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Microsoft Warns of "Cryware" Info-Stealing Malware Targeting Crypto Wallets

Microsoft Warns of "Cryware" Info-Stealing Malware Targeting Crypto Wallets

May 18, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Microsoft is warning of an emerging threat targeting internet-connected cryptocurrency wallets, signaling a departure in the use of digital coins in cyberattacks. The tech giant dubbed the new threat "cryware," with the attacks resulting in the irreversible theft of virtual currencies by means of fraudulent transfers to an adversary-controlled wallet. "Cryware are information stealers that collect and exfiltrate data directly from non-custodial cryptocurrency wallets, also known as  hot wallets ," Berman Enconado and Laurie Kirk of the Microsoft 365 Defender Research Team  said  in a new report.  "Because hot wallets, unlike custodial wallets, are stored locally on a device and provide easier access to cryptographic keys needed to perform transactions, more and more threats are targeting them." Attacks of this kind are not theoretical. Earlier this year, Kaspersky  disclosed  a financially-motivated campaign staged by the North Korea-based Lazarus Gr
New Sysrv Botnet Variant Hijacking Windows and Linux with Crypto Miners

New Sysrv Botnet Variant Hijacking Windows and Linux with Crypto Miners

May 17, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Microsoft is warning of a new variant of the srv botnet that's exploiting multiple security flaws in web applications and databases to install coin miners on both Windows and Linux systems. The tech giant, which has called the new version Sysrv-K , is said to weaponize an  array of exploits  to gain control of web servers. The cryptojacking botnet first emerged in December 2020. "Sysrv-K scans the internet to find web servers with various vulnerabilities to install itself," the company  said  in a series of tweets. "The vulnerabilities range from path traversal and remote file disclosure to arbitrary file download and remote code execution vulnerabilities." This also includes  CVE-2022-22947  (CVSS score: 10.0), a code injection vulnerability in Spring Cloud Gateway that could be exploited to allow arbitrary remote execution on a remote host via a maliciously crafted request. It's worth noting that the abuse of CVE-2022-22947 has prompted the U.S. Cyb
U.S. Sanctions Cryptocurrency Mixer Blender for Helping North Korea Launder Millions

U.S. Sanctions Cryptocurrency Mixer Blender for Helping North Korea Launder Millions

May 06, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The U.S. Treasury Department on Friday moved to sanction virtual currency mixer Blender.io, marking the first time a mixing service has been subjected to economic blockades. The move signals continued efforts on the part of the government to prevent North Korea's Lazarus Group from laundering the funds stolen from the  unprecedented hack of Ronin Bridge  in late March. The newly imposed sanctions, issued by the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), target 45 Bitcoin addresses linked to Blender.io and four new wallets linked to Lazarus Group, an advanced persistent with ties to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). "Blender was used in processing over $20.5 million of the illicit proceeds," the Treasury  said , adding it was utilized by DPRK to "support its malicious cyber activities and money-laundering of stolen virtual currency." Cryptocurrency mixers, also called  tumblers , are privacy-focused services that allow users to move cr
SEC Plans to Hire More Staff in Crypto Enforcement Unit to Fight Frauds

SEC Plans to Hire More Staff in Crypto Enforcement Unit to Fight Frauds

May 04, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Tuesday announced that it will expand and rebrand its Cyber Unit to fight against cyber-related threats and protect investors in cryptocurrency markets. To that end, the SEC is renaming the Cyber Unit within the  Division of Enforcement  to Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit and plans to infuse 20 additional positions with the goal of investigating wrongdoing in the crypto markets. The goal, per the agency, is to tackle cryptocurrency fraud and crackdown on  malicious actors  attempting to profit from crypto marketplaces. The Cyber Unit was  instituted  in September 2017 with a focus on addressing cyber-based threats and protecting retail investors. But given the dramatic evolution of the digital assets markets in recent years, the new unit is expected to focus on securities law violations pertaining to - Crypto asset offerings Crypto asset exchanges Crypto asset lending and staking products Decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms
Critical Bug in Everscale Wallet Could've Let Attackers Steal Cryptocurrencies

Critical Bug in Everscale Wallet Could've Let Attackers Steal Cryptocurrencies

April 25, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
A security vulnerability has been disclosed in the web version of the Ever Surf wallet that, if successfully weaponized, could allow an attacker to gain full control over a victim's wallet. "By exploiting the vulnerability, it's possible to decrypt the private keys and seed phrases that are stored in the browser's local storage," Israeli cybersecurity company Check Point said in a report shared with The Hacker News. "In other words, attackers could gain full control over the victim's wallets." Ever Surf  is a cryptocurrency wallet for the Everscale (formerly FreeTON) blockchain that also doubles up as a cross-platform messenger and allows users to access decentralized apps as well as send and receive non-fungible tokens (NFTs). It's said to have an  estimated  669,700 accounts across the world. By means of different attack vectors like malicious browser extensions or phishing links, the flaw makes it possible to obtain a wallet's encr
Watch Out! Cryptocurrency Miners Targeting Dockers, AWS and Alibaba Cloud

Watch Out! Cryptocurrency Miners Targeting Dockers, AWS and Alibaba Cloud

April 22, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
LemonDuck, a cross-platform cryptocurrency mining botnet, is targeting Docker to mine cryptocurrency on Linux systems as part of an active malware campaign. "It runs an anonymous mining operation by the use of proxy pools, which hide the wallet addresses," CrowdStrike  said  in a new report. "It evades detection by targeting Alibaba Cloud's monitoring service and disabling it." Known to strike both Windows and Linux environments, LemonDuck is primarily engineered for abusing the system resources to mine Monero. But it's also capable of credential theft, lateral movement, and facilitating the deployment of additional payloads for follow-on activities. "It uses a wide range of spreading mechanisms — phishing emails, exploits, USB devices, brute force, among others — and it has shown that it can quickly take advantage of news, events, or the release of new exploits to run effective campaigns," Microsoft  detailed  in a technical write-up of the ma
FBI, U.S. Treasury and CISA Warn of North Korean Hackers Targeting Blockchain Companies

FBI, U.S. Treasury and CISA Warn of North Korean Hackers Targeting Blockchain Companies

April 18, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Treasury Department, warned of a new set of ongoing cyber attacks carried out by the Lazarus Group targeting blockchain companies. Calling the activity cluster  TraderTraitor , the infiltrations involve the North Korean state-sponsored advanced persistent threat (APT) actor striking entities operating in the Web3.0 industry since at least 2020. Targeted organizations include cryptocurrency exchanges, decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols, play-to-earn cryptocurrency video games, cryptocurrency trading companies, venture capital funds investing in cryptocurrency, and individual holders of large amounts of cryptocurrency or valuable non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The attack chains commence with the threat actor reaching out to victims via different communication platforms to lure them into downloading weaponized cryptocurrency apps for Windows and macOS, subse
Ethereum Developer Jailed 63 Months for Helping North Korea Evade Sanctions

Ethereum Developer Jailed 63 Months for Helping North Korea Evade Sanctions

April 14, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
A U.S. court has sentenced former Ethereum developer Virgil Griffith to five years and three months in prison and pay a $100,000 fine for conspiring with North Korea to help use cryptocurrencies to circumvent sanctions imposed on the country. "There is no question North Korea poses a national security threat to our nation, and the regime has shown time and again it will stop at nothing to ignore our laws for its own benefit," U.S. Attorney Damian Williams  said  in a statement. The sentencing comes more than six months after Griffith  pleaded guilty  to violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act ( IEEPA ) by offering technical advice to the hermit kingdom with regards to the use of digital currency to bypass economic restrictions. Griffith was arrested in November 2019. North Korea is known to  rely on   cryptocurrency heists  to get around international sanctions and use it to help fund programs to build weapons of mass destruction. Indeed, the nation-st
Rarible NFT Marketplace Flaw Could've Let Attackers Hijack Crypto Wallets

Rarible NFT Marketplace Flaw Could've Let Attackers Hijack Crypto Wallets

April 14, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers have disclosed a now-fixed security flaw in the Rarible non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace that, if successfully exploited, could have led to account takeover and theft of cryptocurrency assets. "By luring victims to click on a malicious NFT, an attacker can take full control of the victim's crypto wallet to steal funds," Check Point researchers Roman Zaikin, Dikla Barda, and Oded Vanunu  said  in a report shared with The Hacker News. Rarible, an NFT marketplace that enables users to create, buy, and sell digital NFT art like photographs, games, and memes, has over 2.1 million active users. "There is still a huge gap between, in terms of security, between Web2 and Web3 infrastructure," Vanunu, head of products vulnerabilities research at Check Point, said in a statement shared with The Hacker News. "Any small vulnerability can possibly allow cyber criminals to hijack crypto wallets behind the scenes. We are still in a state
North Korean Hackers Distributing Trojanized DeFi Wallet Apps to Steal Victims' Crypto

North Korean Hackers Distributing Trojanized DeFi Wallet Apps to Steal Victims' Crypto

April 01, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The North Korean state-backed hacking crew, otherwise known as the  Lazarus Group , has been attributed to yet another financially motivated campaign that leverages a trojanized decentralized finance (DeFi) wallet app to distribute a fully-featured backdoor onto compromised Windows systems. The app, which is equipped with functionalities to save and manage a cryptocurrency wallet, is also designed to trigger the launch of the implant that can take control of the infected host. Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky  said  it first encountered the rogue application in mid-December 2021. The infection scheme initiated by the app also results in the deployment of the installer for a legitimate application, which gets overwritten with a trojanized version in an effort to cover its tracks. That said, the initial access avenue is unclear, although it's suspected to be a case of social engineering. The spawned malware, which masquerades as Google's Chrome web browser, subsequently
New Malware Loader 'Verblecon' Infects Hacked PCs with Cryptocurrency Miners

New Malware Loader 'Verblecon' Infects Hacked PCs with Cryptocurrency Miners

March 29, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
An unidentified threat actor has been observed employing a "complex and powerful" malware loader with the ultimate objective of deploying cryptocurrency miners on compromised systems and potentially facilitating the theft of Discord tokens. "The evidence found on victim networks appears to indicate that the goal of the attacker was to install cryptocurrency mining software on victim machines," researchers from the Symantec Threat Hunter Team, part of Broadcom Software,  said  in a report shared with The Hacker News. "This would appear to be a relatively low-reward goal for the attacker given the level of effort that would have been required to develop this sophisticated malware." This advanced piece of malware, dubbed Verblecon, is said to have been first spotted two months ago in January 2022, with the payload incorporating  polymorphic qualities  to evade signature-based detections by security software. In addition, the loader carries out further a
Botnet of Thousands of MikroTik Routers Abused in Glupteba, TrickBot Campaigns

Botnet of Thousands of MikroTik Routers Abused in Glupteba, TrickBot Campaigns

March 23, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Vulnerable routers from MikroTik have been misused to form what cybersecurity researchers have called one of the largest botnet-as-a-service cybercrime operations seen in recent years.  According to a new piece of research published by Avast, a cryptocurrency mining campaign leveraging the new-disrupted  Glupteba botnet  as well as the infamous TrickBot malware were all distributed using the same command-and-control (C2) server. "The C2 server serves as a botnet-as-a-service controlling nearly 230,000 vulnerable MikroTik routers," Avast's senior malware researcher, Martin Hron,  said  in a write-up, potentially linking it to what's now called the Mēris botnet. The botnet is known to exploit a known vulnerability in the Winbox component of MikroTik routers ( CVE-2018-14847 ), enabling the attackers to gain unauthenticated, remote administrative access to any affected device. Parts of the Mēris botnet were  sinkholed  in late  September 2021 . "The  CVE-2018-
'CryptoRom' Crypto Scam Abusing iPhone Features to Target Mobile Users

'CryptoRom' Crypto Scam Abusing iPhone Features to Target Mobile Users

March 21, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Social engineering attacks leveraging a combination of romantic lures and cryptocurrency fraud have been deceiving unsuspecting victims into installing fake apps by taking advantage of legitimate iOS features like TestFlight and Web Clips. Cybersecurity company Sophos, which has named the organized crime campaign " CryptoRom ," characterized it as a wide-ranging global scam. "This style of cyber-fraud, known as sha zhu pan (杀猪盘) — literally 'pig butchering plate' — is a well-organized, syndicated scam operation that uses a combination of often romance-centered social engineering and fraudulent financial applications and websites to ensnare victims and steal their savings after gaining their confidence," Sophos analyst Jagadeesh Chandraiah  said  in a report published last week. The campaign works by approaching potential targets through dating apps like Bumble, Tinder, Facebook Dating, and Grindr, before moving the conversation to messaging apps such as
DirtyMoe Botnet Gains New Exploits in Wormable Module to Spread Rapidly

DirtyMoe Botnet Gains New Exploits in Wormable Module to Spread Rapidly

March 17, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The malware known as DirtyMoe has gained new worm-like propagation capabilities that allow it to expand its reach without requiring any user interaction, the latest research has found. "The worming module targets older well-known vulnerabilities, e.g.,  EternalBlue  and  Hot Potato  Windows privilege escalation," Avast researcher Martin Chlumecký  said  in a report published Wednesday. "One worm module can generate and attack hundreds of thousands of private and public IP addresses per day; many victims are at risk since many machines still use unpatched systems or weak passwords." Active since 2016, the  DirtyMoe botnet  is used for carrying out cryptojacking and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, and is deployed by means of external exploit kits like  Purple Fox  or injected installers of Telegram Messenger. Also employed as part of the attack sequence is a DirtyMoe service that triggers the launch of two additional processes, namely the Core and
New Linux Kernel cgroups Vulnerability Could Let Attackers Escape Container

New Linux Kernel cgroups Vulnerability Could Let Attackers Escape Container

March 05, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Details have emerged about a now-patched high-severity vulnerability in the Linux kernel that could potentially be abused to escape a container in order to execute arbitrary commands on the container host. The shortcoming resides in a Linux kernel feature called  control groups , also referred to as cgroups version 1 (v1), which allows processes to be organized into hierarchical groups, thereby making it possible to limit and monitor the usage of resources such as CPU, memory, disk I/O, and network. Tracked as  CVE-2022-0492  (CVSS score: 7.0), the  issue   concerns  a  case  of  privilege escalation  in the cgroups v1 release_agent functionality, a script that's executed following the termination of any process in the cgroup. "The issue stands out as one of the simplest Linux privilege escalations discovered in recent times: The Linux kernel mistakenly exposed a privileged operation to unprivileged users," Unit 42 researcher Yuval Avrahami  said  in a report publishe
Justice Department Appoints First Director of National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team

Justice Department Appoints First Director of National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team

February 19, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) earlier this week appointed Eun Young Choi to serve as the first Director of the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET) it established last year. The NCET was  created  to tackle the criminal misuse of cryptocurrencies and digital assets," with a focus on illegal activities in virtual currency exchanges, mixing and tumbling services, and money laundering infrastructure actors to fuel cyberattacks and ransomware and extortion schemes. "The NCET will serve as the focal point for the department's efforts to tackle the growth of crime involving [digital assets and distributed ledger] technologies,"  said  Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department's Criminal Division. Separately, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said it's  launching  a new effort of its own called the Virtual Asset Exploitation Unit (VAXU) dedicated to tracking and seizing illicit cryptocurrencies as part o
Researchers Warn of a New Golang-based Botnet Under Continuous Development

Researchers Warn of a New Golang-based Botnet Under Continuous Development

February 17, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers have unpacked a nascent Golang-based botnet called  Kraken  that's under active development and features an array of backdoor capabilities to siphon sensitive information from compromised Windows hosts. "Kraken already features the ability to download and execute secondary payloads, run shell commands, and take screenshots of the victim's system," threat intelligence firm ZeroFox  said  in a report published Wednesday. Discovered first in October 2021, early variants of Kraken have been found to be based on source code uploaded to GitHub, although it's unclear if the repository in question belongs to the malware's operators or if they simply chose to start their development using the code as a foundation. The botnet – not to be confused with a  2008 botnet  of the same name – is perpetuated using  SmokeLoader , which chiefly acts as a loader for next-stage malware, allowing it to quickly scale in size and expand its network. Kr
TrickBot Malware Targeted Customers of 60 High-Profile Companies Since 2020

TrickBot Malware Targeted Customers of 60 High-Profile Companies Since 2020

February 16, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The notorious TrickBot malware is targeting customers of 60 financial and technology companies, including cryptocurrency firms, primarily located in the U.S., even as its operators have updated the botnet with new anti-analysis features. "TrickBot is a sophisticated and versatile malware with more than 20 modules that can be downloaded and executed on demand," Check Point researchers Aliaksandr Trafimchuk and Raman Ladutska  said  in a report published today. In addition to being both prevalent and persistent, TrickBot has  continually   evolved  its tactics to go past security and detection layers. To that end, the malware's "injectDll" web-injects module, which is responsible for stealing banking and credential data, leverages anti-deobfuscation techniques to crash the web page and thwart attempts to scrutinize the source code. Also put in place are anti-analysis guardrails to prevent security researchers from sending automated requests to command-and-con
FritzFrog P2P Botnet Attacking Healthcare, Education and Government Sectors

FritzFrog P2P Botnet Attacking Healthcare, Education and Government Sectors

February 10, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
A peer-to-peer Golang botnet has resurfaced after more than a year to compromise servers belonging to entities in the healthcare, education, and government sectors within a span of a month, infecting a total of 1,500 hosts. Dubbed FritzFrog , "the decentralized botnet targets any device that exposes an SSH server — cloud instances, data center servers, routers, etc. — and is capable of running any malicious payload on infected nodes," Akamai researchers said in a report shared with The Hacker News. The new wave of attacks commenced in early December 2021, only to pick up pace and register a 10x growth in its infection rate in a month's time, while peaking at 500 incidents per day in January 2022. The cybersecurity firm said it detected infected machines in a European television channel network, a Russian manufacturer of healthcare equipment, and multiple universities in East Asia. FritzFrog was  first documented  by Guardicore in August 2020, elaborating the botnet&
U.S. Arrests Two and Seizes $3.6 Billion Cryptocurrency Stolen in 2016 Bitfinex Hack

U.S. Arrests Two and Seizes $3.6 Billion Cryptocurrency Stolen in 2016 Bitfinex Hack

February 09, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The U.S. Justice Department (DoJ) on Tuesday  announced  the arrest of a married couple in connection with conspiring to launder cryptocurrency worth $4.5 billion that was siphoned during the  hack  of the virtual currency exchange Bitfinex in 2016. Ilya Lichtenstein, 34, and his wife, Heather Morgan, 31, both of New York, are alleged to have "stolen funds through a labyrinth of cryptocurrency transactions," with the law enforcement getting hold of over $3.6 billion in cryptocurrency by following the money trails, resulting in the "largest financial seizure ever." Prosecutors charged the couple not for the hack itself, but rather for receiving the stolen bitcoin into a digital wallet under their ownership, a part of which was laundered to conceal the activities and the movement of the money. In 2019, Israeli authorities apprehended two brothers, Eli and Assaf Gigi, over their supposed involvement in the 2016 security breach. "Bitfinex will work with the Do
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