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TA558 Hackers Weaponize Images for Wide-Scale Malware Attacks

TA558 Hackers Weaponize Images for Wide-Scale Malware Attacks
Apr 16, 2024 Threat Intelligence / Endpoint Security
The threat actor tracked as  TA558  has been observed leveraging steganography as an obfuscation technique to deliver a wide range of malware such as Agent Tesla, FormBook, Remcos RAT, LokiBot, GuLoader, Snake Keylogger, and XWorm, among others. "The group made extensive use of steganography by sending VBSs, PowerShell code, as well as RTF documents with an embedded exploit, inside images and text files," Russian cybersecurity company Positive Technologies  said  in a Monday report. The campaign has been codenamed SteganoAmor for its reliance on steganography and the choice of file names such as greatloverstory.vbs and easytolove.vbs. A majority of the attacks have targeted industrial, services, public, electric power, and construction sectors in Latin American countries, although companies located in Russia, Romania, and Turkey have also been singled out. The development comes as TA558 has also been spotted  deploying Venom RAT  via phishing attacks aimed at enterprise

Attackers Using Obfuscation Tools to Deliver Multi-Stage Malware via Invoice Phishing

Attackers Using Obfuscation Tools to Deliver Multi-Stage Malware via Invoice Phishing
Apr 09, 2024 Malware / Cryptojacking
Cybersecurity researchers have discovered an intricate multi-stage attack that leverages invoice-themed phishing decoys to deliver a wide range of malware such as  Venom RAT , Remcos RAT, XWorm, NanoCore RAT, and a stealer that targets crypto wallets. The email messages come with Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file attachments that, when clicked, activate the infection sequence, Fortinet FortiGuard Labs  said  in a technical report. The modus operandi is notable for the use of the BatCloak malware obfuscation engine and ScrubCrypt to deliver the malware in the form of obfuscated batch scripts. BatCloak , offered for sale to other threat actors since late 2022, has its foundations in another tool called Jlaive. Its primary function is to load a next-stage payload in a manner that circumvents traditional detection mechanisms. ScrubCrypt, a crypter that was  first documented  by Fortinet in March 2023 in connection with a cryptojacking campaign orchestrated by the 8220 Gang, is asse

Timing is Everything: The Role of Just-in-Time Privileged Access in Security Evolution

Timing is Everything: The Role of Just-in-Time Privileged Access in Security Evolution
Apr 15, 2024Active Directory / Attack Surface
To minimize the risk of privilege misuse, a trend in the privileged access management (PAM) solution market involves implementing just-in-time (JIT) privileged access. This approach to  privileged identity management  aims to mitigate the risks associated with prolonged high-level access by granting privileges temporarily and only when necessary, rather than providing users with continuous high-level privileges. By adopting this strategy, organizations can enhance security, minimize the window of opportunity for potential attackers and ensure that users access privileged resources only when necessary.  What is JIT and why is it important?   JIT privileged access provisioning  involves granting privileged access to users on a temporary basis, aligning with the concept of least privilege. This principle provides users with only the minimum level of access required to perform their tasks, and only for the amount of time required to do so. One of the key advantages of JIT provisioning

Watch Out for Spoofed Zoom, Skype, Google Meet Sites Delivering Malware

Watch Out for Spoofed Zoom, Skype, Google Meet Sites Delivering Malware
Mar 07, 2024 Malware / Network Security
Threat actors have been leveraging fake websites advertising popular video conferencing software such as Google Meet, Skype, and Zoom to deliver a variety of malware targeting both Android and Windows users since December 2023. "The threat actor is distributing Remote Access Trojans (RATs) including  SpyNote RAT  for Android platforms, and  NjRAT  and  DCRat  for Windows systems," Zscaler ThreatLabz researchers  said . The spoofed sites are in Russian and are hosted on domains that closely resemble their legitimate counterparts, indicating that the attackers are using typosquatting tricks to lure prospective victims into downloading the malware. They also come with options to download the app for Android, iOS, and Windows platforms. While clicking on the button for Android downloads an APK file, clicking on the Windows app button triggers the download of a batch script. The malicious batch script is responsible for executing a PowerShell script, which, in turn, downloads and exec

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New IDAT Loader Attacks Using Steganography to Deploy Remcos RAT

New IDAT Loader Attacks Using Steganography to Deploy Remcos RAT
Feb 26, 2024 Steganography / Malware
Ukrainian entities based in Finland have been targeted as part of a malicious campaign distributing a commercial remote access trojan known as Remcos RAT using a malware loader called IDAT Loader. The attack has been attributed to a threat actor tracked by the Computer Emergency Response Team of Ukraine (CERT-UA) under the moniker UAC-0184. "The attack, as part of the IDAT Loader, used steganography as a technique," Morphisec researcher Michael Dereviashkin said in a report shared with The Hacker News. "While steganographic, or 'Stego' techniques are well-known, it is important to understand their roles in defense evasion, to better understand how to defend against such tactics." IDAT Loader , which overlaps with another loader family called Hijack Loader, has been used to serve additional payloads like DanaBot, SystemBC, and RedLine Stealer in recent months. It has also been used by a threat actor tracked as TA544 to distribute Remcos RAT and SystemBC

Hackers Exploiting MS Excel Vulnerability to Spread Agent Tesla Malware

Hackers Exploiting MS Excel Vulnerability to Spread Agent Tesla Malware
Dec 21, 2023 Vulnerability / Phishing Attack
Attackers are weaponizing an old Microsoft Office vulnerability as part of phishing campaigns to distribute a strain of malware called  Agent Tesla . The infection chains leverage decoy Excel documents attached in invoice-themed messages to trick potential targets into opening them and activate the exploitation of CVE-2017-11882 (CVSS score: 7.8), a memory corruption vulnerability in Office's Equation Editor that could result in code execution with the privileges of the user. The findings, which come from Zscaler ThreatLabz, build on prior reports from Fortinet FortiGuard Labs, which detailed a  similar phishing campaign  that exploited the security flaw to deliver the malware. "Once a user downloads a malicious attachment and opens it, if their version of Microsoft Excel is vulnerable, the Excel file initiates communication with a malicious destination and proceeds to download additional files without requiring any further user interaction," security researcher Kaiva

Researchers Unveil GuLoader Malware's Latest Anti-Analysis Techniques

Researchers Unveil GuLoader Malware's Latest Anti-Analysis Techniques
Dec 09, 2023 Malware / Cyberattack
Threat hunters have unmasked the latest tricks adopted by a malware strain called  GuLoader  in an effort to make analysis more challenging. "While GuLoader's core functionality hasn't changed drastically over the past few years, these constant updates in their obfuscation techniques make analyzing GuLoader a time-consuming and resource-intensive process," Elastic Security Labs researcher Daniel Stepanic  said  in a report published this week. First spotted in late 2019, GuLoader (aka CloudEyE) is an advanced shellcode-based malware downloader that's used to distribute a wide range of payloads, such as information stealers, while incorporating a bevy of sophisticated anti-analysis techniques to dodge traditional security solutions. A  steady stream  of  open-source reporting  into the malware in recent months has revealed the threat actors behind it have continued to improve its ability to bypass existing or new security features alongside other implemented fe

How Multi-Stage Phishing Attacks Exploit QRs, CAPTCHAs, and Steganography

How Multi-Stage Phishing Attacks Exploit QRs, CAPTCHAs, and Steganography
Nov 21, 2023 Cybercrime / Malware Analysis
Phishing attacks are steadily becoming more sophisticated, with cybercriminals investing in new ways of deceiving victims into revealing sensitive information or installing malicious software. One of the latest trends in phishing is the use of QR codes, CAPTCHAs, and steganography. See how they are carried out and learn to detect them. Quishing Quishing, a phishing technique resulting from the combination of "QR" and "phishing," has become a popular weapon for cybercriminals in 2023. By concealing malicious links within QR codes, attackers can evade traditional spam filters, which are primarily geared towards identifying text-based phishing attempts. The inability of many security tools to decipher the content of QR codes further makes this method a go-to choice for cybercriminals. An email containing a QR code with a malicious link Analyzing a QR code with an embedded malicious link in a safe environment is easy with  ANY.RUN : Simply open  this task  in th

27 Malicious PyPI Packages with Thousands of Downloads Found Targeting IT Experts

27 Malicious PyPI Packages with Thousands of Downloads Found Targeting IT Experts
Nov 17, 2023 Software Supply Chain / API Security
An unknown threat actor has been observed publishing typosquat packages to the Python Package Index (PyPI) repository for nearly six months with an aim to deliver malware capable of gaining persistence, stealing sensitive data, and accessing cryptocurrency wallets for financial gain. The 27 packages, which masqueraded as popular legitimate Python libraries, attracted thousands of downloads, Checkmarx said in a new report. A majority of the downloads originated from the U.S., China, France, Hong Kong, Germany, Russia, Ireland, Singapore, the U.K., and Japan. "A defining characteristic of this attack was the utilization of steganography to hide a malicious payload within an innocent-looking image file, which increased the stealthiness of the attack," the software supply chain security firm  said . Some of the packages are pyefflorer, pyminor, pyowler, pystallerer, pystob, and pywool, the last of which was planted on May 13, 2023. A common denominator to these packages is t

Worok Hackers Abuse Dropbox API to Exfiltrate Data via Backdoor Hidden in Images

Worok Hackers Abuse Dropbox API to Exfiltrate Data via Backdoor Hidden in Images
Nov 14, 2022
A recently discovered cyber espionage group dubbed  Worok  has been found hiding malware in seemingly innocuous image files, corroborating a crucial link in the threat actor's infection chain. Czech cybersecurity firm Avast said the purpose of the PNG files is to conceal a payload that's used to facilitate information theft. "What is noteworthy is data collection from victims' machines using Dropbox repository, as well as attackers using Dropbox API for communication with the final stage," the company  said . The development comes a little over two months after ESET disclosed details of attacks carried out by  Worok  against high-profile companies and local governments located in Asia and Africa. Worok is believed to share tactical overlaps with a Chinese threat actor tracked as  TA428 . The Slovak cybersecurity company also documented Worok's compromise sequence, which makes use of a C++-based loader called CLRLoad to pave the way for an unknown PowerS

e-Commerce Site Hackers Now Hiding Credit Card Stealer Inside Image Metadata

e-Commerce Site Hackers Now Hiding Credit Card Stealer Inside Image Metadata
Jun 29, 2020
In what's one of the most innovative hacking campaigns, cybercrime gangs are now hiding malicious code implants in the metadata of image files to covertly steal payment card information entered by visitors on the hacked websites. "We found skimming code hidden within the metadata of an image file (a form of steganography) and surreptitiously loaded by compromised online stores," Malwarebytes researchers said last week. "This scheme would not be complete without yet another interesting variation to exfiltrate stolen credit card data. Once again, criminals used the disguise of an image file to collect their loot." The evolving tactic of the operation, widely known as web skimming or a Magecart attack, comes as bad actors are finding different ways to inject JavaScript scripts, including misconfigured AWS S3 data storage buckets and exploiting content security policy to transmit data to a Google Analytics account under their control. Using Steganography

New Malware Takes Commands From Memes Posted On Twitter

New Malware Takes Commands From Memes Posted On Twitter
Dec 18, 2018
Security researchers have discovered yet another example of how cybercriminals disguise their malware activities as regular traffic by using legitimate cloud-based services. Trend Micro researchers have uncovered a new piece of malware that retrieves commands from memes posted on a Twitter account controlled by the attackers. Most malware relies on communication with their command-and-control server to receive instructions from attackers and perform various tasks on infected computers. Since security tools keep an eye on the network traffic to detect malicious IP addresses, attackers are increasingly using legitimate websites and servers as infrastructure in their attacks to make the malicious software more difficult to detect. In the recently spotted malicious scheme, which according to the researchers is in its early stage, the hackers uses Steganography —a technique of hiding contents within a digital graphic image in such a way that's invisible to an observer—to hid

Hacking Millions with Just an Image — Recipe: Pixels, Ads & Exploit Kit

Hacking Millions with Just an Image — Recipe: Pixels, Ads & Exploit Kit
Dec 07, 2016
If you have visited any popular mainstream website over the past two months, your computer may have been infected — Thanks to a new exploit kit discovered by security researchers. Researchers from antivirus provider ESET released a report on Tuesday stating that they have discovered an exploit kit, dubbed Stegano , hiding malicious code in the pixels of banner advertisements that are currently in rotation on several high profile news websites. Stegano originally dates back to 2014, but since early October this year, cyber crooks had managed to get the malicious ads displayed on a variety of unnamed reputable news websites, each with Millions of daily visitors. Stegano derived from the word Steganography , which is a technique of hiding messages and content inside a digital graphic image, making the content impossible to spot with the naked eye. In this particular malvertising campaign, operators hide malicious code inside transparent PNG image's Alpha Channel, which def

How to Hack a Computer Using Just An Image

How to Hack a Computer Using Just An Image
Jun 01, 2015
Next time when someone sends you a photo of a cute cat or a hot chick than be careful before you click on the image to view — it might hack your machine. Yes, the normal looking images could hack your computers — thanks to a technique discovered by security researcher Saumil Shah from India. Dubbed " Stegosploit ," the technique lets hackers hide malicious code inside the pixels of an image, hiding a malware exploit in plain sight to infect target victims. Just look at the image and you are HACKED! Shah demonstrated the technique during a talk titled , " Stegosploit: Hacking With Pictures, " he gave on Thursday at the Amsterdam hacking conference Hack In The Box. According to Shah, "a good exploit is one that is delivered in style." Keeping this in mind, Shah discovered a way to hide malicious code directly into an image, rather than hiding it in email attachments, PDFs or other types of files that are typically used to deliver

NSA & CIA Analysts Watching Porn, A Lot of Porn, More Than You Could Ever

NSA & CIA Analysts Watching Porn, A Lot of Porn, More Than You Could Ever
Apr 06, 2015
U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) is infamous for conducting Global Mass Surveillance to snoop secretly on users' online communications, phone calls, private instant messages, and personal emails, but there is something shocking about it. The Security Agency also asked its employees to watch Porn -- Yes! Porn and a lot of Porn. The Analysts and Terrorism experts employed by U.S. Intelligence Agencies including the NSA and the CIA ( Central Intelligence Agency ) are tasked to watch graphic videos all day long. According to the recent report by Daily Beast , the Graphic video contents containing ISIS prisoner beheading, attacks on U.S. military forces, and sometimes sexual abuse of children are gathered from the computers and smartphones of captured or killed terrorists, and from websites frequented visited by jihadists. WHY NSA IS WATCHING PORN? Islamic State (Isis) and Al-Qaeda terrorists are using Reddit, eBay and pornography to send coded messages to thei
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