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This New Malware Family Using CLFS Log Files to Avoid Detection

This New Malware Family Using CLFS Log Files to Avoid Detection

September 03, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers have disclosed details about a new malware family that relies on the Common Log File System ( CLFS ) to hide a second-stage payload in registry transaction files in an attempt to evade detection mechanisms. FireEye's Mandiant Advanced Practices team, which made the discovery, dubbed the malware PRIVATELOG , and its installer, STASHLOG . Specifics about the identities of the threat actor or their motives remain unclear. Although the malware is yet to be detected in real-world attacks aimed at customer environments or be spotted launching any second-stage payloads, Mandiant suspects that PRIVATELOG could still be in development, the work of a researcher, or deployed as part of a highly targeted activity. CLFS is a general-purpose logging subsystem in Windows that's accessible to both kernel-mode as well as user-mode applications such as database systems, OLTP systems, messaging clients, and network event management systems for building and sharing h
Cybercriminals Abusing Internet-Sharing Services to Monetize Malware Campaigns

Cybercriminals Abusing Internet-Sharing Services to Monetize Malware Campaigns

September 01, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Threat actors are capitalizing on the growing popularity of proxyware platforms like Honeygain and Nanowire to monetize their own malware campaigns, once again illustrating how attackers are quick to  repurpose and weaponize legitimate platforms  to their advantage. "Malware is currently leveraging these platforms to monetize the internet bandwidth of victims, similar to how malicious cryptocurrency mining attempts to monetize the CPU cycles of infected systems," researchers from Cisco Talos  said  in a Tuesday analysis. "In many cases, these applications are featured in multi-stage, multi-payload malware attacks that provide adversaries with multiple monetization methods." Proxyware, also called internet-sharing applications, are legitimate services that allow users to carve out a percentage of their internet bandwidth for other devices, often for a fee, through a client application offered by the provider, enabling other customers to access the internet using
Researchers Uncover FIN8's New Backdoor Targeting Financial Institutions

Researchers Uncover FIN8's New Backdoor Targeting Financial Institutions

August 25, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A financially motivated threat actor notorious for setting its sights on retail, hospitality, and entertainment industries has been observed deploying a completely new backdoor on infected systems, indicating the operators are continuously retooling their malware arsenal to avoid detection and stay under the radar. The previously undocumented malware has been dubbed " Sardonic " by Romanian cybersecurity technology company Bitdefender, which it encountered during a  forensic investigation  in the wake of an unsuccessful attack carried out by FIN8 aimed at an unnamed financial institution located in the U.S. Said to be under active development, "Sardonic backdoor is extremely potent and has a wide range of capabilities that help the threat actor leverage new malware on the fly without updating components," Bitdefender researchers Eduard Budaca and Victor Vrabie said in a report shared with The Hacker News. Since emerging on the scene in January 2016, FIN8 has
Solarmarker InfoStealer Malware Once Again Making its Way Into the Wild

Solarmarker InfoStealer Malware Once Again Making its Way Into the Wild

August 02, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Healthcare and education sectors are the frequent targets of a new surge in credential harvesting activity from what's a "highly modular" .NET-based information stealer and keylogger, charting the course for the threat actor's continued evolution while simultaneously remaining under the radar. Dubbed " Solarmarker ," the malware campaign is believed to be active since September 2020, with telemetry data pointing to malicious actions as early as April 2020, according to Cisco Talos. "At its core, the Solarmarker campaign appears to be conducted by a fairly sophisticated actor largely focused on credential and residual information theft," Talos researchers Andrew Windsor and Chris Neal  said  in a technical write-up published last week. Infections consist of multiple moving parts, chief among them being a .NET assembly module that serves as a system profiler and staging ground on the victim host for command-and-control (C2) communications and fur
A New Wiper Malware Was Behind Recent Cyberattack On Iranian Train System

A New Wiper Malware Was Behind Recent Cyberattack On Iranian Train System

July 30, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A cyber attack that derailed websites of Iran's transport ministry and its national railway system earlier this month, causing widespread disruptions in train services, was the result of a never-before-seen reusable wiper malware called "Meteor." The campaign — dubbed " MeteorExpress " — has not been linked to any previously identified threat group or to additional attacks, making it the first incident involving the deployment of this malware, according to researchers from Iranian antivirus firm  Amn Pardaz  and SentinelOne. Meteor is believed to have been in the works over the past three years. "Despite a lack of specific indicators of compromise, we were able to recover most of the attack components," SentinelOne's Principal Threat Researcher, Juan Andres Guerrero-Saade, noted. "Behind this outlandish tale of stopped trains and glib trolls, we found the fingerprints of an unfamiliar attacker," adding the offensive is "designed t
APT Hackers Distributed Android Trojan via Syrian e-Government Portal

APT Hackers Distributed Android Trojan via Syrian e-Government Portal

July 22, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
An advanced persistent threat (APT) actor has been tracked in a new campaign deploying Android malware via the Syrian e-Government Web Portal, indicating an upgraded arsenal designed to compromise victims. "To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that the group has been publicly observed using malicious Android applications as part of its attacks," Trend Micro researchers Zhengyu Dong, Fyodor Yarochkin, and Steven Du  said  in a technical write-up published Wednesday. StrongPity , also codenamed  Promethium  by Microsoft, is believed to have been active since 2012 and has typically focused on targets across Turkey and Syria. In June 2020, the espionage threat actor was  connected  to a wave of activities that banked on watering hole attacks and tampered installers, which abuse the popularity of legitimate applications, to infect targets with malware. "Promethium has been resilient over the years," Cisco Talos  disclosed  last year. "Its campai
SideCopy Hackers Target Indian Government Officials With New Malware

SideCopy Hackers Target Indian Government Officials With New Malware

July 08, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A cyber-espionage group has been observed increasingly targeting Indian government personnel as part of a broad campaign to infect victims with as many as four new custom remote access trojans (RATs), signaling a "boost in their development operations." Attributed to a group tracked as SideCopy, the intrusions culminate in the deployment of a variety of modular plugins, ranging from file enumerators to browser credential stealers and keyloggers (Xeytan and Lavao), Cisco Talos said in a report published Wednesday. "Targeting tactics and themes observed in SideCopy campaigns indicate a high degree of similarity to the Transparent Tribe APT (aka APT36) also targeting India," researchers Asheer Malhotra and Justin Thattil  said . "These include using decoys posing as operational documents belonging to the military and think tanks and honeytrap-based infections." First documented in September 2020 by Indian cybersecurity firm Quick Heal,  SideCopy  has a 
Hackers Trick Microsoft Into Signing Netfilter Driver Loaded With Rootkit Malware

Hackers Trick Microsoft Into Signing Netfilter Driver Loaded With Rootkit Malware

June 28, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Microsoft on Friday said it's investigating an incident wherein a driver signed by the company turned out to be a malicious Windows rootkit that was observed communicating with command-and-control (C2) servers located in China. The driver, called " Netfilter ," is said to target gaming environments, specifically in the East Asian country, with the Redmond-based firm noting that "the actor's goal is to use the driver to spoof their geo-location to cheat the system and play from anywhere." "The malware enables them to gain an advantage in games and possibly exploit other players by compromising their accounts through common tools like keyloggers," Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC)  said . It's worth pointing out that Netfilter also refers to a legitimate software package , which enables packet filtering and network address translation for Linux based systems. Microsoft dubbed the malware " Retliften ," alluding to "ne
Hackers Using Microsoft Build Engine to Deliver Malware Filelessly

Hackers Using Microsoft Build Engine to Deliver Malware Filelessly

May 14, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Threat actors are abusing Microsoft Build Engine (MSBuild) to filelessly deliver remote access trojans and password-stealing malware on targeted Windows systems. The actively ongoing campaign is said to have emerged last month, researchers from cybersecurity firm Anomali  said  on Thursday, adding the malicious build files came embedded with encoded executables and shellcode that deploy  backdoors , allowing the adversaries to take control of the victims' machines and steal sensitive information. MSBuild is an open-source build tool for .NET and Visual Studio developed by Microsoft that allows for compiling source code, packaging, testing, deploying applications. In using MSBuild to filelessly compromise a machine, the idea is to stay under the radar and thwart detection, as such malware makes use of a legitimate application to load the attack code into memory, thereby leaving no traces of infection on the system and giving attackers a high level of stealth. As of writing, o
Pakistan-Linked Hackers Added New Windows Malware to Its Arsenal

Pakistan-Linked Hackers Added New Windows Malware to Its Arsenal

May 14, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybercriminals with suspected ties to Pakistan continue to rely on social engineering as a crucial component of its operations as part of an evolving espionage campaign against Indian targets, according to new research. The attacks have been linked to a group called  Transparent Tribe , also known as Operation C-Major, APT36, and Mythic Leopard, which has created fraudulent domains mimicking legitimate Indian military and defense organizations, and other fake domains posing as file-sharing sites to host malicious artifacts. "While military and defense personnel continue to be the group's primary targets, Transparent Tribe is increasingly targeting diplomatic entities, defense contractors, research organizations and conference attendees, indicating that the group is expanding its targeting," researchers from Cisco Talos  said  on Thursday. These domains are used to deliver maldocs distributing  CrimsonRAT , and ObliqueRAT, with the group incorporating new phishing, lu
Researchers Uncover Stealthy Linux Malware That Went Undetected for 3 Years

Researchers Uncover Stealthy Linux Malware That Went Undetected for 3 Years

April 29, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A previously undocumented Linux malware with backdoor capabilities has managed to stay under the radar for about three years, allowing the threat actor behind the operation to harvest and exfiltrate sensitive information from infected systems. Dubbed " RotaJakiro " by researchers from Qihoo 360 NETLAB, the backdoor targets Linux X64 machines, and is so named after the fact that "the family uses rotate encryption and behaves differently for root/non-root accounts when executing." The findings come from an analysis of a  malware sample  it detected on March 25, although early versions appear to have been uploaded to VirusTotal as early as May 2018. A  total  of  four   samples  have been found to date on the database, all of which remain undetected by most anti-malware engines. As of writing, only seven security vendors flag the latest version of the malware as malicious. "At the functional level, RotaJakiro first determines whether the user is root or non-
Hackers Using Website's Contact Forms to Deliver IcedID Malware

Hackers Using Website's Contact Forms to Deliver IcedID Malware

April 13, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Microsoft has warned organizations of a "unique" attack campaign that abuses contact forms published on websites to deliver malicious links to businesses via emails containing fake legal threats, in what's yet another instance of adversaries abusing legitimate infrastructure to mount evasive campaigns that bypass security protections. "The emails instruct recipients to click a link to review supposed evidence behind their allegations, but are instead led to the download of IcedID, an info-stealing malware," the company's threat intelligence team  said  in a write-up published last Friday. IceID  is a Windows-based banking trojan that's used for reconnaissance and exfiltration of banking credentials, alongside features that allow it to connect to a remote command-and-control (C2) server to deploy additional payloads such as ransomware and malware capable of performing hands-on-keyboard attacks, stealing credentials, and moving laterally across affecte
Purple Fox Rootkit Can Now Spread Itself to Other Windows Computers

Purple Fox Rootkit Can Now Spread Itself to Other Windows Computers

March 23, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Purple Fox , a Windows malware previously known for infecting machines by using exploit kits and phishing emails, has now added a new technique to its arsenal that gives it worm-like propagation capabilities. The ongoing campaign makes use of a "novel spreading technique via indiscriminate port scanning and exploitation of exposed SMB services with weak passwords and hashes," according to  Guardicore researchers , who say the attacks have spiked by about 600% since May 2020. A total of 90,000 incidents have been spotted through the rest of 2020 and the beginning of 2021. First discovered in March 2018, Purple Fox is distributed in the form of malicious ".msi" payloads hosted on nearly 2,000 compromised Windows servers that, in turn, download and execute a component with  rootkit capabilities , which enables the threat actors to hide the malware on the machine and make it easy to evade detection. Guardicore says Purple Fox hasn't changed much post-exploitat
Hackers Now Hiding ObliqueRAT Payload in Images to Evade Detection

Hackers Now Hiding ObliqueRAT Payload in Images to Evade Detection

March 03, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybercriminals are now deploying remote access Trojans (RATs) under the guise of seemingly innocuous images hosted on infected websites, once again highlighting how threat actors quickly change tactics when their attack methods are discovered and exposed publicly. New research released by Cisco Talos reveals an active malware campaign targeting organizations in South Asia that utilize malicious Microsoft Office documents forged with macros to spread a RAT that goes by the name of  ObliqueRAT . First documented in  February 2020 , the malware has been linked to a threat actor tracked as  Transparent Tribe  (aka Operation C-Major, Mythic Leopard, or APT36), a highly prolific group allegedly of Pakistani origin known for its attacks against human rights activists in the country as well as military and government personnel in India. While the ObliqueRAT modus operandi previously overlapped with another Transparent Tribe campaign in December 2019 to disseminate CrimsonRAT, the new wave
North Korean Hackers Targeting Defense Firms with ThreatNeedle Malware

North Korean Hackers Targeting Defense Firms with ThreatNeedle Malware

February 26, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A prolific North Korean state-sponsored hacking group has been tied to a new ongoing espionage campaign aimed at exfiltrating sensitive information from organizations in the defense industry. Attributing the attacks with high confidence to the  Lazarus Group , the new findings from Kaspersky signal an expansion of the APT actor's tactics by going beyond the usual gamut of financially-motivated crimes to fund the cash-strapped regime.  This broadening of its strategic interests happened in early 2020 by leveraging a tool called ThreatNeedle , researchers Vyacheslav Kopeytsev and Seongsu Park said in a Thursday write-up. At a high level, the campaign takes advantage of a multi-step approach that begins with a carefully crafted spear-phishing attack leading eventually to the attackers gaining remote control over the devices. ThreatNeedle is delivered to targets via COVID-themed emails with malicious Microsoft Word attachments as initial infection vectors that, when opened, run a
LodaRAT Windows Malware Now Also Targets Android Devices

LodaRAT Windows Malware Now Also Targets Android Devices

February 10, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A previously known Windows remote access Trojan (RAT) with credential-stealing capabilities has now expanded its scope to set its sights on users of Android devices to further the attacker's espionage motives. "The developers of  LodaRAT  have added Android as a targeted platform," Cisco Talos researchers  said  in a Tuesday analysis. "A new iteration of LodaRAT for Windows has been identified with improved sound recording capabilities." Kasablanca, the group behind the malware, is said to have deployed the new RAT in an ongoing hybrid campaign targeting Bangladeshi users, the researchers noted. The reason why Bangladesh-based organizations have been specifically singled out for this campaign remains unclear, as is the identity of the threat actor. First documented in May 2017 by  Proofpoint , Loda is an AutoIt malware typically delivered via phishing lures that's equipped to run a wide range of commands designed to record audio, video, and capture oth
A New Software Supply‑Chain Attack Targeted Millions With Spyware

A New Software Supply‑Chain Attack Targeted Millions With Spyware

February 01, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers today disclosed a new supply chain attack targeting online gamers by compromising the update mechanism of NoxPlayer, a free Android emulator for PCs and Macs. Dubbed " Operation NightScout " by Slovak cybersecurity firm ESET, the highly-targeted surveillance campaign involved distributing three different malware families via tailored malicious updates to selected victims based in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Sri Lanka. NoxPlayer, developed by Hong Kong-based BigNox, is an Android emulator that allows users to play mobile games on PC, with support for keyboard, gamepad, script recording, and multiple instances. It is  estimated  to have over 150 million users in more than 150 countries. First signs of the ongoing attack are said to have originated around September 2020, from when the compromise continued until "explicitly malicious activity" was uncovered on January 25, prompting ESET to report the incident to BigNox. "Based on the comp
FreakOut! Ongoing Botnet Attack Exploiting Recent Linux Vulnerabilities

FreakOut! Ongoing Botnet Attack Exploiting Recent Linux Vulnerabilities

January 19, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
An ongoing malware campaign has been found exploiting recently disclosed vulnerabilities in network-attached storage (NAS) devices running on Linux systems to co-opt the machines into an  IRC botnet  for launching distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks and mining Monero cryptocurrency. The attacks deploy a new  malware variant called " FreakOut " by leveraging critical flaws fixed in Laminas Project (formerly Zend Framework) and Liferay Portal as well as an unpatched security weakness in TerraMaster, according to Check Point Research's new analysis published today and shared with The Hacker News. Attributing the malware to be the work of a long-time cybercrime hacker — who goes by the aliases Fl0urite and Freak on HackForums and Pastebin at least since 2015 — the researchers said the flaws —  CVE-2020-28188 ,  CVE-2021-3007 , and  CVE-2020-7961  — were weaponized to inject and execute malicious commands in the server. Regardless of the vulnerabilities exploit
Researchers Disclose Undocumented Chinese Malware Used in Recent Attacks

Researchers Disclose Undocumented Chinese Malware Used in Recent Attacks

January 15, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers have  disclosed  a series of attacks by a threat actor of Chinese origin that has targeted organizations in Russia and Hong Kong with malware — including a previously undocumented backdoor. Attributing the campaign to  Winnti  (or APT41), Positive Technologies dated the first attack to May 12, 2020, when the APT used LNK shortcuts to extract and run the malware payload. A second attack detected on May 30 used a malicious RAR archive file consisting of shortcuts to two bait PDF documents that purported to be a curriculum vitae and an IELTS certificate. The shortcuts themselves contain links to pages hosted on Zeplin, a legitimate collaboration tool for designers and developers that are used to fetch the final-stage malware that, in turn, includes a shellcode loader ("svchast.exe") and a backdoor called  Crosswalk  ("3t54dE3r.tmp"). Crosswalk, first documented by FireEye in 2017, is a bare-bones modular backdoor capable of carrying out s
Experts Uncover Malware Attacks Against Colombian Government and Companies

Experts Uncover Malware Attacks Against Colombian Government and Companies

January 14, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers took the wraps off an ongoing surveillance campaign directed against Colombian government institutions and private companies in the energy and metallurgical industries. In a report published by ESET on Tuesday, the Slovak internet security company said the attacks — dubbed " Operation Spalax " — began in 2020, with the modus operandi sharing some similarities to an APT group targeting the country since at least April 2018, but also different in other ways. The overlaps come in the form of phishing emails, which have similar topics and pretend to come from some of the same entities that were used in a February 2019 operation disclosed by  QiAnXin researchers , and subdomain names used for command-and-control (C2) servers. However, the two campaigns diverge in the attachments used for phishing emails, the remote access trojans (RATs) deployed, and the C2 infrastructure employed to fetch the malware dropped. The attack chain begins with the target
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