arrests were made in Ribeira (A Coruña), Madrid, Parla and Móstoles (Madrid), Seseña (Toledo), Villafranca de los barros (Badajoz), and Aranda de Duero (Burgos) following a year-long investigation codenamed "Aguas Vivas", the Civil Guard said in a statement. "Through malicious software, installed on the victim's computer by the technique known as 'email spoofing', [the group] would have managed to divert large amounts of money to their accounts," authorities  noted . Computer equipment, mobile phones, and documents were confiscated, and more than 1,800 spam emails were analyzed, enabling law enforcement to block transfer attempts totaling €3.5 million successfully. The campaign is said to have netted the actors €2

REvil Ransomware Gang Mysteriously Disappears After High-Profile Attacks

REvil Ransomware Gang Mysteriously Disappears After High-Profile Attacks
July 14, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
REvil, the infamous ransomware cartel behind some of the biggest cyberattacks targeting JBS and Kaseya, has mysteriously disappeared from the dark web, leading to speculations that the criminal enterprise may have been taken down. Multiple darknet and clearnet sites maintained by the Russia-linked cybercrime syndicate, including the data leak, extortion, and payment portals, remained inaccessible, displaying an error message "Onionsite not found."  The group's  Tor network infrastructure  on the dark web consists of one data leak blog site and 22 data hosting sites. It's not immediately clear what prompted the infrastructure to be knocked offline. REvil is one of the most prolific ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) groups that first appeared on the threat landscape in April 2019. It's an evolution of the  GandCrab  ransomware, which hit the underground markets in early 2018. "If REvil has been permanently disrupted, it'll mark the end of a group which ha

Chinese Hackers Exploited Latest SolarWinds 0-Day in Targeted Attacks

Chinese Hackers Exploited Latest SolarWinds 0-Day in Targeted Attacks
July 13, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Microsoft on Tuesday disclosed that the latest string of attacks targeting SolarWinds Serv-U managed file transfer service with a now-patched remote code execution (RCE) exploit is the handiwork of a Chinese threat actor dubbed "DEV-0322." The revelation comes days after the Texas-based IT monitoring software maker issued fixes for the flaw that could enable adversaries to remotely run arbitrary code with privileges, allowing them to perform actions like install and run malicious payloads or view and alter sensitive data. Tracked as  CVE-2021-35211 , the RCE flaw resides in Serv-U's implementation of the Secure Shell (SSH) protocol. While it was previously revealed that the attacks were limited in scope, SolarWinds said it's "unaware of the identity of the potentially affected customers." Attributing the intrusions with high confidence to DEV-0322 (short for "Development Group 0322") based on observed victimology, tactics, and procedures, Micr

Trickbot Malware Returns with a new VNC Module to Spy on its Victims

Trickbot Malware Returns with a new VNC Module to Spy on its Victims
July 13, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers have opened the lid on the continued resurgence of the insidious Trickbot malware , making it clear that the Russia-based transnational cybercrime group is working behind the scenes to revamp its attack infrastructure in response to recent counter efforts from law enforcement. "The new capabilities discovered are used to monitor and gather intelligence on victims, using a custom communication protocol to hide data transmissions between [command-and-control] servers and victims — making attacks difficult to spot," Bitdefender  said  in a technical write-up published Monday, suggesting an increase in sophistication of the group's tactics. "Trickbot shows no sign of slowing down," the researchers noted. Botnets are formed when hundreds or thousands of hacked devices are enlisted into a network run by criminal operators, which are often then used to launch denial-of-network attacks to pummel businesses and critical infrastructure with

Hackers Spread BIOPASS Malware via Chinese Online Gambling Sites

Hackers Spread BIOPASS Malware via Chinese Online Gambling Sites
July 12, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers are warning about a new malware that's striking online gambling companies in China via a watering hole attack to deploy either Cobalt Strike beacons or a previously undocumented Python-based backdoor called BIOPASS RAT that takes advantage of Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) Studio's live-streaming app to capture the screen of its victims. The attack involves deceiving gaming website visitors into downloading a malware loader camouflaged as a legitimate installer for popular-but-deprecated apps such as Adobe Flash Player or Microsoft Silverlight, only for the loader to act as a conduit for fetching next-stage payloads. Specifically, the websites' online support chat pages are booby-trapped with malicious JavaScript code, which is used to deliver the malware to the victims. "BIOPASS RAT possesses basic features found in other malware, such as file system assessment, remote desktop access, file exfiltration, and shell command execution,&quo

Kaseya Releases Patches for Flaws Exploited in Widespread Ransomware Attack

Kaseya Releases Patches for Flaws Exploited in Widespread Ransomware Attack
July 11, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Florida-based software vendor Kaseya on Sunday rolled out urgent updates to address critical security vulnerabilities in its Virtual System Administrator (VSA) solution that was used as a jumping off point to target as many as 1,500 businesses across the globe as part of a widespread supply-chain ransomware attack . Following the incident, the company had urged on-premises VSA customers to shut down their servers until a patch was available. Now, almost 10 days later the firm has shipped VSA version 9.5.7a (9.5.7.2994) with fixes for three new security flaws —  CVE-2021-30116 - Credentials leak and business logic flaw CVE-2021-30119 - Cross-site scripting vulnerability CVE-2021-30120 - Two-factor authentication bypass The security issues are part of a total of seven vulnerabilities that were discovered and reported to Kaseya by the Dutch Institute for Vulnerability Disclosure ( DIVD ) earlier in April, of which four other weaknesses were remediated in previous releases —

Experts Uncover Malware Attacks Targeting Corporate Networks in Latin America

Experts Uncover Malware Attacks Targeting Corporate Networks in Latin America
July 08, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers on Thursday took the wraps off a new, ongoing espionage campaign targeting corporate networks in Spanish-speaking countries, specifically Venezuela, to spy on its victims. Dubbed " Bandidos " by ESET owing to the use of an upgraded variant of Bandook malware, the primary targets of the threat actor are corporate networks in the South American country spanning across manufacturing, construction, healthcare, software services, and retail sectors. Written in both Delphi and C++,  Bandook  has a history of being sold as a commercial remote access trojan (RAT) dating all the way back to 2005. Since then, numerous variants have emerged on the threat landscape and put to use in different surveillance campaigns in 2015 and 2017, allegedly by a cyber-mercenary group known as Dark Caracal on behalf of government interests in Kazakhstan and Lebanon. In a continuing resurgence of the Bandook Trojan, Check Point last year  disclosed  three new samples — one

Kaseya Rules Out Supply-Chain Attack; Says VSA 0-Day Hit Its Customers Directly

Kaseya Rules Out Supply-Chain Attack; Says VSA 0-Day Hit Its Customers Directly
July 06, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
U.S. technology firm Kaseya, which is firefighting the largest ever  supply-chain ransomware strike  on its VSA on-premises product, ruled out the possibility that its codebase was unauthorizedly tampered with to distribute malware. While initial reports raised speculations that REvil, the ransomware gang behind the attack, might have gained access to Kaseya's backend infrastructure and abused it to deploy a malicious update to VSA servers running on client premises, in a modus operandi similar to that of the devastating SolarWinds hack, it has since emerged that a never-before-seen security vulnerability ( CVE-2021-30116 ) in the software was leveraged to push ransomware to Kaseya's customers. "The attackers were able to exploit zero-day vulnerabilities in the VSA product to bypass authentication and run arbitrary command execution," the Miami-headquartered company  noted  in the incident analysis. "This allowed the attackers to leverage the standard VSA pro

TrickBot Botnet Found Deploying A New Ransomware Called Diavol

TrickBot Botnet Found Deploying A New Ransomware Called Diavol
July 05, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Threat actors behind the infamous  TrickBot  malware have been linked to a new ransomware strain named "Diavol," according to the latest research. Diavol and Conti ransomware payloads were deployed on different systems in a case of an unsuccessful attack targeting one of its customers earlier this month, researchers from Fortinet's FortiGuard Labs said last week. TrickBot, a banking Trojan first detected in 2016, has been traditionally a Windows-based crimeware solution, employing different modules to perform a wide range of malicious activities on target networks, including credential theft and conduct ransomware attacks.  Despite efforts by law enforcement to neutralize the bot network, the ever-evolving malware has proven to be a  resilient threat , what with the Russia-based operators — dubbed " Wizard Spider " — quickly adapting new tools to carry out further attacks. Diavol is said to have been deployed in the wild in one incident to date. The sourc

REvil Used 0-Day in Kaseya Ransomware Attack, Demands $70 Million Ransom

REvil Used 0-Day in Kaseya Ransomware Attack, Demands $70 Million Ransom
July 04, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Amidst the massive  supply-chain ransomware attack  that triggered an infection chain compromising thousands of businesses on Friday, new details have emerged about how the notorious Russia-linked REvil cybercrime gang may have pulled off the unprecedented hack. The Dutch Institute for Vulnerability Disclosure (DIVD) on Sunday  revealed  it had alerted Kaseya to a number of zero-day vulnerabilities in its VSA software (CVE-2021-30116) that it said were being exploited as a conduit to deploy ransomware. The non-profit entity said the company was in the process of resolving the issues as part of a coordinated vulnerability disclosure when the July 2 attacks took place. More specifics about the flaws were not shared, but DIVD chair Victor Gevers  hinted  that the zero-days are trivial to exploit. At least 1,000 businesses are said to have been affected by the attacks, with victims identified in no less than 17 countries, including the U.K., South Africa, Canada, Argentina, Mexico, Indo

Android Apps with 5.8 million Installs Caught Stealing Users' Facebook Passwords

Android Apps with 5.8 million Installs Caught Stealing Users' Facebook Passwords
July 03, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Google intervened to remove nine Android apps downloaded more than 5.8 million times from the company's Play Store after the apps were caught furtively stealing users' Facebook login credentials. "The applications were fully functional, which was supposed to weaken the vigilance of potential victims. With that, to access all of the apps' functions and, allegedly, to disable in-app ads, users were prompted to log into their Facebook accounts," researchers from Dr. Web  said . "The advertisements inside some of the apps were indeed present, and this maneuver was intended to further encourage Android device owners to perform the required actions." The offending apps masked their malicious intent by disguising as photo-editing, optimizer, fitness, and astrology programs, only to trick victims into logging into their Facebook accounts and hijack the entered credentials via a piece of JavaScript code received from an adversary-controlled server. The list

Kaseya Supply-Chain Attack Hits Nearly 40 Service Providers With REvil Ransomware

Kaseya Supply-Chain Attack Hits Nearly 40 Service Providers With REvil Ransomware
July 03, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Threat actors behind the notorious REvil cybercrime operation appear to have pushed ransomware via an update for Kaseya's IT management software, hitting around 40 customers worldwide, in what's an instance of a widespread supply-chain ransomware attack. "Beginning around mid-day (EST/US) on Friday, July 2, 2021, Kaseya's Incident Response team learned of a potential security incident involving our VSA software," the company's CEO Fred Voccola  said  in a statement shared late Friday. Following the incident, the IT and security management services company said it took immediate steps to shut down its SaaS servers as a precautionary measure, in addition to notifying its on-premises customers to shut down their VSA servers to prevent them from being compromised. Voccola also said the company has identified the source of the vulnerability and that it's readying a patch to mitigate the ongoing issues. In the interim, the company also noted it intends to
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