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The Hacker News - Cybersecurity News and Analysis: spyware

Iranian RANA Android Malware Also Spies On Instant Messengers

Iranian RANA Android Malware Also Spies On Instant Messengers
December 07, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
A team of researchers today unveiled previously undisclosed capabilities of an Android spyware implant—developed by a sanctioned Iranian threat actor—that could let attackers spy on private chats from popular instant messaging apps, force Wi-Fi connections, and auto-answer calls from specific numbers for purposes of eavesdropping on conversations. In  September , the US Department of the Treasury imposed sanctions on APT39 (aka Chafer, ITG07, or Remix Kitten) — an Iranian threat actor backed by the country's Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) — for carrying out malware campaigns targeting Iranian dissidents, journalists, and international companies in the telecom and travel sectors. Coinciding with the sanctions, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released a public threat analysis  report  describing several tools used by Rana Intelligence Computing Company, which operated as a front for the malicious cyber activities conducted by the APT39 group. Formally lin

Watch Out! New Android Banking Trojan Steals From 112 Financial Apps

Watch Out! New Android Banking Trojan Steals From 112 Financial Apps
November 09, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
Four months after security researchers uncovered a " Tetrade " of four Brazilian banking Trojans targeting financial institutions in Brazil, Latin America, and Europe, new findings show that the criminals behind the operation have expanded their tactics to infect mobile devices with spyware. According to Kaspersky's Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT), the Brazil-based threat group Guildma has deployed " Ghimob ," an Android banking Trojan targeting financial apps from banks, fintech companies, exchanges, and cryptocurrencies in Brazil, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Germany, Angola, and Mozambique. "Ghimob is a full-fledged spy in your pocket: once infection is completed, the hacker can access the infected device remotely, completing the fraudulent transaction with the victim's smartphone, so as to avoid machine identification, security measures implemented by financial institutions and all their anti-fraud behavioral systems," the cybersecur

Police Raided German Spyware Company FinFisher Offices

Police Raided German Spyware Company FinFisher Offices
October 14, 2020Swati Khandelwal
German investigating authorities have raided the offices of Munich-based company FinFisher that sells the infamous commercial surveillance spyware dubbed 'FinSpy,' reportedly in suspicion of illegally exporting the software to abroad without the required authorization. Investigators from the German Customs Investigation Bureau (ZKA), ordered by the Munich Public Prosecutor's Office, searched a total of 15 properties in Munich, including business premises of FinFisher GmbH, two other business partners, as well as the private apartments of the managing directors, along with a partner company in Romania from October 6 to 8. For those unaware, FinSpy is extremely powerful spying software that is being sold as a legal law enforcement tool to governments around the world but has also been found in use by oppressive and dubious regimes to spy on activists, political dissidents and journalists. FinSpy malware can target both desktop and mobile operating systems, including And

FinSpy Spyware for Mac and Linux OS Targets Egyptian Organisations

FinSpy Spyware for Mac and Linux OS Targets Egyptian Organisations
September 25, 2020Mohit Kumar
Amnesty International today exposed details of a new surveillance campaign that targeted Egyptian civil society organizations with previously undisclosed versions of FinSpy spyware designed to target Linux and macOS systems. Developed by a German company , FinSpy is extremely powerful spying software that is being sold as a legal law enforcement tool to governments around the world but has also been found in use by oppressive and dubious regimes to spy on activists. FinSpy, also known as FinFisher, can target both desktop and mobile operating systems, including Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, and Linux, to gain spying capabilities, including secretly turning on their webcams and microphones, recording everything the victim types on the keyboard, intercepting calls, and exfiltration of data. According to the human rights organization Amnesty International , the newly discovered campaign is not linked to 'NilePhish,' a hacking group known for attacking Egyptian NGOs in a ser

Iranian Hackers Pose as Journalists to Trick Victims Into Installing Malware

Iranian Hackers Pose as Journalists to Trick Victims Into Installing Malware
August 28, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
An Iranian cyberespionage group known for targeting government, defense technology, military, and diplomacy sectors is now impersonating journalists to approach targets via LinkedIn and WhatsApp and infect their devices with malware. Detailing the new tactics of the "Charming Kitten" APT group, Israeli firm Clearsky said, "starting July 2020, we have identified a new TTP of the group, impersonating 'Deutsche Welle' and the 'Jewish Journal' using emails alongside WhatsApp messages as their main platform to approach the target and convince them to open a malicious link." This development is the first time the threat actor is said to have carried out a watering hole attack through WhatsApp and LinkedIn, which also includes making phone calls to victims, Clearsky noted in a Thursday analysis. After the company alerted Deutsche Welle about the impersonation and the watering hole in their website, the German broadcaster confirmed, "the repor

7 Ways Hackers and Scammers Are Exploiting Coronavirus Panic

7 Ways Hackers and Scammers Are Exploiting Coronavirus Panic
April 09, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
In our previous stories, you might have already read about various campaigns warning how threat actors are capitalizing on the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in an attempt to infect your computers and mobile devices with malware or scam you out of your money. Unfortunately, to some extent, it's working, and that's because the attack surface is changing and expanding rapidly as many organizations and business tasks are going digital without much preparation, exposing themselves to more potential threats. Most of the recent cyberattacks are primarily exploiting the fears around the COVID-19 outbreak—fueled by disinformation and fake news—to distribute malware via Google Play apps , malicious links and attachments, and execute ransomware attacks. Here, we took a look at some of the wide range of unseen threats rising in the digital space, powered by coronavirus-themed lures that cybercriminals are using for espionage and commercial gain. The latest development adds to a l

Hackers Used Local News Sites to Install Spyware On iPhones

Hackers Used Local News Sites to Install Spyware On iPhones
March 27, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
A newly discovered watering-hole campaign is targeting Apple iPhone users in Hong Kong by using malicious website links as a lure to install spyware on the devices. According to research published by Trend Micro and Kaspersky , the " Operation Poisoned News " attack leverages a remote iOS exploit chain to deploy a feature-rich implant called 'LightSpy' through links to local news websites, which when clicked, executes the malware payload and allows an interloper to exfiltrate sensitive data from the affected device and even take full control. Watering-hole attacks typically let a bad actor compromise a specific group of end-users by infecting websites that they are known to visit, with an intention to gain access to the victim's device and load it with malware. The APT group, dubbed "TwoSail Junk" by Kaspersky, is said to be leveraging vulnerabilities present in iOS 12.1 and 12.2 spanning all models from iPhone 6 to the iPhone X, with the attac

New WhatsApp Bug Could Have Let Hackers Secretly Install Spyware On Your Devices

New WhatsApp Bug Could Have Let Hackers Secretly Install Spyware On Your Devices
November 16, 2019Mohit Kumar
The recent controversies surrounding the WhatsApp hacking haven't yet settled, and the world's most popular messaging platform could be in the choppy waters once again. The Hacker News has learned that last month WhatsApp quietly patched yet another critical vulnerability in its app that could have allowed attackers to remotely compromise targeted devices and potentially steal secured chat messages and files stored on them. The vulnerability — tracked as CVE-2019-11931 — is a stack-based buffer overflow issue that resided in the way previous WhatsApp versions parse the elementary stream metadata of an MP4 file, resulting in denial-of-service or remote code execution attacks. To remotely exploit the vulnerability, all an attacker needs is the phone number of targeted users and send them a maliciously crafted MP4 file over WhatsApp, which eventually can be programmed to install a malicious backdoor or spyware app on the compromised devices silently. The vulnerability

NSO Spyware Targets Saudi Human Rights Activists and Researchers

NSO Spyware Targets Saudi Human Rights Activists and Researchers
August 01, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Amnesty International, one of the most prominent non-profit human rights organizations in the world, claims one of its staff members has been targeted by a sophisticated surveillance tool made by Israel's NSO Group. The NSO Group is an Israeli firm that's mostly known for selling high-tech spyware and surveillance malware capable of remotely cracking into Apple's iPhones and Google's Android devices to intelligence apparatuses, militaries, and law enforcement around the world. The company's most powerful spyware called Pegasus for iPhone , Android , and other mobile devices has previously been used to target human rights activists and journalists, from Mexico to the United Arab Emirates. Pegasus has been designed to hack mobile phones remotely, allowing an attacker to access an incredible amount of data on a target victim, including text messages, emails, WhatsApp messages , user's location, microphone, and camera —all without the victim's knowl

Stolen D-Link Certificate Used to Digitally Sign Spying Malware

Stolen D-Link Certificate Used to Digitally Sign Spying Malware
July 09, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Digitally signed malware has become much more common in recent years to mask malicious intentions. Security researchers have discovered a new malware campaign misusing stolen valid digital certificates from Taiwanese tech-companies, including D-Link, to sign their malware and making them look like legitimate applications. As you may know, digital certificates issued by a trusted certificate authority (CA) are used to cryptographically sign computer applications and software and are trusted by your computer for execution of those programs without any warning messages. However, malware author and hackers who are always in search of advanced techniques to bypass security solutions have seen been abusing trusted digital certificates in recent years. Hackers use compromised code signing certificates associated with trusted software vendors in order to sign their malicious code, reducing the possibility of their malware being detected on targeted enterprise networks and consumer

ISPs Caught Injecting Cryptocurrency Miners and Spyware In Some Countries

ISPs Caught Injecting Cryptocurrency Miners and Spyware In Some Countries
March 09, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Governments in Turkey and Syria have been caught hijacking local internet users' connections to secretly inject surveillance malware, while the same mass interception technology has been found secretly injecting browser-based cryptocurrency mining scripts into users' web traffic in Egypt. Governments, or agencies linked to it, and ISPs in the three countries are using Deep Packet Inspection technology from Sandvine (which merged with Procera Networks last year), to intercept and alter Internet users' web traffic. Deep packet inspection technology allows ISPs to prioritize, degrade, block, inject, and log various types of Internet traffic, in other words, they can analyze each packet in order to see what you are doing online. According to a new report by Citizen Lab, Turkey's Telecom network was using Sandvine PacketLogic devices to redirect hundreds of targeted users (journalists, lawyers, and human rights defenders) to malicious versions of legitimate progra

macOS Malware Creator Charged With Spying on Thousands of PCs Over 13 Years

macOS Malware Creator Charged With Spying on Thousands of PCs Over 13 Years
January 11, 2018Mohit Kumar
The U.S. Justice Department unsealed 16-count indictment charges on Wednesday against a computer programmer from Ohio who is accused of creating and installing spyware on thousands of computers for more than 13 years. According to the indictment, 28-year-old Phillip R. Durachinsky is the alleged author of FruitFly malware that was found targeting Apple Mac users earlier last year worldwide, primarily in the United States. Interestingly, Durachinsky was just 14 years old when he programmed the first version of the FruitFly malware, and this full-fledged backdoor trojan went largely undetected for several years, despite using unsophisticated and antiquated code. The malware was initially discovered in January 2017 by Malwarebytes and then Patrick Wardle, an ex-NSA hacker, found around 400 Mac computers infected with the newer strain of FruitFly. However, Wardle believed the number of infected Macs would likely be much higher. The malware is capable of advanced surveillance

HP Silently Installs Telemetry Bloatware On Your PC—Here's How to Remove It

HP Silently Installs Telemetry Bloatware On Your PC—Here's How to Remove It
November 30, 2017Mohit Kumar
Do you own a Hewlett-Packard (HP) Windows PC or laptop? Multiple HP customers from around the world are reporting that HP has started deploying a "spyware" onto their laptops—without informing them or asking their permission. The application being branded as spyware is actually a Windows Telemetry service deployed by HP, called "HP Touchpoint Analytics Client," which was first identified on November 15. According to reports on several online forums, the telemetry software—which the HP customers said they never opted to have installed and had no idea was continually running in the background—was pushed out in a recent update. However, it's not yet clear whether the software has come with the latest Microsoft's Windows updates, or via HP's support assistant processes. An official description of the software says that the program "harvests telemetry information that is used by HP Touchpoint's analytical services." HP Touchpoint

ISPs May Be Helping Hackers to Infect you with FinFisher Spyware

ISPs May Be Helping Hackers to Infect you with FinFisher Spyware
September 21, 2017Swati Khandelwal
Are you sure the version of WhatsApp, or Skype, or VLC Player installed on your device is legitimate? Security researchers have discovered that legitimate downloads of several popular applications including WhatsApp, Skype, VLC Player and WinRAR have reportedly been compromised at the ISP level to distribute the infamous FinFisher spyware also known as FinSpy. FinSpy is a highly secret surveillance tool that has previously been associated with British company Gamma Group, a company that legally sells surveillance and espionage software to government agencies across the world. The spyware has extensive spying capabilities on an infected computer, including secretly conducting live surveillance by turning ON its webcams and microphones, recording everything the victim types with a keylogger, intercepting Skype calls, and exfiltration of files. In order to get into a target's machine, FinFisher usually uses various attack vectors, including spear phishing, manual installat

More than 1,000 Spyware Apps Found On Android App Stores

More than 1,000 Spyware Apps Found On Android App Stores
August 11, 2017Swati Khandelwal
If you think you are downloading apps from Google Play Store and you are secure, then watch out! Someone has managed to flood third-party app stores and Google Play Store with more than a thousand malicious apps, which can monitor almost anything a user does on their mobile device from silently recording calls to make outbound calls without the user's interaction. Dubbed SonicSpy , the spyware has been spreading aggressively across Android app stores since at least February and is being distributed by pretending itself to be a messaging app—and it actually offers a messaging service. SonicSpy Can Perform a Whole Lots of Malicious Tasks At the same time, the SonicSpy spyware apps perform various malicious tasks, including silently recording calls and audio from the microphone, hijacking the device's camera and snap photos, making outbound calls without the user's permission, and sending text messages to numbers chosen by the attacker. Besides this, the SonicSpy sp

Mexican Govt. Allegedly Used Spyware Against Journalists, Activists & A Child

Mexican Govt. Allegedly Used Spyware Against Journalists, Activists & A Child
June 19, 2017Swati Khandelwal
After the disclosure of sophisticated global espionage and disinformation campaign aimed to discredit enemies of the state, Citizen Lab researchers exposed the dirty game of the Mexican government and its politics. The report — " Government Spy: Systematic monitoring of journalists and human rights defenders in Mexico " — published by Citizen Lab today revealed how the Mexican government used advanced spyware tools purchased from the NSO Group to target the country's most prominent human rights lawyers, anti-corruption activists, and journalists. The NSO Group, an Israel-based company that produces the most advanced mobile spyware on the planet, sold the tool to governments with an explicit agreement that it should be used only to fight terrorists or criminal groups that have long kidnapped and killed Mexicans. But, the Mexican government targets include: Lawyers looking into the case of 43 Students disappeared in September 2014 from the town of Iguala. Two

WikiLeaks Reveals 'Athena' CIA Spying Program Targeting All Versions of Windows

WikiLeaks Reveals 'Athena' CIA Spying Program Targeting All Versions of Windows
May 19, 2017Mohit Kumar
WikiLeaks has published a new batch of the ongoing Vault 7 leak , detailing a spyware framework – which "provides remote beacon and loader capabilities on target computers" – allegedly being used by the CIA that works against every version of Microsoft's Windows operating systems, from Windows XP to Windows 10. Dubbed Athena/Hera , the spyware has been designed to take full control over the infected Windows PCs remotely, allowing the agency to perform all sorts of things on the target machine, including deleting data or uploading malicious software, and stealing data and send them to CIA server. The leak, which includes a user manual of Athena, overview of the technology, and demonstration on how to use this spyware, reveals that the program has two implications: Primary: Athena for XP to Windows 10  Secondary: Hera for Windows 8 through Windows 10 According to the whistleblower organization, Athena has the ability to allow the CIA agents to modify its co
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