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Data Stolen From Parker Hannifin was Leaked by the Conti Gang

 

Several gigabytes of data allegedly taken from US industrial components major Parker Hannifin have been leaked by a known Conti gang. Parker Hannifin is a motion and control technology business which specializes in precision-built solutions for the aerospace, mobile, and industrial industries. 

The Fortune 250 business said in a legal statement on Tuesday, the compromise of its systems was discovered on March 14. Parker shut down several systems and initiated an inquiry after detecting the incident. Law enforcement has been alerted, and cybersecurity and legal specialists have been summoned to help. Although the investigation is ongoing, the company announced some data, including employee personal information, was accessed and taken. 

"Relying on the Company's early evaluation and currently available information, the incident has had no major financial or operational impact, and the Company does not think the incident will have a significant impact on its company, operations, or financial results," Parker stated. "The Company's business processes are fully operating, and it retains insurance, subject to penalties and policy limitations customary of its size and industry." 

While the company has not shared any additional details regarding the incident, cybersecurity experts have learned the infamous Conti gang has taken credit for the Parker breach. More than 5 GB of archive files supposedly comprising papers stolen from Parker have been leaked by the hacker group. However, this could only be a small percentage of the data they've obtained; as per the Conti website, only 3% of the data theft has been made public. Usually, hackers inform victims they must pay millions of dollars to restore encrypted files and avoid stolen information from being leaked. 

Conti ransomware is a very destructive malicious actor because of how quickly it encrypts data and transfers it to other computers. To gain remote access to the affected PCs, the organization is using phishing attempts to deploy the TrickBot and BazarLoader Trojans. The cyber-crime operation is said to be led by a Russian gang operating under the Wizard Spider moniker and members of Conti came out in support of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February.

Conti data, such as malicious source code, chat logs, identities, email addresses, and C&C server details, have been disclosed by someone pretending to be a Ukrainian cybersecurity researcher. Conti works like any other business, with contractors, workers, and HR issues, as revealed by the released documents. Conti spent about $6 million on staff salaries, tools, and professional services in the previous year, according to a review conducted by crisis response firm BreachQuest.

Conti and other ransomware organizations continue to pose a threat to businesses and ordinary services, and measures should be taken to help prevent a severe cyberattack.

AnchorDNS Loophole of a TrickBot Spyware Upgraded to AnchorMail

 

Even after the TrickBot infrastructure was shut down, the malware's operators continued to improve and retool its arsenal in preparation for attacks which ended in the distribution of the Conti ransomware. The new, improved edition of the criminal gang's AnchorDNS backdoor was called AnchorMail by IBM Security X-Force, which discovered it. 

According to IBM's malware reverse researcher Charlotte Hammond, AnchorMail "uses an email-based [command-and-control] server with which it connects using SMTP and IMAP protocols over TLS." "AnchorMail's behavior is essentially similar to vs its AnchorDNS predecessor, excluding the redesigned C2 communication method." 

The Trickbot Group, also known as ITG23 on X-Force, is a cybercriminal group best known for creating the Trickbot financial Trojan. Originally discovered in 2016, it was used to aid online banking fraud, initially. The gang adapted to the ransomware economy by gaining a footing for ransomware assaults utilizing its Trickbot and Bazarloader payloads, a tight partnership with both the Conti ransomware-as-a-service provider (RaaS). 

ITG23 is also known for creating the Anchor malware framework, which includes the AnchorDNS variant. In 2018 various high-profile targets were being infected with Trickbot or Bazarbackdoor, another ITG23 backdoor. AnchorDNS is known for using the DNS protocol to communicate with its Command and Control (C2) server. The improved backdoor, dubbed AnchorMail or Delegatz by IBM Security X-Force researchers, now communicates with an email-based C2 server through SMTP and IMAP protocols via TLS. AnchorMail's functionality is essentially similar to its AnchorDNS predecessor for most of its part, with the exception of the redesigned C2 communication mechanism. 

The uncovering of this updated Anchor variant adds an extra inconspicuous backdoor during ransomware assaults, demonstrating the group's drive to continually improve its malware. AnchorMail provides a scheduled job for persistence after execution, which is set to execute every 10 minutes. It then gathers basic system data, registers with its C2, and enters a loop of monitoring for and executing commands received. 

The command structure of the backdoor and AnchorDNS appear to be fairly similar, and both forms appear to accept the same set of control codes, which allow a variety of various possibilities for processing orders and payloads received from the C2. The commands include the ability to run binaries, DLLs, and shellcode downloaded from a remote server, as well as launch PowerShell commands and erase themselves from infected PCs. 

"The revelation of this new Anchor version adds a new covert gateway used during ransomware assaults, AnchorMail has only been seen to target Windows PCs so far. However, given the AnchorDNS has been adapted to Linux, a Linux-based version of AnchorMail appears inevitable," said Charlotte Hammond, BM's malware reverse engineer.

BazarLoader's Arrival and Delivery Vectors now Include Compromised Installers and ISO

 

While the number of BazarLoader detections increased in the third quarter, two new delivery methods have been added to the list of delivery mechanisms used by threat actors for data theft and ransomware. Malicious actors combine BazarLoader with genuine products, hence one of the approaches involves using corrupted software installers. The second approach involves loading a Windows link (LNK) and dynamic link library (DLL) payload into an ISO file. The Americans have been discovered to have the highest amount of BazarLoader attacks.

Researchers detected the tainted versions of VLC and TeamViewer software included with BazarLoader, according to reports. While the original delivery technique has yet to be discovered, it's possible that the use of these packages is part of a bigger social engineering campaign aimed at convincing individuals to download and install infected installers. A BazarLoader executable is dumped and executed when the installers load. It's also one of the most noticeable differences from recent BazarLoader arrival approaches, which appeared to support dynamic link libraries (DLL).

Meanwhile, a distribution technique based on ISO files has been uncovered, in which the BazarLoader DLL is launched via DLL and LNK files included in the ISO files. The LNK file uses a folder icon to fool the user into double-clicking it, letting the BazarLoader DLL programme to be launched. The "EnterDLL" export function, which was recently used by BazarLoader, is then called. Before injecting itself into a suspended MS Edge process, Rundll32.exe launches the malicious DLL and connects to the C&C server. 

As threat actors change their assault techniques to avoid detection, the number of arrival mechanism modifications utilized in BazarLoader campaigns continues to rise. Due to the limitations of single detection methods, both techniques are significant and still work despite their lack of novelty. 

While the usage of compromised installers has been seen with other malware, the huge file size might still pose a problem for detection systems, such as sandboxes, that apply file size constraints. LNK files used as shortcuts, on the other hand, will very certainly be obfuscated due to the additional layers generated between the shortcut and the malicious files. 

BazarLoader will continue to evolve as a standalone information stealer, an initial access malware-as-a-service (MaaS) for other malware operators, and a secondary payload distribution mechanism for even more destructive attacks like modern ransomware. For unknown risks, security teams must deploy multi-layered systems capable of pattern recognition and behavior monitoring, as well as making monitoring and tracking for known dangers more evident based on known data.

BazarBackdoor Abused Windows 10 Application Feature in 'Call me back' Attack

 

In a new phishing campaign spreading the BazarBackdoor malware, a Microsoft Windows 10 app feature is being exploited.

On Thursday, Sophos Labs experts reported that the attack was detected when spam emails were sent to the cybersecurity firm's own employees — but these emails weren't just any spam; they were written with at least a minimal amount of social engineering. 

One of the emails, from the non-existent "Adam Williams," a "Sophos Main Manager Assistant," requested to know why a researcher hadn't addressed a customer's complaint. The email also included a PDF link to the message to make resolution easy. The link, however, was a hoax that demonstrated a "new" approach for spreading the BazarBackdoor malware. 

Sophos researcher Andrew Brandt explained, "In the course of running through an actual infection I realized that this construction of a URL triggers the browser [in my case, Microsoft's Edge browser on Windows 10], to invoke a tool used by the Windows Store application, called AppInstaller.exe, to download and run whatever's on the other end of that link." 

Sophos stated to be "unfamiliar" with this strategy, which involves exploiting the Windows 10 App installation process to transmit malicious payloads. The phishing bait directs prospective victims to a website that uses the Adobe brand and invites them to click on a button to preview a PDF file. When users move the mouse over the link, the prefix "ms-appinstaller" appears. 

This link then links to a text file called Adobe.appinstaller, which in turn points to a larger file called Adobe_.7.0.0_x64appbundle, which is hosted on a different URL. A warning notification appears and a notice that software has been digitally signed with a certificate issued several months ago. (The certificate authority has been notified of the misuse by Sophos.) 

The victim is then urged to approve the installation of "Adobe PDF Component," and if they comply, the BazarBackdoor malware is installed and launched in seconds. BazarBackdoor is similar to BazarLoader in that it connects via HTTPS, but it is distinguished by the volume of noisy traffic it creates. BazarBackdoor can exfiltrate system data and has been connected to Trickbot and the probable deployment of Ryuk ransomware. 

Brandt stated, "Malware that comes in application installer bundles is not commonly seen in attacks. Unfortunately, now that the process has been demonstrated, it's likely to attract wider interest. Security companies and software vendors need to have the protection mechanisms in place to detect and block it and prevent the attackers from abusing digital certificates."

Trickbot Uses New Distribution Mechanisms to Disseminate Malware

 

The creators of the harmful TrickBot malware have emerged with new tricks aimed at widening the malware's dissemination routes, eventually culminating to the deployment of ransomware like Conti. According to a report by IBM X-Force, the threat actor known as ITG23 and Wizard Spider has been discovered to collaborate with other cybercrime gangs known as Hive0105, Hive0106 (aka TA551 or Shathak), and Hive0107, adding to a growing number of campaigns that the attackers are relying on to deliver proprietary malware. 

TrickBot is a well-known banking Trojan that has been operating since October 2016, and its creators have kept it updated by adding new features. The botnet is still available via a multi-purpose malware-as-a-service (MaaS) model. Threat actors use the botnet to spread malware like Conti and Ryuk, which steals personal information and encrypts it. More than a million computers have been compromised by the Trickbot botnet so far. 

"These and other cybercrime vendors are infecting corporate networks with malware by hijacking email threads, using fake customer response forms and social engineering employees with a fake call center known as BazarCall," researchers Ole Villadsen and Charlotte Hammond said. 

Microsoft's Defender team, FS-ISAC, ESET, Lumen's Black Lotus Labs, NTT, and Broadcom's cyber-security division Symantec teamed forces in October to launch a concerted effort to shut down the infamous TrickBot botnet's command and control infrastructure. Despite the fact that Microsoft and its allies pulled the TrickBot infrastructure down, its operators sought to restart operations by bringing new command and control (C&C) servers online. 

In a malware campaign aimed at corporate users earlier this year, the cybercrime group used email campaigns to send Excel documents and a call center ruse known as "BazaCall." The gang formed a collaboration with two notable cybercrime affiliates in June 2021, which included the use of hijacked email threads and bogus website consumer inquiry forms.

"This move not only increased the volume of its delivery attempts but also diversified delivery methods with the goal of infecting more potential victims than ever," the researchers said. 

The Hive0107 affiliate is said to have adopted a new tactic in one infection chain observed by IBM in late August 2021, which involves sending email messages to target companies informing them that their websites have been performing distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on its servers, and urging the recipients to click on a link for more evidence. When the link is clicked, a ZIP archive containing a malicious JavaScript (JS) downloader is downloaded, which then contacts a remote URL to download the BazarLoader malware, which drops Cobalt Strike and TrickBot.

BazarLoader Malware: Abuses Slack and BaseCamp Clouds

 

The primary feature of the BazarLoader downloader, which is written in C++, is to download and execute additional modules. BazarLoader was first discovered in the wild last April, and researchers have discovered at least six variants since then “signaling active and ongoing development”.

According to researchers, the BazarLoader malware is leveraging worker trust in collaboration tools like Slack and BaseCamp, in email messages with links to malware payloads. The attackers have also added a voice-call feature to the attack chain in a secondary campaign targeted at consumers. 

“With a focus on targets in large enterprises, BazarLoader could potentially be used to mount a subsequent ransomware attack,” states Sophos advisory released on Thursday. Adversaries are targeting employees of large companies with emails that purport to provide valuable details related to contracts, customer care, invoices, or payroll, they added. 

Since the links in the emails are hosted on Slack or BaseCamp cloud storage, they can appear genuine if the target works for a company that uses one of those platforms. When a victim clicks on the link, BazarLoader downloads and executes on their device. 

Usually, the links point to a digitally signed executable with an Adobe PDF graphic as its symbol and the files have names like presentation-document.exe, preview-document-[number].exe, or annualreport.exe, according to the researchers. These executable files, when run, inject a DLL payload into a legitimate process, such as the Windows command shell, cmd.exe. 

“The malware, only running in memory, cannot be detected by an endpoint protection tool’s scans of the filesystem, as it never gets written to the filesystem.” Sophos discovered that the spam messages in the second campaign are devoid of anything suspicious: there are no personal details of any sort in the email body, no connection, and no file attachment.

“All the message claims is that a free trial for an online service the recipient claims to be using is about to expire in the next day or two, and it includes a phone number the recipient must call to opt-out of a costly, paid renewal,” researchers explained. 

If a potential victim picks up the call, a friendly person on the other end of the line sends them a website address where they can unsubscribe from the service. These websites bury an unsubscribe button in a page of frequently asked questions and clicking that button delivers a malicious Office document (either a Word doc or an Excel spreadsheet) that, when opened, infects the computer with the same BazarLoader malware. 

The messages claimed to come from a company named Medical Reminder Service and included a phone number as well as a street address for a real office building in Los Angeles. However, starting in mid-April, the messages began to use a ruse involving a fraudulent paying online lending library named BookPoint. 

Researchers have been suspecting that BazarLoader could be related or authored by the TrickBot operators. TrickBot is another first-stage loader malware often used in ransomware campaigns. 

BazarLoader seems to be in its initial developmental stage and isn't as advanced as more mature families like TrickBot, researchers added. “While early versions of the malware were not obfuscated,” they explained, “more recent samples appear to encrypt strings that could expose the malware's intended use.”

Hackers Attack Users With Malware Using Underground Call Centres

 

BazarLoader malware actors have started working with underground call centres to fool targets of their spamming campaign by making them open corrupted Office files and corrupting their devices with malware. It's not the first time when underground call centres and the hacking group have come up to work together, however, it's the first time when the likes of the BazarLoader gang, a major Malware distributer, have used this technique on such a massive scale. 

How it took place?

The recent attacks have been very unique from the general malware scenario of today, the attackers have their own identities, normally known as BazaCall or BazarCall, the reason being they depend upon telephone calls to conduct their infiltration. Currently, the attack techniques that these hackers use are simple and yet effective. The group (BazarLoader) initiates the malware campaign by sending spam campaigns to specific targets. To attract the attention of the users, the email baits the victims through offers, subscriptions, free trials, etc. 

The email also consists of details for users to call a specific number that is mentioned in the mail to know more about the offer. If the victim dials the mentioned number, they are redirected to a call centre, here, a supposed operator tells directs the victim into downloading an office file, tells the user to disable the office security features, and run an excel or word file which allows hackers to run macros (automated scripts), that is used to download and install the malware in victims' device. Thanks to cybersecurity expert Brad Duncan, the phone recordings of one of the call centres involved are available. 

Targets include high profile accounts 

A cybersecurity expert that goes by the name Analyst said that these attack campaigns started in January 2021. The analyst is the same person that termed the attack as BazarCall, says that most of the targets use .edu or corporate email address, never target home users that use free emails like Gmail, Yahoo, or Hotmail. The Record reports, "the security researcher says the classic endgame for these attacks is to infect corporate networks, where the BazarLoader malware can then turn around and rent access to ransomware gangs, such as the Ryuk crew, with which they’ve collaborated before.