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The Hacker News - Cybersecurity News and Analysis: cyber espionage

Warning — 5 New Trojanized Android Apps Spying On Users In Pakistan

Warning — 5 New Trojanized Android Apps Spying On Users In Pakistan

January 12, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers took the wraps off a new spyware operation targeting users in Pakistan that leverages trojanized versions of legitimate Android apps to carry out covert surveillance and espionage. Designed to masquerade apps such as the Pakistan Citizen Porta l, a Muslim prayer-clock app called Pakistan Salat Time , Mobile Packages Pakistan , Registered SIMs Checker , and TPL Insurance , the malicious variants have been found to obfuscate their operations to stealthily download a payload in the form of an Android Dalvik executable (DEX) file. "The DEX payload contains most of the malicious features, which include the ability to covertly exfiltrate sensitive data like the user's contact list and the full contents of SMS messages," Sophos threat researchers Pankaj Kohli and Andrew Brandt said. "The app then sends this information to one of a small number of command-and-control websites hosted on servers located in eastern Europe." Interestingly, t
Microsoft Warns CrowdStrike of Hackers Targeting Azure Cloud Customers

Microsoft Warns CrowdStrike of Hackers Targeting Azure Cloud Customers

December 25, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
New evidence amidst the ongoing probe into the  espionage campaign  targeting SolarWinds has uncovered an unsuccessful attempt to compromise cybersecurity firm Crowdstrike and access the company's email. The hacking endeavor was reported to the company by Microsoft's Threat Intelligence Center on December 15, which identified a third-party reseller's Microsoft Azure account to be making "abnormal calls" to Microsoft cloud APIs during a 17-hour period several months ago. The undisclosed affected reseller's Azure account handles Microsoft Office licensing for its Azure customers, including CrowdStrike. Although there was an attempt by unidentified threat actors to read the emails, it was ultimately foiled as the firm does not use Microsoft's Office 365 email service, CrowdStrike  said . The incident comes in the wake of the  supply chain attack  of SolarWinds revealed earlier this month, resulting in the deployment of a covert backdoor (aka "Sunbu
Nation-State Hackers Caught Hiding Espionage Activities Behind Crypto Miners

Nation-State Hackers Caught Hiding Espionage Activities Behind Crypto Miners

December 01, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
A nation-state actor known for its cyber espionage campaigns since 2012 is now using coin miner techniques to stay under the radar and establish persistence on victim systems, according to new research. Attributing the shift to a threat actor tracked as Bismuth, Microsoft's Microsoft 365 Defender Threat Intelligence Team said the group deployed Monero coin miners in attacks that targeted both the private sector and government institutions in France and Vietnam between July and August earlier this year. "The coin miners also allowed Bismuth to hide its more nefarious activities behind threats that may be perceived to be less alarming because they're 'commodity' malware," the researchers  said  in an analysis published yesterday. The primary victims of the attack have been traced to state-owned enterprises in Vietnam and entities with ties to a Vietnamese government agency. The Windows maker likened Bismuth to  OceanLotus  (or APT32), linking it to spyware
Chinese APT Group Targets Media, Finance, and Electronics Sectors

Chinese APT Group Targets Media, Finance, and Electronics Sectors

September 30, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers on Tuesday uncovered a new espionage campaign targeting media, construction, engineering, electronics, and finance sectors in Japan, Taiwan, the U.S., and China. Linking the attacks to Palmerworm (aka BlackTech) — likely a  China-based  advanced persistent threat (APT) — Symantec's Threat Hunter Team  said  the first wave of activity associated with this campaign began last year in August 2019, although their ultimate motivations still remain unclear. "While we cannot see what Palmerworm is exfiltrating from these victims, the group is considered an espionage group and its likely motivation is considered to be stealing information from targeted companies," the cybersecurity firm said. Among the multiple victims infected by Palmerworm, the media, electronics, and finance companies were all based in Taiwan, while an engineering company in Japan and a construction firm in China were also targeted. In addition to using custom malware to compromi
Researchers Uncover Cyber Espionage Operation Aimed At Indian Army

Researchers Uncover Cyber Espionage Operation Aimed At Indian Army

September 28, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers uncovered fresh evidence of an ongoing cyberespionage campaign against Indian defense units and armed forces personnel at least since 2019 with an aim to steal sensitive information. Dubbed " Operation SideCopy " by Indian cybersecurity firm  Quick Heal , the attacks have been attributed to an advanced persistent threat (APT) group that has successfully managed to stay under the radar by "copying" the tactics of other threat actors such as the  SideWinder . Exploiting Microsoft Equation Editor Flaw The campaign's starting point is an email with an embedded malicious attachment — either in the form of a ZIP file containing an LNK file or a Microsoft Word document — that triggers an infection chain via a series of steps to download the final-stage payload. Aside from identifying three different infection chains, what's notable is the fact that one of them exploited template injection and Microsoft Equation Editor flaw ( CVE-2017
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