The Hacker News Logo
Subscribe to Newsletter
CrowdSec

The Hacker News - Most Trusted Cyber Security and Computer Security Analysis: windows security

Asian Governments and Organizations Targeted in Latest Cyber Espionage Attacks

Asian Governments and Organizations Targeted in Latest Cyber Espionage Attacks

September 13, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Government and state-owned organizations in a number of Asian countries have been targeted by a distinct group of espionage hackers as part of an intelligence gathering mission that has been underway since early 2021. "A notable feature of these attacks is that the attackers leveraged a wide range of legitimate software packages in order to load their malware payloads using a technique known as  DLL side-loading ," the Symantec Threat Hunter team, part of Broadcom Software,  said  in a report shared with The Hacker News. The campaign is said to be exclusively geared towards government institutions related to finance, aerospace, and defense, as well as state-owned media, IT, and telecom firms.  Dynamic-link library (DLL) side-loading is a popular cyberattack method that leverages how Microsoft Windows applications handle DLL files. In these intrusions, a spoofed malicious DLL is planted in the Windows Side-by-Side ( WinSxS ) directory so that the operating system loads it
DoNot Team Hackers Updated its Malware Toolkit with Improved Capabilities

DoNot Team Hackers Updated its Malware Toolkit with Improved Capabilities

August 19, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The Donot Team threat actor has updated its Jaca Windows malware toolkit with improved capabilities, including a revamped stealer module designed to plunder information from Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox browsers. The improvements also include a new infection chain that incorporates previously undocumented components to the modular framework, Morphisec researchers Hido Cohen and Arnold Osipov  disclosed  in a report published last week. Also known as APT-C-35 and Viceroy Tiger, the Donot Team is known for setting its sights on defense, diplomatic, government, and military entities in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh, among others at least since 2016. Evidence unearthed by Amnesty International in October 2021  connected  the group's attack infrastructure to an Indian cybersecurity company called Innefu Labs. Spear-phishing campaigns containing malicious Microsoft Office documents are the preferred delivery pathway for malware, followed by taking advantage of m
Researchers Warn of Raspberry Robin's Worm Targeting Windows Users

Researchers Warn of Raspberry Robin's Worm Targeting Windows Users

July 09, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers are drawing attention to an ongoing wave of attacks linked to a threat cluster tracked as Raspberry Robin that's behind a Windows malware with worm-like capabilities.  Describing it as a "persistent" and "spreading" threat, Cybereason  said  it observed a number of victims in Europe. The infections involve a worm that propagates over removable USB devices containing malicious a .LNK file and leverages compromised QNAP network-attached storage (NAS) devices for command-and-control. It was  first documented  by researchers from Red Canary in May 2022. Also codenamed  QNAP worm  by Sekoia, the malware leverages a legitimate Windows installer binary called "msiexec.exe" to download and execute a malicious shared library (DLL) from a compromised QNAP NAS appliance. "To make it harder to detect, Raspberry Robin leverages process injections in three legitimate Windows system processes," Cybereason researcher Loïc Cast
New NTLM Relay Attack Lets Attackers Take Control Over Windows Domain

New NTLM Relay Attack Lets Attackers Take Control Over Windows Domain

June 21, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
A new kind of Windows NTLM relay attack dubbed  DFSCoerce  has been uncovered that leverages the Distributed File System (DFS): Namespace Management Protocol (MS-DFSNM) to seize control of a domain. "Spooler service disabled, RPC filters installed to prevent PetitPotam and File Server VSS Agent Service not installed but you still want to relay [Domain Controller authentication to [Active Directory Certificate Services]? Don't worry MS-DFSNM have (sic) your back," security researcher Filip Dragovic  said  in a tweet. MS-DFSNM  provides a remote procedure call (RPC) interface for administering distributed file system configurations. The NTLM (NT Lan Manager) relay attack is a well-known method that exploits the challenge-response mechanism. It allows malicious parties to sit between clients and servers and intercept and relay validated authentication requests in order to gain unauthorized access to network resources, effectively gaining an initial foothold in Active Di
Patch Tuesday: Microsoft Issues Fix for Actively Exploited 'Follina' Vulnerability

Patch Tuesday: Microsoft Issues Fix for Actively Exploited 'Follina' Vulnerability

June 15, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Microsoft finally released fixes to address an actively exploited Windows zero-day vulnerability known as Follina as part of its Patch Tuesday updates. Also addressed by the tech giant are  55 other flaws , three of which are rated Critical, 51 are rated Important, and one is rated Moderate in severity. Separately, five more shortcomings were resolved in the Microsoft Edge browser. Tracked as  CVE-2022-30190  (CVSS score: 7.8), the  zero-day bug  relates to a remote code execution vulnerability affecting the Windows Support Diagnostic Tool (MSDT) when it's invoked using the "ms-msdt:" URI protocol scheme from an application such as Word. The vulnerability can be trivially exploited by means of a specially crafted Word document that downloads and loads a malicious HTML file through Word's remote template feature. The HTML file ultimately permits the attacker to load and execute PowerShell code within Windows. "An attacker who successfully exploits this vuln
What is the Essential Eight (And Why Non-Aussies Should Care)

What is the Essential Eight (And Why Non-Aussies Should Care)

June 14, 2022The Hacker News
In 2017, The Australian Cyber Security Center (ACSC) published a set of mitigation strategies that were designed to help organizations to protect themselves against cyber security incidents. These strategies, which became known as  the Essential Eight , are designed specifically for use on Windows networks, although variations of these strategies are commonly applied to other platforms. What is the Essential Eight?  The Essential Eight is essentially a cyber security framework that is made up of objectives and controls (with each objective including multiple controls). Initially, the Australian government only mandated that companies adhere to four of the security controls that were included in the first objective. Starting in June of 2022 however, all 98 non-corporate Commonwealth entities (NCCEs) are going to be  required to comply with the entire framework . Non-Australians take note  Although the Essential Eight is specific to Australia, organizations outside of Australia shou
HelloXD Ransomware Installing Backdoor on Targeted Windows and Linux Systems

HelloXD Ransomware Installing Backdoor on Targeted Windows and Linux Systems

June 13, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Windows and Linux systems are being targeted by a ransomware variant called HelloXD, with the infections also involving the deployment of a backdoor to facilitate persistent remote access to infected hosts. "Unlike other ransomware groups, this ransomware family doesn't have an active leak site; instead it prefers to direct the impacted victim to negotiations through  Tox chat  and onion-based messenger instances," Daniel Bunce and Doel Santos, security researchers from Palo Alto Networks Unit 42,  said  in a new write-up. HelloXD  surfaced in the wild on November 30, 2021, and is based off leaked code from Babuk, which was  published  on a Russian-language cybercrime forum in September 2021. The ransomware family is no exception to the norm in that the operators follow the tried-and-tested approach of  double extortion  to demand cryptocurrency payments by exfiltrating a victim's sensitive data in addition to encrypting it and threatening to publicize the inform
Microsoft Mitigates RCE Vulnerability Affecting Azure Synapse and Data Factory

Microsoft Mitigates RCE Vulnerability Affecting Azure Synapse and Data Factory

May 10, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Microsoft on Monday disclosed that it mitigated a security flaw affecting Azure Synapse and Azure Data Factory that, if successfully exploited, could result in remote code execution. The vulnerability, tracked as  CVE-2022-29972 , has been codenamed " SynLapse " by researchers from Orca Security, who reported the flaw to Microsoft in January 2022. "The vulnerability was specific to the third-party Open Database Connectivity ( ODBC ) driver used to connect to Amazon Redshift in Azure Synapse pipelines and Azure Data Factory Integration Runtime ( IR ) and did not impact Azure Synapse as a whole," the company  said . "The vulnerability could have allowed an attacker to perform remote command execution across IR infrastructure not limited to a single tenant." In other words, a malicious actor can weaponize the bug to acquire the Azure Data Factory service certificate and access another tenant's Integration Runtimes to gain access to sensitive informa
This New Fileless Malware Hides Shellcode in Windows Event Logs

This New Fileless Malware Hides Shellcode in Windows Event Logs

May 07, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
A new malicious campaign has been spotted taking advantage of Windows event logs to stash chunks of shellcode for the first time in the wild. "It allows the 'fileless' last stage trojan to be hidden from plain sight in the file system," Kaspersky researcher Denis Legezo  said  in a technical write-up published this week. The stealthy infection process, not attributed to a known actor, is believed to have commenced in September 2021 when the intended targets were lured into downloading compressed .RAR files containing Cobalt Strike and  Silent Break . "The spreading of the Cobalt Strike module was achieved by persuading the target to download the link to the .RAR on the legitimate site file.io, and run it themselves," Legezo explained. The adversary simulation software modules are then used as a launchpad to inject code into Windows system processes or trusted applications. Also notable is the use of anti-detection wrappers as part of the toolset, sugg
Researchers Warn of 'Raspberry Robin' Malware Spreading via External Drives

Researchers Warn of 'Raspberry Robin' Malware Spreading via External Drives

May 06, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers have discovered a new Windows malware with worm-like capabilities and is propagated by means of removable USB devices. Attributing the malware to a cluster named " Raspberry Robin ," Red Canary researchers  noted  that the worm "leverages Windows Installer to reach out to QNAP-associated domains and download a malicious DLL." The earliest signs of the activity are said to date back to September 2021, with infections observed in organizations with ties to technology and manufacturing sectors. Attack chains pertaining to Raspberry Robin start with connecting an infected USB drive to a Windows machine. Present within the device is the worm payload, which appears as a .LNK shortcut file to a legitimate folder. The worm then takes care of spawning a new process using cmd.exe to read and execute a malicious file stored on the external drive. This is followed by launching explorer.exe and msiexec.exe, the latter of which is used for extern
Microsoft Exposes Evasive Chinese Tarrask Malware Attacking Windows Computers

Microsoft Exposes Evasive Chinese Tarrask Malware Attacking Windows Computers

April 13, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The Chinese-backed Hafnium hacking group has been linked to a piece of a new malware that's used to maintain persistence on compromised Windows environments. The threat actor is said to have targeted entities in the telecommunication, internet service provider and data services sectors from August 2021 to February 2022, expanding from the initial victimology patterns observed during its attacks exploiting the then zero-day flaws in  Microsoft Exchange Servers  in March 2021. Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC), which dubbed the defense evasion malware " Tarrask ," characterized it as a tool that creates "hidden" scheduled tasks on the system. "Scheduled task abuse is a very common method of persistence and defense evasion — and an enticing one, at that," the researchers  said . Hafnium, while most notable for Exchange Server attacks, has since leveraged unpatched zero-day vulnerabilities as initial vectors to drop web shells and other mal
'Roaming Mantis' Android Malware Targeting Europeans via Smishing Campaigns

'Roaming Mantis' Android Malware Targeting Europeans via Smishing Campaigns

February 08, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
A financially motivated campaign that targets Android devices and spreads mobile malware via SMS phishing techniques since at least 2018 has spread its tentacles to strike victims located in France and  Germany  for the first time. Dubbed  Roaming Mantis , the latest spate of activities observed in 2021 involve sending fake shipping-related texts containing a URL to a landing page from where Android users are infected with a banking trojan known as Wroba whereas iPhone users are redirected to a phishing page that masquerades as the official Apple website. The top affected countries, based on telemetry data gathered by Kaspersky between July 2021 and January 2022, are France, Japan, India, China, Germany, and Korea. Also tracked under the names  MoqHao  and XLoader (not to be confused with the info-stealer malware of the same name  targeting Windows and macOS ), the group's activity has continued to expand geographically even as the operators broadened their attack methods to m
Microsoft Disables Internet Macros in Office Apps by Default to Block Malware Attacks

Microsoft Disables Internet Macros in Office Apps by Default to Block Malware Attacks

February 08, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Microsoft on Monday said it's taking steps to disable Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) macros by default across its products, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, and Visio, for documents downloaded from the web in an attempt to eliminate an entire class of attack vector. "Bad actors send macros in Office files to end users who unknowingly enable them, malicious payloads are delivered, and the impact can be severe including malware, compromised identity, data loss, and remote access," Kellie Eickmeyer  said  in a post announcing the move. While the company does warn users about permitting macros in Office files, unsuspecting victims — e.g., recipients of phishing emails — can still be lured into enabling the feature, effectively granting the attackers the ability to gain an initial foothold into the system. As part of the new change, when a user opens an attachment or downloads from the internet an untrusted Office file containing macros, the app displays a
Microsoft Temporarily Disables MSIX App Installers to Prevent Malware Abuse

Microsoft Temporarily Disables MSIX App Installers to Prevent Malware Abuse

February 08, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Microsoft last week announced that it's temporarily disabling the MSIX ms-appinstaller protocol handler in Windows following evidence that a security vulnerability in the installer component was exploited by threat actors to deliver malware such as Emotet, TrickBot, and Bazaloader. MSIX , based on a combination of .msi, .appx, App-V and ClickOnce installation technologies, is a universal Windows app package format that allows developers to distribute their applications for the desktop operating system and  other platforms . ms-appinstaller, specifically, is designed to help users  install a Windows app  by simply clicking a link on a website. But a spoofing vulnerability uncovered in Windows App Installer ( CVE-2021-43890 , CVSS score: 7.1) meant that it could be tricked into installing a rogue app that was never intended to be installed by the user via a malicious attachment used in phishing campaigns. Although Microsoft released initial patches to address this flaw as part
CISA Orders Federal Agencies to Patch Actively Exploited Windows Vulnerability

CISA Orders Federal Agencies to Patch Actively Exploited Windows Vulnerability

February 07, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is urging federal agencies to secure their systems against an actively exploited security vulnerability in Windows that could be abused to gain elevated permissions on affected hosts. To that end, the agency has added  CVE-2022-21882  (CVSS score: 7.0) to the  Known Exploited Vulnerabilities Catalog , necessitating that Federal Civilian Executive Branch (FCEB) agencies patch all systems against this vulnerability by February 18, 2022. "These types of vulnerabilities are a frequent attack vector for malicious cyber actors of all types and pose significant risk to the federal enterprise," CISA  said  in an advisory published last week. CVE-2022-21882 , which has been tagged with an "Exploitation More Likely" exploitability index assessment, concerns a case of elevation of privilege vulnerability affecting the Win32k component. The bug was addressed by Microsoft as part of its January 2022  Patch Tu
Researchers Decrypted Qakbot Banking Trojan’s Encrypted Registry Keys

Researchers Decrypted Qakbot Banking Trojan's Encrypted Registry Keys

January 13, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers have decoded the mechanism by which the versatile Qakbot banking trojan handles the insertion of encrypted configuration data into the  Windows Registry . Qakbot, also known as QBot, QuackBot and Pinkslipbot, has been  observed   in the wild  since 2007. Although mainly fashioned as an information-stealing malware, Qakbot has since shifted its goals and acquired new functionality to deliver post-compromise attack platforms such as Cobalt Strike Beacon, with the final objective of loading ransomware on infected machines. "It has been continually developed, with new capabilities introduced such as lateral movement, the ability to exfiltrate email and browser data, and to install additional malware," Trustwave researchers Lloyd Macrohon and Rodel Mendrez said in a report shared with The Hacker News. In recent months, phishing campaigns have culminated in the distribution of a  new loader  called  SQUIRRELWAFFLE , which acts as a channel to retrieve
Researchers Discover UEFI Bootkit Targeting Windows Computers Since 2012

Researchers Discover UEFI Bootkit Targeting Windows Computers Since 2012

October 05, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers on Tuesday revealed details of a previously undocumented  UEFI  (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) bootkit that has been put to use by threat actors to backdoor Windows systems as early as 2012 by modifying a legitimate Windows Boot Manager binary to achieve persistence, once again demonstrating how technology meant to secure the environment prior to loading the operating system is increasingly becoming a "tempting target." Slovak cybersecurity firm ESET codenamed the new malware "ESPecter" for its ability to persist on the EFI System Partition ( ESP ), in addition to circumventing Microsoft Windows Driver Signature Enforcement to load its own unsigned driver that can be used to facilitate espionage activities such as document theft, keylogging, and screen monitoring by periodically capturing screenshots. The intrusion route of the malware remains unknown as yet. "ESPecter shows that threat actors are relying not only on UEFI
Ransomware Gangs Exploiting Windows Print Spooler Vulnerabilities

Ransomware Gangs Exploiting Windows Print Spooler Vulnerabilities

August 13, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Ransomware operators such as Magniber and Vice Society are actively exploiting vulnerabilities in Windows Print Spooler to compromise victims and spread laterally across a victim's network to deploy file-encrypting payloads on targeted systems. "Multiple, distinct threat actors view this vulnerability as attractive to use during their attacks and may indicate that this vulnerability will continue to see more widespread adoption and incorporation by various adversaries moving forward," Cisco Talos  said  in a report published Thursday, corroborating an  independent analysis  from CrowdStrike, which observed instances of Magniber ransomware infections targeting entities in South Korea. While Magniber ransomware was first spotted in late 2017 singling out victims in South Korea through malvertising campaigns, Vice Society is a new entrant that emerged on the ransomware landscape in mid-2021, primarily targeting public school districts and other educational institutions.
Microsoft Warns of Another Unpatched Windows Print Spooler RCE Vulnerability

Microsoft Warns of Another Unpatched Windows Print Spooler RCE Vulnerability

August 12, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A day after releasing  Patch Tuesday updates , Microsoft acknowledged yet another remote code execution vulnerability in the Windows Print Spooler component, adding that it's working to remediate the issue in an upcoming security update. Tracked as  CVE-2021-36958  (CVSS score: 7.3), the unpatched flaw is the latest to join a  list  of  bugs  collectively known as  PrintNightmare  that have plagued the printer service and come to light in recent months. Victor Mata of FusionX, Accenture Security, who has been credited with reporting the flaw,  said  the issue was disclosed to Microsoft in December 2020. "A remote code execution vulnerability exists when the Windows Print Spooler service improperly performs privileged file operations," the company said in its out-of-band bulletin, echoing the vulnerability details for  CVE-2021-34481 . "An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could run arbitrary code with SYSTEM privileges. An attacker could then
Online Courses and Software

Sign up for cybersecurity newsletter and get latest news updates delivered straight to your inbox daily.