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The Hacker News - Cybersecurity News and Analysis: Malware

A Wide Range of Cyber Attacks Leveraging Prometheus TDS Malware Service

A Wide Range of Cyber Attacks Leveraging Prometheus TDS Malware Service

August 05, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Multiple cybercriminal groups are leveraging a malware-as-a-service (MaaS) solution to carry out a wide range of malicious software distribution campaigns that result in the deployment of payloads such as Campo Loader, Hancitor,  IcedID ,  QBot ,  Buer Loader , and SocGholish against individuals in Belgium as well as government agencies, companies, and corporations in the U.S. Dubbed " Prometheus " and available for sale on underground platforms for $250 a month since August 2020, the service is a Traffic Direction System (TDS) that's designed to distribute malware-laced Word and Excel documents, and divert users to phishing and malicious sites, according to a Group-IB report shared with The Hacker News. More than 3,000 email addresses are said to have been singled out via malicious campaigns in which Prometheus TDS was used to send malicious emails, with banking and finance, retail, energy and mining, cybersecurity, healthcare, IT, and insurance emerging the prominen
Chinese Hackers Target Major Southeast Asian Telecom Companies

Chinese Hackers Target Major Southeast Asian Telecom Companies

August 03, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Three distinct clusters of malicious activities operating on behalf of Chinese state interests have staged a series of attacks to target networks belonging to at least five major telecommunications companies located in Southeast Asian countries since 2017. "The goal of the attackers behind these intrusions was to gain and maintain continuous access to telecommunication providers and to facilitate cyber espionage by collecting sensitive information, compromising high-profile business assets such as the billing servers that contain Call Detail Record (CDR) data, as well as key network components such as the Domain Controllers, Web Servers and Microsoft Exchange servers," Cybereason's Lior Rochberger, Tom Fakterman, Daniel Frank, and Assaf Dahan  revealed  in a technical analysis published Tuesday. The Boston-based cybersecurity firm linked the campaigns, collectively named "DeadRinger," to three different Chinese threat actors, namely  Gallium  (aka Soft Cell)
Solarmarker InfoStealer Malware Once Again Making its Way Into the Wild

Solarmarker InfoStealer Malware Once Again Making its Way Into the Wild

August 02, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Healthcare and education sectors are the frequent targets of a new surge in credential harvesting activity from what's a "highly modular" .NET-based information stealer and keylogger, charting the course for the threat actor's continued evolution while simultaneously remaining under the radar. Dubbed " Solarmarker ," the malware campaign is believed to be active since September 2020, with telemetry data pointing to malicious actions as early as April 2020, according to Cisco Talos. "At its core, the Solarmarker campaign appears to be conducted by a fairly sophisticated actor largely focused on credential and residual information theft," Talos researchers Andrew Windsor and Chris Neal  said  in a technical write-up published last week. Infections consist of multiple moving parts, chief among them being a .NET assembly module that serves as a system profiler and staging ground on the victim host for command-and-control (C2) communications and fur
Experts Uncover Several C&C Servers Linked to WellMess Malware

Experts Uncover Several C&C Servers Linked to WellMess Malware

July 30, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers on Friday unmasked new command-and-control (C2) infrastructure belonging to the Russian threat actor tracked as APT29, aka Cozy Bear, that has been spotted actively serving WellMess malware as part of an ongoing attack campaign. More than 30 C2 servers operated by the Russian foreign intelligence have been uncovered, Microsoft-owned cybersecurity subsidiary RiskIQ  said  in a report shared with The Hacker News. APT29, the moniker assigned to government operatives working for Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), is believed to have been the  mastermind behind the massive SolarWinds supply chain attack  that came to light late last year, with the U.K. and U.S. governments formally pinning the intrusions on Russia earlier this April. The activity is being tracked by the cybersecurity community under various codenames, including UNC2452 (FireEye), Nobelium (Microsoft), SolarStorm (Unit 42), StellarParticle (Crowdstrike), Dark Halo (Volexity), and
Several Malicious Typosquatted Python Libraries Found On PyPI Repository

Several Malicious Typosquatted Python Libraries Found On PyPI Repository

July 30, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
As many as eight Python packages that were downloaded more than 30,000 times have been removed from the PyPI portal for containing malicious code, once again highlighting how software package repositories are evolving into a popular target for supply chain attacks. "Lack of moderation and automated security controls in public software repositories allow even inexperienced attackers to use them as a platform to spread malware, whether through typosquatting, dependency confusion, or simple social engineering attacks," JFrog researchers Andrey Polkovnichenko, Omer Kaspi, and Shachar Menashe  said  Thursday. PyPI, short for Python Package Index, is the official third-party software repository for Python, with package manager utilities like  pip  relying on it as the default source for packages and their dependencies. The Python packages in question, which were found to be obfuscated using Base64 encoding, are listed below - pytagora (uploaded by leonora123) pytagora2 (upl
A New Wiper Malware Was Behind Recent Cyberattack On Iranian Train System

A New Wiper Malware Was Behind Recent Cyberattack On Iranian Train System

July 30, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A cyber attack that derailed websites of Iran's transport ministry and its national railway system earlier this month, causing widespread disruptions in train services, was the result of a never-before-seen reusable wiper malware called "Meteor." The campaign — dubbed " MeteorExpress " — has not been linked to any previously identified threat group or to additional attacks, making it the first incident involving the deployment of this malware, according to researchers from Iranian antivirus firm  Amn Pardaz  and SentinelOne. Meteor is believed to have been in the works over the past three years. "Despite a lack of specific indicators of compromise, we were able to recover most of the attack components," SentinelOne's Principal Threat Researcher, Juan Andres Guerrero-Saade, noted. "Behind this outlandish tale of stopped trains and glib trolls, we found the fingerprints of an unfamiliar attacker," adding the offensive is "designed t
Phony Call Centers Tricking Users Into Installing Ransomware and Data-Stealers

Phony Call Centers Tricking Users Into Installing Ransomware and Data-Stealers

July 29, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
An ongoing malicious campaign that employs phony call centers has been found to trick victims into downloading malware capable of data exfiltration as well as deploying ransomware on infected systems. The attacks — dubbed "BazaCall" — eschew traditional social engineering techniques that rely on rogue URLs and malware-laced documents in favor of a vishing-like method wherein targeted users are sent email messages informing them of a forthcoming subscription charge unless they call a specific phone number. By tricking the recipients into calling the number, the unsuspecting victims are connected with an actual human operator at a fraudulent call center, who then provides them with instructions to download the BazaLoader malware. BazaLoader (aka BazarBackdoor) is a C++-based downloader with the ability to install various types of malicious programs on infected computers, including deploying ransomware and other malware to steal sensitive data from victimized systems. First
Hackers Exploit Microsoft Browser Bug to Deploy VBA Malware on Targeted PCs

Hackers Exploit Microsoft Browser Bug to Deploy VBA Malware on Targeted PCs

July 29, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
An unidentified threat actor has been exploiting a now-patched zero-day flaw in Internet Explorer browser to deliver a fully-featured VBA-based remote access trojan (RAT) capable of accessing files stored in compromised Windows systems, and downloading and executing malicious payloads as part of an "unusual" campaign. The backdoor is distributed via a decoy document named "Manifest.docx" that loads the exploit code for the vulnerability from an embedded template, which, in turn, executes shellcode to deploy the RAT, according to cybersecurity firm Malwarebytes, which spotted the suspicious Word file on July 21, 2021.  The malware-laced document claims to be a "Manifesto of the inhabitants of Crimea" calling on the citizens to oppose Russian President Vladimir Putin and "create a unified platform called 'People's Resistance.'" The Internet Explorer flaw, tracked as CVE-2021-26411 , is notable for the fact that it was abused by the
New Android Malware Uses VNC to Spy and Steal Passwords from Victims

New Android Malware Uses VNC to Spy and Steal Passwords from Victims

July 29, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A previously undocumented Android-based remote access trojan (RAT) has been found to use screen recording features to steal sensitive information on the device, including banking credentials, and open the door for on-device fraud. Dubbed "Vultur" due to its use of Virtual Network Computing (VNC)'s remote screen-sharing technology to gain full visibility on targeted users, the mobile malware was distributed via the official Google Play Store and masqueraded as an app named "Protection Guard," attracting over 5,000 installations. Banking and crypto-wallet apps from entities located in Italy, Australia, and Spain were the primary targets. "For the first time we are seeing an Android banking trojan that has screen recording and keylogging as the main strategy to harvest login credentials in an automated and scalable way," researchers from ThreatFabric  said  in a write-up shared with The Hacker News. "The actors chose to steer away from the commo
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
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