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Researchers Expose Over 80 ShadowPad Malware C2 Servers

Researchers Expose Over 80 ShadowPad Malware C2 Servers

October 27, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
As many as 85 command-and-control (C2) servers have been  discovered  supported by the ShadowPad malware since September 2021, with infrastructure detected as recently as October 16, 2022. That's according to VMware's Threat Analysis Unit (TAU), which  studied  three ShadowPad variants using TCP, UDP, and HTTP(S) protocols for C2 communications. ShadowPad , seen as a successor to  PlugX , is a modular malware platform privately shared among multiple Chinese state-sponsored actors since 2015. Taiwanese cybersecurity firm TeamT5, earlier this May, disclosed details of another China-nexus modular implant named  Pangolin8RAT , which is believed to be the successor of the PlugX and ShadowPad malware families, linking it to a threat group dubbed Tianwu. An analysis of the three ShadowPad artifacts, which have been previously put to use by  Winnti ,  Tonto Team , and an emerging threat cluster codenamed  Space Pirates , made it possible to discover the C2 servers by scanning th
APT Hackers Targeting Industrial Control Systems with ShadowPad Backdoor

APT Hackers Targeting Industrial Control Systems with ShadowPad Backdoor

June 28, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Entities located in Afghanistan, Malaysia, and Pakistan are in the crosshairs of an attack campaign that targets unpatched Microsoft Exchange Servers as an initial access vector to deploy the ShadowPad malware. Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky, which first detected the activity in mid-October 2021,  attributed  it to a previously unknown Chinese-speaking threat actor. Targets include organizations in the telecommunications, manufacturing, and transport sectors. "During the initial attacks, the group exploited an MS Exchange vulnerability to deploy ShadowPad malware and infiltrated  building automation systems  of one of the victims," the company said. "By taking control over those systems, the attacker can reach other, even more sensitive systems of the attacked organization." ShadowPad , which emerged in 2015 as the successor to PlugX, is a privately sold modular malware platform that has been put to use by many Chinese espionage actors over the years.  W
Chinese Hackers Caught Exploiting Popular Antivirus Products to Target Telecom Sector

Chinese Hackers Caught Exploiting Popular Antivirus Products to Target Telecom Sector

May 03, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
A Chinese-aligned cyberespionage group has been observed striking the telecommunication sector in Central Asia with versions of malware such as ShadowPad and PlugX. Cybersecurity firm SentinelOne tied the intrusions to an actor it tracks under the name "Moshen Dragon," with tactical overlaps between the collective and another threat group referred to as Nomad Panda (aka  RedFoxtrot ). "PlugX and ShadowPad have a well-established history of use among Chinese-speaking threat actors primarily for espionage activity," SentinelOne's Joey Chen  said . "Those tools have flexible, modular functionality and are compiled via shellcode to easily bypass traditional endpoint protection products." ShadowPad , labeled a "masterpiece of privately sold malware in Chinese espionage," emerged as a successor to PlugX in 2015, even as variants of the latter have continually popped up as part of different campaigns associated with Chinese threat actors. Alth
Chinese Hacker Groups Continue to Target Indian Power Grid Assets

Chinese Hacker Groups Continue to Target Indian Power Grid Assets

April 08, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
China-linked adversaries have been attributed to an ongoing onslaught against Indian power grid organizations, one year after a  concerted campaign  targeting critical infrastructure in the country came to light. Most of the intrusions involved a modular backdoor named  ShadowPad , according to Recorded Future's Insikt Group, a sophisticated remote access trojan which has been  dubbed  a "masterpiece of privately sold malware in Chinese espionage." "ShadowPad continues to be employed by an ever-increasing number of People's Liberation Army (PLA) and Ministry of State Security (MSS)-linked groups, with its origins linked to known MSS contractors first using the tool in their own operations and later likely acting as a digital quartermaster," the researchers  said . The goal of the sustained campaign, the cybersecurity company said, is to facilitate intelligence gathering pertaining to critical infrastructure systems in preparation for future contingency
ShadowPad Malware is Becoming a Favorite Choice of Chinese Espionage Groups

ShadowPad Malware is Becoming a Favorite Choice of Chinese Espionage Groups

August 20, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
ShadowPad, an infamous Windows backdoor that allows attackers to download further malicious modules or steal data, has been put to use by five different Chinese threat clusters since 2017. "The adoption of ShadowPad significantly reduces the costs of development and maintenance for threat actors," SentinelOne researchers Yi-Jhen Hsieh and Joey Chen  said  in a detailed overview of the malware, adding "some threat groups stopped developing their own backdoors after they gained access to ShadowPad." The American cybersecurity firm dubbed ShadowPad a "masterpiece of privately sold malware in Chinese espionage." A successor to PlugX and a modular malware platform since 2015,  ShadowPad  catapulted to widespread attention in the wake of supply chain incidents targeting  NetSarang ,  CCleaner , and  ASUS , leading the operators to shift tactics and update their defensive measures with advanced anti-detection and persistence techniques. More recently, atta
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