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Showing posts with label Cyber Attacks. Show all posts

Chinese Hackers are Targeting Russian Aerospace Industry

 

Space Pirates, a Chinese cyberespionage group is targeting businesses in the Russian aerospace industry with phishing emails to deploy a novel strain of malware. 

The APT group started operating in 2017, and researchers believe it is associated with other China-linked APT groups, including APT41 (Winnti), Mustang Panda, and APT27. Russian security researchers at Positive Technologies named the group "Space Pirates" due to their espionage operations focusing on stealing confidential information from companies in the aerospace field. 

Malicious actors targeted government agencies, IT departments, and aerospace and power enterprises in Russia, Georgia as well as Mongolia. However, the majority of victims were spotted to be in Russia. Out of those, several victims operated specifically within the partially state-owned aerospace industry of the Russian Federation. 

The researchers first uncovered signs of Space Pirates' activity last summer during incident response and quickly confirmed that the malicious actors employed the same malware and infrastructure against at least four more domestic organizations since 2019. 

According to researchers, at least two attacks on Russian organizations were successful. In one instance, Space Pirates accessed at least 20 servers on the corporate network and stayed there for ten months; 1,500 internal documents were stolen, together with information about all employee accounts in one of the network domains. 

In the second assault, the Chinese attackers stayed in the network of the compromised firms for over a year, exfiltrating confidential information and deploying their malware to 12 corporate network nodes in three distinct regions. 

The Space Pirates’ unique toolkit contains a wide range of malware, including unique loaders and multiple previously undetected backdoors tracked as MyKLoadClient, BH_A006, and Deed RAT. The arsenal also includes the Zupdax backdoor along with well-known malware such as PlugX RAT, ShadowPad backdoor, Poison Ivy RAT, a modified version of PcShare, and the public ReVBShell shell. The APT group also leverages the dog-tunnel utility to tunnel traffic. 

The threat analysts believe that the overlaps between various Chinese APTs are due to tool exchanges, a common phenomenon for hackers in the region. 

“APT groups with Asian roots continue to attack Russian companies, which is confirmed by the activity of the Space Pirates group. Attackers both develop new malware that implements non-standard techniques (such as Deed RAT) and uses modifications of existing backdoors. Sometimes such modifications can have many layers of obfuscation added to counteract protections and complicate the analysis procedure – as in the case of BH_A006, built on the code of the popular Gh0st backdoor,” researchers explained. 

“A separate difficulty in the case of APT groups in the Asian region is the exact attribution of the observed activity: the frequent exchange of tools used, as well as the joint activity of various groups in some cases, significantly complicate this task.”

Costa Rica's New Government is Under Attack by a Conti Ransomware Gang

 

The Conti ransomware organization, which has hacked some Costa Rican government computer systems, has increased its threat, claiming that its ultimate goal is to overthrow the government. The Russian-speaking Conti gang tried to intensify the pressure to pay a ransom by boosting its demand to $20 million, perhaps capitalizing on the fact that President Rodrigo Chaves had just been in office for a week. 

"We are aiming to overthrow the government by a cyber attack, and we have already demonstrated all of our strength and power," the group stated on its official website. "In your government, we have insiders. We're also attempting to obtain access to your other systems, and you have no choice but to pay us." Chaves said the organization had infiltrated up to 27 institutions at various levels of government, declaring that the country was "at war" with the Conti ransomware gang but giving no indication that the ransom would be paid. 

"I appeal to every Costa Rican to go to your government and organize rallies to demand that they pay us as soon as possible if your existing government is unable to fix the situation?" A different statement on Conti's dark web page stated, "Perhaps it's worth replacing." Over the weekend, the ransomware issued a warning that it will remove the decryption keys in a week, making it impossible for Costa Rica to restore access to the ransomware-encrypted files. 

The lethal April 19 attack prompted the new administration to proclaim a state of emergency, and the gang has exposed troves of data acquired from infected systems before encryption. Conti linked the attack to an affiliate actor nicknamed "UNC1756," a play on the name given to uncategorized threat groups by threat intelligence firm Mandiant. 

If it was any other ransomware gang, according to Aaron Turner, vice president of SaaS posture at Vectra, an AI cybersecurity firm, the threat would be unnoticeable. "However, because it's Conti, and Conti has publicly connected themselves with Putin's Russia's military activities, this threat should demand a second look," he said. 

He believes that if the US supports 'enemy' troops in Russia's neighborhood, there is a strong urge for retaliation. "Fortunately for Costa Rica, Conti isn't the most sophisticated gang of ransomware operators," he said. "Costa Rica is also lucky in that Russia's invasion of Ukraine went so badly that there are likely inadequate military forces on the other side of the planet to launch a combined cyberattack and conventional strike." While the prospect of overthrow is intriguing from an academic standpoint, Turner believes the chances of Conti orchestrating a coup are extremely remote. 

Affiliates are hacker organizations that rent access to pre-developed ransomware tools to coordinate assaults on corporate networks as part of the so-called ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) gig economy, and then share the profits with the operators. Conti has continued to target companies all over the world after suffering a large data breach of its own earlier this year amid its public support for Russia in its current war against Ukraine. 

Conti is the "most prolific ransomware-associated cybercriminal activity organization operational today," according to Microsoft's security team, which records the cybercriminal gang under the cluster DEV-0193. "DEV-0193 has hired developers from other malware operations that have shut down for varied reasons, including legal actions. The addition of developers from Emotet, Qakbot, and IcedID to the DEV-0193 umbrella is very noteworthy." 

Conti is one of the most wanted cybercriminal gangs in the world, with the US State Department offering up to $10 million in incentives for any information leading to the identity of its senior members.

Five Eyes Agencies Warn Managed Service Providers of Cyber Attacks

 

The Five Eyes alliance of cybersecurity authorities from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada last week published a joint advisory warning of threats targeting managed service providers (MSPs) and their customers. 

The advisory recommends customers of MSPs in the member nations on how to guard sensitive details and reassess security posture and contractual agreements with their service providers based on individual risk tolerance. MSPs are a prime target for cybercriminals and nation-state actors–because attacking an MSP can lead to additional downstream victims (as we witnessed with Kaseya and the SolarWinds assaults.)

"As this advisory makes clear, malicious cyber actors continue to target managed service providers, which is why it's critical that MSPs and their customers take recommended actions to protect their networks," Jen Easterly, director of US's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) stated. 

"We know that MSPs that are vulnerable to exploitation significantly increase downstream risks to the businesses and organizations they support. Securing MSPs are critical to our collective cyber defense, and CISA and our interagency and international partners are committed to hardening their security and improving the resilience of our global supply chain," she added. 

The alert is the result of a collaborative effort among the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the National Security Agency, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the U.S.; the National Cyber Security Centers in the United Kingdom and New Zealand; the Australian Cyber Security Center; and the Canadian Center for Cyber Security. 

Mitigation tips 

In the advisory issued on the second day of the NCSC's Cyber UK conference, where several senior figures from the cybersecurity agencies have met to discuss the issue of global cyber threats, the authorities recommend that MSP customers ensure that their MSPs implement the following measures and controls: 

• To counter initial assault, enhance the security of vulnerable devices, protect internet-facing services and defend against brute-force and phishing attacks. 
• Improve monitoring and logging processes for the delivery infrastructure activities used to provide services to the customer. 
• Enable multifactor authentication across all customer services and products. 
• Periodically erase obsolete accounts and infrastructure and apply updates to the infrastructure whenever available and necessary. 
• Develop incident response and recovery plans. 
• Understand and proactively manage supply chain risk. 
• Adopt transparent processes and, at the same time, manage account authentication and authorization.

Iranian Hackers Launch Cyberattack Against US and the UK 

 

Secureworks, a cybersecurity firm, has detected a new attack attributed to the Iranian hacker organization known as APT34 or Oilrig, which utilized custom-crafted tools to target a Jordanian diplomat. APT35, Magic Hound, NewsBeef, Newscaster, Phosphorus, and TA453 are advanced persistent threat (APT) actors known for targeting activists, government organizations, journalists, and other entities. 

A ransomware gang with an Iranian operational connection has been linked to a succession of file-encrypting malware operations targeting institutions in Israel, the United States, Europe, and Australia.

"Elements of Cobalt Mirage activities have been reported as Phosphorus and TunnelVision," Secureworks, which tracks the cyberespionage group, said today. "The group appears to have switched to financially motivated attacks, including the deployment of ransomware." 

The threat actor used recently obtained access to breach the network of a nonprofit organization in the United States in January 2022, where they built a web shell which was then used to drop further files, according to the researchers. 

The threat actor has seemingly carried out two types of intrusions, one of which involves opportunistic ransomware assaults using genuine tools like BitLocker and DiskCryptor for financial benefit. The second round of attacks is more focused, with the primary purpose of securing access and acquiring intelligence, with some ransomware thrown in for good measure.

Initial access routes are enabled by scanning internet-facing servers for web shells and exploiting them as a route to move laterally and activate the ransomware, which is vulnerable to widely reported holes in Fortinet appliances and Microsoft Exchange Servers. 

The spear-phishing email, which Fortinet discovered, was sent to a Jordanian diplomat and pretended to be from a government colleague, with the email address faked accordingly. The email included a malicious Excel attachment with VBA macro code that creates three files: a malicious binary, a configuration file, and a verified and clean DLL. The macro also adds a scheduled job that runs every four hours to provide the malicious application (update.exe) persistence. 

Another unique discovery concerns two anti-analysis methods used in the macro: the manipulating of sheet visibility in the spreadsheet and a check for the presence of a mouse, both of which may not be available on malware analysis sandbox services.

Secureworks detailed a January 2022 attack on an undisclosed US charity organization but said the exact means by which full volume encryption capability is triggered is unknown. In mid-March 2022, another attack aimed at a US local government network is thought to have used Log4Shell holes in the target's VMware Horizon architecture to perform reconnaissance and network scanning tasks. 

While the group has managed to breach a huge number of targets around the world, the security researchers believe that "their capacity to leverage on that access for financial gain or information collection is limited." Secureworks determines that the group's use of publicly available tools for ransomware activities proves that it is still a threat.

Telegram is Selling the Eternity Malware Kit, Which Offers Malicious Services 

 

Cybercriminals have recently used Telegram to offer malware and other dangerous tools as services. Researchers have discovered a deadly new malware subscription plan which can be used to facilitate a wide range of attacks. 

The "Eternity Project," a modular malware kit, has capabilities that allow buyers to steal passwords and credit card information, launch ransomware attacks and infiltrate victims with cryptomining software. Each component of the malware toolkit, such as an information stealer, a coin miner, a clipper, ransomware software, a worm spreader, and, finally, a DDoS (distributed denial of service) bot, can be purchased separately. 

The creators share the latest update, usage instructions, and debate feature proposals on a private Telegram channel with over 500 members. Buyers can apparently use the Telegram Bot to assemble the binary automatically after choosing its desired feature set and paying the equivalent amount in cryptocurrency. The malware module is the most premium at $490 per year. The info-stealer, which costs $260 per year, steals passwords, credit cards, bookmarks, tokens, cookies, and autofill data from over twenty different web browsers. 

The malware's versatility is also highlighted through a deep-dive investigation of the infostealer module. Researchers claim that this single tool may gather data from a wide range of apps, including web browsers and cryptocurrency wallets, as well as VPN clients, messaging apps, and more. 

The miner module is $90 a year and includes features such as task manager invisibility, auto-restart once killed, and startup launch persistence. The clipper is a $110 application that scans the clipboard for cryptocurrency wallet credentials and replaces them with wallets controlled by the user. The Eternity Worm is available for $390 from the developer, and it can propagate itself using USB drivers, lan shares, local files, cloud drives, Python projects, Discord accounts, and Telegram accounts.

The authors say it's FUD (completely undetectable), a claim supported by Virus Total data showing zero detections for the strain. Surprisingly, the ransomware module provides an option of setting a timer that, when reached, renders the files entirely unrecoverable. This adds to the victim's pressure to pay the ransom as soon as possible. 

Despite the wide range of hazards posed by Eternity Project malware, Cyble says there are a few precautions consumers can take. Maintaining regular data backups, keeping software up to date, and avoiding visiting untrustworthy websites and email attachments are recommended best practices.

SideWinder Launched Nearly 1000 Assaults in Two Years

 

The South Asian APT organization SideWinder has been on a tear for the past two years gone, launching nearly 1,000 raids and deploying increasingly sophisticated assault techniques. 

Earlier this week, Noushin Shaba, a senior security researcher at Kaspersky shared her findings at the Black Hat Asia conference regarding SideWinders’ attacking methodologies. The APT group primarily targets military and law enforcement agencies in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and other South Asian countries.

SideWinder has been active since at least 2012 and primarily targets military and law enforcement agencies in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and other South Asian countries. In recent years, they have also targeted departments of Foreign Affairs, Scientific and Defence organizations, Aviation, IT industry, and Legal firms. Some of their newly registered domains and spear-phishing documents indicate this threat actor is expanding the geography of its targets to other countries and regions. 

SideWinder has become one of the planet's most prolific hacking groups by expanding the geography of its targets to other countries and regions. However, the reason behind its expansion remains unknown. 

Last year, the group deployed new obfuscation techniques for the JavaScript it drops into .RTF files, .LNK files, and Open Office documents. Kaspersky has observed unique encryption keys deployed across over 1,000 malware samples sourced from the group.

Threat actors even ran two versions of its obfuscation techniques over several months, and appear to have shifted from an older and less stealthy version to its current malware. SideWinder also exchanges domains regularly for its command-and-control servers as well as for its download servers. That's mostly to ensure that if a domain gets detected, it still has a way to get to its targets, Shabab explains. Spreading activity across different domains in the attacks is less likely to raise suspicion as well. 

In January 2020, Trend Micro researchers revealed that they had unearthed SideWinder exploiting a zero-day local privilege-escalation vulnerability (CVE-2019-2215) that affected hundreds of millions of Android users when it was first published. 

“I think what really makes them stand out among other APTs [advanced persistent threat] actors are the big toolkit they have with many different malware families, lots of new spear-phishing documents, and a very large infrastructure. I have not seen 1,000 attacks from a single APT from another group until further,” Shaba stated.

Cyber Agencies: Beware of State Actors Levelling up Attacks on Managed Service Providers

 

The United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada's cybersecurity agencies issued a second advisory this week, stating that cyberattacks against managed service providers (MSPs) are expected to escalate. 

According to the advice, if an attacker is able to access a service provider's infrastructure, ransomware or espionage activity could be carried out against the provider's customers. 

The nations advised, "Whether the customer's network environment is on-premises or externally hosted, threat actors can use a vulnerable MSP as an initial access vector to multiple victim networks, with globally cascading effects." 

"NCSC-UK, ACSC, CCCS, CISA, NSA, and FBI expect malicious cyber actors -- including state-sponsored advanced persistent threat groups -- to step up their targeting of MSPs in their efforts to exploit provider-customer network trust relationships." 

The MSP definition covers IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, process and support services, as well as cybersecurity services, for the purposes of this advice. The first piece of obvious advice is to avoid getting compromised in the first place. Beyond that, users should follow standard suggestions such as improving monitoring and logging, updating software, having backups, employing multi-factor authentication, segregating internal networks, using the least privilege approach, and removing old user accounts. Users should verify contracts for clauses that ensure MSPs have adequate security safeguards in place.

Further, the advisory stated, "Customers should ensure that they have a thorough understanding of the security services their MSP is providing via the contractual arrangement and address any security requirements that fall outside the scope of the contract. Note: contracts should detail how and when MSPs notify the customer of an incident affecting the customer's environment."
 
"MSPs, when negotiating the terms of a contract with their customer, should provide clear explanations of the services the customer is purchasing, services the customer is not purchasing, and all contingencies for incident response and recovery."

Russia Dubbed as the "Centre" of European-wide Cyber-Attacks

 

Since the beginning of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the EU, UK, US, and other allies have recognized that Russia has been behind a wave of cyber-attacks. The most recent distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack on Viasat's commercial communications network in Ukraine, which occurred on the same day that Russia launched its full-fledged invasion, had a greater impact across Europe, disrupting wind farms and internet users. 

The outage on Viasat affected almost one-third of bigblu's 40,000 users throughout Europe, including Germany, France, Hungary, Greece, Italy, and Poland, according to Eutelsat, the parent company of bigblu satellite internet service. The incident impacted wind farms and internet users in central Europe, creating outages for thousands of Ukrainian customers. 

In the regard, the key statements by the West are as follows:

  • The European Union said that Russia was behind the strike, which occurred "one hour before" the invasion of Ukraine. 
  • Estonia: The member of the European Union went even further. With "high certainty," the country blamed the hack on Russia's military intelligence arm, saying it had "gone counter to international law." 
  • The United Kingdom's National Cyber Security Centre is "almost convinced" that Russia was behind the Viasat attack, according to the UK, citing "new UK and US intelligence." Meanwhile, the report said that "Russian Military Intelligence was probably certainly involved" in defacing Russian websites and releasing damaging spyware.
The main aim, according to the joint intelligence advisory, was the Ukrainian military. "Thousands of terminals have been destroyed, rendered useless, and are unable to be restored," according to Viasat. Russian military intelligence was likely certainly engaged in the January 13 attacks on Ukrainian official websites and the distribution of Whispergate harmful malware, according to the UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). 

"This is clear and alarming proof of an intentional and malicious attack by Russia against Ukraine, which had huge ramifications for ordinary people and businesses in Ukraine and across Europe," Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said. 

In the past Russian criminals hijacked the updater system of Ukrainian accounting software provider MEDoc in June 2017, infecting MEDoc users with the wiper virus NotPetya. The evidence suggests that Wiper malware infected several Ukrainian government networks again in 2022, and Gamaredon attacks targeted roughly 5,000 entities, including key infrastructure and government departments.

NCSC director of operations Paul Chichester addressed why the attribution was being done now, two and a half months after the occurrence, at a press conference at CYBERUK 2022. "We execute attributions in a process-driven manner; accuracy is extremely essential to us," he explained. Collaboration with international bodies such as the EU and the Five Eyes adds to the length of time it took to provide this material. 

Such cyber action aims to demoralize the public and degrade essential infrastructure. The perceived difficulties of precisely attributing the attack to any single aggressor is a benefit of conducting the earliest stages of kinetic activity in cyberspace. Putin has been emphatic in his denial of any Russian government participation in the attacks.

Multiple Organizations Targeted by Conti Ransomware Worldwide

 

The Conti ransomware gang is wreaking havoc with its assaults around the globe. The latest victim is the Peru MOF – Dirección General de Inteligencia (DIGIMIN), the premier intelligence agency in Peru. 

The ransomware group claimed to have stolen 9.41 GB of data from the agency responsible for national, military, and police intelligence, as well as counterintelligence. Targeting intelligence agency could lead to the disclosure of secret and confidential documents and pose a threat to national security. 

Last week, the US Department of State offered a reward of up to $15 million for information on the threat actor. The reward includes $10 million for the identification or the location of the leaders of the Conti ransomware gang. 

Additionally, $5 million is offered for information that results in the arrest /or conviction of any individual in any country conspiring to participate in or attempting to participate in a Conti variant ransomware incident. The reward is offered under the Department of State’s Transnational Organized Crime Rewards Program (TOCRP).

"The Conti ransomware group has been responsible for hundreds of ransomware incidents over the past two years," the statement read. "The FBI estimates that as of January 2022, there had been over 1,000 victims of attacks associated with Conti ransomware with victim payouts exceeding $150,000,000, making the Conti ransomware variant the costliest strain of ransomware ever documented." 

Costa Rica President Rodrigo Chaves declared a national cybersecurity emergency over the weekend, following a financially motivated Conti ransomware attack against his administration that has paralyzed the government and economy of the Latin American nation. Shortly after the incident occurred in April, the former President Carlos Alvarado publicly declined to pay a $10 million ransom demand. In turn, Conti has published nearly all of the 672 GB of data stolen from the government. 

After targeting the Costa Rican government, the ransomware group posted a message on their news site that the assault was merely a “demo version.” The group also said the attack was solely motivated by financial gain as well as expressed general political disgust, another signal of more government-directed attacks. 

The assaults by the Conti ransomware group are really concerning and even forced a nation to declare a national emergency. Thus, security experts recommended organizations invest in robust preventive strategies, including anti-ransomware solutions, frequent backups of data, network firewalls, and email gateways.

Ukrainians DDoS Russian Vodka Supply Chains

 

According to the Russian news portal Vedomosti, Ukrainian cyber threat actors compromised Russia’s central alcohol distribution portal that is considered crucial for the distribution of alcoholic beverages in Russian regions called Unified State Automated Alcohol Accounting Information System or EGAIS.

EGAIS is a portal that plays important role in alcohol distribution in the nation. As per the law, for all alcohol producers and distributors, it is mandatory to register their shipments with EGAIS. Therefore, this attack caused extensive service blockage across Russia. 

The group hit the portal with DDoS attacks launched on May 2nd and 3rd. Through the DDoS or distributed denial of service attacks, the perpetrators overwhelm servers with superfluous requests in an attempt to overload systems and render some or all legitimate requests from being fulfilled. 

Also, according to the experts, sophisticated strategies have to be required against such types of attacks, as simply attempting to block a single source is insufficient. Three sites belonging to the platform have been hit by DDoS attacks. 

On May 4th, two EGAIS sites showed the error “the server stopped responding,” and the third didn’t work. The attacks took place on May 2nd and the next day system failures became more obvious about the attack. 

Wine trader Fort said that the site stopped working on May 4th, and the Union of Alcohol Producers, Igor Kosarev, and Ladoga representatives claimed the same. 

Fort further added that they had failed to upload about 70% of invoices to EGAIS due to the attack. Its supplies of wine to retail chains and restaurants in the region apparently failed to distribute on May 4 due to the incident. The outage impacted not only vodka distribution but wine companies faced disruption as well alongside purveyors of other types of alcohol. 

“Due to a large-scale failure, factories cannot accept tanks with alcohol, and customers, stores, and distributors cannot receive finished products that have already been delivered to them,” Vedomosti reported.

Ukrainian threat actors group, the Disbalancer took responsibility for the attack and announced their future plans to launch more attacks on the platform.

 Ferrari Subdomain was Seized over to Promote a Bogus Ferrari NFT Collection

 

Cyberattackers hacked Ferrari's subdomains website to promote a fake NFT collection that pretended to be the much-anticipated official one and duped its consumers. 

Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are a new sort of digital asset that has been gaining popularity as big tech constructs the Metaverse. NFT is data recorded on a cryptocurrency blockchain that has been signed by a digital certificate to verify it is unique and cannot be copied. Having an NFT is similar to having a real asset, except the real deal is digital. The NFT trend is quickly spreading and is closely tied to cryptocurrency. It's also expanding rapidly. To mention a few, One Plus, Budweiser, Nike, Visa, Adidas, and Louis Vuitton have all entered the NFT realm. NFTs usually sell for a few dollars, however, in rare situations, the price of NFTs can surge. 

Sam Curry, an ethical hacker and bug bounty hunter, reported seeing one of Ferrari's subdomain forms on Thursday. A false NFT (Non-Fungible Token) fraud is hosted on ferrari.com.

Having a brand new Ferrari is exclusive for the wealthy, with prices ranging from $250,000.00 to 1.8 million dollars. Last year Ferrari announced it might soon sell digital Ferrari NFTs to appease its fan base, which made this scam all very convincing. 

Ferrari and Velas Network AG have established a new relationship. Velas stated that they would break into Formula 1 in 2022 alongside Ferrari. Internationally, the company is noted for its transparency and leadership in blockchain, digital products, and services. 

"Mint your Ferrari," a crypto scam, encouraged users to buy NFT tokens by falsely claiming Ferrari had launched "a collection of 4,458 horsepower [sic] NFTs on the Ethereum network." 

Further analysis by Curry and a security engineer is known as d0nut found how attackers hacked the subdomain and used an Adobe Experience Manager weakness to host its bitcoin fraud.

"After more investigation, it appears that this was an Adobe Experience Manager exploit. By poking around, you can still uncover remains of the unpatched site," Curry wrote.

Many people have criticized blockchains for conducting crypto trading and NFT services because of it's large energy consumption and environmental impact. Ferrari picked Velas for more than just the speed. The company operates in a carbon-neutral manner. Ferrari while announcing the big news claimed that "they have transformed the world of blockchain by inventing a pioneering, energy-efficient platform that functions at unprecedented speed."

OpenSea Warns of Discord Channel Hack

 

The nonfungible token (NFT) marketplace OpenSea had a server breach on its primary Discord channel, with hackers posting phoney "Youtube partnership" announcements. A screenshot shared on Friday reveals a phishing site linked to fraudulent collaboration news. 

The marketplace's Discord server was hacked Friday morning, according to OpenSea Support's official Twitter account, which urged users not to click links in the channel. OpenSea has "partnered with YouTube to bring their community into the NFT Space," according to the hacker's original post on the announcements channel. 

It also stated that they will collaborate with OpenSea to create a mint pass that would allow holders to mint their project for free. The attacker appeared to have been able to stay on the server for a long time before OpenSea staff was able to recover control. The hacker uploaded follow-ups to the initial totally bogus statement, reiterating the phoney link and saying that 70% of the supply had already been coined, in an attempt to generate "fear of missing out" in the victims. 

The scammer also tried to persuade OpenSea users by claiming that anyone who claimed the NFTs would receive "insane utilities" from YouTube. They state that this offer is one-of-a-kind and that there would be no other rounds to engage in, which is typical of scammers. As of this writing, on-chain data indicates that 13 wallets have been infiltrated, with the most valued stolen NFT being a Founders' Pass worth about 3.33 ETH ($8,982.58). 

According to initial reports, the hacker used webhooks to get access to server controls. A webhook is a server plugin that lets other software get real-time data. Hackers are increasingly using webhooks as an attack vector since they allow them to send messages from official server accounts. The OpenSea Discord server isn't the only one that uses webhooks. 

In early April, a similar flaw enabled the hacker to utilise official server identities to post phishing links on several popular NFT collections' channels, including Bored Ape Yacht Club, Doodles, and KaijuKings.

European Organizations Targeted by 'Mustang Panda’ Hacking Group

 

Cybersecurity researchers have unearthed a new campaign by advanced persistent threat (APT) group Mustang Panda targeting European and Russian organizations using topical spear-phishing lures linked to the war in Ukraine. 

Mustang Panda, also known as RedDelta, Bronze President, or TA416 has been active since at least 2012 and over the years has targeted entities in EU member states, the United States and Asian countries where China has interests. The targets have included diplomatic organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), religious organizations, telecommunication firms, and political activists.

"Mustang Panda is a highly motivated APT group relying primarily on the use of topical lures and social engineering to trick victims into infecting themselves," Cisco Talos said in a new report published this week. 

The hacking group is known for designing its phishing lures based on current scenarios that might be of interest to its targets. These have included the COVID-19 pandemic, international summits, and political topics. The attacks observed this year by researchers from Cisco Talos and several other security firms used reports from EU institutions regarding the security situation in Europe both before and after Russia's invasion of Ukraine. 

Mustang Panda modus operandi 

The PlugX RAT, also known as KorPlug, continues to remain the Mustang Panda's preferred spying tool. is Mustang Panda’s malware of choice. The threat actor has used multiple variants of it for several years, together with other threat actors originating from China. 

Recent attack campaigns spotted this year have primarily phishing messages containing malicious lures masquerading as official European Union reports on the ongoing conflict in Ukraine or Ukrainian government reports, both of which download malware onto infected devices. 

A similar technique is also used to target various entities in the U.S. and several Asian countries like Myanmar, Hong Kong, Japan, and Taiwan. 

The researchers also spotted Mustang Panda distributing a malicious file containing PlugX with a Russian name referencing the Blagoveshchensk Border Guard Detachment. But similar attacks identified towards the end of March 2022 show that the actors are upgrading their tactics by minimizing the remote URLs used to obtain different components of the infection chain. 

Other than PlugX, infection chains utilized by the APT group have involved the deployment of custom stagers, reverse shells, Meterpreter-based shellcode, and Cobalt Strike, all of which are used to establish remote access to their targets with the intention of conducting espionage and information theft. 

"By using summit- and conference-themed lures in Asia and Europe, this attacker aims to gain as much long-term access as possible to conduct espionage and information theft," Talos researchers added.

Car Rental Giant Sixt Hit by Cyberattack, Operations Shut Down

Rental car giant Sixt, a company based in Germany announced that it has been hit by a cyberattack that resulted in large-scale inconvenience in Sixt's global operations. In April, the company closed down some parts of its IT infrastructure to restrict a cyberattack. 

Only important systems were operating, like the company website and mobile applications. Sixt said that the disturbance for employees and customers was expected, it believes that the disruption was contained to great extent. 

According to the company, it has offered business continuity to its customers, but the temporary disruptions in customer care centers and few branches can be expected for some time. "As a standard precautionary measure, access to IT systems was immediately restricted and the pre-planned recovery processes were initiated. Many central Sixt systems, in particular, the website and apps were kept up and running," said Sixt in a statement. Sixt did most of the car bookings with pen and paper last week, and systems that were not important have been shut down after the cyberattack. 

Calling customers were provided an automated notification "due to a technical problem, we are currently unavailable." No more details are available as of now, Sixt said that it has launched an inquiry into the issue, however, didn't disclose any information on how the attack happened. Sixt is requesting its customers to be patient until the issue is resolved. No ransomware group has claimed the responsibility for the attack as of now, however, the chances of ransomware are highly likely. 

According to Bleeping Computer, ransomware groups are targeting companies like Sixt because of the upcoming tourism season. Vacations are easy money for car rental companies. Ransomware groups generally operate during high traffic periods to increase the chances of damage to the targets. 

The greater the damage, the easier the ransom payment. Sixt said "impacts on the company, its operations and services have been minimized to provide business continuity for customers. However, temporary disruptions, in particular in customer care centers and selective branches, are likely to occur in the short term."

Kellogg Community College Closes after Ransomware Attack

 

Kellogg Community College in Michigan has closed its campuses and canceled classes after falling victim to a cyber-attack. It's a Battle Creek-based community college and according to the recent data, it serves approximately 7000 students annually. 

On its official website on Sunday the community posted a statement in which it has shared basic information about the ransomware attack that took place over the weekend. Following the attack, the cancellation of all Monday classes and the closure of its five campuses in Battle Creek, Coldwater, Albion, and Hastings were announced.

Furthermore, as the website notified that the attack is causing continued technology problems in the systems, the college told, “the technology issues we have been experiencing were caused by a ransomware attack that continues to affect our systems.” 

All five Kellogg campuses will remain closed while the security vulnerabilities are under investigation, however, the college community is hoping to reopen the campuses later this week. The community is also working to launch a “forced password reset for all students, faculty, and staff” to better secure the network.

“We want to reassure our faculty and students that we will take any actions necessary for students to complete course work in a timely manner and appreciate your patience and support in the meantime,” the alert read. 

According to the data, since 2021, various community colleges have been the victims of ransomware attacks, including Butler County Community College in Pennsylvania, Sierra College in California Lewis, and Clark Community College in Illinois. 

“As we have previously informed you, we have been the victim of a ransomware attack on our systems and services. We are still working to understand the full extent of this incident, but since our last update, we have been working diligently with our IRT team and have made progress in our restoration process,” said the Kellogg Community College.

Russia-linked APT29 Targets Diplomatic World Wide

 

Security intelligence from Mandiant has discovered a spear-phishing campaign, launched by the Russia-linked APT29 group, designed to victimize diplomats and government entities worldwide including European, the Americas, and Asia. 

The group is believed to be sponsored by the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) and to have orchestrated the 2020 SolarWinds attack which hit hundreds of organizations. 

According to the data, the Russia-linked APT29 group popularly known as SVR, Cozy Bear, and The Dukes is active since at least 2014, along with the APT28 cyber threat group which was involved in the Democratic National Committee hack, the wave of attacks aimed at the 2016 US Presidential Elections and a November 2018 attempt to infiltrate DNC. 

The phishing emails have been masqueraded as official notices related to various embassies. Nation-state actors used Atlassian Trello, DropBox, and cloud services, as part of their command and control (C2) infrastructure. 

“APT29 targeted large lists of recipients that Mandiant suspected were primarily publicly-listed points of contact of embassy personnel. These phishing emails utilized a malicious HTML dropper tracked as ROOTSAW, which makes use of a technique known as HTML smuggling to deliver an IMG or ISO file to a victim system.” reads the analysis published by Mandiant. 

The threat actors used the HTML smuggling technique to deliver an IMG or ISO file to the targets. The ISO image contains a Windows shortcut file (LNK) that installs a malicious DLL file when it is clicked. When the attachment file opens, the ROOTSAW HTML dropper will write an IMG or ISO file to disk. Following the steps, once the DLL file is executed, the BEATDROP downloader is delivered and installed in memory. 

“BEATDROP is a downloader written in C that makes use of Trello for C2. Once executed, BEATDROP first maps its own copy of ntdll.dll into memory for the purpose of executing shellcode in its own process. BEATDROP first creates a suspended thread with RtlCreateUserThread which points to NtCreateFile...” 

 “…Following this, BEATDROP will enumerate the system for the username, computer name, and IP address. This information is used to create a victim ID, which is used by BEATDROP to store and retrieve victim payloads from its C2. Once the victim ID is created, BEATDROP will make an initial request to Trello to identify whether the current victim has already been compromised”, the report read.

 Bangladesh Cyber Incident Response Team has Issued a Warning About Malware Attacks Around Eid

 

Officials have warned of a possible cyber-attack on Bangladesh's financial and other key institutions' computer systems during the Eid vacations. According to a statement issued by the Digital Security Agency, the affected authorities must install or update anti-DDOS hardware and software. 

Officials believe the warning was sent by the government's specialized cyber-threat agency as a global cyberwar erupts in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, with NATO assisting the latter with arms support. 

The Bangladesh Computer Council's e-Government Computer Incident Response Team (BGD e-GOV CIRT) also recommends all key information facilities' internal systems be checked and monitored.

Following the current conflict between Ukraine and Russia, Tarique M Barkatullah, director (operations) of the Digital Security Agency and project director of the BGD e-GOV CIRT, stated “hackers from both sides are using important information infrastructures of different countries to spread botnets and malware and attack each other.” 

Botnets are computer networks infected with malware (such as computer viruses, key loggers, and other malicious code or malware) and remotely controlled by criminals, either for monetary gain or to launch assaults on websites or networks. 

BGD e-Gov CIRT discovered over 1400 IP numbers used in Russia after analyzing the warning message issued by the Russian Computer Security Incident Response Team. According to the CIA, hackers are using these IPs to spread propaganda and launch distributed denial of service (DDoS) operations. 

Tareq M Barkatullah, project director of BGD e-Gov CIRT, remarked in this reference: “The country's afflicted financial institutions and public service suppliers are being hampered in providing its usual services due to the exploitation of these IP-enabled Bangladeshi servers."

According to the Financial Express, Prof Dr. Md Salim Uddin, chairman of the executive committee of Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited (IBBL), several financial institutions have been targeted by cyber-attacks as a result of the current crisis between Ukraine and Russia.

IBBL is well-prepared to thwart any cyber-attack because it is always adopting new technological solutions. Among the internal systems, he emphasized strengthening cyber-security with new tech solutions and monitoring systems. To prevent all types of cyber threats, financial institutions should join an organization or platform to improve cooperation and integration. He further urges the government to expand collaboration and support in this area in order to combat rising cyber-threats in the future.

Magniber Ransomware Tricking Users via Fake Windows 10 Updates

 

Security analysts have unearthed a new ransomware campaign targeting Windows systems. Malicious actors are using fake Windows 10 updates to spread the Magniber ransomware strain. 

Since April 27, users around the world have been posting their stories on the BleepingComputer forum seeking a solution. According to the publication, these fake Windows 10 updates are being distributed under multiple names such as Win10.0_System_Upgrade_Software.msi and Security_Upgrade_Software_Win10.0.msi via platforms such as pirated sites, posing as legitimate cumulative or security updates.

Aside from these files, there also are other fake knowledge-based articles on Microsoft that can install the Magniber ransomware: 

• System.Upgrade.Win10.0-KB47287134.msi 
• System.Upgrade.Win10.0-KB82260712.msi 
• System.Upgrade.Win10.0-KB18062410.msi 
• System.Upgrade.Win10.0-KB66846525.msi

Based on the submissions to VirusTotal, this malicious campaign appears to have started on April 8th, 2022 and has seen massive distribution worldwide since then. Meanwhile, it remains unclear how the fake Windows 10 updates are being promoted and distributed from fake warez and crack sites. 

Once installed, Magniber will erase shadow volume copies and then encrypt files. When encrypting files, the ransomware will append a random 8-character extension, such as .gtearevf,. The ransomware also produces a README.html document in each folder which it encrypts. The documents then redirect users to Magniber’s Tor payment site, which is called 'My Decryptor'.

The payment site allows a victim to decrypt one file for free, contact 'support,' or determine cryptocurrency address to send coins to if they decide to pay the ransom. The ransomware demands tend to be around $2,500 or 0.068 bitcoin, Bleeping Computer reported. 

“The only 1 way to decrypt your files is to receive the private key and decryption program,” the ransom note reads. “Any attempts to restore your files with the third-party software will be fatal for your files!”

According to security researchers, no safe decryptor exists for the ransomware. Nor any weaknesses of the malware are known to reverse its infection. The ransomware presently targets regular users and students, and not corporate customers. Thus, the users need to remain vigilant, avoid downloading cracked versions, and use legit sites only. 

The ransomware was first spotted in 2017 targeting victims in South Korea. Back in 2021, the ransomware was using the PrintNightmare exploit to Target Windows user, and earlier this year in January, it was distributed via Microsoft Edge and Chrome.

3 Hacking Teams Working Under the Umbrella of TA410 Group

 

Recently, a campaign has been discovered wherein threat actors are noted to be victimizing a variety of critical infrastructure sectors in different regions such as Africa, the Middle East, and the United States. The group that has been identified as TA410, has been using an improved version of a remote access trojan designed with information-stealing capabilities. 

TA410 is an umbrella group comprising of three teams named FlowingFrog, LookingFrog, and JollyFrog. 

In regard to the incident, the Slovak cybersecurity firm ESET has reported that "these subgroups operate somewhat independently, but that they may share intelligence requirements, and access team that runs their spear-phishing campaigns, and also the team that deploys network infrastructure." 

Following the incident, it has been observed that the TA410 shares behavioral and tooling overlaps with APT10 (aka Stone Panda or TA429) which has a history of targeting U.S.-based organizations in the utility sector as well as diplomatic entities in the Middle East and Africa region. 

Moreover, the group has also targeted many firms in different regions all across the world including a manufacturing company in Japan, mining business in India, a charity foundation in Israel, and unnamed victims in the education and military verticals. 

Im 2019, TA410 was recorded by Proofpoint for the first  time when the members of the group executed phishing campaigns containing macro-laden documents to compromise utility providers across the U.S. with a modular malware called LookBack. 

The group made a comeback with a new backdoor codenamed FlowCloud, also delivered to U.S. utility providers that Proofpoint described as malware that gives attackers full remote control over targeted systems. 

"Its remote access trojan (RAT) functionality includes the ability to access installed applications, the keyboard, mouse, screen, files, services, and processes with the ability to exfiltrate information via command-and-control," the company reported in June 2020. 

Cybersecurity firm Dragos, which is investigating the activities of the group under the moniker TALONITE, said that the adversary has a penchant for blending techniques and tactics in order to ensure a successful intrusion. 

"TALONITE focuses on subverting and taking advantage of trust with phishing lures focusing on engineering-specific themes and concepts, malware that abuses otherwise legitimate binaries or modifies such binaries to include additional functionality, and a combination of owned and compromised network infrastructure," Dragos said in April 2021.

Black Basta Ransomware Hits American Dental Association

 

A new ransomware gang dubbed Black Basta is exfiltrating corporate data and documents before encrypting the firm’s devices. It has quickly catapulted into operation this month and has targeted more than twelve firms in just a few weeks. 

The malicious actors then employ stolen data in double-extortion assaults and demand hefty amounts to decrypt files and prevent the publishing of the victim's stolen data. 

According to BleepingComputer, the American Dental Association was targeted by Black Basta last weekend, prompting the shutdown of some parts of its network. The ADA sent emails to its members noting that some of its systems, including ADA email and Aptify, as well as its webchat and telephone lines, have been disrupted as a result of the attack. 

Impacted systems were immediately taken down, with the ADA leveraging Gmail addresses while its email systems are offline. State dental associations, including those in Florida, New York, and Virginia, have also been hit by the ADA breach. 

The attackers claimed to have leaked 2.8GB of data, which they believe accounts for about 30% of the stolen data from the attack. The exfiltrated files include non-disclosure agreements, W2 forms, accounting spreadsheets, and ADA member data. 

The researchers first uncovered the Black Basta attacks in the second week of April, as the operation quickly began targeting firms worldwide. While not much else is known about the new ransomware gang as they have not begun marketing their operation or recruiting affiliates on hacking forums. 

Black Basta modus operandi 

The ransomware infiltrates into an existing Windows service and exploits it to launch the ransomware decryptor executable. The ransomware then changed the wallpaper to display a message stating, “Your network is encrypted by the Black Basta group. Instructions in the file readme.txt” and reboot the computer into Safe Mode with Networking. 

According to security expert Michael Gillespie, the portal Black Basta ransomware utilizes the ChaCha20 algorithm to encrypt files. Each folder on the encrypted device contains a readme.txt file that has information about the attack and a link and unique ID to log in to the negotiation chat session with the threat actors. 

Subsequently, the ransomware operators demand a ransom and threaten to leak data if payment is not made in seven days, and promise to secure data after a ransom is paid. Unfortunately, the encryption algorithm is secure and there is no way to recover files for free. The data extortion part of these attacks is conducted on the 'Black Basta Blog' or 'Basta News' Tor site, which contains a list of all victims who have not paid a ransom.