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ExCobalt Cyber Gang Targets Russian Sectors with New GoRed Backdoor

ExCobalt Cyber Gang Targets Russian Sectors with New GoRed Backdoor

Jun 22, 2024 Cyber Espionage / Threat Intelligence
Russian organizations have been targeted by a cybercrime gang called ExCobalt using a previously unknown Golang-based backdoor known as GoRed. "ExCobalt focuses on cyber espionage and includes several members active since at least 2016 and presumably once part of the notorious Cobalt Gang ," Positive Technologies researchers Vladislav Lunin and Alexander Badayev said in a technical report published this week. "Cobalt attacked financial institutions to steal funds. One of Cobalt's hallmarks was the use of the CobInt tool , something ExCobalt began to use in 2022." Attacks mounted by the threat actor have singled out various sectors in Russia over the past year, including government, information technology, metallurgy, mining, software development, and telecommunications. Initial access to environments is facilitated by taking advantage of a previously compromised contractor and a supply chain attack, wherein the adversary infected a component used to bu
Chinese Hackers Deploy SpiceRAT and SugarGh0st in Global Espionage Campaign

Chinese Hackers Deploy SpiceRAT and SugarGh0st in Global Espionage Campaign

Jun 21, 2024 Malware / Threat Intelligence
A previously undocumented Chinese-speaking threat actor codenamed SneakyChef has been linked to an espionage campaign primarily targeting government entities across Asia and EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) with SugarGh0st malware since at least August 2023. "SneakyChef uses lures that are scanned documents of government agencies, most of which are related to various countries' Ministries of Foreign Affairs or embassies," Cisco Talos researchers Chetan Raghuprasad and Ashley Shen said in an analysis published today. Activities related to the hacking crew were first highlighted by the cybersecurity company in late November 2023 in connection with an attack campaign that singled out South Korea and Uzbekistan with a custom variant of Gh0st RAT called SugarGh0st . A subsequent analysis from Proofpoint last month uncovered the use of SugarGh0st RAT against U.S. organizations involved in artificial intelligence efforts, including those in academia, private indust
Why SaaS Security is Suddenly Hot: Racing to Defend and Comply

Why SaaS Security is Suddenly Hot: Racing to Defend and Comply

Jun 13, 2024SaaS Security / Shadow IT
Recent supply chain cyber-attacks are prompting cyber security regulations in the financial sector to tighten compliance requirements, and other industries are expected to follow. Many companies still don't have efficient methods to manage related time-sensitive SaaS security and compliance tasks. Free SaaS risk assessment tools are an easy and practical way to bring visibility and initial control to SaaS sprawl and Shadow AI. These tools now offer incremental upgrades , helping security professionals meet their company budget or maturity level.  Regulatory pressure, SaaS and AI proliferation, and increased risk of breaches or data leaks through 3rd party apps, make SaaS security one of the hottest areas for practitioners to learn and adopt. New regulations will require robust third-party SaaS risk lifecycle management that begins with SaaS service discovery and third-party risk management (TPRM) and ends with the requirement from CISOs to report incidents in their supply chain
Military-themed Email Scam Spreads Malware to Infect Pakistani Users

Military-themed Email Scam Spreads Malware to Infect Pakistani Users

Jun 21, 2024 Phishing Attack / Email Security
Cybersecurity researchers have shed light on a new phishing campaign that has been identified as targeting people in Pakistan using a custom backdoor. Dubbed PHANTOM#SPIKE by Securonix, the unknown threat actors behind the activity have leveraged military-related phishing documents to activate the infection sequence. "While there are many methods used today to deploy malware, the threat actors made use of ZIP files with a password-protected payload archive contained within," researchers Den Iuzvyk, Tim Peck, and Oleg Kolesnikov said in a report shared with The Hacker News. The campaign is notable for its lack of sophistication and the use of simple payloads to achieve remote access to target machines. The email messages come bearing a ZIP archive that purports to be meeting minutes related to the International Military-Technical Forum Army 2024, a legitimate event organized by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. It's set to be held in Moscow in mid
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French Diplomatic Entities Targeted in Russian-Linked Cyber Attacks

French Diplomatic Entities Targeted in Russian-Linked Cyber Attacks

Jun 20, 2024 Cyber Espionage / Hacking News
State-sponsored actors with ties to Russia have been linked to targeted cyber attacks aimed at French diplomatic entities, the country's information security agency ANSSI said in an advisory. The attacks have been attributed to a cluster tracked by Microsoft under the name Midnight Blizzard (formerly Nobelium), which overlaps with activity tracked as APT29 , BlueBravo, Cloaked Ursa, Cozy Bear, and The Dukes. While the monikers APT29 and Midnight Blizzard have been interchangeably used to refer to intrusion sets associated with the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), ANSSI said it prefers to treat them as disparate threat clusters alongside a third one dubbed Dark Halo , which has been held responsible for the 2020 supply chain attack via SolarWinds software. "Nobelium is characterized by the use of specific codes, tactics, techniques, and procedures. Most of Nobelium campaigns against diplomatic entities use compromised legitimate email accounts belonging to dipl
Chinese Cyber Espionage Targets Telecom Operators in Asia Since 2021

Chinese Cyber Espionage Targets Telecom Operators in Asia Since 2021

Jun 20, 2024 Cyber Espionage / Critical Infrastructure
Cyber espionage groups associated with China have been linked to a long-running campaign that has infiltrated several telecom operators located in a single Asian country at least since 2021. "The attackers placed backdoors on the networks of targeted companies and also attempted to steal credentials," the Symantec Threat Hunter Team, part of Broadcom, said in a report shared with The Hacker News. The cybersecurity firm did not reveal the country that was targeted, but said it found evidence to suggest that the malicious cyber activity may have started as far back as 2020. The attacks also targeted an unnamed services company that catered to the telecoms sector and a university in another Asian country, it added. The choice of tools used in this campaign overlaps with other missions conducted by Chinese espionage groups like Mustang Panda (aka Earth Preta and Fireant), RedFoxtrot (aka Neeedleminer and Nomad Panda), and Naikon (aka Firefly) in recent years. This incl
UNC3886 Uses Fortinet, VMware 0-Days and Stealth Tactics in Long-Term Spying

UNC3886 Uses Fortinet, VMware 0-Days and Stealth Tactics in Long-Term Spying

Jun 19, 2024 Zero-Day Exploits / Cyber Espionage
The China-nexus cyber espionage actor linked to the zero-day exploitation of security flaws in Fortinet , Ivanti , and VMware devices has been observed utilizing multiple persistence mechanisms in order to maintain unfettered access to compromised environments. "Persistence mechanisms encompassed network devices, hypervisors, and virtual machines, ensuring alternative channels remain available even if the primary layer is detected and eliminated," Mandiant researchers said in a new report. The threat actor in question is UNC3886 , which the Google-owned threat intelligence company branded as "sophisticated, cautious, and evasive." Attacks orchestrated by the adversary have leveraged zero-day flaws such as CVE-2022-41328 (Fortinet FortiOS), CVE-2022-22948 (VMware vCenter), and CVE-2023-20867 (VMware Tools) to perform various malicious actions, ranging from deploying backdoors to obtaining credentials for deeper access. It has also been observed exploiting
China-Linked Hackers Infiltrate East Asian Firm for 3 Years Using F5 Devices

China-Linked Hackers Infiltrate East Asian Firm for 3 Years Using F5 Devices

Jun 17, 2024 Cyber Espionage / Vulnerability
A suspected China-nexus cyber espionage actor has been attributed as behind a prolonged attack against an unnamed organization located in East Asia for a period of about three years, with the adversary establishing persistence using legacy F5 BIG-IP appliances and using it as an internal command-and-control (C&C) for defense evasion purposes. Cybersecurity company Sygnia, which responded to the intrusion in late 2023, is tracking the activity under the name Velvet Ant , characterizing it as possessing robust capabilities to swiftly pivot and adapt their tactics to counter repeated eradication efforts. "Velvet Ant is a sophisticated and innovative threat actor," the Israeli company said in a technical report shared with The Hacker News. "They collected sensitive information over a long period of time, focusing on customer and financial information." The attack chains involve the use of a known backdoor called PlugX (aka Korplug), a modular remote access tr
Pakistani Hackers Use DISGOMOJI Malware in Indian Government Cyber Attacks

Pakistani Hackers Use DISGOMOJI Malware in Indian Government Cyber Attacks

Jun 15, 2024 Cyber Espionage / Malware
A suspected Pakistan-based threat actor has been linked to a cyber espionage campaign targeting Indian government entities in 2024. Cybersecurity company Volexity is tracking the activity under the moniker UTA0137, noting the adversary's exclusive use of a malware called DISGOMOJI that's written in Golang and is designed to infect Linux systems. "It is a modified version of the public project Discord-C2, which uses the messaging service Discord for command and control (C2), making use of emojis for its C2 communication," it said . It's worth noting that DISGOMOJI is the same "all-in-one" espionage tool that BlackBerry said it discovered as part of an infrastructure analysis in connection with an attack campaign mounted by the Transparent Tribe actor, a Pakistan-nexus hacking crew The attack chains commence with spear-phishing emails bearing a Golang ELF binary delivered within a ZIP archive file. The binary then downloads a benign lure document wh
North Korean Hackers Target Brazilian Fintech with Sophisticated Phishing Tactics

North Korean Hackers Target Brazilian Fintech with Sophisticated Phishing Tactics

Jun 14, 2024 Cyber Espionage / Cryptocurrency
Threat actors linked to North Korea have accounted for one-third of all the phishing activity targeting Brazil since 2020, as the country's emergence as an influential power has drawn the attention of cyber espionage groups. "North Korean government-backed actors have targeted the Brazilian government and Brazil's aerospace, technology, and financial services sectors," Google's Mandiant and Threat Analysis Group (TAG) divisions said in a joint report published this week. "Similar to their targeting interests in other regions, cryptocurrency and financial technology firms have been a particular focus, and at least three North Korean groups have targeted Brazilian cryptocurrency and fintech companies." Prominent among those groups is a threat actor tracked as UNC4899 (aka Jade Sleet, PUKCHONG, and TraderTraitor), which has targeted cryptocurrency professionals with a malware-laced trojanized Python app. The attack chains involve reaching out to pote
New Cross-Platform Malware 'Noodle RAT' Targets Windows and Linux Systems

New Cross-Platform Malware 'Noodle RAT' Targets Windows and Linux Systems

Jun 13, 2024 Cyber Attack / Malware
A previously undocumented cross-platform malware codenamed Noodle RAT has been put to use by Chinese-speaking threat actors either for espionage or cybercrime for years. While this backdoor was previously categorized as a variant of Gh0st RAT and Rekoobe , Trend Micro security researcher Hara Hiroaki said "this backdoor is not merely a variant of existing malware, but is a new type altogether." Noodle RAT, which also goes by the monikers ANGRYREBEL and Nood RAT , comes in both Windows and Linux flavors, and is believed to have been put to use since at least July 2016. The remote access trojan Gh0st RAT first surfaced in 2008 when a China threat group called the C. Rufus Security Team made its source code publicly available. Over the years, the malware – alongside other tools like PlugX and ShadowPad – has become a hallmark of Chinese government hackers, who have used it in numerous campaigns and attacks. The Windows version of Noodle RAT, an in-memory modular backd
Chinese Actor SecShow Conducts Massive DNS Probing on Global Scale

Chinese Actor SecShow Conducts Massive DNS Probing on Global Scale

Jun 11, 2024 DDoS Attack / Cyber Espionage
Cybersecurity researchers have shed more light on a Chinese actor codenamed SecShow that has been observed conducting Domain Name System (DNS) on a global scale since at least June 2023. The adversary, according to Infoblox security researchers Dr. Renée Burton and Dave Mitchell, operates from the China Education and Research Network ( CERNET ), a project funded by the Chinese government. "These probes seek to find and measure DNS responses at open resolvers," they said in a report published last week. "The end goal of the SecShow operations is unknown, but the information that is gathered can be used for malicious activities and is only for the benefit of the actor." That said, there is some evidence to suggest that it may have been linked to some kind of academic research related to "performing measurements using IP Address Spoofing Techniques on domains within secshow.net" modeled on the same approach as the Closed Resolver Project . This, howeve
Sticky Werewolf Expands Cyber Attack Targets in Russia and Belarus

Sticky Werewolf Expands Cyber Attack Targets in Russia and Belarus

Jun 10, 2024 Cyber Espionage / Malware
Cybersecurity researchers have disclosed details of a threat actor known as Sticky Werewolf that has been linked to cyber attacks targeting entities in Russia and Belarus. The phishing attacks were aimed at a pharmaceutical company, a Russian research institute dealing with microbiology and vaccine development, and the aviation sector, expanding beyond their initial focus of government organizations, Morphisec said in a report last week. "In previous campaigns, the infection chain began with phishing emails containing a link to download a malicious file from platforms like gofile.io," security researcher Arnold Osipov said. "This latest campaign used archive files containing LNK files pointing to a payload stored on WebDAV servers." Sticky Werewolf, one of the many threat actors targeting Russia and Belarus such as Cloud Werewolf (aka Inception and Cloud Atlas ), Quartz Wolf , Red Wolf (aka RedCurl ), and Scaly Wolf , was first documented by BI.ZONE in Octo
LightSpy Spyware's macOS Variant Found with Advanced Surveillance Capabilities

LightSpy Spyware's macOS Variant Found with Advanced Surveillance Capabilities

Jun 07, 2024 Mobile Security / Spyware
Cybersecurity researchers have disclosed that the LightSpy spyware recently identified as targeting Apple iOS users is in fact a previously undocumented macOS variant of the implant. The findings come from both Huntress Labs and ThreatFabric , which separately analyzed the artifacts associated with the cross-platform malware framework that likely possesses capabilities to infect Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Linux, and routers from NETGEAR, Linksys, and ASUS. "The Threat actor group used two publicly available exploits ( CVE-2018-4233 ,  CVE-2018-4404 ) to deliver implants for macOS," ThreatFabric said in a report published last week. "Part of the CVE-2018-4404 exploit is likely borrowed from the Metasploit framework. macOS version 10 was targeted using those exploits." LightSpy was first publicly reported in 2020, although subsequent reports from Lookout and the Dutch mobile security firm have revealed possible connections between the spyware and an Android s
Hackers Exploit Legitimate Packer Software to Spread Malware Undetected

Hackers Exploit Legitimate Packer Software to Spread Malware Undetected

Jun 06, 2024 Endpoint Security / Malware
Threat actors are increasingly abusing legitimate and commercially available packer software such as BoxedApp to evade detection and distribute malware such as remote access trojans and information stealers. "The majority of the attributed malicious samples targeted financial institutions and government industries," Check Point security researcher Jiri Vinopal said in an analysis. The volume of samples packed with BoxedApp and submitted to the Google-owned VirusTotal malware scanning platform witnessed a spike around May 2023, the Israeli cybersecurity firm added, with the artifact submissions mainly originating from Turkey, the U.S., Germany, France, and Russia. Among the malware families distributed in this manner are Agent Tesla, AsyncRAT, LockBit, LodaRAT, NanoCore, Neshta, NjRAT, Quasar RAT, Ramnit, RedLine, Remcos, RevengeRAT, XWorm, and ZXShell. Packers are self-extracting archives that are often used to bundle software and make them smaller. But over the year
Chinese State-Backed Cyber Espionage Targets Southeast Asian Government

Chinese State-Backed Cyber Espionage Targets Southeast Asian Government

Jun 05, 2024 Cyber Espionage / Threat Intelligence
An unnamed high-profile government organization in Southeast Asia emerged as the target of a "complex, long-running" Chinese state-sponsored cyber espionage operation codenamed Crimson Palace . "The overall goal behind the campaign was to maintain access to the target network for cyberespionage in support of Chinese state interests," Sophos researchers Paul Jaramillo, Morgan Demboski, Sean Gallagher, and Mark Parsons said in a report shared with The Hacker News. "This includes accessing critical IT systems, performing reconnaissance of specific users, collecting sensitive military and technical information, and deploying various malware implants for command-and-control (C2) communications." The name of the government organization was not disclosed, but the company said the country is known to have repeated conflict with China over territory in the South China Sea , raising the possibility that it may be the Philippines, which has been targeted by Chi
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