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Symbiote: A Stealth Malware that Attacks Banking Institutions


Cybersecurity experts discovered a "nearly-impossible-to-detect" Linux malware that can be exploited to backdoor infected systems. Known as Symbiote by threat intelligence firms Blackberry and intezer, the stealth malware is known for its capability to hide itself in running processes and network traffic and extract the target's data like a parasite. 

The Hacker News says "this is not the first time a malware with similar capabilities has been spotted in the wild. In February 2014, ESET revealed a Linux backdoor called Ebury that's built to steal OpenSSH credentials and maintain access to a compromised server." 

The actors behind Symbiote are believed to have started working on the malware in November 2021, using it for targeting financial institutions in Latin America, which includes banks such as Banco do Brazil and Caixa. 

The main aim of Symbiote is to get credentials and fecilitate backdoor access to the target's systems. What makes Symbiote standout from other Linux malware is that it corrupts running processes instead of using a standalone file execution to cause damage. 

It is done by leveraging a local Linux feature known as LD_PRELOAD- a technique earlier used by malware like Pro-Ocean and Facefish. It is later deployed by the dynamic linker into the running operations and start infecting the host. Other than hiding itself in the file system, Symbiote can also cloak its network traffic via using the extended Berkeley Packet Filter (eBPF) feature. 

The task is attained via injecting the malware into an inspection software's processing and deploying BPF to categorize the results that will disclose the activities. 

"Upon hijacking all running processes, Symbiote enables rootkit functionality to further hide evidence of its existence and provides a backdoor for the threat actor to log in to the machine and execute privileged commands. It has also been observed storing captured credentials encrypted in files masquerading as C header files," reports The Hacker News.

Viasat: Acid Rain Virus Disable Satellite Modems


The cyberattack which targeted the KA-SAT satellite broadband service to erase SATCOM modems on February 24 used a newly discovered data wiper virus. It impacted thousands in Ukraine and thousands more across Europe. 

A cybersecurity firm, SentinelOne, claims to have discovered a malware sample, which disrupted internet connectivity on February 24. The malware, called AcidRain, which was also likely utilized in the Viasat breach, is a Unix executable application which is meant to attack MIPS-based devices. This could indicate the attackers' lack of experience with the filesystem and firmware of the targeted devices, or their desire to create a reusable tool.

The same sample came from SkyLogic, the Viasat operator in charge of the damaged network, which is also situated in Italy. The software sample was also tagged with the moniker "ukrop," which could be a reference to the Ukraine Operation. 

The researchers underscored that Viasat did not offer technical indicators of compromise or a detailed incident response report. Instead, rogue commands damaged modems in Ukraine and other European countries, according to the satellite industry. The SentinelOne duo were perplexed as to how valid orders could produce such mayhem in the modem, "scalable disruption is more feasibly performed by delivering an update, script, or executable," they added. 

The program wipes the system and various storage device files completely. AcidRain executes an initial repetitive replacement and removal of non-standard files in the filesystem if the malware is launched as root "Juan Andres Guerrero-Saade and Max van Amerongen," SentinelOne threat experts, revealed. 

The wipers overwrite file structures with up to 0x40000 bytes of data or utilize MEMGETINFO, MEMUNLOCK, MEMERASE, and MEMWRITEOOB input/output control (IOCTL) service calls to erase data on compromised devices. 

The fact Viasat has supplied nearly 30,000 modems to get clients back online since the February 2022 attack and is still shipping more to speed up service restoration, suggests that SentinelOne's supply-chain threat scenario is correct. The IOCTLs used by this virus also resemble those used by the VPNFilter malware 'dstr' wiper plugin, a destructive program linked to Russian GRU hackers. 

The Ukrainian Computer Emergency Response Team recently stated a data wiper known as DoubleZero had been used in assaults on Ukrainian businesses. On the same day that Russia invaded Ukraine, they discovered IsaacWiper, a data wiper, and HermeticWizard, a new worm which dropped HermeticWiper payloads. ESET has discovered a fourth data-destroying malware strain called CaddyWiper, which wipes data across Windows domains and eliminates user data and partition information from associated drivers. 

Microsoft discovered a sixth wiper, now known as WhisperGate, in mid-January, which was being used in data-wiping attacks targeting Ukraine while masquerading as ransomware.

Hackers from China's 'Mustang Panda' were Utilizing New 'Hodur' Malware


Mustang Panda (a.k.a. Temp.Hex, HoneyMyte, TA416 or RedDelta), a China-based advanced persistent threat (APT), has been traced to an ongoing cyberattack campaign using a formerly undocumented variation of the PlugX remote access trojan on affected workstations mostly in and around Southeast Asia. For its similarities to another PlugX (aka Korplug) variation called THOR which surfaced in July 2021, slovak cybersecurity firm ESET termed the current version Hodur. 

Korplug is a proprietary virus used widely, it was initially uncovered in a 2020 investigation that looked into Chinese hackers' activities against Australian targets. Mustang Panda employs phishing lures with counterfeit papers to target European embassies, ISPs (Internet Service Providers), and research institutes in the most recent known campaign, according to cybersecurity firm ESET. "Anti-analysis measures and control-flow obfuscation are used at every level of the deployment process," the firm told.

Hodur is based on PlugX, a remote access tool that "allows remote users to steal data or take control of impacted systems without authorization. It can copy, move, rename, execute, and delete files, as well as log keystrokes and fingerprint the infected system." The infections end with the implementation of the Hodur backdoor on the infected Windows host, irrespective of the phishing lure used. 

As formerly stated, the campaign begins simply, with the group phishing its targets using current events. Proofpoint identified it using a NATO diplomat's email address to send out.ZIP and.EXE files labeled "Situation at the EU Borders with Ukraine" last month. If a victim accepts the bait, a legitimate, properly signed executable prone to DLL search-order hijacking will be delivered. Russia, Greece, Cyprus, South Africa, Vietnam, Mongolia, Myanmar, and South Sudan are the countries targeted in this campaign. 

ESET claims to have sampled sophisticated custom loaders as well as new Korplug (Hodur) versions still using DLL side-loading but has considerably more robust obfuscation and anti-analysis techniques across the infection chain. The side-loading custom DLL loader uses a digitally-signed genuine executable, in this case, a SmadAV file, and leverages a known flaw. Except for one, which loads the new Korplug variation, the loader's many functions are all fake. 

As it is a Chinese actor with a history of pursuing higher political espionage purposes, the scope of its targeting should be rather consistent.

Iranian Hackers Employed a New Marlin Backdoor in a Surveillance Operation 


Iranian hackers are using the New Marlin backdoor as part of a long-running surveillance operation that began in April 2018. ESET, a Slovak cybersecurity firm, linked the attacks, entitled "Out to Sea," to a threat actor known as OilRig (aka APT34), firmly linking its actions to another Iranian group known as Lyceum as well (Hexane aka SiameseKitten).

Since 2014, the hacking organization has attacked Middle Eastern governments as well as a range of industry verticals, including chemical, oil, finance, and telecommunications. In April 2021, the threat actors used an implant dubbed SideTwist to assault a Lebanese company. 

"Victims of the campaign include diplomatic institutions, technological businesses, and medical organizations in Israel, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates," according to a report by ESET.

Lyceum has previously conducted campaigns in Israel, Morocco, Tunisia, and Saudi Arabia to single out IT companies. Since the campaign's discovery in 2018, the Lyceum infecting chains have developed to drop many backdoors, starting with DanBot and progressing to Shark and Milan in 2021. Later attacks, utilizing a new data harvesting virus dubbed Marlin, were detected in August 2021. 

The hacking organization discarded the old OilRig TTPs, which comprised command-and-control (C&C) connections over DNS and HTTPS. For its C2 activities, Marlin relies on Microsoft's OneDrive API. ESET identified parallels in tools and tactics between OilRig's backdoors and those of Lyceum as "too numerous and specific," stating the initial access to the network was gained through spear-phishing and management applications like ITbrain and TeamViewer. 

"The ToneDeaf backdoor connected with its C&C primarily over HTTP/S, but featured a secondary route, DNS tunneling, which did not work effectively," the researcher indicated. "Shark has similar problems, with DNS as its primary communication channel and an HTTP/S secondary one which isn't working." 

Marlin randomly selects the executable code's internal structure, denying the attacker a comprehensive assessment of instruction addresses needed to build the intended exploit payload. The findings also revealed the usage of several folders in a backdoor's file menu for sending and receiving data from the C&C server, the concurrent use of DNS as a C&C communication route while also utilizing HTTP/S as a backup communication mechanism.

More than 90% of Russians do not Finish Reading User Agreements on the Internet

A study by the information security company ESET showed that Russian Internet users do not read user agreements on websites in 81% of cases. 

13% of respondents said that they completely ignore the submitted contracts and agree with them without looking. Nearly half of Russians (49%) are either vague about user agreements on the Internet or have no idea what they mean. The absolute majority (92%) do not worry if their data is transferred to third parties: they do not try to leave the site or application, in the user agreement of which such a function is indicated. 

In comparison with citizens of Europe and the United States, Russians, in general, are less responsible for reading user agreements, said Fedor Muzalevsky, Director of the technical department of RTM Group. Experts noted that the reason for the digital illiteracy of Russians maybe those user agreements in the Russian Federation began to be applied later than in Western countries. 

Negligent attitude to user agreements can be fraught with consequences, warned Kirill Podgorny, Director of the ESET Marketing Department. According to him, there are sometimes exotic or impossible conditions in contracts. 

"A good example is the experiment of the British wireless Internet operator Purple, which introduced the clause "I undertake to go to voluntary work on cleaning public toilets" into the agreement. Out of 22 thousand users who agreed with the terms of service, only one noticed this point and complained to the provider," the experts said. 

However, far more often there are potentially dangerous ones. Thus, a condition on automatic consent to the processing of personal data is illegally added to user agreements, said Lyudmila Kurovskaya, head of the Center for Legal Assistance to Citizens in the Digital Environment.

"When citizens submit their data without going into the purpose of its processing, automatically check the boxes on websites and report excessive information about themselves, it can create conditions for leakage of their personal data," she said.

ESET: Criminals will be Able to Steal Personal Data Using Smartwatches


ESET analysts reported that cybercriminals can use smartwatches to steal personal data and warned Russians about the main dangers associated with this gadget. 

"According to our estimates, the market for smartwatches and fitness trackers will grow by 12.5 percent annually and will exceed $118 billion by 2028. Such indicators cannot but attract scammers. Therefore, it is worth understanding in advance the security and privacy risks associated with this," the ESET study says. 

The threat of data interception is due to the fact that many smartwatches and fitness trackers are synchronized with the owners' smartphones, including some applications such as e-mail or messengers. Thus, attackers can hijack both devices, which threatens, in particular, the loss of passwords. ESET further warns that the stolen personal data can then be sold on the darknet. 

Another serious risk for a cybercriminal's victim is tracking the GeoPosition of the device. Such data allows hackers to draw up a detailed diagram of the user's movements in order to attack his home or car. "The safety of children's smartwatches, which can be monitored by outsiders, is even more worrying," ESET states. Speaking about the specific vulnerabilities of smart fitness trackers, cyber specialists pay attention to Bluetooth technology, in which "numerous vulnerabilities have been discovered over the years," weak software of gadgets and paired smartphone applications that may contain coding errors. 

According to ESET analysts, risks can be reduced via the use of two-factor authentication, the use of a strong password to lock the screen, as well as a ban on external connections to smartwatches will also prevent threat. 

Data can be leaked both via the Internet and via Bluetooth a critical Bluetooth vulnerabilities allow executing arbitrary malicious code on the device and gaining full control over the device's system, as well as carrying out a man-in-the-middle attack (MiTM), which leads to the unauthorized interception of user data.

Unprotected Access to Windows' Centre: Signed Kernel Drivers


ESET researchers investigated the misuse of vulnerable kernel drivers in depth saying "Software" drivers are among the different types of kernel drivers that provide particular, non-hardware-related capabilities such as software debugging and diagnostics, as well as system analysis. These have the potential to greatly increase the attack surface. 

Although it is no longer possible to directly load a malicious, unsigned driver in current versions of Windows, and kernel rootkits are deemed obsolete, there are still ways to load malicious code into the kernel, particularly through manipulating legal, signed drivers. There are many drivers available from a variety of hardware and software suppliers that allow you to completely access the kernel with minimal effort. 

The most common vulnerabilities detected in-kernel drivers:
  • Checks that restrict read and write access to critical model-specific registers are disabled (MSRs). 
  • Exposing the ability to read and write from physical memory in user mode. 
  • The ability to read and write to virtual kernel memory from user mode is now enabled. 

"When malware actors need to run malicious code in the Windows kernel on x64 systems with driver signature enforcement in place, carrying a vulnerable signed kernel driver seems to be a viable option for doing so," says Peter Kálnai, Senior Malware Researcher at ESET and one of the report's co-investigators. 

Bring Your Own Vulnerable Driver, or BYOVD, is a technique that has been observed in the wild by both high-profile APT actors and commodity malware, such as the RobbinHood ransomware, which, as commodity malware, aims to reach as many people as possible. As a result, seeing it use a BYOVD approach is uncommon but significant. 

Mitigation strategies that work :
  • Virtualization-based security is a Windows 10 feature that uses hardware virtualization to place the kernel in a sandbox, safeguarding the operating system with various protections.
  • Drivers in recent Windows systems have a valid signature based on an "acceptable" certificate, which can be revoked. Revocation of a vulnerable driver's certificate would be a simple approach to "disarm" it and render it useless. 
  • When the most notoriously susceptible drivers are detected on a system, Microsoft and numerous third-party security product suppliers, including ESET, use driver blocklisting to detect and eliminate them. 
Vulnerable drivers have been exploited by both game cheaters and malware producers, and while significant progress has been made to reduce the impacts, the fight continues. The people responsible for the problem want to remedy it — the vendors who were contacted were quite proactive during the disclosure process, eager to repair the flaws that were discovered. 

ESET experts warned about New Year's fraud schemes

According to ESET experts, one of these fraudsters' tricks is related to travel services: criminals pretend to be employees of travel companies and ask victims to make an advance payment.

The second scheme popular among fraudsters is fake websites, where one can allegedly receive "New Year's payments from the state." "Hackers fake web pages under the banner of law firms or imitate the sites of popular banks, where they ask you to enter card details to receive funds," the experts explained.

Analysts also warned that the data on the expiration date of the bank card and the three-digit CVV number cannot be transferred under any circumstances. "This information is needed only for payment, but certainly not for receiving money," noted in ESET.

Experts have also recorded a serious increase in the number of fake food delivery sites. Fraudsters completely imitate the appearance of popular sites and then use them to find out the bank data of Russians and withdraw money from cards.

Domain names of real and fake sites often differ from each other by just one character. “For example, dellivery-club instead of delivery-club or eda.ynadex instead of,” the company explained.

Experts noted that the victims of attackers are also often fans of ski resorts. "Attackers take advantage of the desire of Russians to save money and sell fake online tickets to ski slopes," ESET stressed.

ESET experts also warned that cybercriminals often send congratulatory emails, offering to click on malicious links.

Scammers know that on the eve of the holidays, companies generously distribute bonuses and gifts to their customers, and take advantage of this. When a person clicks on such a link as a rule he gets to a phishing site where he is asked to fill in personal or banking information. Often such messages contain links to viral software.

RDP Attacks On A Massive Increase, Warns ESET Threat Report


Cybersecurity firm ESET released a report warning a sudden rise in attacks RDP (Remote desktop protocol) endpoints, besides this Nobelium gang has also been active against European government organisations. ESET data tells that attacks on RDP servers went upto 103.9% in its T1 June reports that ESET publishes three times a year. The report shows total number of identified brute force attacks to be 55 billion, owing to a hacking campaign targeting Spanish victims. From the T1 2021 ESET report, one would assume that RDP attacks would go down. 

However, it came as a surprise when RDP related attacks were found again. The pattern suggests a potential increase in hacking attempts, especially a stark one in T3, it being the busiest time of 2021. The RDP attacks notice a small increase in some parts, but there was a huge uptick in RDP attacks against the Spanish targets. ESET data suggests that the total number of attacks against the Spanish targets in August accounts for one third globally. In addition to Spain, the US, Germany and Italy were also in the list. A similar pattern was noticed in SQL password guessing incidents. Meanwhile there was a 200% increase in RDP related attacks, cryptocurrency attacks noticed a slight downside. 

ESET experts believe that there might be a relation between cryptocurrency attacks and cryptocurrency price, especially in matters of cryptomining. ESET says "our report even mentions PayPal's and Twitter's announcements which sent the prices of major cryptocurrencies up following this increase (visible in the trend toward the end of T2). If there are more high-profile adoptions/announcements supporting cryptocurrencies in the coming months, we expect their prices to grow and cryptomining to follow." 

Even though ransomware attacks observed a single digit deficit (ESET also linked it to fall in cryptocurrency prices), the company is sure that the problem still persists. It wasn't possible to keep a full account of ransomware attacks in T2 as it was too busy, however, some incidents couldn't be ignored. "The attack shutting down the operations of Colonial Pipeline – the largest pipeline company in the US – and the supply-chain attack leveraging a vulnerability in the Kaseya IT management software, sent shockwaves that were felt not only in the cybersecurity industry," says ESET.

ESET: 77% of Russian residents believe they are being tracked via their smartphones

According to a survey conducted by ESET, a company specializing in anti-virus software development and protection against cyberthreats, most Russians (77%) believe that they are being tracked via mobile devices.

Young people aged 18 to 24 expressed the least concern about possible surveillance (35%), believing it is a manifestation of paranoia. People over 35 years of age are more concerned about surveillance.

At the same time, 39.5% of respondents believe that the search history on all devices is tracked, 25.5% believe that all actions performed on the device are transmitted, 14.1% believe that they are monitored using the microphone and gadget camera, and 20.9% think that all the above means are used.

Among the main reasons why interested companies collect personal data, 65% of the study participants named the setting of targeted advertising. According to other respondents, the data is used by special services and fraudsters.

According to the study, the Russians are afraid of the use of their personal data by fraudsters, leakage of intimate videos and photos, reading correspondence and wiretapping, as well as study habits and interests based on the search history.

To avoid potential surveillance, 45% of respondents disable geolocation on their devices. Another 39% check the ability of applications to access data. 34 and 32% avoid discussing personal topics on the phone and connecting to public Wi-Fi.

In July, Pavel Durov, the founder of VKontakte and Telegram, reported about the surveillance of his mobile device with the help of a spyware program. According to him, spyware applications are able to hack any phone on the iOS and Android operating systems and there is no way to protect the device now.

The Salvation Army in the UK was Infected with Ransomware


The Register has uncovered that criminals infected the Salvation Army in the United Kingdom with ransomware and stole the organization's data. A spokeswoman for the Salvation Army confirmed that the evangelical Christian church and charity had been hacked and that it had notified UK regulators. 

She said, “We are investigating an IT incident affecting a number of our corporate IT systems. We have informed the Charity Commission and the Information Commissioner’s Office, are also in dialogue with our key partners and staff, and are working to notify any other relevant third parties. We can also confirm that our services for the vulnerable people who depend on us are not impacted and continue as normal.” 

There is currently no other information concerning the event, such as the identity of the attackers or the material that was accessed. Furthermore, no data has been found on any known ransomware gang websites. Salvation Army workers and volunteers, on the other hand, have been instructed to keep a tight eye on their accounts for any unusual banking activity or suspicious contact. 

Jake Moore, a cybersecurity specialist with Slovakian antivirus firm ESET, told The Register: “It is vital that those who could be at risk are equipped with the knowledge of how to mitigate further attacks. The first few days and weeks after a breach are the most important, as criminals will be quick to take advantage of the situation and strike while they still can.”

 “Those who may believe they have had their details taken must contact their banks to add extra fraud protection and to be on guard for extra attempts such as unsolicited calls or emails phishing for extra information,” added ESET’s Moore. 

Other information security industry sources speculated that the attacks were carried either by the Conti or Pysa ransomware gangs. Conti was the ransomware strain used by the WizardSpider gang in the Irish Health Service attack, which came dangerously close to paralyzing Irish hospitals as employees were forced to revert to pre-computer era paper-based systems. Pysa, meanwhile, has been detected targeting schools and other “soft underbelly” targets, like the Hackney Council breach late last year. 

The current ransomware attack has shown that no organization is immune to ransomware and that it must be prepared to confront attacks at any time. Keith Glancey, systems engineering manager at Infoblox, commented: “This latest attack on the UK arm of the Salvation Army shows that ransomware is growing in sophistication and that actors are getting bolder. No organization is off-limits, even those in the charity sector.”

Myanmar President’s Office Hacked for the Second Time


A cyber-espionage hacking gang is suspected of breaking into the Myanmar president's office website and injecting a backdoor trojan into a customized Myanmar font package accessible for download on the home page. ESET, a Slovak security firm, discovered the attack on Wednesday, June 02, 2021. 

The software employed in the attack resembles malware strains used in previous spear-phishing efforts intended at Myanmar targets by a Chinese state-sponsored hacker outfit known as Mustang Panda, RedEcho, or Bronze President, according to researchers. 

Mustang Panda is mostly focused on non-governmental organizations (NGOs). It employs Mongolian language decoys and themes, as well as shared malware such as Poison Ivy and PlugX, to attack its targets. Their attack chain looks something like this: 

• A malicious link is disguised using the link shortening tool and sent to a Google Drive folder.

• When you click on the Google Drive link, you'll be taken to a zip file that contains a.Ink file disguised as a.pdf file. 

• The user is redirected to a Windows Scripting Component (.wsc) file when they open the file. This file can be found on a malicious microblogging website.
• A VBScript and a PowerShell script from the Twitter page are included in the.Ink file to get the fake PDF file. 
• A Cobalt Strike ( % 20Strike) payload is created by the PowerShell script. 

• The threat actor can operate the system remotely using Cobalt Strike's connection to the command-and-control IP address. 

Mustang Panda has a history of carefully constructed email-based attacks; for this operation, the gang appears to have modified a Myanmar Unicode font package available for download on the Myanmar presidency's website. “In the archive, attackers added a Cobalt Strike loader [named] Acrobat.dll, that loads a Cobalt Strike shellcode,” the ESET team wrote in a Twitter thread. 

This loader, according to researchers, pings a command and control (C&C) server at 95.217.1[.]81. The loader resembled other malware copies that had previously been transmitted as file attachments in spear-phishing efforts directed at Myanmar targets.

The archives show signs of an advanced and stealthy cyber-espionage operation hidden in files named “NUG Meeting,” “Proposed Talking Points for ASEAN-Japan Summit.rar,” “MMRS Geneva,” “2021-03-11.lnk,” and “MOHS-3-covid.rar,” even if ESET said it has yet to officially confirm Mustang Panda's involvement beyond a doubt.

This is the second time the Myanmar president's office has been hacked in order to launch a watering hole attack. The first incident occurred between November 2014 and May 2015, when the site was used to disseminate a version of the EvilGrab malware by another alleged Chinese cyber-espionage group.

ESET has revealed a new series of Lazarus attacks

Experts of the antivirus company ESET have discovered a series of attacks, behind which is one of the most famous North Korean groups, Lazarus. The hackers targeted users of government and banking websites in South Korea. The cybercriminals used an unusual mechanism to deliver the malware, disguising themselves as stolen security software and digital certificates.

The spread of the Lazarus virus was facilitated by the fact that South Korean Internet users are often asked to install additional security programs when visiting government websites or Internet banking websites, explained the head of the investigation, Anton Cherepanov.

"The WIZVERA VeraPort integration installation program is widespread in South Korea. After installation, users can download the necessary software for a specific website. This scheme is usually used by the South Korean government and banking websites. For some of these sites, the presence of WIZVERA VeraPort is mandatory,” said Mr. Cherepanov.

Attackers used illegally obtained code signing certificates to inject malware samples. And one of these certificates was issued to a firm specializing in security - the American branch of a South Korean security company.

"Hackers disguised Lazarus malware samples as legitimate programs. These samples have the same file names, icons and resources as legitimate South Korean software," said Peter Kalnai, who was involved in the investigation of the attack.

ESET's analysis once again demonstrated the non-standard nature of the methods of intrusion, encryption and configuration of the network infrastructure, which has become the business card of Lazarus hackers.

It is worth noting that on November 13, Microsoft representatives reported that, according to their data, in recent months, three APT groups attacked at least seven companies engaged in COVID-19 research and vaccine development. The Russian-speaking group Strontium (Fancy Bear, APT28, and so on), as well as North Korean Zinc (Lazarus) and Cerium, are blamed for these attacks.

Hacker group Zinc (aka Lazarus) mainly relied on targeted phishing campaigns, sending potential victims emails with fictitious job descriptions and posing as recruiters.

ESET: hackers used the Adobe brand to attack government websites

IT specialists of the Slovak company ESET warn of a new series of attacks committed by the Turla cyber-spy group, which are aimed at websites of government agencies in the world.

"ESET, a leader in information security, has discovered a new activity of the Turla group, which is aimed at government websites. This time, cybercriminals are using social engineering techniques, using a fake Adobe Flash update as a decoy to download malicious software," said the website.

According to the report, as a result of such attacks, at least four websites, two of which belong to the government of Armenia, were infected. At the same time, these web portals have been infected at least since the beginning of 2019. ESET specialists warned the national unit of CERT of Armenia. Thus, the researchers concluded that the main target of cybercriminals is officials and politicians.

During the recorded cyberattacks, hackers infect the selected site with malicious software, which is subsequently transmitted to the devices of users of the resource. After the initial infection, Turla operators get full access to the victims' devices.

ESET specialists were not able to determine what the hackers did on infected devices, but they usually try to steal confidential documents.

According to ESET, during the latest attacks, the cybercriminals of the Turla group used a completely new backdoor called PyFlash. According to ESET experts, the authors of Turla used Python for the first time in this malicious software. The command server sends commands to the backdoor to download files, execute Windows commands, and launch and remove malicious software.

The company added that the group of cybercriminals Turla is active in most of the world, but mainly its activities are aimed at countries in Eastern Europe and East Asia. Its main goals are government and military organizations. A group of cyber spies has been working for more than ten years.