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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

21M Users' Personal Data Exposed on Telegram

 

A database containing the personal information and login passwords of 21 million individuals was exposed on a Telegram channel on May 7th, 2022, as per Hackread.com. The data of VPN customers was also exposed in the breach, including prominent VPNs like SuperVPN, GeckoVPN, and ChatVPN. 

The database was previously accessible for sale on the Dark Web last year, but it is now available for free on Telegram. The hacked documents contained 10GB of data and exposed 21 million unique records, according to VPNMentor analysts. The following details were included: 
  • Full names
  • Usernames
  • Country names
  • Billing details
  • Email addresses
  • Randomly generated password strings
  • Premium status and validity period
Further investigation revealed that the leaked passwords were all impossible to crack because they were all random, hashed, or salted without collision. Gmail accounts made up the majority of the email addresses (99.5 percent). 

However, vpnMentor researchers believe that the released data is merely a portion of the whole dump. For the time being, it's unknown whether the information was gained from a data breach or a malfunctioning server. In any case, the harm has been done, and users are now vulnerable to scams and prying eyes. The main reason people use VPNs is to maintain their anonymity and privacy. Because VPN customers' data is regarded more valuable, disclosing it has far-reaching effects. 

People whose information was exposed in this incident may be subjected to blackmail, phishing scams, or identity theft. Because of the exposure of personally identifiable information such as country names, billing information, usernames, and so on, they may launch targeted frauds. Threat actors can easily hijack their accounts and exploit their premium status after cracking their credentials. 

If the data falls into the hands of a despotic government that prohibits VPN use, VPN users may be arrested and detained. Users should change their VPN account password and use a mix of upper-lower case letters, symbols, numbers, and other characters for maximum account security.

US has Offered a $10 Million Bounty on Data About Russian Sandworm Hackers

 

The United States announced a reward of up to $10 million for information on six Russian military intelligence service hackers. According to the State Department's Rewards for Justice Program, "these people engaged in hostile cyber actions on behalf of the Russian government against U.S. vital infrastructure in violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act."

The US Department of State has issued a request for information on six Russian officers (also known as Voodoo Bear or Iron Viking) from the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Federation's Armed Forces (GRU) regarding their alleged involvement in malicious cyberattacks against critical infrastructure in the United States. The linkages attributed are as follows : 

  • Artem Valeryevich Ochichenko has been linked to technical reconnaissance and spear-phishing efforts aimed at gaining illegal access to critical infrastructure sites' IT networks around the world. 
  • Petr Nikolayevich Pliskin, Sergey Vladimirovich Detistov, Pavel Valeryevich Frolov, and Yuriy Sergeyevich Andrienko, are accused of developing components of the NotPetya and Olympic Destroyer malware used by the Russian government to infect computer systems on June 27, 2017, and Yuriy Sergeyevich Andrienko, who are accused of developing components of the NotPetya and Olympic De.
  • Anatoliy Sergeyevich Kovalev is accused of inventing spear-phishing techniques and communications which were utilized by the Russian government to hack into critical infrastructure computer systems. 

On October 15, 2020, the US Justice Department charged the mentioned officials with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft for carrying out damaging malware assaults to disrupt and destabilize other countries and cause monetary damages. 

According to the indictment, GRU officers were involved in attacks on Ukraine, including the BlackEnergy and Industroyer malware-based attacks on the country's power grid in 2015 and 2016. The folks are accused of causing damage to protected computers, conspiring to commit computer fraud and abuse, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft by the US Department of Justice. According to the US Department of State, the APT group's cyber actions resulted in roughly $1 billion in losses for US firms.

The Rewards of Justice has established a Tor website at "he5dybnt7sr6cm32xt77pazmtm65flqy6irivtflruqfc5ep7eiodiad[.]onion" as part of the project, which may be used to anonymously submit reports on these threat actors or to communicate the information using Signal, Telegram, or WhatsApp. 

Recently, the Sandworm collective was linked to Cyclops Blink, a sophisticated botnet malware that snagged internet-connected firewall devices and routers from WatchGuard and ASUS. Other recent hacking efforts linked to the gang include the use of an improved version of the Industroyer virus against high-voltage electrical substations in Ukraine amid Russia's continuing invasion.

T-Mobile Reveals its Security Systems were Hacked via Lapsus$ Hackers

 

T-Mobile acknowledged on Friday it had been the subject of a security compromise in March when the LAPSUS$ mercenary group gained access to its networks. The admission occurred after investigative journalist Brian Krebs published internal chats from LAPSUS$'s key members, revealing the group had infiltrated the company many times in March previous to the arrest of its seven members. 

After analyzing hacked Telegram chat conversations between Lapsus$ gang members, independent investigative journalist Brian Krebs first exposed the incident. T-Mobile said in a statement the breach happened "a few weeks ago" so the "bad actor" accessed internal networks using stolen credentials. "There was no customer or government information or any similarly sensitive information on the systems accessed, and the company has no evidence of the intruder being able to get anything of value," he added.

The initial VPN credentials were allegedly obtained from illegal websites such as Russian Market in order to get control of T-Mobile staff accounts, enabling the threat actor to conduct SIM switching assaults at anytime. 

The conversations suggest how LAPSUS$ had hacked T-Slack Mobile's and Bitbucket accounts, enabling the latter to obtain over 30,000 source code repositories, in addition to getting key to an internal customer account management application called Atlas. In the short time since it first appeared on the threat scene, LAPSUS$ has been known for hacking Impresa, NVIDIA, Samsung, Vodafone, Ubisoft, Microsoft, Okta, and Globant. 

T-Mobile has acknowledged six previous data breaches since 2018, including one in which hackers gained access to data linked to 3% of its members. T-Mobile acknowledged it had disclosed prepaid customers' data a year later, in 2019, and unknown threat actors had acquired access to T-Mobile workers' email accounts in March 2020. Hackers also acquired access to consumer private network information in December 2020, and attackers accessed an internal T-Mobile application without authorization in February 2021. 

According to a VICE investigation, T-Mobile, unsuccessfully, tried to prevent the stolen data from being posted online after paying the hackers $270,000 through a third-party firm in the aftermath of the August 2021 breach. After its stolen sensitive information turned up for sale on the dark web, the New York State Office of the Attorney General (NY OAG) alerted victims of T-August Mobile's data breach would face elevated identity theft risks. 

The City of London Police announced earlier this month as two of the seven adolescents arrested last month for alleged potential connections to the LAPSUS$ data extortion group, a 16-year-old, and a 17-year-old had been charged.

Anonymous Rises Again Amid Russia Ukraine War

 

Anonymous, the international hacktivists collective has surfaced again, this time, the group claims to have hacked RoskoAmnadzor (known as Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media), a federal Russian agency. Anonymous has also claimed that it stole more than 360,000 files. You have mostly read about Russian banning VPNs, Telegram, or email services, however, there's a particular agency that bans these services. 

It's called Roskomnadzor, a major federal executive agency that is responsible for handling, managing, and censoring Russian media. "Anonymous also targeted and hacked misconfigured/exposed Cloud databases of Russian organizations. Tho shocking aspect of the attack was the fact that Anonymous and its affiliate hackers hacked 90% of Russian Cloud databases and left anti-war and pro Ukrainian messages," Hackread reports. 

Details about the attack 

The size of the leaked data is 820 GB, most of these database files in the database related to Roskomnadzor's data are linked to the Republic of Bashkortostan, Russia's largest provinces. The full dataset is now available on the official website of Distributed Denial of Secrets (aka DDoSecrets), a non for profit whistleblower organization. However, it should be noted that initially started as an Anonymous affiliate shared Roskomnadzor's data with DDoSecrets and the agency itself is not responsible for the attack. Besides this, the first announcement of the data leak came from a journalist and co-founder of DDoSecrets Emma Best in March 2022. 

YourAnonNews, a famous representative of the Anonymous collective also tweeted about the attack. Anonymous has openly sided with Ukraine over the ongoing war with Russia, the Russian government has restricted all important sources of information, especially news and media outlets, and Roskomnadzor was told to block Facebook, Twitter, and other online platforms. 

Hackread reports, "While Twitter launched its Tor onion service, authorities in Russia have also amended the Criminal Code to arrest anyone who posts information that contradicts the government’s stance. Nevertheless, since Roskomnadzor is a major government agency responsible for implementing government orders Anonymous believes the Russian public must have access to information about what is going on within Roskomnadzor."

Telegram Abused By Raccoon Stealer

 

As per a post released by Avast Threat Labs this week, Raccoon Stealer, which was first identified in April 2019, has added the capacity to keep and update its own genuine C2 addresses on Telegram's infrastructure. According to researchers, this provides them with a "convenient and trustworthy" command center on the network which they can alter on the fly. 

The malware, which is thought to have been built and maintained by Russian-linked cybercriminals, is primarily a credential stealer, but it is also capable of a variety of other nefarious activities. Based on commands from its C2, it can collect not just passwords but also cookies, saved logins and input data from browsers, login credentials from email services and messengers, crypto wallet files, data from browser plug-ins and extensions, and arbitrary files. 

As per the reports, Buer Loader and GCleaner were used to distribute Raccoon. Experts suspect it is also being distributed in the guise of false game cheats, patches for cracked software (including Fortnite, Valorant, and NBA2K22 hacks and mods), or other applications, based on some samples. 

Given since Raccoon Stealer is for sale, the only limit to its distribution methods is the imagination of the end-users. Some samples are spread unpacked, while others are protected by malware packers like Themida. It is worth mentioning whether certain samples were packed by the same packer five times in a row.

Within Telegram, the newest version of Raccoon Stealer talks with C2: According to the post, there are four "crucial" parameters for its C2 communication which are hardcoded in every Raccoon Stealer sample. Details are as follows:
  • MAIN KEY, which has changed four times throughout the year;
  • Telegram gate URLs with channel names; 
  • BotID, a hexadecimal string that is always sent to the C2; 
  • TELEGRAM KEY, a decryption key for the Telegram Gate C2 address. 

The malware decrypts MAIN KEY, which it uses to decrypt Telegram gates URLs and BotID, before hijacking Telegram for its C2. According to Martyanov, the stealer then utilizes the Telegram gate to connect to its real C2 via a series of inquiries to eventually allow it to save and change actual C2 addresses utilizing the Telegram infrastructure. 

The stealer can also transmit malware by downloading and executing arbitrary files in response to an instruction from C2. Raccoon Stealer spread roughly 185 files totaling 265 megabytes, including downloaders, clipboard crypto stealers, and the WhiteBlackCrypt ransomware, according to Avast Threat Labs.

Telegram has Experienced a Global Outage

 

On Thursday, March 3, the popular messenger Telegram experienced a failure. Users reported about the problems on the website of the service Downdetector, which tracks problems with access to Internet resources. 

According to Downdetector, the failure occurred at about 14 o'clock Moscow time. The majority of those who left complaints (56 percent) reported problems with the server connection. Users also noted problems with receiving messages (22 percent) and the operation of the application (23 percent). 

The failure affected residents of Russian cities, including Moscow and St. Petersburg. Users from Ukraine and Belarus also complained about the problems. 

The other day Pavel Durov published the following statement: "We do not want Telegram to be used as a tool to exacerbate conflicts and incite interethnic discord. In the event of an escalation of the situation, we will consider the possibility of partially or completely restricting the operation of Telegram channels in the countries involved during the conflict." 

According to him, recently Telegram has been increasingly used to spread fakes and unverified data related to the war, and the administration does not have the opportunity to check all publications for authenticity. However, soon Durov promised not to limit the work of the messenger in Ukraine. 

According to him, "a lot of users have asked us not to consider disabling Telegram channels for the period of the conflict, since we are the only source of information for them." But he urges users to "double-check and not take for granted the data that is published in Telegram channels during this difficult period." 

It is worth noting that in the week since the beginning of Russia's military operation in Ukraine, news channels in the Telegram messenger have added 19.5 million new subscribers. Another Russian social network, created at the time by Pavel Durov, is experiencing a new surge in popularity due to technical problems of other social networks. In VK, views in the news feed increased by 5% over the week, and the average daily number of video views increased by 15%. People are looking on platforms for up-to-date information from media that are subject to hacker attacks, and from eyewitnesses of events. 

Earlier, CySecurity News reported that three popular foreign social networks - Facebook, Instagram and Twitter began to receive complaints from residents of Russia in large numbers.

Facebook, Instagram and Twitter Users from Russia have Noticed Malfunctions in their Work

 

According to Downdetector, a service for tracking problems in the work of Internet platforms, users from Russia began to complain en masse about the failures of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Problems in social networks began on February 25. Over 80% of users sent complaints about the functioning of the application, another 10% noticed that they could not log in to their profile, and 7% reported problems with the operation of social network sites. 

Recall that on February 25, Roskomnadzor (the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Media) partially restricted access to Facebook. On the same day, the Prosecutor General's Office recognized the social network involved in the violation of human rights and freedoms and citizens of Russia. 

On February 26, representatives of Russian media were banned from showing ads and monetization in the social network Facebook. The company took such a step because of the situation around Ukraine. At the same time, Twitter suspended advertising for Russians and Ukrainians, as well as temporarily stopped recommending tweets to avoid the spread of insulting materials. 

In addition, Roskomnadzor restored measures in the form of slowing the speed of Twitter Internet service on devices in Russia in connection with the dissemination of untrustworthy public information about the military operation in Ukraine. 

The agency recalled that since March 10, 2021, Roskomnadzor slowed down Twitter on mobile phones and fixed devices on the territory of the Russian Federation for refusal to delete information that is prohibited in the Russian Federation. On May 17, 2021, after the deletion of more than 91% of the prohibited information by Twitter's moderation services, the restrictions were lifted. 

Roskomnadzor noted that in this situation, the condition for lifting access restrictions "is the complete removal of Twitter of prohibited materials identified by Roskomnadzor, as well as the termination of participation in the information confrontation, distribution of fakes and calls for extremism". 

In the Russian segment of the Internet, you can now often find messages: "If anything, here is my Telegram account...». Since February 25, when Roskomnadzor announced the partial blocking of the Facebook network, almost every Russian user has considered it his duty to notify friends where to look for him now. 

Bloggers and media resources are increasingly posting on their pages posts with recommendations for installing a VPN and other measures to bypass blocking.

Durov Suspected WhatsApp of Intentionally Introducing Vulnerabilities

 

Russian entrepreneur and founder of the Telegram messenger Pavel Durov while criticizing the WhatsApp service said that the messenger, owned by Meta, was hardly ever secure, in his Telegram channel.

Durov also suspects that the service may intentionally introduce vulnerabilities. "Since the creation of WhatsApp, there has hardly been a moment when it was secure: every few months, researchers discover a new security problem in the application," he added. 

Durov noted that every few months researchers find a new security issue in the application. He recalled that he had already spoken out about the danger of the service in 2020. Since then, as the creator of Telegram considered, the situation with WhatsApp has not changed. 

As an illustration of his words, he cited a study by the American information technology company Boldend, which revealed a vulnerability in WhatsApp. The gap in the messenger has existed for several years and allows attackers to gain access to the correspondence of their victims unnoticed. 

In addition, the creator of Telegram commented on a Forbes report, which claims that Facebook investor Peter Thiel secretly funded a startup with the ability to hack WhatsApp. "WhatsApp users' messages have been available for attacks by potential hackers for years," Durov said about the report. 

"It would be hard to believe that WhatsApp technicians are so often incompetent. Telegram, a much more technically sophisticated application, has never had such serious security problems," Durov concluded. 

In December, Durov said that his Telegram remains protected from the influence of third parties. He cited the example of the FBI report, which claimed that the bureau has access to Viber, iMessage, WhatsApp, and Line, but Telegram, Threema, Signal, and Wickr do not transmit correspondence to third parties. At the same time, it was noted that Telegram can, at the request of law enforcement officers, issue the IP address and phone number of the user. 

Earlier, Pavel Durov's team advised the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine on cryptocurrencies. The Minister said that he actively uses the Telegram messenger for fast communications.

German Ministry of Justice announced millions in fines for Telegram in case of non-compliance with laws

German Justice Minister Marco Bushman announced "million-dollar" fines for Telegram messenger for violating German law and reminded that the company must designate a contact person in the country and provide a mechanism to notify the social network of unlawful content.

"And our laws also apply to Telegram. According to them, Telegram should appoint a contact person in Germany and create an easily identifiable way to notify about illegal content. Since these duties are violated, we have initiated many procedures for imposing a fine," Bushman said in an interview with Bild am Sonntag.

He noted that the German authorities regularly contact the authorities of the UAE, where the messenger's headquarters are located.

"In case the next attempt to deliver an alert (about the offense) fails, the next step will be a public alert. After that, we will be able to impose a monetary fine. Our laws provide for millions of dollars in fines," Bushman added.

Bushman also addressed the topic of Telegram, responding to the newspaper's questions about the cases of threats against the authorities that have been reported on the social network in recent weeks. The threats, according to the media, have been voiced recently in the chats of covid dissidents.

Earlier, German Interior Minister Nancy Feather called for a tougher policy towards cases of hate speech in the Telegram messenger. She noted that Telegram channels, through which information can be distributed to subscribers, fall under the norms of the German law on network security, which implies the obligation to remove illegal content.

It is worth noting that the total amount of Telegram's court fines since the beginning of 2021 is more than 40 million rubles. At the same time, some of the court's decisions have not yet entered into force.

Swiss Army Bans WhatsApp at Work

 

A spokesman for the Swiss army announced Thursday that the use of WhatsApp while on duty has been prohibited, in favour of a Swiss messaging service regarded more safe in terms of data security. 

Using other messaging applications like Signal and Telegram on soldiers' personal phones during service activities is likewise barred. 

Commanders and chiefs of staff got an email from headquarters at the end of December advising that their troops switch to the Swiss-based Threema. According to army spokesman Daniel Reist, the recommendation applies "to everyone," including conscripts serving in the military and those returning for refresher courses. 

Switzerland is known for its neutrality. However, the landlocked European country's long-standing position is one of armed neutrality and has mandatory conscription for men.

During operations to assist hospitals and the vaccination campaign in Switzerland's efforts to prevent the Covid-19 pandemic, the concern of using messaging apps on duty came up, as per Reist. The Swiss army will bear the cost of downloading Threema, which is already used by other Swiss public agencies, for four Swiss francs ($4.35, 3.85 euros). 

Other messaging services, such as WhatsApp, are governed by the US Cloud Act, which permits US authorities to access data held by US operators, even if it is stored on servers located outside of the nation. Threema, which claims to have ten million users, describes itself as an instant messenger that collects as little data as possible. It is not supported by advertisements. 

The company states on its website, "All communication is end-to-end encrypted, and the app is open source." 

According to an army spokesman mentioned in a Tamedia daily report, data security is one of the reasons for the policy change. As per local surveys, WhatsApp is the most popular messenger app among 16- to 64-year-olds in Switzerland.

Telegram Exploited by Attackers to Spread Malware

 

Researchers discovered that cybercriminals are using the Echelon info stealer to attack the crypto-wallets of Telegram users in an attempt to deceive new or naïve members of a cryptocurrency discussion group on the messaging network. 

Researchers from SafeGuard Cyber's Division Seven threat analysis section discovered a sample of Echelon in a cryptocurrency-focused Telegram channel in October, according to an investigation published on Thursday. 

The malware used throughout the campaign is designed to exploit credentials from a variety of messaging and file-sharing channels, such as Discord, Edge, FileZilla, OpenVPN, Outlook, and even Telegram itself, as well as a variety of cryptocurrency wallets, which include AtomicWallet, BitcoinCore, ByteCoin, Exodus, Jaxx, and Monero. 

The campaign was a “spray and pray” effort: “Based on the malware and how it was posted, SafeGuard Cyber believes that it was not part of a coordinated campaign, and was simply targeting new or naïve users of the channel,” according to the report. 

Researchers discovered that attackers had been using the handle "Smokes Night" to disseminate Echelon on the channel, although it's unknown how successful they were. "The post did not appear to be a response to any of the surrounding messages in the channel," they added.

According to the researchers, additional users on the channel didn't even appear to detect anything strange or engage with the post. However, this does not imply that the malware did not reach consumers' devices, according to the experts. 

“We did not see anyone respond to ‘Smokes Night’ or complain about the file, though this does not prove that users of the channel did not get infected,” they wrote. 

The Telegram messaging platform has undoubtedly become a hotspot of activity for hackers, who've already taken advantage of its popularity and large attack surface by distributing malware on the network via bots, rogue accounts, and other methods.

Echelon was delivered to the cryptocurrency channel in the form of a.RAR file called "present).rar," which contained three files: "pass – 123.txt," a benign text document comprising a password; "DotNetZip.dll," a non-malicious class library and toolset for manipulating.ZIP files; and "Present.exe," the malicious executable for the Echelon credential stealer. 

The.NET payload also featured numerous characteristics that made it hard to identify or analyze, such as two anti-debugging capabilities that immediately terminate the process if a debugger or other malware analysis techniques are identified, and obfuscation utilizing the open-source ConfuserEx program. 

According to the researchers, additional characteristics of the malware include computer fingerprinting and the ability to take a screenshot of the victim's workstation. According to the researchers, the Echelon sample taken from the campaign uses a compressed.ZIP file to deliver passwords as well as other stolen data and screenshots back to a command-and-control server.

Analysts Warn of Telegram Powered Bots Stealing Bank OTPs

 

In the past few years, two-factor verification is one of the simplest ways for users to safeguard their accounts. It has now become a major target for threat actors. As per Intel 471, a cybersecurity firm, it has observed a rise in services that allow threat actors to hack OTP (one time password) tokens. Intel 471 saw all these services since June which operate via a Telegram bot or provide assistance to customers via a Telegram channel. Through these assistance channels, users mostly share their feats while using this bot and often walk away thousand dollars from target accounts. 

Recently, threat actors have been providing access to services that call victims, which on the surface, looks like a genuine call from a bank and then fool victims into providing an OTP or other authentication code into a smartphone to steal and give the codes to the provider. Few services also attack other famous financial services or social media platforms, giving SIM swapping and e-mail phishing services. According to experts, a bot known as SMSRanger, is very easy to use. With one slash command, a user can enable various modes and scripts targeted towards banks and payment apps like Google Pay, Apple Pay, PayPal, or a wireless carrier. 

When the victim's phone number has been entered, the rest of the work is carried out by the bot, allowing access to the victim's account that has been attacked. The bot's success rate is around 80%, given the victims respond to the call and provides correct information. BloodOTPBot, a bot similar to SMSRanger sends the user a fake OTP code via message. In this case, the hacker has to spoof the target's phone number and appear like a company or bank agent. After this, the bot tries to get the authentication code with the help of social engineering tricks. 

The bot sends the code to the operator after the target receives the OTP and types it on the phone keyboard. A third bot, known as SMS buster, however, requires more effort from the attacker for retrieving out information. The bot has a feature where it fakes a call to make it look like a real call from a bank, and allows hackers to contact from any phone number. The hacker could follow a script to fake the victim into giving personal details like ATM pin, CVV, and OTP.

Telegram Bug in Mac Allows User To Save Secret Chats

 

Cybersecurity experts have found a technique for Telegram users of Mac to keep self disappearing texts or view the messages without the knowledge of sender. Telegram has an optional "secret chat" feature that ensures privacy of the conversations by providing additional features. If you start a conversation with a Telegram user, the chat becomes end-to-end encrypted, all the messages, media and attachments will be on self-destruct by default, and will disappear from the device after some time. 

But, a new bug found by cybersecurity expert Reegun Richard Jayapaul, Trustwave SpiderLabs' Lead Threat Architect, lets a Telegram Mac user to save self disappearing messages and media permanently. If the files sent in a chat are other than media, they are saved in the cached folder with XXXXXX unique numbers related to a user profile. "As voice recordings, video messages, images, or location sharing images are automatically downloaded to the cache, Reegun discovered that a user could simply copy the media from the cache folder before viewing it in the program," reports Bleeping Computers.

Telegram won't download these attachments unless the recipient downloads it, it is done because these documents generally have a large file size. When a user views the content or reads a message, the self-destruct timer starts, and the chats soon disappear, the content is automatically deleted. However, experts found that the self-disappearing media wasn't removed from the cached folder, and the user had the option of saving it to a different location in the hard drive. The vulnerability was patched by Telegram for MacOs version 7.7 (215786) or later after it was pointed out, however, there's a different bug which allows a user to save self-disappearing media. 

As per the reports, Telegram has told the experts that the issue can't be fixed because there isn't any way to stop second bug from gaining direct access to the app folder. Telegram said "please note that the primary purpose of the self-destruct timer is to serve as a simple way to auto-delete individual messages. However, there are some ways to work around it that are outside what the Telegram app an control (like copying the app’s folder), and we clearly warn users about such circumstances."

New Robocall Bot on Telegram can Trick Targets Into Giving Up Their Password

 

Researchers at CyberNews have identified a new form of automated social engineering tool that can harvest one-time passwords (OTPs) from users in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. 

Without any direct connection with the victim, the so-called OTP Bot may mislead victims into providing criminals credentials to their bank accounts, email, and other internet services. It's exhausting for a probable victim to listen to someone try to scam them blind by taking advantage of their generosity. 

As a new type of bot-for-hire is conquering the field of social engineering, OTP Bot, the latest form of malicious Telegram bot that uses robocalls to trick unsuspecting victims into handing over their one-time passwords, which fraudsters then use to login and empty their bank accounts. Even worse, the newfangled bot's userbase has exploded in recent weeks, with tens of thousands of people signing up. 

How Does OTP Bot Works?

OTP Bot is the latest example of the emerging Crimeware-as-a-Service model, where cybercriminals rent out destructive tools and services to anybody ready to pay, according to CyberNews expert Martynas Vareikis. After being purchased, OTP Bot enables the users to collect one-time passwords from innocent people by simply typing the target's phone number, as well as any extra information obtained via data leaks or the black market, into the bot's Telegram chat window. 

“Depending on the service the threat actor wishes to exploit, this additional information could include as little as the victim’s email address,” says Vareikis. The bot is being marketed on a Telegram chat channel with over 6,000 users, allowing its owners to make a lot of money by selling monthly memberships to cybercriminals. Meanwhile, its users brag about their five-figure profits from robbing their targets' bank accounts. 

Bot-for-hire services, according to Jason Kent, a hacker in residence at Cequence Security, have already commoditized the automated threat industry, making it very easy for criminals to enter into social engineering. 

Kent told CyberNew, “At one time, a threat actor would need to know where to find bot resources, how to cobble them together with scripts, IP addresses, and credentials. Now, a few web searches will uncover full Bot-as-a-Service offerings where I need only pay a fee to use a bot. It’s a Bots-for-anyone landscape now and for security teams.” 

Gift cards make the scam go-round: 

Card linking is the most common scamming tactic used by OTP Bot subscribers. It comprises linking a victim's credit card to their mobile payment app account and then purchasing gift cards in real stores with it.

“Credit card linking is a favorite among scammers because stolen phone numbers and credit card information are relatively easy to come by on the black market,” reckons Vareikis. 

“With that data in hand, a threat actor can choose an available social engineering script from the chat menu and simply feed the victim’s information to OTP Bot.” 

The bot also contacts the victim's number, acting as a support representative, and tries to mislead them into giving their one-time password, which is necessary to log in to the victim's Apple Pay or Google Pay account, using a fake caller ID. The threat actor can then link the victim's credit card to the payment app and go on a gift card buying spree in a nearby physical store after logging in with the stolen one-time password. 

Scammers use linked credit cards to buy prepaid gifts for one simple reason as they leave no financial footprints. This is particularly useful during a pandemic, when mask regulations are in effect in almost all interior areas, making it considerably simpler for criminals to conceal their identities throughout the process. 

Since its release on Telegram in April, the service looks to be gaining a lot of momentum, especially in the last few weeks. The OTP Bot Telegram channel currently has 6,098 members, a massive 20 percent growth in just seven days. 

The simplicity of use and the bot-for-hire model, which allow unskilled or even first-time fraudsters to easily rob their victims with the least input and zero social contact, appear to be some of the reasons for the fast rise. In fact, some OTP Bot users blatantly broadcast their success tales in the Telegram conversation, flaunting to other members of the channel about their ill-gotten gains. 

Based on the popularity of OTP Bot, it's apparent that this new sort of automated social engineering tool will only gain more popularity. Indeed, it'll only be a matter of time until a slew of new knockoff services hit the market, attracting even more fraudsters looking to make a fast buck off unsuspecting victims. 

The creator of Spyic, Katherine Brown, warns that as more bots enter the market, the opportunities for social engineering and abuse will grow exponentially. “This year we’ve already seen bots emerge that automate attacks against political targets to drive public opinion,” says Brown. 

The growth of social engineering bots-for-hire is even more alarming, according to Dr. Alexios Mylonas, senior cybersecurity lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire, since the pandemic has put greater limitations on our social connections. 

“This is particularly true for those who are not security-savvy. Threat actors are known to use automation and online social engineering attacks, which enables them to optimize their operations, to achieve their goals and the CyberNews team has uncovered yet another instance of it,” Mylonas stated CyberNews. 

How to Recognize Social Engineering Scams?

Keeping all of this in mind, understanding how to detect a social engineering attempt is still critical for protecting money and personal information. Here's how to do it: 

1.Calls from unknown numbers should not be answered. 

2.Never give out personal information: Names, usernames, email addresses, passwords, PINs, and any other information that may be used to identify you fall into this category. 

3. Don’t fall into the trap: Scammers frequently use a false feeling of urgency to get targets to hand up their personal information. If someone is attempting to persuade the user to make a decision, they should hang up or say they will call back them later. Then dial the toll-free number for the firm they claim to represent. 

4.Don't trust caller ID: By mimicking names and phone numbers, scammers might impersonate a firm or someone from your contact list. 

Financial service companies, on the other hand, never call their clients to validate personal information. They will simply block the account if they detect suspicious behavior and expect the user to contact the firm through official means to fix the problem. As a result, be watchful, even if the caller ID on your phone screen appears to be legitimate.

XCSSET, a MacOS malware, Targets Google Chrome and Telegram Software

 

As part of further "refinements in its tactics," a malware notorious for targeting the macOS operating system has been updated to add more elements to its toolset that allow it to accumulate and exfiltrate sensitive data saved in a range of programmes, including apps like Google Chrome and Telegram. This macOS malware can collect login credentials from a variety of apps, allowing its operators to steal accounts. 

XCSSET was discovered in August 2020, when it was found to be targeting Mac developers using an unusual method of propagation that entailed injecting a malicious payload into Xcode IDE projects, which is executed when the project files are built in Xcode. XCSSET collects files containing sensitive information from infected computers and delivers them to the command and control (C2) server. 

Telegram, an instant messaging service, is one of the apps that has been attacked. The virus produces the “telegram.applescript” archive in the Group Containers directory for the “keepcoder.Telegram” folder. By obtaining the Telegram folder, the hackers are able to log into the messaging app as the account's legal owner. The attackers gain access to the victim's account by moving the stolen folder to another machine with Telegram installed, according to Trend Micro researchers. Normal users have read and write permissions to the Application sandbox directory, XCSSET can steal sensitive data this way. 

The malware can read and dump Safari cookies, inject malicious JavaScript code into multiple websites, steal information from programmes like Notes, WeChat, Skype, and Telegram, and encrypt user files, among other things. Earlier this month, XCSSET received an update that allowed malware developers to target macOS 11 Big Sur as well as Macs with the M1 chipset by getting beyond Apple's new security standards in the current operating system. 

"The malware downloads its own open tool from its C2 server that comes pre-signed with an ad-hoc signature, whereas if it were on macOS versions 10.15 and lower, it would still use the system's built-in open command to run the apps," Trend Micro researchers previously noted. 

According to a new report released by the cybersecurity firm on Thursday, XCSSET uses a malicious AppleScript file to compress the Telegram data folder ("/Library/Group Containers/6N38VWS5BX.ru.keepcoder.Telegram") into a ZIP archive file before uploading it to a remote server under their control, allowing the threat actor to log in using the victim's account. 

"The discovery of how it can steal information from various apps highlights the degree to which the malware aggressively attempts to steal various kinds of information from affected systems," the researchers said.

Telegram Pavel Durov says that since 2018 he knew about the potential surveillance of his phone

The billionaire said he had known since 2018 that one of his phone numbers was on the NSO Group list, but was not worried about it.

"Since 2011, when I was still living in Russia, I used to think that all my phones were hacked. Anyone who gets access to my personal data will be extremely disappointed, as he will have to view thousands of Telegram feature concepts and millions of messages related to the development process of our product. He will not find any important information there," Durov explained.

At the same time, he recalled that surveillance tools were also used against "much more significant" people, including more than 10 heads of state. "A huge problem for humanity", according to the businessman, is created by "backdoors" that smartphone and software manufacturers deliberately leave in their systems.

"According to Snowden's 2013 revelations, Apple and Google are part of a global surveillance program. These companies should introduce backdoors into their mobile operating systems. These backdoors, usually disguised as security bugs, allow US intelligence agencies to access information on any smartphone in the world," Durov wrote. 

According to Durov, at the same time, access to these vulnerabilities can be obtained not only by the US authorities but also "any other organization that finds them."

"It is not surprising that this is exactly what happened: the Israeli company NSO Group sold access to spy tools that allowed third parties to hack tens of thousands of phones," the billionaire noted.

Recently, The Guardian reported that the Telegram founder's British mobile number was on a list of potential surveillance targets in 2018.

The publication suggested that the authorities of the United Arab Emirates could have shown interest in Durov since the appearance of the entrepreneur's number on the list coincided with his move to this country.

Telegram's Encryption Protocol Detected with Vulnerabilities

 

A multinational computer team claimed on Friday that the popular encrypted chat app Telegram is detected with four cryptographic vulnerabilities by their researchers. 

The vulnerabilities, based on the security study, range from technically trivial and easy to use to advanced and of theoretical interest. But in the end, it is demonstrated by ETH Professor Kenny Paterson, who was a member of the team that exposed the vulnerability, that the four important aspects could be done better, more secure, and more efficiently using a standard approach to cryptography. 

Telegram's a cloud-based free, open-source instant messaging app on cross-platform. This program also provides encoded video calling, VoIP, file sharing, and various other functions from one end to the next. It was launched in August 2013 for iOS and in October 2013 for Android. 

The greatest vulnerability found by researchers is what they call the vulnerability "crime pizza." An attacker could modify the sequence of messages from a client to a telegram-operated cloud server in this easily. 

“For example, if the order of the messages in the sequence ‘I say “yes” to’, ‘pizza’, ‘I say “no” to’, “crime” was altered then it would appear that the client is declaring their willingness to commit a crime,” according to the universities.

An attacker may detect which of two communications is encrypted by the client, even if particular circumstances are required to do so using one of the more theoretical vulnerabilities. 

Rather than using more common protocols like Transport Layer Security, Telegram uses its MTProto encryption protocol. In the past, too, cryptographers have skeptically eyed MTProto. The recent investigation recalls that while encrypted apps give considerable protection, they are not 100% impermissible to use. 

The flaws in the telegram were reported by cryptographers from ETH Zürich, a public research university in Switzerland, and the Royal Holloway constituent college of the University of London. 

“For most users, the immediate risk is low, but these vulnerabilities highlight that Telegram fell short of the cryptographic guarantees enjoyed by other widely deployed cryptographic protocols,” a university summary states. 

Telegram wrote that it made changes in response to the disclosure “that make the four observations made by the researchers no longer relevant.” 

Further, it has also revealed that there were no critical vulnerabilities. 

“We welcome any research that helps make our protocol even more secure,” Telegram said. “These particular findings helped further improve the theoretical security of the protocol.”

Toxic Eye Malware is Utilizing Telegram

 

As of 2021, numerous users left WhatsApp for messaging to various other applications that promised improved data protection only after the company announced that it might default share user metadata with Facebook. Many of those users turned to Telegram and Signal, which proves to be the competitive applications against WhatsApp. 

As per Sensor Tower, Telegram was perhaps the most installed application with over 63 million downloads in January 2021. Telegram chatting is still not encoded as in Signal Chat end-to-end encryption is there, but now Telegram does have another issue: malware. 

Software Check Point team recently found that cybercriminals use Telegram for something like a malware program named Toxic Eye as a communications platform. It turns out that certain aspects of Telegram are much more readily accessible by attackers than it is by web-based tools. Today, they have handy Telegram Bots to mess up with compromised machines. 

Toxic Eye is a kind of malware known as a remote access trojan (RAT). RATs can remotely monitor an intruder over an infected machine, which means that the attacker could steal host computer data, destroy, or copy files, hamper the operations of an infected machine, and much more. The Toxic Eye RAT is distributed through an e-mail with an encoded EXE file to a destination. The software installs the malware on the user computer if the target users access the file. 

RATs are comparable to programs of remote access and can be used to control user devices, for instance, by someone in technical support. However, even without authorization, these programs sneak in. They could imitate or hide with legitimate files that sometimes are concealed as a document or are inserted in a broader video game file. 

Attackers used Telegram to remotely manipulate malicious software. Check Point analyst Omer Hofman claims that from February until April 2021 the company found 130 Toxic Eye attacks with this tool, and some items make Telegram valuable to bad players who distribute malware. 

The firewall program doesn't obstruct Telegram. The network control tools are also not blocked. It's a user-friendly app that most people recognize as genuine, then let their guards down. 

The researcher's advice is that one must not access email attachments from unidentified senders, which raises suspicion. Also, take care of appendices containing usernames. Malicious emails also contain the username or an attachment title in the subject line. It is possibly malicious if the sender attempts to sound urgent, dangerous, or compulsive and forces the user to click upon a link or attachment or to provide sensitive data. If possible, then one must use anti-phishing tools.

RedLine Stealer: Masquerades as Telegram Installer

 

The .Net-based malware has recently been disguised as an installer of the popular secure messaging app, Telegram. 

Stealers are pieces of malicious code written with a hit-and-run mindset, intending to find something of value on an infected computer and return it to its owner. These sinister viruses usually infect through a second-stage payload or by masquerading as legitimate apps. One such stealer is Redline Stealer, which is often used by attackers to steal credentials from unsuspecting users.

According to Minerva, RedLine Stealer employs evasive techniques to bypass the security products, which begins with the unpacking process. The fake setup file is packed and highly obfuscated, like most of the .Net malware. No known packer is found using Detect-It-Easy, implying that the unpacking must be performed manually. 

Most of the variable and function names were scrambled after decompiling the malware, making it difficult to understand the code. The packer developer also decided to implement control flow flattening into the packer in order to make any reverse engineering effort truly miserable. Control flow flattening takes the normal program control flow and modifies it using numerous if/while statements. 

Packers typically use stenography or encryption in their arsenal, what appears to be malformed image files are actually the malicious payload, which is decoded and decrypted by a custom algorithm in the resources directory. 

The payload data is concealed inside the RGB values of image pixels. The first pixel contains the size of the meaningful data inside the image, while the others include the actual data. 

After decoding the image, the packer decodes the payload with the RC2 cipher, revealing and loading a file called "Lightning.dll" into memory. An object named "GameCore.Core" is instantiated from the in-memory DLL file, and inside it, a function named "Game" receives yet another image file from the binary's resources directory, along with a hardcoded key. 

The "Game" feature decrypts the final payload and then uses process injection to load the malware into another process's memory space. The payload is then identified, and it is fully un-obfuscated, which allowed seeing its C&C address in cleartext, Minerva reported.