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Cyber Group 'Gold Melody' Selling Compromised Access to Ransomware Attackers

Cyber Group 'Gold Melody' Selling Compromised Access to Ransomware Attackers

Sep 21, 2023 Cyber Threat / Ransomware
A financially motivated threat actor has been outed as an initial access broker (IAB) that sells access to compromised organizations for other adversaries to conduct follow-on attacks such as ransomware. SecureWorks Counter Threat Unit (CTU) has dubbed the e-crime group  Gold Melody , which is also known by the names Prophet Spider (CrowdStrike) and UNC961 (Mandiant). "This financially motivated group has been active since at least 2017, compromising organizations by exploiting vulnerabilities in unpatched internet-facing servers," the cybersecurity company  said . "The victimology suggests opportunistic attacks for financial gain rather than a targeted campaign conducted by a state-sponsored threat group for espionage, destruction, or disruption." Gold Melody has been  previously   linked  to  attacks  exploiting security flaws in JBoss Messaging (CVE-2017-7504), Citrix ADC (CVE-2019-19781), Oracle WebLogic (CVE-2020-14750 and CVE-2020-14882), GitLab (CVE-20
Iranian Hackers Target Women Involved in Human Rights and Middle East Politics

Iranian Hackers Target Women Involved in Human Rights and Middle East Politics

Mar 09, 2023 Cyber Espionage
Iranian state-sponsored actors are continuing to engage in social engineering campaigns targeting researchers by impersonating a U.S. think tank. "Notably the targets in this instance were all women who are actively involved in political affairs and human rights in the Middle East region," Secureworks Counter Threat Unit (CTU)  said  in a report shared with The Hacker News. The cybersecurity company attributed the activity to a hacking group it tracks as  Cobalt Illusion , and which is also known by the names APT35, Charming Kitten, ITG18, Phosphorus, TA453, and Yellow Garuda. The targeting of academics, activists, diplomats, journalists, politicians, and researchers by the threat actor  has been   well-documented   over  the  years . The group is suspected to be operating on behalf of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and has exhibited a pattern of using fake personas to establish contact with individuals who are of strategic interest to the governmen
The Drop in Ransomware Attacks in 2024 and What it Means

The Drop in Ransomware Attacks in 2024 and What it Means

Apr 08, 2024Ransomware / Cybercrime
The  ransomware industry surged in 2023  as it saw an alarming 55.5% increase in victims worldwide, reaching a staggering 5,070.  But 2024 is starting off showing a very different picture.  While the numbers skyrocketed in Q4 2023 with 1309 cases, in Q1 2024, the ransomware industry was down to 1,048 cases. This is a 22% decrease in ransomware attacks compared to Q4 2023. Figure 1: Victims per quarter There could be several reasons for this significant drop.  Reason 1: The Law Enforcement Intervention Firstly, law enforcement has upped the ante in 2024 with actions against both LockBit and ALPHV. The LockBit Arrests In February, an international operation named "Operation Cronos" culminated in the arrest of at least three associates of the infamous LockBit ransomware syndicate in Poland and Ukraine.  Law enforcement from multiple countries collaborated to take down LockBit's infrastructure. This included seizing their dark web domains and gaining access to their backend sys
Researchers Uncover Connection b/w Moses Staff and Emerging Abraham's Ax Hacktivists Group

Researchers Uncover Connection b/w Moses Staff and Emerging Abraham's Ax Hacktivists Group

Jan 26, 2023
New research has linked the operations of a politically motivated hacktivist group known as Moses Staff to another nascent threat actor named  Abraham's Ax  that emerged in November 2022. This is based on "several commonalities across the iconography, videography, and leak sites used by the groups, suggesting they are likely operated by the same entity," Secureworks Counter Threat Unit (CTU)  said  in a report shared with The Hacker News. Moses Staff, tracked by the cybersecurity firm under the moniker  Cobalt Sapling , made its  first appearance  on the threat landscape in September 2021 with the goal of primarily targeting Israeli organizations. The geopolitical group is believed to be  sponsored  by the Iranian government and has since been linked to a string of espionage and sabotage attacks that make use of tools like  StrifeWater RAT  and open source utilities such as  DiskCryptor  to harvest sensitive information and lock victim data on infected hosts. The cr
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Chinese Hackers Target Government Officials in Europe, South America, and Middle East

Chinese Hackers Target Government Officials in Europe, South America, and Middle East

Sep 08, 2022
A Chinese hacking group has been attributed to a new campaign aimed at infecting government officials in Europe, the Middle East, and South America with a modular malware known as PlugX. Cybersecurity firm Secureworks said it identified the intrusions in June and July 2022, once again demonstrating the adversary's continued focus on espionage against governments around the world. "PlugX is modular malware that contacts a command and control (C2) server for tasking and can download additional plugins to enhance its capability beyond basic information gathering," Secureworks Counter Threat Unit (CTU) said in a report shared with The Hacker News. Bronze President is a China-based threat actor active since at least July 2018 and is likely estimated to be a state-sponsored group that leverages a mix of proprietary and publicly available tools to compromise and collect data from its targets. It's also publicly documented under other names such as HoneyMyte, Mustang P
State-Backed Hackers Using Ransomware as a Decoy for Cyber Espionage Attacks

State-Backed Hackers Using Ransomware as a Decoy for Cyber Espionage Attacks

Jun 24, 2022
A China-based advanced persistent threat (APT) group is possibly deploying short-lived ransomware families as a decoy to cover up the true operational and tactical objectives behind its campaigns. The activity cluster, attributed to a hacking group dubbed  Bronze Starlight  by Secureworks, involves the deployment of post-intrusion ransomware such as LockFile, Atom Silo, Rook, Night Sky, Pandora, and LockBit 2.0. "The ransomware could distract incident responders from identifying the threat actors' true intent and reduce the likelihood of attributing the malicious activity to a government-sponsored Chinese threat group," the researchers  said  in a new report. "In each case, the ransomware targets a small number of victims over a relatively brief period of time before it ceases operations, apparently permanently." Bronze Starlight, active since mid-2021, is also tracked by Microsoft under the emerging threat cluster moniker DEV-0401, with the tech giant empha
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