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Showing posts with label Phishing Attacks. Show all posts

20M User Data Breach Reported by PeopleConnect

Hackers stole a 2019 backup database holding the personal details of millions of users, PeopleConnect, the company behind the background check services TruthFinder and Instant Checkmate, acknowledged that they experienced a data breach.

Customers can run background checks on others using subscription-based services like TruthFinder and Instant Checkmate. Access to numerous databases containing personal data, including email addresses, physical addresses, social media profiles, arrest histories, and phone numbers, is offered.

Data for 20.22 million potential TruthFinder and Instant Checkmate users who utilized the services up to April 16th, 2019, were allegedly leaked on January 21 by a member of the Breached cybercrime and data breach forum.

When Have I Been Pwned's Troy Hunt informed PeopleConnect of the data leak, the business promptly initiated an investigation and reiterated that it intended to make the situation official? TruthFinder and Instant Checkmate received notifications from PeopleConnect stating that there had been a data breach on both sites.

"The list, which appears to cover all client accounts created between 2011 and 2019, was made, as we have confirmed, several years ago. Our organization produced the list that was published. Although our investigation is ongoing, it looks that this was an accidental list release or theft. It does not appear that any user activity, such as reports or queries on our system, was involved in the published list in question, and it does not appear that payment information, passwords that can be read or used, or other methods of breaching user accounts were involved," the data security firm told.

The business hired a cybersecurity organization from outside to look into the event, but there was no sign that their network had been compromised. PeopleConnect advises that targeted phishing attempts are to be on the lookout for and will provide more updates as new information becomes available.

Bitwarden Users Attacked via Malicious Google Ads

Utilizing Google to look up the vendor's official Web vault login page, several customers of Bitwarden's password management service last week reported seeing paid advertising to phishing sites that steal credentials.

Google ads targeting Bitwarden users

Several password managers are cloud-based, enabling users to access their passwords via websites and mobile apps unless they utilize a local password manager like KeePass. The industry has criticized KeePass for being less user-friendly than cloud-based alternatives, but technical users rely on its security because it encrypts all passwords and the entire database and is saved locally on a computer rather than in the cloud.

According to a revelation from last week, Google ads phishing efforts that sought to acquire user password vault credentials specifically targeted Bitwarden and 1Password. Malicious advertising that targets users of Bitwarden and 1Password indicates that threat actors have added a new method for breaking into password managers and compromising the accounts connected to those passwords.

When clients browsed for terms like 'bitwarden password manager' or '1Password's Web vault,' for example, the malicious advertising which customers of Bitwarden and 1Password reported seeing last week was near the top of Google's search engine results. Additionally, the landing pages are of a high caliber. One Bitwarden user discovered a phishing website that so convincingly resembled the vendor's official Site that it was difficult to distinguish the two.

Recent hacks show that a master password is a password vault's weak link. As a result that when they gain access to your login information and maybe authentication cookies, threat actors have been seen developing phishing pages that target one's password vault.

Safeguarding password storage 

It is crucial to protect password vaults since they store the most sensitive internet data. Verifying that you are entering your credentials on the right website is always the first step to take when it comes to safeguarding your password storage against phishing threats.

Attackers have been employing the vector to spread a variety of viruses or links to malicious or phishing websites in order to steal login information and other personal data. They started employing these advertisements to imitate well-known and well-liked firms more recently. 

Hardware security keys, authentication apps, and SMS verification are the three finest MFA verification techniques to utilize when securing your account, going from best to worst. The login form for a legitimate service, such as Microsoft 365, will be displayed to visitors to the phishing page using this technique. Their credentials and MFA verification codes are entered, and this information is also sent to the website. The threat actors can access your account without having to check MFA again thanks to these tokens, which have already undergone MFA verification.

eSentire: Golden Chickens Malware's Attacker Uncovered

The Threat Response Unit (TRU) of eSentire has been monitoring one of the most effective and covert malware families, Golden Chickens, for the past 16 months. The malware of choice for FIN6 and Cobalt, two of the most established and prosperous online crime organizations in Russia, who have collectively stolen an estimated $1.5 billion US, is Golden Chickens. 

The creator of a comprehensive toolkit that includes SKID, VenomKit, and Taurus Loader is Golden Chickens, widely known as VENOM SPIDER. Since at least 2012, the adversary has participated actively in Russian underground forums under the alias 'badbullzvenom,' where they have developed tools for exploiting vulnerabilities as well as for getting and retaining access to victim machines and ticketing services.

The 'Chuck from Montreal' identity used by the second threat actor Frapstar allows the cybersecurity company to link together the criminal actor's online trail.

The malware-as-a-service (MaaS) provider Golden Chickens is associated with several tools, including the JavaScript downloader More Eggs and the malicious document creator Taurus Builder. Previous More eggs efforts, some of which date back to 2017, involved spear-phishing executives on LinkedIn with phony job offers that gave threat actors remote control over victim devices, allowing them to use them to gather data or spread more malware.

By using malware-filled resumes as an infection vector, the same strategies were used last year to target corporate recruiting supervisors. The first known instance of Frapster's activities dates back to May 2015, at which point Trend Micro referred to him as a 'lone criminal' and a luxury automobile fanatic.

According to eSentire, one of the two threat actors believed to be behind the badbullzvenom account on the underground forum maybe Chuck, with the other person probably residing in Moldova or Romania. Recruiters are being duped into downloading a malicious Windows shortcut file from a website that poses as a résumé in a new assault campaign that targets e-commerce businesses, according to a Canadian cybersecurity company.

By highlighting Golden Chickens' multi-layer architecture and the MaaS's multi-client business model, researchers stress the challenges of performing accurate attribution for cyberattacks.

Phishing Scam Blank Image Masks Code in SVG Files


Researchers from Avanan have seen the worldwide spread of a new threat known as 'Blank Image,' where hackers attach blank images to HTML messages. The user is instantly sent to a malicious URL once they open the attachment.

Blank Image attack 

Based on the bogus emails, you need to sign a DocuSign document. It is cryptically called "Scanned Remittance Advice.htm". An SVG picture encoded with Base64 is in the HTML file, these SVG vector pictures encoded in HTML attachments are used by scammers to get around the security features that are often turned on automatically in email inboxes. 

SVGs, are based on XML and are vector images, that can contain HTML script elements, in contrast to raster images like JPG and PNG. An SVG image is displayed and the JavaScript embedded in it is executed when an HTML document uses a <embed> or <iframe> tag to display the image.

Although the message's body seems fairly safe, opening the HTML attachment lets its malicious payload loose on your device. This file contains the attack's script rather than the XML information that a typical SVG would include.

As per researchers, this is a creative approach to mask the message's genuine intention. It avoids being scanned by conventional Click-Time Protection and VirusTotal, most security services are defenseless against these assaults because of the piling of obfuscation upon obfuscation.

Therefore, users should keep away from any emails that have HTML or.htm attachments. Administrators should consider preventing HTML attachments and treating them the same as executables (.exe, .cab).

This attack can be linked to a prior 'MetaMorph' assault initially discovered by Avanan a few years ago, wherein phishing actors employ meta refresh to drive users away from a locally hosted HTML attachment and onto a phishing website on the open internet. A meta refresh is a feature that tells a web browser to automatically reload the current web page after a specified amount of time.

HTML-containing emails and .HTM attachments should be handled carefully by users. Avanan also advises admins to think about blocking them.

To Get Around Security, Hackers Use This Old Trick


An old vulnerability in Intel drivers is being exploited by cybercriminals in an attempt to gain access to networks. This is in the form of a security flaw that enables them to get around cybersecurity measures and bypass security systems.  

According to cybersecurity researchers at CrowdStrike, one of the groups tracking the attack is Scattered Spider, also known as Roasted 0ktapus and UNC3944. This group is responsible for the attack on Windows PCs. The campaign has been identified as the work of a cybercriminal group. 

As a financially motivated cybercrime operation, Scattered Spider is described by researchers as especially interested in targeting business outsourcing companies and telecom companies. Obtaining access to the mobile carrier network is the project's main objective.  

Attackers may have initially used phishing attacks using SMS messages to gain access to networks by stealing usernames and passwords. This is to get into them. Several instances have been recorded where attackers have hacked into devices and exploited this access to gain access to other credentials. The group appears to be engaged in SIM-swapping attacks as well.   

As soon as Scattered Spider has gained access to a network, it makes use of a technique called "Bring Your Own Vulnerable Driver" (BYOD), which is designed to exploit security loopholes within the Windows platform.  Microsoft tries to limit the ability of malware to gain access to systems by preventing unsigned kernel-mode drivers from being run by default, but hackers can get around this by installing a legitimately signed but malicious driver, enabling them to carry out attacks despite this. The BYOVD system allows attackers to use unsigned kernel-mode drivers to carry out attacks.   

An attacker may find a way to hack legitimately signed certificates while taking advantage of workarounds to be able to self-sign their own certificates or obtain certificates through deception. Regardless of how they were obtained, the malware may then secretly run on computers, install their own drivers, and disable the security products on them. This is so that their activity can easily be hidden.  

They do not use any malware for this purpose to operate as discreetly as possible. They instead install a large number of legitimate remote access tools that will ensure persistence on the compromised system after they have been compromised. 

There is a vulnerability in the Intel Ethernet diagnostics driver for Windows, which has been identified by CrowdStrike as one of how attackers can deliver malicious kernel drivers.

This vulnerability has been known for a long time, as the ID number suggests. If the security update that closes the vulnerability has not been applied to the system, cybercriminals will still be able to exploit it on the system.  

To combat this and other attacks involving abused signed drivers in the future, researchers urge users to patch vulnerable drivers as a priority.  

There have been several tools that have been compromised by attackers. These include Microsoft Defender for Endpoint, Palo Alto Networks Cortex XDR, and SentinelOne, as well as CrowdStrike's own Falcon security product that attackers have attempted to bypass. Researchers at CrowdStrike claim that Falcon can detect and prevent malicious activity that is being performed by cybercriminals when trying to install and run their own code.  

It has been warned previously by Microsoft that attacks are increasingly targeting legitimate drivers in the ecosystem and infecting computers through their vulnerabilities. Despite Microsoft's efforts to prevent abuse, this attack technique is still successfully used today. 

Scattered Spider seems to be targeting a specific set of industries with this campaign. In contrast, CrowdStrike recommends that security professionals in every industry develop a strategy to ensure the security of their networks against attack, irrespective of their industry type. As an example, this can be achieved by applying the old security patch that has been installed.  

Microsoft also provides advice on how you can help harden services by blocking drivers according to the recommended rules. As with any software or hardware, removing drivers from a device may lead to the malfunctioning of the device or software, and, in some cases, a blue screen of death. A vulnerable driver blocklist cannot guarantee that all drivers found to have vulnerabilities will be identified and eliminated from the list.  

Dark Pink: New APT Group Targets Asia-Pacific, Europe With Spear Phishing Attacks

A new wave of advanced persistent threat (APT) attacks has been discovered, that is apparently launched by a threat group named Dark Pink. 

The attack was launched between June and December 2022 and has been targeting countries in the Asia-Pacific, such as Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Along with these, one European country, Bosnia and Herzegovina was also targeted. 

Details Of The Attack 

The attack was first discovered by Albert Priego, a Group-IB malware analyst, and was labeled ‘The Dark Pink.’  This APT group has also been named Saaiwc Group by a Chinese cybersecurity researcher. 

Researchers from Group-IB found activity on Dark Pink's GitHub account, which suggests that Dark Pink's operations may be traced as far back as mid-2021. However, from mid to late 2022, the group's activity increased significantly. 

In regards to the attack, the Group-IB stated in a blog post that the Dark Pink operators are “leveraging a new set of tactics, techniques, and procedures rarely utilized by previously known APT groups.” Furthermore, Group-IB wrote of a custom toolkit "featuring four different infostealer: TelePowerBot, KamiKakaBot, Cucky, and Ctealer." 

These infostealers are being utilized by the threat group to extract important documents stored inside government and military networks. 

Group-IB discovered one of Dark Pink's spear-phishing emails that were used to obtain the initial access. In this case, the threat actor purported to be a candidate for a PR and communications intern position. The threat actor may have scanned job boards and used this information to construct highly relevant phishing emails when they mention in the email that they found the position on a jobseeker website. 

This simply serves to highlight how precisely these phishing emails are crafted in to appear so dangerous. 

Reportedly, Dark Pink possesses the ability to exploit the USB devices linked to compromised systems. Moreover, Dark Pink can also access the messengers installed on the infected computers. 

Dark Pink APT Group Remains Active 

The Dark Pink APT group still remains active. Since the attacks continued until the end of 2022, Group-IB is still investigating the issue and estimating its size. 

The company hopes to unveil the operators’ identity, and states in the blog post that the initial research conducted on the incident should "go a long way to raising awareness of the new TTPs utilized by this threat actor and help organizations to take the relevant steps to protect themselves from a potentially devastating APT attack." 

JsonWebToken Library Security Flaw: Used in 20,000+ Projects

In the widely-used open-source project, JavaScript library JsonWebToken researchers from Palo Alto Networks unit 42 found a new high-severity vulnerability   CVE-2022-23529. 

Palo Alto Networks released a security advisory on Monday highlighting how the weakness could be used by an attacker to execute code remotely on a server that was verifying a maliciously constructed JSON web token (JWT) request. 

The JSON web token JavaScript module, designed and maintained by Okta's Auth0, enables users to decode, validate, and create JSON web tokens as a way of securely communicating information among two entities enabling authorization and authentication. The npm software registry receives more than 10 million downloads per week and is used in more than 22,000 projects.

Therefore, the capability of running malicious code on a server could violate confidentiality and integrity guarantees, enabling a bad actor to alter any files on the host and carry out any operation of its choice using a contaminated private key. However, Unit 42 cautions that to exploit it, malicious actors would need to first breach the secret management procedure with an app and a JsonWebToken server, dropping the severity level to 7.6/10.

Researchers discovered that after verifying a maliciously constructed JWS token, threat actors might use JsonWebToken to execute remote malware on servers. This is aided by a bug in JsonWebToken's verify() method, which checks a JWT and returns the decoded data. The token, the secretOrPublicKey, and options are the three inputs that this method accepts.

Artur Oleyarsh of Palo Alto Networks Unit 42 said, "An attacker will need to leverage a fault within the secret management mechanism to exploit the vulnerability mentioned in this post and manipulate the secretOrPublicKey value."

The security researcher claims that the Auth0 technical team released a patch for the vulnerability in December 2022. "We appreciate the Auth0 team's competent handling of the disclosure procedure and the provision of a patch for the reported vulnerability," said Oleyarsh.

In summary, the cybersecurity analyst stressed the importance of security awareness when utilizing open-source software. It is critical that downstream users proactively identify, mitigate, and patch vulnerabilities in such products as open-source software often appears as a lucrative first entry pathway for threat actors to stage supply chain attacks. The fact that hackers are now considerably faster at exploiting recently discovered flaws, substantially reducing the time between a patch release and exploit availability, simply makes matters difficult.

Hackers Target Chick-fil-A Customers Credentials

Chick-fil-A- is investigating concerns of suspicious transactions on its mobile app after multiple users claimed that hackers gained their personal data, including bank account details.

Customers at Chick-fil-A, a well-known chicken restaurant business, may be the latest targets of hackers. According to a recent article in Nation's Restaurant News, the fast food chain is investigating potential hacks of mobile apps that have exposed customers' sensitive information.

According to Krebs on Security, one bank claimed it had nearly 9,000 customer card details listed in an alert sent to various financial institutions regarding a breach at an anonymous retailer that occurred between December 2, 2013, and September 30, 2014, and that Chick-fil-A locations were the only common point-of-purchase. As per Krebs, "the majority of the fraud, according to a financial source, appeared to be centered at sites in Georgia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia."

Customers are recommended to promptly change their passwords to new ones that are distinct, complex, and therefore not used for other online platforms or accounts if they detect anything unusual.

In regard to the reports, Chick-fil-A posted a statement on social media stating that the company is aware of the matter and is working quickly to resolve it. The business does point out that it has not discovered proof that its internal security has been infiltrated by hackers or otherwise compromised.

Customers who are impacted can find information on what to do if they see any suspicious activity on their accounts, can see mobile orders placed without their consent, or discover that their loyalty points were fraudulently redeemed or used to purchase gifts on a support page on Chick-fil-One A's Membership Program customer service website.

Snatch Ransomware Targets Volvo Cars 


Volvo revealed in a press release that some of its research and development assets were the target of a cyberattack.

The ransomware organization Snatch reportedly released pictures of stolen Volvo papers into the darknet on November 30, according to the Swiss tech news blog INSIDE IT.

As per the company, owned by Geely of China, "Volvo Cars have learned that one of the file sources has been unlawfully acquired by a third party. The limited amount of R&D assets stolen during the hack has been confirmed by investigations so far."

An effort to sell data seized from Volvo Cars was initially discovered by French cybersecurity expert Anis Haboubi on a popular phishing site. 

On December 31, 2022, a forum user going by the online alias IntelBroker reported that VOLVO CARS had been the target of a ransomware attack. He alleges that the Endurance Ransomware gang attacked the business and stole 200GB of private information that is now being peddled.

Database access, CICD access, Atlassian access, domain access, WiFi hotspots and logins, auth bearers, API access, PAC security access, employee lists, licenses, keys, and system files are all being offered  by IntelBroker for $2500 in Monero, who has also shared a number of screenshots as evidence of the hack.
Based on the currently available information, the business does not believe this will affect the safety or security of its customers' cars or their personal information. Volvo, situated in Goteborg, is now investing money to electrify every vehicle in its lineup by 2030.

However, Bleeping Computer stated that the Snatch ransomware gang was claiming responsibility for the attack. A spokesman earlier told AFP that the company had not been hit by ransomware and remained in full control of its data.

On November 30, the extortion gang published a new post on their data leak website detailing how they had broken into Volvo Car Corporation's servers and taken files during the incursion. The entry included screenshots of the taken files as evidence.

Since then, Snatch has also released 35.9 MB of just what it claim are papers that were taken during the hack from Volvo's systems. Volvo refused to respond when a cybersecurity firm emailed it to ask if the screenshots published by the Snatch extortion group were actually of files stolen from its systems.

Cybercriminals Use Google Ads to Deploy Malware


Hackers are utilizing the Google Ads service more consistently than ever before to transmit malware. As soon as the victims click the download link on the threat actors' fake versions of the official websites, trojanized software is distributed. 

Grammarly, MSI Afterburner, Slack, Dashlane, Malwarebytes, Audacity, Torrent, OBS, Ring, AnyDesk, Libre Office, Teamviewer, Thunderbird, and Brave are some of the companies impersonated in these operations.

Raccoon Stealer, a modified variant of Vidar Stealer, and the IcedID loader are two examples of malware propagating to victims' systems. As a result, anyone looking for reliable software on a site with no active ad blocker will see commercials first and be more inclined to click on them because they closely resemble the search result.

Threat actors use a method in that phase to get beyond Google's automatic checks. If Google determines that the launch site is malicious, the operation is blocked and the advertisements are withdrawn. The trick, according to Guardio and Trend Micro, is to send users who click on the advertisement to a malicious site imitating the software project from a relevant but innocuous site made by the threat actor.

Vermux, a threat group, was discovered employing a significant number of masquerAds websites and domains, mainly operating out of Russia, to target GPUs and cryptocurrency wallets owned by Americans.

According to the researchers, in October they came across a malvertising operation where hackers, identified as DEV-0569, utilized Google Ads to send consumers to a malicious file download page. Microsoft claimed that it informed Google about the traffic distribution network abuse.

As per Microsoft, the techniques enable the group to reach more people and increase the number of victims. From August through October, Microsoft observed the threat actor distributing the BATLOADER malware using phishing emails that seemed to be genuine installers for various programs, including TeamViewer, Adobe Flash Player, Zoom, and AnyDesk. 

Use the necessary safety protocols such as an ad-blocker on your browser to block these campaigns by prohibiting Google Search sponsored results from appearing. Users should scroll down until they find the desired software project's official domain. Furthermore, a suspicious installer's unusually large file size is a red flag.  

Christmas Eve Hack Targets Arnold Clark

Hackers launched a notorious Christmas Eve cyberattack against Arnold Clark, a car dealership. The network issue that has affected computer and telephone services has caused customers who had appointments this week for maintenance and repairs to be rescheduled.

Uncertainty surrounds the issue's timing as the vehicle manufacturer operates two dealerships in the town both on Annan Road. This incident is just one indication of how susceptible businesses can be to online crime, especially over the holidays when many firms are less watchful of security precautions than they typically would be.

The company's IT security staff confirmed that, as of right now, there is no proof of client data being compromised when the system fault first surfaced on Christmas Eve.

On Wednesday, an official told the newspaper: "Over the Christmas holiday, we experienced a network issue that had an impact on both our computer and phone systems. Through their investigations so far, our IT security team has verified that there is no proof that any customer data has been hacked. We want to take this chance to express our gratitude to our clients for their understanding and our regret for any trouble this may have caused."

The attack's origin is still an enigma, but it might have been brought on by various factors. It is possible that an employee unintentionally clicked a harmful link or attachment in an email, allowing hackers to access the company's networks. Another theory is that the attack occurred via a zero-day exploit, which refers to a software flaw previously unknown and used by hackers to enter networks before it is too late.

If sufficient cybersecurity precautions are not taken, cyberattacks such as the one Arnold Clark experienced can occur at any moment and cause significant harm. Businesses must ensure they have sufficient safeguards in place, including multi-factor authentication and frequent system updates, as well as educate their personnel on fundamental cybersecurity concepts like avoiding clicking links from unknown sources and maintaining passwords safe and secure.

Threats of Discord Virus: Ways to Eliminate it

Discord has gained popularity as a tool for creating communities of interest since the launch of its chat and VoIP services, notably among gamers. Discord can be exploited, though, similar to any other platform that contains user-generated material. 

It was discovered in 2021 that hackers carried out a number of malware attacks targeting Discord. Cybercriminals use various techniques to spread more than 20 different varieties that have been found. Due to Discord's broad customizability possibilities, common users are vulnerable to attacks inside and outside the chat server. Recent security analysis on Discord has uncovered a number of cyberattack scenarios connected to its chat service, which can be quite risky for users.

How does the Discord virus infiltrate the system?

The common phrase used to describe malware programs exchanged using the official Discord app is 'Discord Virus.' To get Discord users to run malicious software, cybercriminals use a variety of tactics, the pirated version of Discord Nitro is also frequently offered by attackers. 

The Discord software has a premium edition called Discord Nitro that is packed with more sophisticated capabilities. It is important to understand that the Discord Nitro app cannot be cracked because the premium features are delivered over the servers and not embedded into the app.

The system does display a few typical signs that point to the existence of Trojan infection:
  • The CPU is abruptly utilized more than normal
  • The system regularly glitches
  • Malicious pop-ups are constantly flooding browser
  • The user is not asked to initiate the opening of a window
  • Redirection to suspicious or unreliable websites
How to Update and Fix Discord

1. Operate discord as an administrator

Running the application with administrative rights may be a simple way to fix the Discord Update Failure problem. You can download and run the most recent Discord update due to this enabling the updater to change your device.

2. Give the update.Exe file a new name

A bug with the application's update.exe file was discovered by Discord's troubleshooters. For the best chance of successfully updating Discord to the most recent version, try renaming this file.

Copy "C: Users Username AppData" without the quotations and put it into the Windows + R keyboard shortcut. The username should be changed to the username for your local account.

3. Avoid using windows defender

The Discord Update occasionally crashes due to conflicts with Windows 10's default antivirus protections. Disabling Windows Defender will allow you to try updating Discord.

4. Disable your antivirus temporarily

Antivirus programs have a reputation for causing problems on computers by obstructing your internet service or preventing services and apps from operating as intended.

Discord can give rise to predatory behaviors like cyberbullying. Additionally, extreme organizations utilize Discord to recruit new members and keep in touch with them. You should take precautions against malicious users on Discord and never give out your personal information to anyone.

While utilizing the service, Discord provides a list of precautions to take in order to avoid spam and hacking. One recommendation is to create secure passwords that are less likely to be hacked. Additionally, individuals can defend themselves by scanning for suspected phishing attempts. 

FBI: To Install Malware, Hackers are Buying Ad Services


The FBI has recommended the citizens to download an ad blocker in order to safeguard themselves from internet security dangers, as cybercriminals use ads to spread ransomware and steal information.  

Trend Micro claims that Royal is the beta version version of the Zeon ransomware that first appeared this year and was linked in August to Conti Team One, one of the organizations responsible for the propagation of the Conti ransomware.

There were three groups of cybercriminals operating behind Conti, one of which switched to Quantum ransomware, another operating the Black Basta, Karakurt, and Blackbyte ransomware families, as well as Royal, and the third being shut down in early 2022, as per a chart that a security expert Vitali Kremez shared in August.

Royal ransomware has been employed in assaults mostly aimed at targets in the US and Brazil, according to Trend Micro. It is typically delivered via callback phishing, tricking victims into downloading remote access software.

The FBI highlighted that these adverts were also used to spoof financial websites, notably exchange platforms for cryptocurrencies.

Businesses employ search engine advertising services to make sure their ads show up at the top of search results with the smallest possible difference between an advertisement and a real internet search result. However, the warning noted that online criminals are also using domains that are similar to legitimate businesses or services to purchase these services for illicit reasons.

How to spot fake advertisements:
  • Prior to clicking an advertisement, check the URL. Look out for typos or unusual suffixes on a link because it will reveal the true URL.
  • If you want to look up businesses, enter the address in the browser's address bar rather than using a search engine like Google. 
  • Try using an ad blocker. These block all advertisements, so you can simply avoid being targeted by fraudulent ads but also fail to see any legitimate ones.
Ad blockers can help consumers avoid misleading adverts, but they can also severely damage their online experience. Many websites depend on advertising, thus some won't let you visit if you are using an ad blocker. When using an ad blocker, be sure to put your preferred websites to the list of the program. This will allow you to see advertising on this site but prevent you from seeing them elsewhere.

To assure the development of strong, safe passwords and keep away of malicious practices, the FBI also advises utilizing a password manager. Another effective strategy for protecting against online attacks is antivirus software.

DDoS-for-Hire Websites are Seized by Authorities


According to Europol, international police deactivated roughly 50 well-known websites that charged users to perform distributed denial-of-service attacks and detained seven people who were allegedly the sites' administrators.

Operation Power Off was a coordinated effort by law enforcement agencies in the US, the Uk, the Netherlands, Poland, and Germany to combat attacks that have the potential to shut down the internet.

According to the police, the defendants misrepresented their websites as being services that could be employed for network testing while actually charging users for DDoS assaults against universities, government organizations, gaming platforms, and millions of people both domestically and overseas. Websites are rendered unavailable by DDoS attacks, which function by flooding them with unwanted traffic.

"These DDoS-for-hire websites, with paying customers both inside and outside the US, enabled network outages on a massive scale, targeting millions of victim computers around the world," said Antony Jung, special agent in charge of the operation at the FBI's field office in Anchorage, Alaska. Before purchasing or offering these illicit services, prospective users and administrators should exercise caution.

The largest DDoS-for-hire services are available on these sites, according to the UK's National Crime Agency (NCA), one of which has been used to launch more than 30 million attacks in its existence. Additionally, it has taken possession of customer data and, pending examination, may soon take legal action against UK site visitors.

DDoS Attack Is Illegal

DDoS poses the risk of lowering the barrier to entry for cybercrime. As per Europol, anyone with no technical expertise can start DDoS attacks with the press of a button for as little as $10, taking down entire networks and websites.

The harm they can cause to victims can be severe, financially crushing businesses and stripping people of necessary services provided by banks, governmental agencies, and law enforcement. Many young IT enthusiasts participate in this allegedly low-level crime feeling motivated by their imagined anonymity, unaware of the potential repercussions of such online activity.

The police take DDoS attacks seriously. Irrespective of their size, all users are monitored by law authorities, whether they are high-level hackers launching DDoS assaults against for-profit targets or casual users kicking their rivals out of video games.

Phishing: The Biggest Security Threat of 2023

The year is about to end and every year we are witnessing that cybercriminals are advancing their methods of attacking systems and networks. Therefore there are various reasons why private firms and federal agencies should be more prepared for the coming years. As per the recent analysis Phishing attacks will be the greatest security threat in 2023. 

What should be done and what should be avoided?  

According to security analysts, Phishing attacks are more popular among other methods of targeting victims and have already claimed millions of victims worldwide. As per the ratio of attacks, phishing attacks are still on the rise. 

When we talk about phishing first we need to know why is phishing so dangerous? Because the emails that you receive from hackers will appear legitimate and use elements of social engineering to make victims far more likely to fall for the scam. 

Following the steps, hackers often fooled victims into providing their sensitive data and credentials such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, and detailed account information in hopes of rectifying some nonexistent issues with an account. 

Furthermore, 74% of organizations in the United States suffered from a successful phishing attack last year, which is a 14% increase from 2019. 

Subbu Iyer, regional director for India and ASEAN, at Forescout Technologies, said that "digital transformation wave even as the cybersecurity teams in most companies are perennially understaffed and under-resourced. Poor knowledge of digitization, lack of cyber skills, and inadequately trained cybersecurity professionals are some of the factors leading to elevated cyber threats." 

Below are the indicators to identify whether the email you have received is legitimate or a scam. 

  • If you look closely you will notice poor grammar and spelling mistakes in the message.  
  • You will see that the email is coming from unusual email addresses, for instance, "4m4zon" instead of "amazon". 
  • The email includes links, if a source asks you to click on it, this is likely a sign of phishing.

How you can secure your system from phishing attacks? 

One way to protect your company from phishing attacks is to educate users and all employees. Educate them on how they can identify a phishing email and what could be done to avoid losses after receiving a phishing email. Furthermore, advanced technology and updated systems are required at the workplace to fight against phishing attacks and their consequences.

 Find Out if Your Email Address Is Being Sold on the Dark Web

Almost everybody uses email. You have probably had a data breach if your private information, like your email address, is discovered on the dark web. There are numerous methods to sell and use your personal information.  

The portion of the Internet that is hidden and inaccessible with a standard web browser is known as the dark web.  The dark web's material is encrypted and needs special permission to access. The most popular method for accessing the black web is Tor, a program that masks IP addresses and locations. Additionally, hackers can easily purchase and sell identity-related information on the dark web, including credit card data, Social Security numbers, medical records, passports, etc. 

How to search for your email on the dark web

1. Launch a computer scan

Unusual or suspicious activity is a certain indication that your email account has been hijacked. Monitoring your laptop for viruses. For instance, it is very likely that your account has been hijacked if you find that your recovery email address or phone number has changed. 

2. Search Have I Been PWned?

You can utilize the website Have I Been Pwned to determine whether your data has been exposed as a result of a breach. The free tool gathers data while searching the internet for database dumps.

3. Employ a password manager

The entire objective of password managers is to assist users with all aspects of password management. A built-in password generator is typically included with password managers, allowing you to create complicated, secure passwords right away. 

4. Make use of two-factor authentication

A hacker will have a much harder time gaining access thanks to the additional layer of security provided by two-factor authentication. 

You must confirm the login attempt after providing your normal information. Usually, to do this, you will get a text message with a random number that you must enter in order to access your account. By doing this, even someone who knows your email and password cannot access your accounts.  

In some circumstances, opening a new email account could be the best and safest choice. From social media to banking, disconnect all of the accounts from the compromised address and link them to a new one.  

Users ought to use more than one email account to achieve optimal security. Decentralizing your online presence and protecting your devices from cyber risks can be accomplished in large part by setting up distinct accounts for work, banking services, social networking, and newsletter subscriptions. Users must ensure they are aware of cybersecurity fundamentals because maintaining online safety takes more than just securing their email account.

Deepfake Phishing: A New Tool of Threat Actors


Deepfake Phishing is an emerging attack vector that security experts should be concerned about because of the development of increasingly advanced AI, audio, and video technology as well as the abundance of user personal data that is available on social media. 

How deepfake targets victims 

Hackers utilize AI and machine learning to analyze a variety of information, including photos, videos, and audio snippets, to carry out a deepfake phishing assault. They build a computerized representation of a person using this data. 

Deepfakes have primarily been used up until now for political and entertainment purposes, both good and bad. This strategy's best instance occurred earlier this year. Patrick Hillmann, the chief communication officer at Binance, was the subject of a deepfake hologram created by hackers using information from prior interviews and media appearances. 

With this strategy, threat actors can disobey biometric authentication systems in addition to imitating a person's physical characteristics to deceive human users via social engineering. 

Because of this, Avivah Litan, a Gartner analyst, advises businesses "not to rely on biometric certification for user authentication apps unless it incorporates effective deepfake detection that verifies user liveness and authenticity." 

Litan also points out that as AI used in these assaults develops, it will likely become harder to identify these kinds of attacks as it becomes able to produce more convincing auditory and visual representations. 

Deepfake phishing's state in 2022 and beyond 

Although deepfake technology is still in its infancy, it is becoming more and more popular. It is already being used experimentally by cybercriminals to execute attacks against unwary consumers and organizations. 

The World Economic Forum (WEF) estimates that there are now 900% more deepfake films online each year. In addition, VMware discovers a 23% rise from last year in the proportion of defenders reporting detecting malicious deepfakes utilized in an attack. 

These assaults have deadly effectiveness. For instance, in 2021, fraudsters impersonated the CEO of a significant firm using AI voice cloning, and they deceived the bank manager of the company into transferring $35 million to another account in order to complete an "acquisition." 

A similar incident took place in 2019. Using AI to pretend to be the CEO of the company's German parent company, a fraudster called the CEO of a UK energy company. He asked for a $243,000 quick transfer to a Hungarian supplier. 

According to several analysts, deepfake phishing will only increase, and threat actors will continue to develop phony content that is both more complex and convincing. 

“As deepfake technology matures, [attacks using deepfakes] are expected to become more common and expand into newer scams,” stated KPMG analyst Akhilesh Tuteja. “They are increasingly becoming indistinguishable from reality. It was easy to tell deepfake videos two years ago, as they had a clunky [movement] quality and … the faked person never seemed to blink. But it’s becoming harder and harder to distinguish it now.” 

Prevention Tips 

Security professionals must regularly train end users about this and other new attack routes. Before a deepfake attack spreads, it could be possible to halt it using some unexpected low-tech techniques. 

With security awareness training, there is a genuine chance that you will get bored, but making it satisfying, rewarding, and competitive may help you remember the information. Pre-shared codes may be necessary for an authorized person to transfer substantial sums of money, or multiple persons may need to approve the transaction. 

Employees will likely find the deepfake phishing awareness training to be very interesting, funny, and educational. Share convincing deep fake movies and instruct viewers to watch out for telltale signs like unblinking eyes, unusual lighting, and peculiar facial movements.

Microsoft : Windows 11's Upgraded Phishing Tools

Microsoft installed phishing defense in Windows 11 Version 22H2 to help reduce the ongoing danger of identity fraud.

A phishing attempt frequently takes the shape of an email that closely resembles the real thing and leads the recipient to a bogus login page. The most convincing phishing attempts closely resemble the logos, language, and layout.

The Windows 11 software system includes improved phishing security that instantly recognises risk when users type their passwords into any app or website. According to a post by Microsoft, Windows can determine whether an app or website is secure and will alert users when it isn't.

Admins can better defend themselves against such exploits by being aware of when a password has been stolen. When Windows 11 defends against one phishing attack, the threat intelligence streams to defend other Windows users using other apps and websites that are also under attack.

Users are also advised to update their passwords. Once activated, it can alert users using Chrome or Microsoft Edge to potentially dangerous websites. The improved phishing protection function integrates with ones system's local PC account, Azure, or Microsoft Active Directory.

Compared to earlier releases, Windows 11 has greater security features. For maximum security, you will want to modify Windows Security in addition to biometrics like Windows Hello's facial recognition.

Enable BitLocker encryption on the system drive as well to safeguard your data. The user may occasionally need to turn Windows Security off and back on for a variety of reasons, even if utilising it is a no-brainer.

If users enter their password into a malicious website in any Chromium browser or in an app that connects to a phishing site, a blocking dialogue warning is presented asking them to change it.

Windows 11 alerts users that storing their password locally, such as in Notepad or any Microsoft 365 software, is risky and prompts them to delete the password from the file.

Sophos 2023 Threat Report: Cryptocurrency Will Fuel Cyberattacks

The Sophos 2022 Threat Report, released by Sophos, a pioneer in next-generation cybersecurity, illustrates how the gravitational influence of ransomware is attracting other cyber threats to building one vast, linked ransomware delivery system, having essential ramifications for IT security.

Entry-level hackers can buy malware and spyware installation tools from illicit markets like Genesis, and also sell illegal passwords or other data in mass. Access brokers increasingly sell other criminal groups' credentials and susceptible software exploits.

A new ransomware-as-a-service economy has emerged in the last decade due to the rising popularity of ransomware. In 2022, this as-a-service business model has grown, and almost every component of the cybercrime toolkit from initial infection to methods of evading detection is now accessible for purchase, according to the researchers.

Several step-by-step tools and methods that attackers might use to spread the ransomware were revealed when an affiliate of the Conti ransomware published the deployment guide supplied by the operators. RaaS affiliates and other ransomware operators can use malware distribution platforms and IABs to discover and target potential victims once they have the virus they require. The second significant trend predicted by Sophos is being fueled by this.

Gootloader was launching innovative hybrid operations in 2021, as per Sophos's research, that blended broad campaigns with rigorous screening to identify targets for particular malware packs.

Ransomware distribution and delivery will continue to be adapted by well-known cyber threats. Which include spam, spyware, loaders, droppers, and other common malware in addition to increasingly sophisticated, manually handled first access brokers.

Data theft and exposure, threatening phone calls, distributed denial of service (DDoS) assaults, and other pressure tactics were all included in the list of ten pressure methods Sophos incident responders compiled in 2021.

Cryptocurrency will continue to feed cybercrimes like ransomware and unlawful crypto mining. In 2021, Sophos researchers discovered crypto miners like Lemon Duck and MrbMiner, which installed themselves on machines and servers by using newly revealed vulnerabilities and targets that had already been compromised by ransomware operators. Sophos anticipates that the trend will continue until international cryptocurrencies are better regulated.

In addition to promoting their products, cybercrime vendors sometimes post job openings to hire attackers with specialized capabilities. In addition to profiles of their abilities and qualifications, job seekers are posting help-wanted sites on some markets, which also have technical hiring personnel.

As web services grow, different kinds of credentials, particularly cookies, can be utilized in a variety of ways to penetrate networks more deeply and even get through MFA. Credential theft continues to be one of the simplest ways for new criminals to enter gray markets and start their careers.

Google Play Protect Shields Users From Cyberattacks

The leading Android devices all use Google Play Services as a key component. It serves as a link between the Android OS and programs, mostly Google programs and programs from other developers that make use of Google authentication, cloud services, and Game Dashboard.

You could use an Android app that protects users from severe cyberattacks and operates through the official Google Play store called Google Play Protect.

According to a security notice from Google, "Google Play Protect removes apps that have been marked as potentially hazardous because the app actually contains malicious behavior, not only because we are unsure if the app is harmful or not."

Before allowing you to download an app, the feature verifies its security. To deceive users into manually installing the infected files, some of these malicious sites invite victims to download phoney security tools or upgrades.

Four malicious apps were detected by research:
  • Bluetooth App Sender
  • Bluetooth Auto Connect
  • Driver: Bluetooth, USB, Wi-Fi
  • Mobile Transfer: smart switch
More than a million people have downloaded all of the applications together, and they invite a significant danger of identity theft and scams.

"These apps offer capabilities that consumers desire, such as device rooting and other developer features. Users knowingly install these potentially hazardous apps," as per Google.

Essentially Google Play Protect will initially issue a warning about the app's possible dangers when a user starts to install an app that Google has categorized as 'user-wanted.'  Google will not send any more warnings if the user decides to install the program anyhow.

Main functions of Google Play Protect:
  • Verifies the security of downloaded programs from the Google Play store.
  • Detects potentially hazardous programs outside the Google Play store.
  • Warns you about hazardous applications.
  • Removes or disables unwanted applications.
  • Alerts you to apps that break the rules by hiding or making false representations of themselves.
  • Sends you privacy alerts about applications that may request access to your personal information.
  • To protect your privacy, reset your app's permissions.
Google stated in its security note that "after installation, the user-wanted classifications restrict Google Play Protect from delivering additional warnings, so there is no disturbance to the user experience."

The Google Play Services platform also enables Google to push Project Mainline modules, allowing your device to receive security upgrades without having to wait for the producer to release them.