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Showing posts with label Spyware Attack. Show all posts

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An Israeli Spy Agency, QuaDream, Hacks Devices 


According to Reuters, an Apple software loop exploited by Israeli spy firm NSO Group to hack access iPhones in 2021 was also targeted by a competitor at the same time. 

The two companies QuaDream got the capacity to remotely hack into iPhones, compromising the smartphones without the user clicking on a malicious link. The fact the two firms employed the same advanced 'zero-click' hacking technique suggests that cellphones are more prone to digital espionage than the industry admits. 

The two organizations utilized ForcedEntry software exploits to steal iPhones. In the context, it's worth noting that an exploit is a piece of computer code that takes advantage of a set of unique software flaws to provide a hacker unauthorized access to data. 

"People want to feel they're safe, and telecommunications companies want the user to assume they're safe," stated Dave Aitel, a cybersecurity partner at Cordyceps Systems. 

Some notable Israelis have been attacked with Pegasus, according to a recent revelation from the Israeli publication Calcalist, including a son of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "CEOs of government ministries, news reporters, tycoons, corporate executives, mayors, social activists, and even the Prime Minister's relatives were all police targets," according to Calcalist. "Phones were hacked by NSO's spyware prior to any research even opening and without any judicial authorization." 

Some of QuaDream's clients overlapped with NSO Group's  implying that the buyers utilized Pegasus and REIGN for surveillance, specifically targeting political opponents. Surprisingly, the two cyberweapon's techniques were so identical when Apple patched the security weakness, it didn't make a difference. 

Spyware firms have long claimed to sell high-powered technologies to assist governments in combating national security threats. Human rights organizations and journalists, on the other hand, have reported the use of spyware to harm civil society, discredit political opposition, and sabotage elections on numerous occasions. 

Pegasus was also recently discovered on the devices of Finland's diplomatic corps working outside the nation, according to Finnish officials, as well as of a wide-ranging espionage campaign. Pegasus was allegedly installed on the iPhones of at least nine US State Department workers.

Kaspersky ICS CERT has Discovered Several Spyware Attacks Aimed at Industrial Enterprises


Researchers discovered that attackers are targeting industrial businesses with spyware operations that look for corporate credentials to utilise for financial gain as well as to cannibalise infiltrated networks to proliferate further attacks. According to researchers at Kaspersky ICS CERT who discovered the campaigns, the campaigns use off-the-shelf spyware but are unique in that they limit the scope and longevity of each sample to the bare minimum. 

In contrast to generic spyware, the bulk of "anomalous" samples were configured to employ SMTP-based (rather than FTP or HTTP(s)) C2s as a one-way communication channel, implying that they were designed primarily for stealing. Researchers believe that stolen data is used mostly by threat operators to spread the assault within the attacked organization's local network (through phishing emails) and to attack other companies in order to collect new credentials. The attackers exploit corporate email compromised in previous attacks as C2 servers for new assaults.

Researchers have discovered a huge set of campaigns that spread from one industrial firm to another via hard-to-detect phishing emails disguised as the victim companies' correspondence and abusing their corporate email systems to attack through the contact lists of infected mailboxes. 

Surprisingly, corporate antispam solutions assist attackers in remaining undetected while exfiltrating stolen credentials from infected machines by rendering them 'invisible' among all the junk emails in spam folders. As a result of malicious operations of this type, researchers have identified over 2,000 business email accounts belonging to industrial companies that have been abused as next-attack C2 servers. Many more have been stolen and sold on the internet, or have been abused in other ways. 

According to the researchers, the actors behind similar campaigns are "low-skilled people and small groups" operating individually. Their goal is to either commit financial crimes using stolen credentials or to profit from selling access to corporate network systems and services. Indeed, they discovered over 25 separate markets where threat actors sell data collected during attacks against industrial businesses. 

“At these markets, various sellers offer thousands of RDP, SMTP, SSH, cPanel, and email accounts, as well as malware, fraud schemes, and samples of emails and webpages for social engineering,” Kaspersky’s Kirill Kruglov explained. More severe threat actors, such as Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) and ransomware gangs, can also use the credentials to launch assaults, according to him. 

To avoid being compromised by the campaigns, Kaspersky recommends establishing two-factor authentication for corporate email access and other internet-facing services such as RDP and VPN-SSL gateways.

Expert Malnev gave tips on detecting Keylogger

Alexey Malnev, head of the Jet CSIRT Information Security Monitoring and Incident Response Center of Jet Infosystems, spoke about how to detect a Keylogger.

According to the expert, this can be done by scanning the computer with antivirus software, as well as thanks to the built-in EDR (Endpoint Detection and Response) system that analyzes the processes and their memory operation within the operating system.

In the case of corporate devices, a traffic inspection system will help, which can detect a connection over a suspicious Protocol or to a suspicious server on the Internet. The presence of an incident monitoring center in an organization can help detect an entire cyber operation of attackers on its infrastructure, or targeted attacks.

According to the expert, the presence of Keylogger can be considered a symptom of a complete hacking of the user's computer, and this is very bad news for the user. The fact is that modern malicious software most often uses Keylogger as one of many modules.

"There is a high probability that there is already a whole set of other potential problems: theft of confidential files from the hard disk, interception of account data, hidden audio and video recording (if there are a microphone and video camera), the potential destruction of data (if there is a malicious ransomware encryption module), full remote access,” said he.

In such cases, users should immediately disconnect the computer from the local network and the Internet, and then, without restarting it, hand it over to specialists in cybercriminalism. According to Malnev, it is more important to determine how the computer was attacked.

"Xsser mRAT", an Advanced iOS spyware targets Hong Kong protesters

Security researchers from Lacoon Mobile Security company identified an advanced iOS Trojan targeting protesters in Hong Kong.

The trojan dubbed as 'Xsser mRAT", is related to similar Android malware found last month targeting the protesters.

The android version of this malware is distributed via whatsapp messages disguised as an application to help coordinate Occupy Central protest.

"The fact that this attack is being used against protesters and is being executed by Chinese-speaking attackers suggests it’s first iOS trojan linked to Chinese government cyber activity." the company wrote.

The malware is capable of stealing text messages, contact list, call logs, location information, photos and other information.  It also steals passwords from the iOS keychains.

The good news is that the malware can run only if the user's device is jailbroken.  You can find lot more information and technical information in their blog post.

iPhone spyware can be used to capture Desktop computer Key strokes

iPhone can be used to capture the Desktop computer keystrokes.  Sounds interesting?A team of researchers at Georgia Tech demonstrated how to use the accelerometers of a smartphone to capture the Keystrokes of Desktop Computers by placing nearby.

Patrick Traynor, an assistant professor in Georgia Tech's School of Computer Science, admits that the technique is difficult to accomplish reliably but claims that the accelerometers built into modern smartphones can sense keyboard vibrations and decipher complete sentences with up to 80% accuracy.

"We first tried our experiments with an iPhone 3GS, and the results were difficult to read," said Traynor. "But then we tried an iPhone 4, which has an added gyroscope to clean up the accelerometer noise, and the results were much better. We believe that most smartphones made in the past two years are sophisticated enough to launch this attack."

Researcher posted what displayed in iPhone:

Presently the spyware cannot determine the pressing of individual keys through the iPhone's accelerometer, but "pairs of keystrokes" instead. The software determines whether the keys are on the right or left hand side of a standard QWERTY keyboard, and then whether the pair of keys are close together or far apart.

With the characteristics of each pair of keystrokes collected, it compares the results against a dictionary - where each word has been assigned similar measurements.

For example, take the word "canoe," which when typed breaks down into four keystroke pairs: "C-A, A-N, N-O and O-E." Those pairs then translate into the detection system’s code as follows: Left-Left-Near, Left-Right-Far, Right-Right-Far and Right-Left-Far, or LLN-LRF-RRF-RLF. This code is then compared to the preloaded dictionary and yields "canoe" as the statistically probable typed word.

For understandable reasons, the technique is said to only work reliably on words which have three or more letters.

Text recovery

Henry Carter, one of the study's co-authors, explained the attack scenario that they envisaged could be used:

"The way we see this attack working is that you, the phone’s owner, would request or be asked to download an innocuous-looking application, which doesn’t ask you for the use of any suspicious phone sensors."

"Then the keyboard-detection malware is turned on, and the next time you place your phone next to the keyboard and start typing, it starts listening."