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Analysis on Agent Tesla's Successor

OriginLogger, a malware that has been hailed as the replacement for the well-known data theft and remote access trojan (RAT) noted as Agent Tesla, had its functioning dissected by Palo Alto Networks Unit 42

Agent Tesla, one of the most notorious keyloggers used by hackers, was shut down on March 4, 2019, due to legal issues. It is a remote access program built on the.NET platform, that has long existed in the cyber realm, enabling malicious actors to obtain remote access to target devices and transmit user data to a domain under their control. It has been in the public since 2014 and is promoted for sale on dark web forums. Typically, attackers send it as an attachment in harmful spam emails.

Since Agent Tesla and OriginLogger are both commercialized keyloggers, it should not be assumed that one has a distinct advantage over the other in terms of initial droppers. 

Security company Sophos revealed two new versions of the common virus in February 2021, with the ability to steal login information from online browsers, email clients, and VPN clients as well as use the Telegram API for command and control.

According to Unit 42 researcher Jeff White, what has been labeled as Agent Tesla version 3 is OriginLogger, which is alleged to have emerged to fill the gap left by the former after its operators shut down the business.

A YouTube video explaining its features served as the foundation for the cybersecurity company's study, which resulted in the detection of a malware sample "OriginLogger.exe" that was added to the VirusTotal malware archive on May 17, 2022.

The binary is a developer code that enables a purchased client to specify the kind of data to be acquired, including screenshots, the clipboard, and the list of services and programs from which the keys are to be retrieved.

Unlike the IP addresses linked to originpro[.]me, 74.118.138[.]76 resolves to 0xfd3[.]com rather than any OriginLogger domains directly. Turning to this domain reveals that it has MX and TXT entries for mail. originlogger[.]com in the DNS.

Around March 7, 2022, the disputed domain started to resolve to IP 23.106.223[.]47, one octet higher than the IP used for originpro[.]me, which used 46. 

OrionLogger uses both Google Chrome and Microsoft Outlook, both of which were utilized by Unit 42 to locate a GitHub profile with the username 0xfd3 that had two source code repositories for obtaining credentials from those two applications.

Similar to Agent Tesla, OrionLogger is distributed via a fake Word file that, when viewed, is utilized to portray an image of a German passport, a credit card, and several Excel Worksheets that are embedded in it.

The files essentially include a VBA macro that uses MSHTA to call a remote server's HTML page, which contains obfuscated JavaScript code that allows it to access two encoded binaries stored on Bitbucket.

Advertisements from threat actors claim that the malware employs time-tested techniques and can keylog, steal credentials, and screenshots, download additional payloads, post your data in a variety of ways, and try to escape detection.

A corpus analysis of over 1,900 samples reveals that using 181 different bots and SMTP, FTP, web uploads to the OrionLogger panel, and Telegram are the most popular exfiltration methods for returning data to the attacker. The goal of this investigation was to automate and retrieve keylogger configuration-related information.





Austria: Google Breached a EU Court Order

The Austrian advocacy group noyb.eu complained to France's data protection authorities on Wednesday that Google had violated a European Union court judgment by sending unsolicited advertising emails directly to the inbox of Gmail users. 

One of Europe's busiest data regulators, the French CNIL, has imposed some of the largest fines on companies like Google and Facebook. The activist organization gave CNIL screenshots of a user's inbox that displayed advertising messages at the top.

The French word 'annonce,' or 'ad,' and a green box were used to identify the messages. According to the group, that type of marketing was only permitted under EU rules with the users' consent.

When referring to Gmail's anti-spam filters, which place the majority of unsolicited emails in a separate folder, Romain Robert, program director at noyb.eu, said, "It's as if the mailman was paid to eliminate the ads from your inbox and put his own instead."

Requests for comment from Google did not immediately receive a response. A CNIL spokeswoman acknowledged that the organization had received the complaint and was in the process of registering it.

The CNIL was chosen by Vienna-based noyb.eu (None Of Your Business) over other national data privacy watchdogs because it has a reputation for being one of the EU's most outspoken regulators, according to Robert.

Even while any CNIL ruling would only be enforceable in France, it might force Google to examine its methods there. 

Max Schrems, an Austrian lawyer and privacy activist who won a prominent privacy case before Europe's top court in 2020, formed the advocacy group Noyb.eu.

This year, the CNIL fined Google a record-breaking 150 million euros ($149 million) for making it challenging for people to reject web trackers. Facebook (FB.O), owned by Meta Platforms, was also penalized 60 million euros for the same offense.

The firms are constantly under investigation for their practice of transmitting the private details of EU citizens to databases in the US. Numerous complaints have been made by NOYB to authorities throughout the bloc, claiming that the practice is forbidden.

A crucial tenet of the European Union's data privacy policy and a primary goal for the CNIL is the prior agreement of Internet users for the use of cookies, which are small bits of data that aid in the creation of targeted digital advertising campaigns. 

Researchers Discovered Counterfeit Phones with Backdoor to Hack WhatsApp Accounts

 

Budget Android device models that are replicas of popular smartphone brands are infected with numerous trojans devised to target the WhatsApp and WhatsApp Business messaging apps. Doctor Web discovered the malware in the system partitions of at least four different smartphones in July 2022: P48pro, redmi note 8, Note30u, and Mate40. 

The cybersecurity firm said in a report published, "These incidents are united by the fact that the attacked devices were copycats of famous brand-name models. Moreover, instead of having one of the latest OS versions installed on them with the corresponding information displayed in the device details (for example, Android 10), they had the long outdated 4.4.2 version."

The tampering specifically affects two files, "/system/lib/libcutils.so" and "/system/lib/libmtd.so," which have been modified in such a way that when the libcutils.so system library is used by any app, it activates the execution of a trojan embedded in libmtd.so. If the apps that use the libraries are WhatsApp and WhatsApp Business, libmtd.so launches a third backdoor whose primary function is to download and install additional plugins from a remote location.

The researchers stated, "The danger of the discovered backdoors and the modules they download is that they operate in such a way that they actually become part of the targeted apps. As a result, they gain access to the attacked apps' files and can read chats, send spam, intercept and listen to phone calls, and execute other malicious actions, depending on the functionality of the downloaded modules."

Libmtd.so is configured to start a local server that enables connections from a remote or local client via the "mysh" console if the app using the libraries turns out to be wpa supplicant - a system daemon used to manage network connections.

Potential Risks

Based on the discovery of another trojan embedded in the system application responsible for over-the-air (OTA) firmware updates, Doctor Web hypothesised that the system partition implants could be part of the FakeUpdates (aka SocGholish) malware family.

The malicious app, on the other hand, is designed to exfiltrate detailed metadata concerning the infected device as well as download and install other software without the user's knowledge using Lua scripts.

Spanish Banking Trojan Attacks Various Industry Verticals

 

A new campaign aimed at delivering the Grandoreiro banking trojan has targeted organisations in the Spanish-speaking countries of Mexico and Spain. 

"In this campaign, the threat actors impersonate government officials from the Attorney General's Office of Mexico City and from the Public Ministry in the form of spear-phishing emails in order to lure victims to download and execute 'Grandoreiro,' a prolific banking trojan that has been active since at least 2016, and that specifically targets users in Latin America," Zscaler said in a report.

The ongoing attacks, which began in June 2022, have been observed to target the automotive, civil and industrial construction, logistics, and machinery sectors in Mexico and the chemicals manufacturing industries in Spain via multiple infection chains. 

The attack chain involves using spear-phishing emails written in Spanish to trick potential victims into clicking on an embedded link that retrieves a ZIP archive from which a loader disguised as a PDF document is extracted to trigger the execution. To activate the infections, the phishing messages prominently incorporate themes revolving around payment refunds, litigation notifications, mortgage loan cancellation, and deposit vouchers.

"This [loader] is responsible for downloading, extracting and executing the final 400MB 'Grandoreiro' payload from a Remote HFS server which further communicates with the [command-and-control] Server using traffic identical to LatentBot," Zscaler researcher Niraj Shivtarkar said.

The loader is also intended to collect system information, retrieve a list of installed antivirus solutions, cryptocurrency wallets, banking, and mail apps, and then exfiltrate the data to a remote server.

Grandoreiro is a modular backdoor with a plethora of functionalities that enable it to record keystrokes, execute arbitrary commands, mimic mouse and keyboard movements, restrict access to specific websites, auto-update itself, and establish persistence via a Windows Registry change. It has been observed in the wild for at least six years.

Furthermore, the malware is written in Delphi and employs techniques such as binary padding to increase binary size by 200MB, CAPTCHA implementation for sandbox evasion, and C2 communication through subdomains generated by a domain generation algorithm (DGA).

The CAPTCHA technique, in specific, necessitates the victim to manually complete the challenge-response test in order to execute the malware in the compromised machine, implying that the implant is not executed unless and until the CAPTCHA is solved.

According to the findings, Grandoreiro is constantly evolving into sophisticated malware with novel anti-analysis characteristics, granting the attackers full remote access and posing significant threats to employees and their organisations.

The information comes just over a year after Spanish authorities apprehended 16 members of a criminal network in connection with the operation of Mekotio and Grandoreiro in July 2021.

Russian-Linked Hackers Target Estonia

 

In response to the government's removal of a monument honoring Soviet World War II veterans, a pro-Kremlin hacker group launched its greatest wave of cyberattacks in more than ten years, which Estonia successfully repelled.

Luukas Ilves, Estonia's under-secretary for digital transformation at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, stated that "yesterday saw the most significant cyberattacks against Estonia since 2007".

According to reports, the former Soviet state removed a Red Army monument from Tallinn Square this week, and the eastern city of Narva also got rid of a Soviet-era tank. After Russia invaded Ukraine, the authorities vowed to remove hundreds of these monuments by the end of the year.

On Wednesday, the Russian hacker gang Killnet claimed responsibility for the attacks and stated a wave of DDoS attacks have allegedly been launched against the 200 websites of public and private sector organizations in response, including an online citizen identity system. 

A replica Soviet Tu-34 tank from World War II was taken off the public display on Tuesday in the town of Narva, close to Estonia's border with Russia, and brought to the Estonian War Museum in Viimsi, according to Killnet, which claimed responsibility for a similar attack against Lithuania in June.

It's worth noting as based on sources, that the DDoS attacks timed with a Russian media fake news campaign alleging that the Estonian government was destroying Soviet war graves. The country's ethnic Russians reportedly rioted as a result of this.

Estonia's Cybersecurity 

According to the National Cyber Security Index, the nation has a 17 percentage point advantage over the average for Europe and is placed third in the ITU Global Cybersecurity Index 2020. 

After experiencing significant DDoS attacks on both public and private websites in 2007, Estonia, a country that is a member of the European Union and NATO, took steps to strengthen its cybersecurity. It attributed these attacks to Russian actors who were enraged over the removal of another Soviet-era monument at the time.

The nation's e-government services, along with other industries including banking and the media, were significantly disrupted throughout the weeks-long campaign. The dismantling of a monument honoring the Soviet Red Army also sparked the attacks.

The Tallinn memorial served as a grim reminder of Estonia's 50 years of Soviet captivity to the government and many Estonians, while other ethnic Russians saw its removal as an attempt to obliterate their past. 

The incident did, however, motivate the government to step up its cybersecurity efforts, and as a result, it is today thought to have one of the best defensive positions of any international government.











Emotet : The Infamous Botnet Has Returned

 

Kaspersky researchers were able to retrieve and analyze 10 out of 16 modules, with most having been used by Emotet in the past in one form or another. Kaspersky Lab was created in 1997 as multinational cybersecurity and digital privacy organization. Kaspersky's deep risk intelligence and security expertise are continually evolving into new security solutions and services to safeguard enterprises, vital infrastructure, governments, and consumers all around the world. 

Emotet was discovered in the wild for the first time in 2014. Its major purpose back then was to steal user's financial credentials. Since then, it has gone through several modifications, began transmitting other viruses, and eventually evolved into a strong botnet. Emotet is a type of malware classified as banking Trojans. Malspam, or spam emails with malware, is the most common way for it to propagate. To persuade users, these communications frequently contain familiar branding, imitating the email structure of well-known and trustworthy companies such as PayPal or DHL. 

As per Kaspersky telemetry, the number of victims increased from 2,843 in February 2022 to 9,086 in March 2022, indicating the attackers targeted more than three times the number of users. As a result, the number of threats detected by Kaspersky solutions has increased, from 16,897 in February 2022 to 48,597 in March 2022. 

A typical Emotet infection starts with spam e-mails containing malicious macros in Microsoft Office attachments. The actor can use this macro to launch a malicious PowerShell command which will drop and start a module loader, which will then talk with a command and control server to download and start modules. In the percent Windows percent SysWOW64 or percent User percent AppDataLocal directory, Emotet creates a subfolder with a random name and replicates itself under a completely random name and extension. The exported Control RunDLL method is used to launch the Emotet DLL's primary activity. These modules can be used to carry out a range of actions on the infected computer. Kaspersky researchers were able to extract and evaluate 10 of the 16 modules, the majority of which had previously been utilized by Emotet. 

Researchers now state that the Emotet can download 16 modules judging by the recent Emotet protocol and C2 answers. They were able to recover ten of them (including two separate copies of the Spam module), which were utilized by Emotet to steal credentials, passwords, accounts, and e-mail addresses, as well as spam. We present a brief examination of these modules and also statistics on current Emotet attacks in this post. 

To gather the account details of various email clients, the current version of Emotet can create automated spam campaigns which are further spread down the network from infected devices, retrieving emails and email addresses from Thunderbird and Outlook apps and accumulating passwords from popular web browsers like Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, and Opera. 

Emotet infects computers in businesses and homes all around the world. As per our telemetry, Emotet most frequently targeted users from the following countries in Q1 2022: Italy (10.04%), Russia (9.87%), Japan (8.55%), Mexico (8.36%), Brazil (6.88%), Indonesia (4.92%), India (3.21%), Vietnam (2.70%), China (2.62), Germany (2.19%) and Malaysia (2.13%). 

The present set of components is capable of a wide range of malicious activities, including stealing e-mails, passwords, and login data from a variety of sources, as well as spamming. Except for the Thunderbird components, Emotet has utilized all of these modules in some form or another before. However, there are still a few modules that we haven't been able to get our hands-on.

This New Malware Uses Windows Bugs to Conceal Scheduled Tasks

 

Microsoft has found a new malware employed by the Chinese-backed Hafnium hacking group to create and hide scheduled activities on compromised Windows PCs in order to sustain persistence. 

Cyberespionage attacks by the Hafnium threat group have previously targeted US defence businesses, think tanks, and researchers. It's also one of the state-sponsored groups Microsoft has tied to the global exploitation of the ProxyLogon zero-day vulnerability, which affected all supported Microsoft Exchange versions last year. 

The Microsoft Detection and Response Team (DART) stated, "As Microsoft continues to track the high-priority state-sponsored threat actor HAFNIUM, new activity has been uncovered that leverages unpatched zero-day vulnerabilities as initial vectors. Further investigation reveals forensic artifacts of the usage of Impacket tooling for lateral movement and execution and the discovery of a defence evasion malware called Tarrask that creates 'hidden' scheduled tasks, and subsequent actions to remove the task attributes, to conceal the scheduled tasks from traditional means of identification." 

Tarrask, a hacking tool, hides them from "schtasks /query" and Task Scheduler by removing the related Security Descriptor registry value, which is a previously undiscovered Windows flaw. 

By re-establishing dropped connections to command-and-control (C2) infrastructure, the threat group was able to keep access to the infected devices even after reboots. While the Hafnium operators could have deleted all on-disk artefacts, including all registry keys and the XML file uploaded to the system folder, this would have destroyed persistence between restarts. 

The "hidden" tasks can only be discovered by performing a manual search of the Windows Registry for scheduled tasks that do not have an SD (security descriptor) Value in their Task Key. 

Admins can additionally check for important events associated to tasks "hidden" by Tarrask malware by enabling the Security.evtx and Microsoft-Windows-TaskScheduler/Operational.evtx logs. Microsoft also suggests setting logging for 'TaskOperational' in the Microsoft-Windows-TaskScheduler/Operational Task Scheduler log and keeping an eye on outbound connections from crucial Tier 0 and Tier 1 assets. 

DART added, "The threat actors in this campaign used hidden scheduled tasks to maintain access to critical assets exposed to the internet by regularly re-establishing outbound communications with C&C infrastructure. We recognize that scheduled tasks are an effective tool for adversaries to automate certain tasks while achieving persistence, which brings us to raising awareness about this oft-overlooked technique."

Emotet Malware Campaign Masquerades the IRS for 2022 Tax Season

 

The Emotet malware botnet is taking advantage of the 2022 tax season in the United States by mailing out fraudulent emails posing as the Internal Revenue Service, which is supposed to be issuing tax forms or federal returns. 

Emotet is a malware infection spread via phishing emails with malicious macros attached to Word or Excel documents. When the user opens these documents, they will be misled into allowing macros that will install the Emotet malware on the device. Emotet will capture victims' emails to use in future reply-chain attacks, send more spam emails, and eventually install other malware that could lead to a Conti ransomware assault on the targeted network once it is implemented. 

Researchers have discovered various phishing attempts masquerading the Internet Revenue Service (IRS.gov) that use lures relevant to the 2022 US tax season, according to a recent analysis by email security firm Cofense. These emails ostensibly come from the IRS, and they claim to be sending the recipient their 2021 Tax Return, W-9 forms, and other tax documents that are often needed during tax season. 

While the subject lines and content of IRS-themed emails vary, the fundamental notion is that the IRS is contacting the company with either finished tax forms or ones that one must fill out and return. Zip files or HTML pages that lead to zip files are attached to the emails and are password-protected to avoid detection by secure email gateways. Third-party archive programs like 7-Zip, on the other hand, have no trouble extracting the files. 

A 'W-9 form.xslm' Excel file is included in the zip files, and when viewed, it prompts the user to click the "Enable Editing" and "Enable Content" buttons to see the document correctly. When a user clicks one of these buttons, malicious macros are launched, downloading and installing the Emotet virus from hacked WordPress sites. Once Emotet is loaded, it will download further payloads, which in recent campaigns have mostly been Cobalt Strike. 

Emotet has also dropped the SystemBC remote access Trojan, according to Cryptolaemus, an Emotet research organisation. With the Conti Ransomware gang now developing Emotet, all businesses, large and small, should be on the watch for these phishing tactics, which can escalate to ransomware assaults and data theft. It's important to remember that the IRS never sends unsolicited emails and only communicates via postal mail. As a result, if anyone receives an email from the IRS purporting to be from the IRS, flag it as spam and delete it.

SquirrelWaffle Adds a Spin of Fraud to Exchange Server Malspamming

 

Squirrelwaffle, ProxyLogon, and ProxyShell are being utilized against Microsoft Exchange Servers to conduct financial fraud via email hijacking. Sophos researchers revealed that a Microsoft Exchange Server that had not been fixed to safeguard it against a set of serious vulnerabilities identified last year was used to hijack email threads and disseminate malspam. 

On March 2, 2021, Microsoft released emergency updates to address zero-day vulnerabilities that could be exploited to take over servers. At the time, Hafnium, an advanced persistent threat (APT) group, was constantly exploiting the bugs, and other APTs swiftly followed suit. Despite the fact that the ProxyLogon/ProxyShell flaws are now widely known, some servers remain unpatched and vulnerable to assaults. 

Sophos has described an instance that combined Microsoft Exchange Server vulnerabilities with Squirrelwaffle, a malware loader that was first discovered in malicious spam operations last year. Malicious Microsoft Office documents or DocuSign content tacked on to phishing emails are frequently used to spread the loader. Squirrelwaffle is frequently used to fetch and execute CobaltStrike beacons via a VBS script if an intended victim has permitted macros in the compromised documents. 

According to Sophos, the loader was used in the recent campaign once the Microsoft Exchange Server had been compromised. By hijacking existing email threads between employees, the server of an undisclosed organisation was utilised to "mass distribute" Squirrelwaffle to internal and external email addresses. 

Email Hijacking can take a variety of forms. Social engineering and impersonation, such as an attacker posing as an executive to dupe accounting departments into signing off on a fraudulent transaction, or sending email blasts with links to malware payloads, can disrupt communication channels. The spam campaign was utilized to disseminate Squirrelwaffle in this example, but attackers also extracted an email thread and used the internal knowledge contained within to execute financial fraud. Customer information was obtained, and a victim organization was chosen. The attackers generated email accounts using a domain to reply to the email thread outside of the server, using a technique known as typo-squatting to register a domain with a name that was very similar to the victim. 

Sophos explained, "To add further legitimacy to the conversation, the attackers copied additional email addresses to give the impression that they were requesting support from an internal department. In fact, the additional addresses were also created by the attacker under the typo-squatted domain." 

The attackers attempted for six days to divert a legitimate financial transaction to a bank account they owned. The money was about to be processed, and the victim escaped the attack only because a bank involved in the transaction realized the transfer was most likely fake. 

Matthew Everts, Sophos researcher commented, "This is a good reminder that patching alone isn't always enough for protection. In the case of vulnerable Exchange servers, for example, you also need to check the attackers haven't left behind a web shell to maintain access. And when it comes to sophisticated social engineering attacks such as those used in email thread hijacking, educating employees about what to look out for and how to report it is critical for detection."

Emotet Spam Campaigns Use Unconventional IP Addresses to Avoid Detection

 

Trend Micro discovered Emotet spam campaigns that used hexadecimal and octal representations of IP addresses to avoid detection using pattern matching. Both processes rely on social engineering to deceive users into enabling document macros and automate malware execution. When these standards are received, operating systems (OS) automatically transform the data to the dotted decimal quad representation in order to commence the request from remote servers.

Users and enterprises are advised to detect, block, and enable the appropriate security measures to prevent compromise while using Emotet for second-stage malware transmission such as TrickBot and Cobalt Strike. 

Emotet first surfaced in 2014, when researchers found a relatively simple banking Trojan transmitted via phishing emails. It evolved several times over the years into a Malware-as-a-Service botnet, allowing access to compromised computers to those willing to pay. Unfortunately, there were a plethora of them, including ransomware gangs like Ryuk and the data-stealing malware Trickbot. These immediately took advantage of the initial access provided by Emotet, picking and choosing which victims to target with subsequent payloads. 

According to Europol, Emotet's capability to move laterally among devices on a network made it one of the most durable pieces of malware detected in recent years. In reality, it has become one of the most serious threats researchers have seen in recent years, constantly ranking among the top ten campaigns detected, with over 1.6 million victim machines, according to the DoJ. 

The samples researchers discovered begin with an email-attached document that employs Excel 4.0 Macros, an antiquated technology intended to automate repetitive processes in Excel that malicious actors have exploited to distribute malware. In this scenario, abusing the feature allows the malware to execute once the document is opened using the auto-open macro. Carets are used to obfuscate the URL, and the host contains a hexadecimal representation of the IP address. 

When the macro is run, it invokes cmd.exe > mshta.exe with the URL containing the hex representation of the IP address as an argument, which downloads and executes HTML application (HTA) code from the remote host. 

Between November and December 2021, traces of Emotet were seen arbitrarily dropping Cobalt Strike beacons. However, during this year, operators were notably more picky about which targets the beacons were dropped on. Evasion strategies like this could be interpreted as proof that attackers are continuing to innovate in order to defeat pattern-based detection technologies. Furthermore, the atypical use of hexadecimal and octal IP addresses may result in evasion of current solutions reliant on pattern matching.

Microsoft Defender Log4j Scanner Prompts False Positive Alarm


Microsoft Defender for Endpoint is presently displaying "sensor tampering" alarms for Log4j processes, which are related to the company's newly created Microsoft 365 Defender scanner.

Windows has been experiencing a variety of other alert difficulties with Defender for Endpoint since October 2020. This includes an alert that incorrectly identified Office documents as Emotet malware payloads, another that incorrectly identified network devices as Cobalt Strike infected, and still another that incorrectly identified Chrome upgrades as PHP backdoors. 

Microsoft 365 Defender not only unifies your perspective on security events across many advancements but also offers a slew of advanced connectivity and automation capabilities. 

This increases the effectiveness and viability of having a security investigator on staff. Microsoft has been working on the secret foundations for Microsoft 365 Defender for quite some time now, employing Microsoft 365 Defender will assist you with running inquiries that can recognize any or the entirety of the accompanying:

  •  Machines tainted with a particular payload.
  •  Altered letter drops.
  •  Malevolent action and the personalities in question. 
  • Weaknesses brought about by an uncovered CVE. 
Microsoft 365 Defender consolidates the telemetry and bits of knowledge drawn from the accompanying items: 
  • Microsoft Defender for Office 365 (recently known as Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection)
  • Microsoft Defender for Identity (recently known as Azure Advanced Threat Protection) 
  • Microsoft Defender for Endpoint (recently known as Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection) 
  • Microsoft Cloud App Security (MCAS) 
  • Purplish blue Identity Protection (AIdP) 

Microsoft 365 Defender brings all of these advancements together in a single security task center. You can see how Microsoft 365 Defender associates and provides information from these advancements in the control center, and you may use crucial automated exercises to address them. 

Although the behavior of this Defender process is categorized as malicious, there is no need to be concerned because these are false positives, as per Tomer Teller, Principal Group PM Manager at Microsoft, Enterprise Security Posture,

Microsoft is presently researching the Microsoft 365 Defender issue and working on a patch that should be available to affected PCs soon. "This is a result of our efforts to detect Log4J instances on disc." "The team is looking into why this is causing the warning," Teller further added. 

Experts have revealed the cost of hacking accounts in social networks

 The most popular social networks and messengers for hacking attempts are VKontakte (VK), Instagram, Telegram and WhatsApp, while the price can vary from $10 to $2,300. This is stated in a study conducted by Bi.Zone.

"We analyzed ads on the darknet from May 2020 to August 2021. In different months, the cost of hacking varied dramatically. This could be due to a situation where some sellers are not actually providing a service but are simply scamming people. They are the ones who can actively dump on the market. Real hackers set their prices based on the time spent. Sometimes they can search for a password in a leak which will significantly reduce the search price. If there is an insider attacker from the developer company, then most likely the high price will be due to the usual risk for the criminal", said Evgeniy Voloshin, director of BI.ZONE expert services block.

The analysis showed that the price of the offer to hack an account in VK varies from $10 to $160. Scammers most often offer to hack this social network.

According to experts, the social network Instagram remains in second place in popularity among hackers. The scammers estimate the cost of their services at $540.

Among messengers, Telegram and WhatsApp hacking offers are leading in popularity. For violating the privacy of these applications, scammers charge from $410 to $2,300 and from $270 to $1,770.

Hacking a personal mailbox, according to analysts, remains another popular service among scammers, the cost of which ranges from $40 to $1,500, respectively.

Voloshin recommends using long passphrases, password managers and a two-factor authentication system to avoid hacking personal accounts. Also, in his opinion, it is important not to store data in cloud services and not to send it in messengers, connecting to an unknown Wi-Fi source.

Financial Conduct Authority of UK Hit by 2,40,000 Spam Mails, Some Contain Malware

 

Financial Regulator of UK was spammed by almost a quarter of a million (240,000) malicious emails in the Q4 of the year 2020. The FOI data gives important highlights about the tremendous pressure that big organizations are facing to protect their assets. Griffin Law, a litigation firm, has filed an FOI with an influential London-based agency, the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority). As per Gov.UK, "The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulates the financial services industry in the UK. Its role includes protecting consumers, keeping the industry stable, and promoting healthy competition between financial service providers." 

The firm says that FCA was spammed with around 240,000 malicious emails (also unsolicited) during the course of the last three months of 2020, an average of 80,000 emails per month. November observed the highest mails-84,723, whereas October had 81,799 and December 72,288. Most of the mails were listed as "spams" whereas more than 2400 mails had malware containing trojans, bugs, worms, and spyware, says the report. Fortunately, the FCA had blocked all the malicious emails that it received, however, the main threat isn't from these mails but from targeted spear-phishing campaigns. Tim Saddler, CEO, Tessian, emphasizes that phishing emails have become a persistent threat today because it is easy to target humans than to hack machines. 

Tim said, "cyber-criminals, undoubtedly, want to get hold of the huge amounts of valuable and sensitive information that FCA staff have access to, and they have nothing but time on their hands to figure out how to get it." He further says, "it just takes a bit of research, one convincing message or one cleverly worded email, and a distracted employee to successfully trick or manipulate someone into sharing company data or handing over account credentials." 

This is not the first time when the Regulator has sidelined its cybersecurity issue. In February last year, Regulator had to apologize on public forums when it accidentally posted personal information (including name and address) of the few users who had lodged complaints against the agency. The irony is, the data leak happened as a Regular's solution to an FOI request.

Cyber Criminals trying to hack Russian popular Telegram channels using ads from GeekBrains

 The owners of the Telegram channels noted that scammers under the guise of advertising offers send malicious files.

" In particular, they can be represented by advertising managers of the GeekBrains educational platform", Nikita Mogutin, the co-founder of the Telegram channel Baza (more than 310,000 subscribers), wrote on Facebook. Owner of the Telegram channel Madonna (more than 9500 subscribers) Madonna Moore said that five scammers write to her a day. She also published the text of correspondence with a person who introduced himself as a representative of GeekBrains. 

GeekBrains has received many complaints about fraud on behalf of the company and has already sent out warnings to agencies and bloggers, said Elena Toropina, head of the company's marketing department. In her opinion, the attack on the channels is connected with the growth of the online education industry, which spends a lot of money on advertising.

Kaspersky Lab reported that the attachments sent by the attackers contain a Trojan virus. 

"If the victim runs the file, a program will be installed on the computer that will steal the accounts stored on it and provide fraudsters with hidden remote control of the Telegram channel", told Yaroslav Kargalev, deputy head of the Group-IB incident response center. According to him, scammers can also change the phone number in the channel's account to get full control over it.

Most often, channel theft is needed to publish links to malicious resources in the Telegram channel or to get a ransom, said Sergey Trukhachev, head of the special services unit of Infosecurity a Softline Company.

"The increase in the activity of scammers may be associated with the influx of new users to Telegram", noted Kargalev.

Telegram downloads have increased dramatically as WhatsApp has added a clause to its rules that allows users to share their personal data with Facebook. Moreover, the growing popularity of Telegram is due to the fact that supporters of Donald Trump, who was blocked in many social networks, have "flowed" there.

Telegram founder Pavel Durov called the sharp increase in the number of new users "the largest digital migration" in human history. In the first week of January, Telegram's monthly audience overcame the mark of 500 million active users.

Earlier, E Hacking News reported that Pavel Durov advised users to remove WhatsApp from smartphones. He called the WhatsApp application unsafe.


Russian hackers selling program in darknet that bypasses spam protection

The Russian-language Darknet site sells a program that allows you to distribute spam messages bypassing traffic and email protection tools. The program uses a function in the IMAP protocol

A new tool for spammers is actively being sold on the Darknet, which allows you to bypass the standard protection of e-mail accounts. By exploiting a feature in the Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP), attackers upload the messages they need directly into the mailboxes of victims.

To trigger the attack, it is necessary that the attackers already have access to the victim's account. The Email Appender malware has been actively promoted on Russian-language hacker forums since the fall of 2020.

The author offers to use the program through a subscription — $50 for one day, $300 for a week or $1000 per month. This is very expensive, but judging by the latest campaigns, the demand for this service is very high.

Experts of the information security company Vade Security indicate that companies in Italy, France, Denmark and the United States have already been subjected to full-scale attacks by spammers using Email Appender. One of the affected organizations claims that it received 300 thousand spam messages in one day and was forced to spend very substantial resources to disable compromised accounts or change usernames and passwords.

Databases of usernames and passwords to mail are actively sold out on hacker forums. According to Gemini Advisory, an attacker can upload such a database to Email Appender, after which the program will try to connect to accounts that match pairs of usernames and passwords via IMAP. Next, it remains to use the IMAP function, which allows hackers to upload ready-made mail messages to the mailbox.

"There are a number of ways to block such spam campaigns, but the main one is to regularly change passwords and not use the same combination (or similar to it) more than once," said Alexey Vodiasov, technical Director of the company SEC Consult Services.

In addition, according to Vodiasov, two-factor authorization is effective, so that even a compromised account cannot be connected without attracting the attention of its rightful owner.

The expert added that it is also possible to enable notifications of cases of logging into an account from unusual IP addresses. Mail systems are quite capable of doing this.

Russian Speaking Hacker Compromises and Gains the Full Control of the Government Network Systems



Another rush of cyber-attacks from a Russian speaking hacker has been recently discovered by researchers and distinguished as one who utilizes the weaponized TeamViewer, the most mainstream and popular device used for remote desktop control, desktop sharing, online gatherings, web conferencing as well as record exchange between computers, to compromise and deal with the Government network systems.

This malignant campaign ceaselessly utilizes TeamViewer by adding TeamViewer DLL in order to deliver powerful malware that steals sensitive data and money from the various governments with addition to the financial systems.

In view of the whole infection chain, the tools created and utilized in this attack, the underground activity influences the analysts to believe that the attack was led by a financially inspired Russian speaking hacker.

The underlying phase of this infection chain begins by delivering a spam email under the subject of "Military Financing Program" with the attached malevolent XLSM document with installed macros.

A well-crafted malevolent document acted like the U.S Department of State which is marked as "top secret” persuading the victims to open it. When the victims open that 'decoy document' and empower the macro, there are two files extricated from the hex encoded cells in the XLSM document.



The first one is a legitimate AutoHotkeyU32.exe program, the second one on the other hand is an AutoHotkeyU32.ahk which is also an AHK script to communicate with C&C server to download the additional script and execute it.

By means of using this strategy, attackers concealing the TeamViewer interface from the users view, sparing the current TeamViewer session credentials to a text file and allows the exchange and execution of extra EXE o DLL documents 

In light of the Telemetry record, this attack is said to be focusing on nations including Nepal, Guyana, Kenya, Italy, Liberia, Bermuda, Lebano public financial sector in addition to the government officials.