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The Hacker News - Cybersecurity News and Analysis: Malware

Researchers Fingerprint Exploit Developers Who Help Several Malware Authors

Researchers Fingerprint Exploit Developers Who Help Several Malware Authors

October 02, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Writing advanced malware for a threat actor requires different groups of people with diverse technical expertise to put them all together. But can the code leave enough clues to reveal the person behind it? To this effect, cybersecurity researchers on Friday detailed a new methodology to identify exploit authors that use their unique characteristics as a fingerprint to track down other exploits developed by them. By deploying this technique, the researchers were able to link 16 Windows local privilege escalation (LPE) exploits to two zero-day sellers "Volodya" (previously called "BuggiCorp") and "PlayBit" (or "luxor2008"). "Instead of focusing on an entire malware and hunting for new samples of the malware family or actor, we wanted to offer another perspective and decided to concentrate on these few functions that were written by an exploit developer," Check Point Research's Itay Cohen and Eyal Itkin noted. Fingerprinting an
Beware: New Android Spyware Found Posing as Telegram and Threema Apps

Beware: New Android Spyware Found Posing as Telegram and Threema Apps

October 01, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
A hacking group known for its attacks in the Middle East, at least since 2017, has recently been found impersonating legitimate messaging apps such as Telegram and Threema to infect Android devices with a new, previously undocumented malware. "Compared to the versions documented in 2017, Android/SpyC23.A has extended spying functionality, including reading notifications from messaging apps, call recording and screen recording, and new stealth features, such as dismissing notifications from built-in Android security apps," cybersecurity firm ESET  said  in a Wednesday analysis. First detailed by Qihoo 360 in 2017 under the moniker  Two-tailed Scorpion (aka APT-C-23 or Desert Scorpion), the mobile malware has been deemed "surveillanceware" for its abilities to spy on the devices of targeted individuals, exfiltrating call logs, contacts, location, messages, photos, and other sensitive documents in the process. In 2018, Symantec discovered a  newer variant  of the
Russian Arrested After Offering $1 Million to U.S. Company Employee for Planting Malware

Russian Arrested After Offering $1 Million to U.S. Company Employee for Planting Malware

August 26, 2020Mohit Kumar
Hackers always find a way in, even if there's no software vulnerability to exploit. The FBI has arrested a Russian national who recently traveled to the United States and offered $1 million in bribe to an employee of a targeted company for his help in installing malware into the company's computer network manually. Egor Igorevich Kriuchkov , 27-year-old, entered the United States as a tourist and was arrested in Los Angeles after meeting with the unnamed employee of an undisclosed Nevada-based company numerous times, between August 1 to August 21, to discuss the conspiracy. "On or about July 16, EGOR IGOREVICH KRIUCHKOV used his WhatsApp account to contact the employee of victim company and arranged to visit in person in the District of Nevada," the court documents say. "On or about July 28, EGOR IGOREVICH KRIUCHKOV entered the United States using his Russian Passport and a B1/B2 tourist visa." Kriuchkov also asked the employee to participate in
US Government Warns of a New Strain of Chinese 'Taidoor' Virus

US Government Warns of a New Strain of Chinese 'Taidoor' Virus

August 04, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Intelligence agencies in the US have released information about a new variant of 12-year-old computer virus used by China's state-sponsored hackers targeting governments, corporations, and think tanks. Named " Taidoor, " the malware has done an 'excellent' job of compromising systems as early as 2008 , with the actors deploying it on victim networks for stealthy remote access. "[The] FBI has high confidence that Chinese government actors are using malware variants in conjunction with proxy servers to maintain a presence on victim networks and to further network exploitation," the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Department of Defense (DoD) said in a joint advisory . The US Cyber Command has also uploaded four samples of the Taidoor RAT on the public malware repository VirusTotal to let 50+ Antivirus companies check the virus's involvement in other unattributed cam
Over 100 New Chrome Browser Extensions Caught Spying On Users

Over 100 New Chrome Browser Extensions Caught Spying On Users

June 22, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Google recently removed 106 more extensions from its Chrome Web Store after they were found illegally collecting sensitive user data as part of a "massive global surveillance campaign" targeting oil and gas, finance, and healthcare sectors. Awake Security, which disclosed the findings late last week, said the malicious browser add-ons were tied back to a single internet domain registrar, GalComm. However, it's not immediately clear who is behind the spyware effort. "This campaign and the Chrome extensions involved performed operations such as taking screenshots of the victim device, loading malware, reading the clipboard, and actively harvesting tokens and user input," Awake Security said. The extensions in question posed as utilities offering capabilities to convert files from one format to the other, among other tools for secure browsing, while relying on thousands of fake reviews to trick unsuspecting users into installing them. Furthermore, the
Hackers Target Military and Aerospace Staff by Posing as HRs Offering Jobs

Hackers Target Military and Aerospace Staff by Posing as HRs Offering Jobs

June 17, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers today took the wraps off a new sophisticated cyber-espionage campaign directed against aerospace and military organizations in Europe and the Middle East with an aim to spy on key employees of the targeted firms and, in some case, even to siphon money. The campaign, dubbed " Operation In(ter)ception " because of a reference to "Inception" in the malware sample, took place between September to December 2019, according to a new report cybersecurity firm ESET shared with The Hacker News. "The primary goal of the operation was espionage," the researchers told The Hacker News. "However, in one of the cases we investigated, the attackers tried to monetize access to a victim's email account through a business email compromise (BEC) attack as the final stage of the operation." The financial motivation behind the attacks, coupled with similarities in targeting and development environment, have led ESET to suspect Laz
New ComRAT Malware Uses Gmail to Receive Commands and Exfiltrate Data

New ComRAT Malware Uses Gmail to Receive Commands and Exfiltrate Data

May 26, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers today uncovered a new advanced version of ComRAT backdoor, one of the earliest known backdoors used by the Turla APT group, that leverages Gmail's web interface to covertly receive commands and exfiltrate sensitive data. "ComRAT v4 was first seen in 2017 and known still to be in use as recently as January 2020," cybersecurity firm ESET said in a report shared with The Hacker News. "We identified at least three targets: two Ministries of Foreign Affairs in Eastern Europe and a national parliament in the Caucasus region." Turla , also known as Snake, has been active for over a decade with a long history of the watering hole and spear-phishing campaigns against embassies and military organizations at least since 2004. The group's espionage platform started off as Agent.BTZ , in 2007, before it evolved to ComRAT , in addition to gaining additional capabilities to achieve persistence and to steal data from a local network. It
HTTP Status Codes Command This Malware How to Control Hacked Systems

HTTP Status Codes Command This Malware How to Control Hacked Systems

May 15, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
A new version of COMpfun remote access trojan (RAT) has been discovered in the wild that uses HTTP status codes to control compromised systems targeted in a recent campaign against diplomatic entities in Europe. The cyberespionage malware—traced to Turla APT with "medium-to-low level of confidence" based on the history of compromised victims—spread via an initial dropper that masks itself as a visa application, the Global Research and Analysis Team at Kaspersky discovered. The Turla APT , a Russian-based threat group, has a long history of carrying out espionage and watering hole attacks spanning various sectors, including governments, embassies, military, education, research, and pharmaceutical companies. First documented by G-Data in 2014, COMpfun received a significant upgrade last year (called "Reductor") after Kaspersky found that the malware was used to spy on a victim's browser activity by staging man-in-the-middle ( MitM ) attacks on encrypte
This Asia-Pacific Cyber Espionage Campaign Went Undetected for 5 Years

This Asia-Pacific Cyber Espionage Campaign Went Undetected for 5 Years

May 07, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
An advanced group of Chinese hackers has recently been spotted to be behind a sustained cyber espionage campaign targeting government entities in Australia, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, and Brunei—which went undetected for at least five years and is still an ongoing threat. The group, named 'Naikon APT,' once known as one of the most active APTs in Asia until 2015, carried out a string of cyberattacks in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region in search of geopolitical intelligence. According to the latest investigation report Check Point researchers shared with The Hacker News, the Naikon APT group had not gone silent for the last 5 years, as initially suspected; instead, it was using a new backdoor, called " Aria-body ," to operate stealthily. "Given the characteristics of the victims and capabilities presented by the group, it is evident that the group's purpose is to gather intelligence and spy on the countries whose governments it
COVID-Themed Lures Target SCADA Sectors With Data Stealing Malware

COVID-Themed Lures Target SCADA Sectors With Data Stealing Malware

April 20, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
A new malware campaign has been found using coronavirus-themed lures to strike government and energy sectors in Azerbaijan with remote access trojans (RAT) capable of exfiltrating sensitive documents, keystrokes, passwords, and even images from the webcam. The targeted attacks employ Microsoft Word documents as droppers to deploy a previously unknown Python-based RAT dubbed "PoetRAT" due to various references to sonnets by English playwright William Shakespeare. "The RAT has all the standard features of this kind of malware, providing full control of the compromised system to the operation," said Cisco Talos in an analysis published last week. According to the researchers, the malware specifically targets supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems in the energy industry, such as wind turbine systems, whose identities are currently not known. The development is the latest in a surge in cyberattacks exploiting the ongoing coronavirus pandemi
COVID-19: Hackers Begin Exploiting Zoom's Overnight Success to Spread Malware

COVID-19: Hackers Begin Exploiting Zoom's Overnight Success to Spread Malware

March 30, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
As people increasingly work from home and online communication platforms such as Zoom explode in popularity in the wake of coronavirus outbreak, cybercriminals are taking advantage of the spike in usage by registering new fake "Zoom" domains and malicious "Zoom" executable files in an attempt to trick people into downloading malware on their devices. According to a report published by Check Point and shared with The Hacker News, over 1,700 new "Zoom" domains have been registered since the onset of the pandemic, with 25 percent of the domains registered in the past seven days alone. "We see a sharp rise in the number of 'Zoom' domains being registered, especially in the last week," said Omer Dembinsky, Manager of Cyber Research at Check Point . "The recent, staggering increase means that hackers have taken notice of the work-from-home paradigm shift that COVID-19 has forced, and they see it as an opportunity to deceive, lure,
Multiple DDoS Botnets Exploited 0-Day Flaws in LILIN DVR Surveillance Systems

Multiple DDoS Botnets Exploited 0-Day Flaws in LILIN DVR Surveillance Systems

March 21, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Multiple zero-day vulnerabilities in digital video recorders (DVRs) for surveillance systems manufactured by Taiwan-based LILIN have been exploited by botnet operators to infect and co-opt vulnerable devices into a family of denial-of-service bots. The findings come from Chinese security firm Qihoo 360 's Netlab team, who say different attack groups have been using LILIN DVR zero-day vulnerabilities to spread Chalubo , FBot , and Moobot botnets at least since August 30, 2019. Netlab researchers said they reached out to LILIN on January 19, 2020, although it wasn't until a month later the vendor released a firmware update (2.0b60_20200207) addressing the vulnerabilities. The development comes as IoT devices are increasingly being used as an attack surface to launch DDoS attacks and as proxies to engage in various forms of cybercrime. What Are the LILIN Zero-Days About? The flaw in itself concerns a chain of vulnerabilities that make use of hard-coded login cred
Android Cookie-Stealing Malware Found Hijacking Facebook Accounts

Android Cookie-Stealing Malware Found Hijacking Facebook Accounts

March 13, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
A new simple but dangerous strain of Android malware has been found in the wild that steals users' authentication cookies from the web browsing and other apps, including Chrome and Facebook, installed on the compromised devices. Dubbed " Cookiethief " by Kaspersky researchers, the Trojan works by acquiring superuser root rights on the target device, and subsequently, transfer stolen cookies to a remote command-and-control (C2) server operated by attackers. "This abuse technique is possible not because of a vulnerability in the Facebook app or browser itself," Kaspersky researchers said. "Malware could steal cookie files of any website from other apps in the same way and achieve similar results." Cookiethief: Hijacking Accounts Without Requiring Passwords Cookies are small pieces of information that's often used by websites to differentiate one user from another, offer continuity around the web, track browsing sessions across different
Exfiltrating Data from Air-Gapped Computers Using Screen Brightness

Exfiltrating Data from Air-Gapped Computers Using Screen Brightness

February 05, 2020Mohit Kumar
It may sound creepy and unreal, but hackers can also exfiltrate sensitive data from your computer by simply changing the brightness of the screen, new cybersecurity research shared with The Hacker News revealed. In recent years, several cybersecurity researchers demonstrated innovative ways to covertly exfiltrate data from a physically isolated air-gapped computer that can't connect wirelessly or physically with other computers or network devices. These clever ideas rely on exploiting little-noticed emissions of a computer's components, such as light, sound , heat , radio frequencies , or ultrasonic waves , and even using the current fluctuations in the power lines. For instance, potential attackers could sabotage supply chains to infect an air-gapped computer, but they can't always count on an insider to unknowingly carry a USB with the data back out of a targeted facility. When it comes to high-value targets, these unusual techniques, which may sound theoretica
Facebook Sued Hong Kong Firm for Hacking Users and Ad Fraud Scheme

Facebook Sued Hong Kong Firm for Hacking Users and Ad Fraud Scheme

December 06, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Following its efforts to take legal action against those misusing its social media platform, Facebook has now filed a new lawsuit against a Hong Kong-based advertising company and two Chinese individuals for allegedly abusing its ad platform to distribute malware and Ad fraud. Facebook filed the lawsuit on Thursday in the Northern District of California against ILikeAd Media International Company Ltd. as well as a Chinese software developer and a marketing director working for the firm, Chen Xiao Cong and Huang Tao. All three defendants have been alleged to have deceived people into installing malware on their systems, enabling them to compromise user's Facebook accounts and then using those hacked accounts to advertise counterfeit goods and diet pills—which is clearly in violation of Facebook's Terms and Advertising Policies. "The suit seeks to hold accountable ILikeAd Media International Company Ltd. and Chen Xiao Cong and Huang Tao for creating the malware, tr
ZeroCleare: New Iranian Data Wiper Malware Targeting Energy Sector

ZeroCleare: New Iranian Data Wiper Malware Targeting Energy Sector

December 05, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Cybersecurity researchers have uncovered a new, previously undiscovered destructive data-wiping malware that is being used by state-sponsored hackers in the wild to target energy and industrial organizations in the Middle East. Dubbed ZeroCleare , the data wiper malware has been linked to not one but two Iranian state-sponsored hacking groups— APT34 , also known as ITG13 and Oilrig, and Hive0081 , also known as xHunt. A team of researchers at IBM who discovered the ZeroCleare malware says that the new wiper malware shares some high-level similarities with the infamous Shamoon, one of the most destructive malware families known for damaging 30,000 computers at Saudi Arabia's largest oil producer in 2012. Just like the Shamoon wiper malware , ZeroCleare also uses a legitimate hard disk driver called 'RawDisk by ElDos' to overwrite the master boot record (MBR) and disk partitions of targeted computers running the Windows operating system. Though EldoS driver is not s
New Group of Hackers Targeting Businesses with Financially Motivated Cyber Attacks

New Group of Hackers Targeting Businesses with Financially Motivated Cyber Attacks

November 14, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Security researchers have tracked down activities of a new group of financially-motivated hackers that are targeting several businesses and organizations in Germany, Italy, and the United States in an attempt to infect them with backdoor, banking Trojan, or ransomware malware. Though the new malware campaigns are not customized for each organization, the threat actors appear to be more interested in businesses, IT services, manufacturing, and healthcare industries who possess critical data and can likely afford high ransom payouts. According to a report ProofPoint shared with The Hacker News, the newly discovered threat actors are sending out low-volume emails impersonating finance-related government entities with tax assessment and refund lured emails to targeted organizations. "Tax-themed Email Campaigns Target 2019 Filers, finance-related lures have been used seasonally with upticks in tax-related malware and phishing campaigns leading up to the annual tax filing deadlines in
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