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‘Evil PLC’ Could Turn PLCs Into Attack Vectors

 

When one thinks of someone hacking a programmable logic controller, one usually think of the PLC as the end objective of the assault. Adversaries use other systems to get at what will eventually allow them to cause industrial damage. 

However, a Claroty Team 82 DefCon presentation asks the following question: what if someone exploited a PLC as a vector rather than the destination? The researchers feel that the "Evil PLC" attack scenario is novel: infecting every engineer who interfaces with a PLC with malicious malware. 

Claroty revealed a series of 11 additional vendor-specific vulnerabilities that would allow the attack as proof of concept. These flaws have been discovered in Ovarro TBOX, B&R (ABB) X20 System, Schneider Electric Modicon M340 and M580, GE MarkVIe, Rockwell Micro Control Systems, Emerson PACSystems and Xinje XDPPro platforms. All but the Emerson were issued CVEs. Claroty came up with the notion after trying to learn more about the opponents that attack their honeypots.

“We asked ourselves, how can we actively attack the attackers? We don't know anything about them. We cannot find them,” said Claroty director of research Sharon Brizinov. “And then we kind of had a eureka moment and we thought, okay, what if the PLC was to be weaponized?”

Claroty used a ZipSlip attack against vendors (Emerson, Ovarro, B&R, GE, and Xinje), a heap overflow against Schneider, and a deserialization attack against Rockwell to create an Evil PLC. Evil PLC, according to Claroty, would be suited for two assault scenarios. The first scenario would be if the PLC was the only entry point into a secure facility. Waiting for an engineer to connect to the PLC allows the attacker to infect the engineer's workstation. This might be sped up by encouraging an early inspection using the newfound access to the PLC.

“Once the attacker weaponized the PLC, maybe they deliberately cause a fault on the PLC. The engineer would be lured to the PLC to check what's going on with it,” said Brizinov. 

Another possibility is to take use of the large number of PLCs maintained by outside professionals. One engineer is linked to one PLC could spread malicious code across several enterprises. 

“Usually PLCs are the crown jewel. When we're talking about classic attack vectors in ICS domains we're always seeing the PLC as the endpoint, the end goal; but if we're playing with those ideas and shifting our thoughts a bit, we can we can get to new ways of how to defend and attack both networks,” Brizinov said. 

Cyble: Over 9,000 VNC Sessions Without a Password Found

Virtual network computing (VNC) endpoints that can view and utilize credentials were reported to be vulnerable on at least 9,000 occasions, giving hackers simple access to the data. 

The platform-independent system referred to as Network Computing (VNC) enables users to remotely control other computers, most of which have limited monitoring and adjusting capabilities. Therefore, anyone who compromises VNCs will eventually have access to the underlying systems.

The endpoints can act as access points for unauthorized access, including hackers with malevolent intentions if they are not fully secured with a password, which is frequently the result of neglect, error, or a decision made out of convenience.

As per researchers, the risk of each exposed VNC relies on the kind of underlying system it is in charge of. Some people are discovered to be in charge of a municipality's water control systems, which is quite serious.

Research Analysis 

Over 9,000 vulnerable servers were found when Cyble's security researchers searched the web for internet-facing VNC instances without passwords. China and Sweden are home to the majority of exposed instances, while the United States, Spain, and Brazil round out the top 5 with sizable numbers of unprotected VNCs.

The fact that some of these open VNC instances were for industrial control systems, that should never be accessible to the Internet, only made the situation worse, according to Cyble. Under one of the examined cases, the unencrypted VNC access connected to an HMI for controlling pumps on a remote SCADA system in a nameless manufacturing facility.

Cyble employed its cyber-intelligence systems to keep a watch out for attacks on port 5900, the standard port for VNC, to assess how frequently attackers target these servers. In a single month, Cyble counted more than six million requests. The Netherlands, Russia, and the United States were the major countries from which to access VNC servers.

On hacker forums, there is a large market for accessing vital networks via exposed or compromised VNCs because this kind of access can be utilized for more in-depth network espionage. In other circumstances, security experts provide guidance on how users might actively scan for and find these vulnerable instances.

A long list of exposed VNC instances with very weak or no passwords is presented in a post on a darknet forum that Bleeping Computer has seen.

In this sense, it's crucial to keep in mind that many VNC systems do not accept passwords longer than eight characters, making it essentially unsafe even when both the sessions and the passwords are encrypted.

Servers should never be exposed to the Internet directly, and if they must be accessed remotely, they should at least be hidden behind a VPN to protect access to the servers.

Bitter APT and Transparent Tribe Campaigns on Social Media

 

Facebook's parent company, Meta, has recently shut down two cyberespionage efforts on its social networking networks. Bitter APT and Transparent Tribe threat groups were behind these campaigns. Both groups have been based in South Asia.

About Bitter APT:

The first group discovered was Bitter APT or T-APT-17, which targeted firms in the government, engineering, and energy industries. The group used social engineering against targets in India, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Pakistan.

To install malware on target devices, it exploited a combination of hijacked websites, URL shortening services, and third-party file hosting companies. To interact with and fool their victims, the hackers impersonated activists, journalists, and young women. Bitter also utilised Dracarys, a new Android malware that exploits accessibility services.

Transparent Tribe

Transparent Tribe, also known as APT36, is less complex than Bitter APT. It employs social engineering techniques as well as widely available malware. Its most recent campaign targeted citizens in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. 

Human rights advocates and military officials were the primary targets of the campaign. The hackers pretended to be recruiters for bogus and real firms, as well as young ladies and military personnel.

In conclusion

Social media has become a playground for cybercriminals of all sorts. Cyberspies utilise these platforms to gather intelligence and lure victims to external sites where malware may be downloaded. As a result, users are advised to exercise caution while befriending strangers online.

Google Fined $60M+ for Misleading Australians About Collecting Location Data

 

Google was fined $60 million by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for deceiving Australian Android users about the collection and utilization of their location data for over two years, between January 2017 and December 2018. 

According to the Australian Competition watchdog, the tech giant continued to follow some of its customers' Android phones even after they deleted "Location History" in the device's settings. While consumers were misled to believe that option would deactivate location tracking, another account setting, "Web & App Activity," which was enabled by default, allowed the firm to "collect, retain, and use personally identifiable location data." 

According to the ACCC, based on available data, more than 1.3 million Australian Google accounts have been impacted. 

"Google, one of the world's largest companies, was able to keep the location data collected through the 'Web & App Activity' setting and that retained data could be used by Google to target ads to some consumers, even if those consumers had the "Location History" setting turned off," stated ACCC Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb. 

"Personal location data is sensitive and important to some consumers, and some of the users who saw the representations may have made different choices about the collection, storage and use of their location data if the misleading representations had not been made by Google." 

In October 2019, Australia's competition watchdog initiated proceedings against Google. The Australian Federal Court ruled in April 2021 that Google had violated the Australian Consumer Law by deceiving customers regarding the gathering and use of their location data. 

By 20 December 2018, Google has taken corrective action and resolved all faults that had led to this fine, with users no longer being shown deceptive information implying that halting location history will stop collecting information about the areas they go with their devices. 

"Companies need to be transparent about the types of data that they are collecting and how the data is collected and may be used so that consumers can make informed decisions about who they share that data with," Cass-Gottlieb added.

U.S. Bans Crypto Mixing Service Tornado Cash

A 29-year-old man was detained in Amsterdam on Friday, per the Dutch tax authorities investigative department, who suspects him of working as a developer for Tornado Cash, a cryptocurrency mixing business that the US had earlier in the week sanctioned. 

The Dutch agency's action further demonstrates the increasing interest that governments are showing in so-called crypto mixers. Another cryptocurrency mixing service, Blender, received approval from the Office of Foreign Asset Control earlier this year. 

Sanctions against the service were imposed by the US Treasury Department on Monday. According to reports, North Korean state hackers used Tornado Cash to hide billions of dollars.

The Block identified the Tornado Cash engineer as Alexey Pertsev despite FIOD concealing his name. Tornado Cash, as per FIOD, "has been utilized to mask large-scale criminal money flows, particularly from data thefts of cryptocurrencies so-called crypto hacks and scams," the organization claimed.

The platform works by pooling and scrambling different digital assets from thousands of addresses, including money that might have been obtained illegally as well as money that might have been obtained legally, to hide the trail back to the asset's original source, giving criminals a chance to hide the source of the stolen money.  

After the U.S. sanction, a variety of companies have banned or deleted accounts connected to Tornado Cash, including GitHub, Circle, Alchemy, and Infura.

On the news, the Tornado Cash token TORN fell from $16.5 to $13.7, furthering this month's fall. According to CoinMarketCap, the token's decline during the past seven days has exceeded 50%.

The latest findings point to the greater attention of bitcoin mixing services for what is believed to be a means of paying out illicitly obtained cryptocurrency. 

This includes the indebted North Korean government, which is known to rely on cyberattacks on the cryptocurrency industry to steal virtual money and circumvent trade and economic sanctions placed on the country. 




               

Flaws in Policybazaar Insurance Firm

A small cybersecurity company informed Policybazaar last month that it had found severe security flaws in the organization's internet-facing network that could expose the private financial and personal information of at least 11 million customers to malicious hackers.

The unnamed firm used the typical ethical hacker strategy, which gave Policybazaar, the insurance aggregator, time to fix the bugs and notify the authorities. It said that it felt legal, in part because it had workers who were clients, but it did not get permission in advance to test Policybazaar's technology.

On July 24, a publicly held entity Policybazaar — which counts Tencent among its investors — notified India's stock markets that it had suffered an unauthorized breach, but "no substantial customer data was compromised."

Flaw analysis

CyberX9's director Himanshu Pathak said that anyone with decent computer/IT expertise could have easily found, used, and leaked all of this material.

CyberX9, a startup, is not passive. The company's managing director wants Indians to be aware that since many extremely significant flaws were so simple to find, it appeared as though Policybazaar had purposefully left itself vulnerable to hacking by criminals.

The data also contains copies of the identification, health, and financial documents that people must present in order to obtain insurance, such as tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, driver's licenses, and birth certificates.  90% of India's internet insurance aggregator market is claimed by Policybazaar, a broker for various carriers and types of policies that collects data through user uploads and self-generated records.

The Associated Press contacted three of the people listed in the sample material, which included copies of private data from CyberX9, one of whom was a soldier stationed in Ladakh, a region that is disputed by Pakistan and China. All three of them acknowledged that they were Policybazaar users. All of them claimed they were unaware of any security incident.

56 million users were enrolled on Policybazaar at the end of December, with 11 million of them as 'transacting clients' who bought 25 million insurance policies, according to documentation on the website of Policybazaar's parent firm, PB Fintech Ltd.

Other than to declare that it had corrected the discovered vulnerabilities and had forwarded the incident to outside consultants for a forensic audit, Policybazaar refused to answer the queries from the AP.

After learning about the volume of private and sensitive data that Policybazaar was in charge of maintaining during its November IPO, CyberX9 claimed it made the decision to check Policybazaar's network for vulnerabilities.

There were no limitations on the number of times an unauthorized user could perform such a retrieval, per the report, which detected five vulnerabilities and was able to collect user data without requesting permission.

Data privacy in India

The founder of SecureLayer7, Sandeep Kamble, said that the handling of these cases by the legal system is immature since most judges lack the necessary technological knowledge. 

Despite the nation's top court deemed privacy to be a fundamental right in 2017 and ordered the government to draft legislation, India, which has 800 million internet users, also lacks a data protection law. Criticism of some of the bill's provisions, such as one that allowed the government access to personal data in the interest of 'sovereignty,' caused a delay in its consideration in Parliament.

A data protection law is deemed required in India, where financial fraud and data leaks are common, as per digital experts. Due to previous events in which both private companies and the government leaked people's data, its absence has raised privacy issues in the nation.









Reddit Enabled Attackers to Perform Mod Actions due to IDOR Flaw

 

Due to a vulnerability in Reddit, attackers were able to execute moderator activities or elevate normal users to mod status without the necessary authorization.  Since Reddit admins have the ability to pin or remove content, block other users, and modify subreddit metadata, the weakness may have allowed for all sorts of mischief. 

According to a recent HackerOne report, a bug researcher with the handle 'high ping ninja' discovered that while attempting to access the mod logs using GraphQL, Reddit failed to validate if the user was a moderator of a certain subreddit. 

“You can change the parameter subredditName to any target subreddit name which is public or restricted and get access to mod logs of that subreddit,” they explained. 

On August 3, an insecure direct object reference (IDOR) flaw was reported and patched on the same day. Insecure direct object references (IDOR) are a form of access control vulnerability that occurs when an application directly accesses objects using user-supplied data. 

The word IDOR gained popularity after appearing in the OWASP Top Ten in 2007. It is, however, simply one of several access control implementation errors that can lead to access restrictions being evaded. IDOR vulnerabilities are most often connected with horizontal privilege escalation, although they can also occur with vertical privilege escalation. 

“I increased severity to high based on our program policy,” a member of the Reddit triage team said in the disclosure notes. The researcher received a $5,000 bug reward for his discovery.

Ransomware Gang Hacks Cisco

The Yanluowang ransomware organization broke into Cisco's business network in late May and stole internal data, the company said in a statement.

Hacker's compromised a Cisco employee's credentials after taking over a personal Google account where credentials saved in the victim's browser were being synced, according to an investigation by Cisco Security Incident Response (CSIRT) and Cisco Talos.

Cisco claims that an attacker targeted one of its employees and was only successful in stealing files from a Box folder linked to that employee's account and employee authentication information from Active Directory. According to the company, the data kept in the Box folder wasn't sensitive.

The Yanluowang threat actors hijacked a Cisco employee's personal Google account, which contained credentials synchronized from their browser, and used those credentials to enter Cisco's network.

Through MFA fatigue and a series of sophisticated voice phishing assaults carried out by the Yanluowang gang under the guise of reputable assistance businesses, the attacker persuaded the Cisco employee to accept multi-factor authentication (MFA) push alerts.

Cisco has linked the attack to an initial access broker with ties to Lapsus$, the gang that attacked several major corporations before its alleged members were apprehended by law enforcement, as well as threat actor UNC2447, a group with ties to Russia known for using the ransomware FiveHands and HelloKitty. The Yanluowang ransomware group has also been connected to the initial access broker.

In actuality, the Yanluowang ransomware organization claimed responsibility for the attack and said it had stolen about 3,000 files totaling 2.8Gb in size. According to the file names the hackers have disclosed, they may have stolen NDAs, source code, VPN clients, and other data.

The attack did not use ransomware that encrypts files. After being removed from Cisco's systems, the hackers did email Cisco executives, but it didn't contain any explicit threats or demands for ransom.






Hacker Uses New RAT Malware in Cuba Ransomware Attacks

 

A member of the Cuba ransomware operation is using previously unknown tactics, methods, and procedures (TTPs), such as a novel RAT (remote access trojan) and a novel local privilege escalation tool. 

Researchers at Palo Alto Networks Unit 42 dubbed the threat actor 'Tropical Scorpius,' and he is most certainly an associate of the Cuba ransomware operation. In Q1 2022, Cuba ransomware received a slight version, including a modified encryptor with more nuanced choices and the addition of quTox for live victim help. 

Tropical Scorpius, on the other hand, represents a change in tactics, perhaps making the Cuba operation more risky and obtrusive. Tropical Scorpius employs the standard Cuba ransomware payload, which has remained essentially unchanged from the operation's inception in 2019. 

Since June 2022, one of the new ways has been leveraging a legal but invalidated NVIDIA certificate stolen and released by LAPSUS to certify a kernel driver dropped during the early stages of an infection. The driver's job is to find and stop processes associated with security products in order to assist threat actors in evading discovery in the compromised environment. 

Tropical Scorpius then downloads a local privilege escalation tool that includes an attack for CVE-2022-24521, a flaw in the Windows Common Log File System Driver that was resolved as a zero-day in April 2022.

According to Unit 42, the hackers used an exploitation approach that appears to have been inspired by security researcher Sergey Kornienko's extensive write-up. Tropical Scorpius then downloads ADFind and Net Scan to accomplish lateral movement. This is also the time when the threat actor introduces a new tool capable of retrieving cached Kerberos credentials.

Another innovative approach discovered by Unit 42 researchers is the use of a ZeroLogon hack tool to get DA (domain administrator) credentials by exploiting CVE-2020-1472. Finally, Tropical Scorpius deploys "ROMCOM RAT," previously unknown malware that handles C2 connections through ICMP queries sent via Windows API calls.

ROMCOM RAT supports the following 10 commands:
  • Return connected drive information
  • Return file listings for a specified directory
  • Start up a reverse shell under the name svchelper.exe within the %ProgramData% folder
  • Upload data to C2 as ZIP file, using IShellDispatch to copy files
  • Download data and write to worker.txt in the %ProgramData% folder
  • Delete a specified file
  • Delete a specified directory
  • Spawn a process with PID Spoofing
  • Only handled by ServiceMain, received from C2 server and instructs the process to sleep for 120,000 ms
  • Iterate through running processes and gather process IDs
On June 20, 2022, Tropical Scorpius created a fresh version of ROMCOM and uploaded it for testing on VirusTotal, which referred to the same C2 address (hardcoded). The second version introduced ten new commands to the current ten, providing more complex execution, file upload, and process termination options for remote activities. Furthermore, the updated version allows you to get other payloads from the C2, such as a desktop snapper named "Screenshooter."

The introduction of Tropical Scorpius and its new TTPs implies that Cuba ransomware is becoming a more serious threat, even if the specific RaaS isn't the most prevalent in terms of victim count. Cuba, on the other hand, has chosen to keep a low profile and employ a gentler double-extortion strategy, thus the real number of victims is unclear.

Since June 2022, the group has published the stolen data of four victims on the Onion site's "free" area, although their "paid" offers haven't been updated in a long time. Given the time necessary for negotiation and extortion, the outcomes of the 'Tropical Scorpius' update may be seen in the second half of the year.


Sneak Peek: Hive’s RaaS Techniques

 

With the average ransomware pay-out expected to reach $541,010 in 2021 and some affiliates earning up to 80% of each ransom payment, it's no wonder that RaaS setups are claimed to assist nearly two-thirds of ransomware operations. 

Indeed, service providers, such as Hive, are giving threat actors a head start in their criminal careers. Hive is a new RaaS group that was discovered in June 2021. However, its aggressive tactics and frequent variation improvements have turned it into a powerful opponent in the space. While other ransomware operators, like as REvil, dominated news in its first year, 

Hive gained prominence in November 2021 by hitting Media Markt, Europe's largest consumer electronics shop.The attack piqued the interest of the RaaS industry, causing the platform's victim count to soon rise into the hundreds, with the bulk of these victims being IT and real estate enterprises in the United States. 

How Hive Set Up a "Sales Department" 

The Menlo Labs research team examined interactions between the Hive ransomware gang and some of its victims in order to better comprehend this new and formidable RaaS group. Hive ransomware exploits a variety of attack vectors, including hijacked VPN credentials, weak RDP servers, and phishing emails with a Cobalt Strike payload. The examined programme was highly active, with attackers using the Hive platform putting considerable pressure on their targets. 

The Labs team discovered that Hive provides compromised victims a unique identification before encrypting their data, generally during unsociable hours, after reviewing some of the network traffic. Once this is accomplished, information about the victim is released on Hive's dark web data leak sites (DLS). The victim is then emailed an automatically created ransom letter with a link to the website, login credentials, and a call to action to contact Hive's "sales department." 

When the victim logs in, a live chat between the victim and a Hive admin is opened, during which the ransom is sought - generally in the form of Bitcoin - in return for a decryptor, a security report, and a file tree highlighting exactly what was stolen.

Hive was utilising malware written in Golang by its developers at the time the communications were reviewed by the Menlo Labs team, with the samples acquired being obfuscated to prevent detection and analysis.

However, Microsoft has now announced that Hive has produced a new variation that uses a different programming language, switching from Golang to Rust. The migration is expected to give Hive with various benefits that Rust has over other programming languages, including the use of string encryption as a strategy to make it more elusive.

Surprisingly, the new variant will also employ a different cryptographic technique.While the Golang variation embeds one encrypted key in each file it encrypts, the Rust variant has been proven to construct two sets of keys in memory, use them to encrypt the files, and then save the sets to the root of the disc it encrypts, both with the.key extension. While the new variant's key set creation differs from the previous set examined by the Menlo Labs team, its file encryption is remarkably comparable.

With these changes, the Hive danger is projected to grow much more. As a result, enterprises must prepare to battle RaaS and ransomware more extensively in the future.

Cloudflare Users Targeted by Hackers that Breached into Twilio


On Tuesday, the web infrastructure provider Cloudflare revealed that at least 76 of its staff members and their families had received texts on both personal and business phones that resembled the intricate phishing effort on Twilio.

Furthermore, Cloudflare said that its Cloudforce One threat intelligence team was able to do an analysis of the attack, despite the fact that its systems were not hacked.

The systems and officials of several firms are the targets of this sophisticated attack, as per analysts. Four phone numbers linked to SIM cards issued by T-Mobile were used in the attack, which exists around the same time Twilio was targeted and was ultimately unsuccessful.

Cloudflare said the rogue domain was built via Porkbun under 40 minutes before the wave of more than 100 smishing messages started. It also said the phishing page was created to quickly pass the data given by unwary customers to the attacker via Telegram.

The data was directly taken to the attacker via the messaging app Telegram once the message receiver input his credentials on the phishing site. Experts claim since the phishing page would request a Time-based One Time Password (TOTP) code, the real-time relay was essential for the hackers. Once they had this information, the attackers would access the actual login page for the victim company.

Only three employees, as per Cloudflare, clicked the link in the phishing email and submitted their credentials. However, the business does not use TOTP codes; rather, its staff members use a YubiKey security key that complies with FIDO2. This implies that even if an attacker has the credentials, they cannot access the firm systems without the hardware key.

As Cloudflare also disclosed, AnyDesk remote access software was immediately downloaded on their machines after providing their credentials on the phishing pages, enabling the hackers to remotely take control of their systems if installed.

The company stated it reset the affected employees' login passwords and tightened its access policy to block any logins from unidentified VPNs, residential proxies, and infrastructure providers in addition to working with DigitalOcean to shut down the attacker's server.



Hackers Breached Accounts of Twilio Users

According to data provided by Twilio, hackers were able to obtain information from "a limited number" of customer accounts through a breach including data theft of employee credentials.

On August 4th, a hacker sent SMS messages to Twilio employees asking them to change their passwords or informing them of a change in their schedule. Each message contained a URL that contained phrases like "Twilio," "SSO" (single sign-on), and "Okta," the brand of user authentication service that is employed by numerous businesses. Employees who clicked on the link were taken to a fake Twilio sign-in page, where hackers were able to capture the data they entered.

When the breach was discovered, Twilio worked with US phone providers to shut down the SMS system and also requested that web hosting companies remove the fake sign-in sites. Twilio reports that hackers were still able to switch to different hosting companies and cell carriers in order to continue their assault.

Facebook and Uber are two of the more than 150,000 businesses that use Twilio.

Laurelle Remzi, an official for Twilio, declined to reveal how many customers were impacted or what data the hackers got. According to Twilio's privacy statement, the data it gathers includes addresses, payment information, IP addresses, and, in certain situations, identification documentation. 

The hackers are skilled enough to switch between telco carriers and hosting providers using social engineering lures, according to Twilio, a dominant player in the enterprise communication API market with 26 offices across 17 countries. Twilio classified the situation as ongoing.

The company didn't specify whether the social engineering attacks were successful or whether any MFA (multi-factor authentication) hurdles were encountered by the attacker.

According to Twilio, its security team has terminated access to the hacked employee accounts in order to reduce the effect of the attack and has contacted a third-party forensics company to assist in the investigation.


A New SolidBit Ransomware Variant Hit Famous Games

Cybersecurity researchers reported a new advanced SolidBit ransomware variant that is victimizing the audience of famous games and social media platforms. “The malware was uploaded to GitHub, where it is disguised as different applications and an Instagram follower bot to lure in victims,” cybersecurity solutions firm Trend Micro reported. 

Nathaniel Morales, Monte de Jesus, Ivan Nicole Chavez, Lala Manly, and Nathaniel Gregory Ragasa published technical details of their analysis of the new ransomware variant. “When an unsuspecting victim runs the application, it automatically executes malicious PowerShell codes that drop the ransomware into the system,” the analysis reads. 

Solidbit ransomware is a type of computer virus that executes malicious code into Windows to encrypt all personal files located on it and locks all personal files. “It’s possible that SolidBit’s ransomware actors are currently working with the original developer of Yashma ransomware and likely modified some features from the Chaos builder, rebranding it as SolidBit,” experts observed. 

The League of Legends account checker on GitHub uploaded a file that contains instruction tools, however, it does not include a graphic user interface (GUI) or any other behavior related to its supposed function it is only a lure to the users, Experts at Trend Micro claimed. 

Among the files bundled with the account checker, experts have discovered an executable file Rust LoL Accounts Checker.exe which is protected by Safengine Shielden, once the file is executed in the system, an error window appears and claims that debugging tools have been detected which could be of the malware’s anti-debugging capabilities and anti-virtualization. 

“If users click on this executable file, it will drop and execute a program with malicious codes that drop and execute the SolidBit ransomware. It will begin disabling Windows Defender’s scheduled scans and any real-time scanning of some folders,” Trend Micro said. 

Experts in conclusion have recommended that users use multifactor authentication (MFA) to prevent hacker groups from performing lateral movement inside a network.

North Korea Linked APT: US Sanctions Crypto Mixer Tornado Cash


The U.S Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has sanctioned the crypto mixer service Tornado Cash. It was used by North Korean hackers linked to Lazarus APT Group. 

What is Crypto Mixers?

The mixers are crucial elements for threat actors that use it for money laundering, the mixer was used in laundering the funds stolen from victims. 

As per OFAC, cybercriminals used Tornado Cash to launder more than $7 Billion worth of virtual currency, which was created in 2019. The Lazarus APT group laundered more than $455 million money and stole in the biggest ever virtual currency heist to date. 

About the attack

It was also used in laundering over $96 million of malicious actors' funds received from the 24th June 2022 Harmony Bridge Heist and around $7.8 million from Nomad crypto heist recently. The sanction has been taken in accordance with Executive Order (E.O) 13694. 

"Today, Treasury is sanctioning Tornado Cash, a virtual currency mixer that launders the proceeds of cybercrimes, including those committed against victims in the United States,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. “Despite public assurances otherwise, Tornado Cash has repeatedly failed to impose effective controls designed to stop it from laundering funds for malicious cyber actors on a regular basis and without basic measures to address its risks.”

The Sanctions

In May, the US department of treasury sanctioned another cryptocurrency mixer, Blender.io, it was used by Lazarus APT, a hacking group linked to North Korea. It was used for laundering money from Axie Infinity's Ronin Bridge. The treasury has for the first time sanctioned a virtual currency mixer. 

"Virtual currency mixers that assist criminals are a threat to U.S. national security. Treasury will continue to investigate the use of mixers for illicit purposes and use its authorities to respond to illicit financing risks in the virtual currency ecosystem.” concludes the announcement published by the U.S. Treasury Department. “Criminals have increased their use of anonymity-enhancing technologies, including mixers, to help hide the movement or origin of funds.”



Chinese Hackers Targeted Dozens of Industrial Enterprises and Public Institutions

 

Since January 2022, over a dozen military-industrial complex firms and governmental organisations in Afghanistan and Europe have been targeted in order to acquire private data via six distinct backdoors. The assaults were attributed "with a high degree of confidence" to a China-linked threat actor identified by Proofpoint as TA428, noting commonalities in tactics, techniques, and processes (TTPs). 

TA428, also known as Bronze Dudley, Temp.Hex, and Vicious Panda, has previously struck entities in Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, and Mongolia. It is thought to be linked to another hacker organisation known as Mustang Panda (aka Bronze President). The current cyber espionage effort targeted industrial units, design bureaus and research institutions, as well as government entities, ministries, and departments .departments in several East European countries and Afghanistan. 

Penetration of company IT networks is accomplished through the use of carefully prepared phishing emails, including those that mention non-public information about the companies, to fool recipients into opening rogue Microsoft Word documents. These decoy files include exploits for a 2017 memory corruption vulnerability in the Equation Editor component (CVE-2017-11882), which might allow arbitrary code to be executed in affected computers, eventually leading to the deployment of a backdoor known as PortDoor. 

In April 2021, Chinese state-sponsored hackers used PortDoor in spear-phishing efforts to breach into the computers of a defence firm that manufactures submarines for the Russian Navy. The use of six distinct implants, according to Kaspersky, is most likely an attempt by threat actors to develop redundant channels for managing infected hosts in the event that one of them should get recognised and removed from the networks.

The attacks culminate with the attacker hijacking the domain controller and taking total control of all of the organization's workstations and servers, using the privileged access to exfiltrate files of interest in the form of compressed ZIP packages to a remote server in China.

Other backdoors used in the assaults include nccTrojan, Cotx, DNSep, Logtu, and CotSam, a previously unreported malware named because of its resemblance to Cotx. Each offers significant capabilities for taking control of the systems and stealing sensitive data.

Ladon, a hacking framework that enables the adversary to scan for devices in the network as well as exploit security vulnerabilities in them to execute malicious code, is also included in the assaults.

"Spear-phishing remains one of the most relevant threats to industrial enterprises and public institutions," Kaspersky said. "The attackers used primarily known backdoor malware, as well as standard techniques for lateral movement and antivirus solution evasion."

"At the same time, they were able to penetrate dozens of enterprises and even take control of the entire IT infrastructure, and IT security solutions of some of the organizations attacked."

Global Scam Operation "Classiscam" Expanded to Singapore

 

Classiscam, a sophisticated scam-as-a-service business, has now entered Singapore, after more than 1.5 years  migrating to Europe. 

"Scammers posing as legitimate buyers approach sellers with the request to purchase goods from their listings and the ultimate aim of stealing payment data," Group-IB said in a report shared with The Hacker News. 

The operators were described as a "well-coordinated and technologically advanced scammer criminal network" by the cybersecurity firm. Classiscam is a Russia-based cybercrime operation that was originally detected in the summer of 2019 but only came to light a year later, coinciding with an uptick in activity due to an increase in online buying following the COVID-19 epidemic. 

Classiscam, the pandemic's most commonly utilised fraud scheme, targets consumers who use marketplaces and services related to property rentals, hotel bookings, online bank transfers, online retail, ride-sharing, and package deliveries. Users of major Russian ads and marketplaces were initially targeted, before spreading to Europe and the United States. 

Over 90 active organisations are said to be utilising Classiscam's services to target consumers in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, France, Kazakhstan, Kirghizia, Poland, Romania, Ukraine, the United States, and Uzbekistan. The fraudulent operation spans 64 countries in Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), and the Middle East, and employs 169 brands to carry out the assaults. Criminals using Classiscam are reported to have gained at least $29.5 million in unlawful earnings between April 2020 and February 2022. 

This campaign is remarkable for its dependence on Telegram bots and conversations to coordinate activities and generate phishing and scam pages. Here's how it all works: Scammers put bait advertising on famous marketplaces and classified websites, frequently promising game consoles, laptops, and cellphones at steep prices. When a potential victim contacts the seller (i.e., the threat actor) via the online storefront, the Classiscam operator dupes the target into continuing the conversation on a third-party messaging service like WhatsApp or Viber before sending a link to a rogue payment page to complete the transaction. 

The concept includes a hierarchy of administrators, workers, and callers. While administrators are in charge of recruiting new members, automating the building of scam pages, and registering new accounts, it is the employees that make accounts on free classifieds websites and submit the false advertising. 

"Workers are key participants of the Classiscam scam scheme: their goal is to attract traffic to phishing resources," the researchers said. 

In turn, the phishing URLs are produced by Telegram bots that replicate the payment pages of local classified websites but are housed on lookalike domains. This necessitates the workers to submit the URL containing the bait product to the bot. 

"After initial contact with the legitimate seller, the scammers generate a unique phishing link that confuses the sellers by displaying the information about the seller's offer and imitating the official classified's website and URL," the researchers said. 

"Scammers claim that payment has been made and lure the victim into either making a payment for delivery or collecting the payment." 

The phishing pages also offer the option of checking the victim's bank account balance in order to find the most "valuable" cards. Furthermore, some cases involve a second attempt to deceive the victims by phoning them and requesting a refund in order to collect their money back. 

These calls are made by assistant employees posing as platform tech support professionals.  In this scenario, the targets are sent to a fraudulent payment page where they must input their credit card information and confirm it with an SMS passcode. Instead of a refund, the victim's card is charged the same amount again.

While the aforementioned method is an example of seller scam, in which a buyer (i.e., victim) receives a phishing payment link and is cheated of their money, buyer scams also exist.

A fraudster contacts a legal vendor as a client and sends a bot-generated fraudulent payment form imitating a marketplace, ostensibly for verification purposes. However, after the seller inputs their bank card details, an amount equal to the cost of the goods is debited from their account.

Classiscammers' complete attack infrastructure consists of 200 domains, 18 of which were constructed to deceive visitors of an undisclosed Singaporean classified website. Other sites in the network masquerade as Singaporean movers, European, Asian, and Middle Eastern classified websites, banks, markets, food and cryptocurrency businesses, and delivery services.

"As it sounds, Classiscam is far more complex to tackle than the conventional types of scams," Group-IB's Ilia Rozhnov siad. "Unlike the conventional scams, Classiscam is fully automated and could be widely distributed. Scammers could create an inexhaustible list of links on the fly."

"To complicate the detection and takedown, the home page of the rogue domains always redirects to the official website of a local classified platform."

North Korean Hackers Target CryptoJob Seekers To Evade Western Countries Against Sections

North Korean state sponsors hackers are victimizing cryptocurrency workers with a new phishing campaign on LinkedIn and Indeed to plagiarize resumes and other people’s profiles to land remote work at crypto firms, security researchers at Mandiant said. 

Malwarebytes cyber security researcher, Hossein Jazi, published details of the attack on Twitter. Research analysis shows that the hackers leveraged a PDF containing information about the non-existent role of “engineering manager, product security” at crypto giant Coinbase. 

The objective behind this campaign is to get access to these firms’ internal operations, and projects and gather data about upcoming trends, including Ethereum network development, potential security lapses, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). 

This information reportedly serves North Korean threat actors to launder cryptocurrencies that can later be used by the Pyongyang government to answer Western sanctions. 

Joe Dobson, a principal analyst at Mandiant, told the press that “It comes down to insider threats If someone gets hired onto a crypto project, and they become a core developer, that allows them to influence things, whether for good or not.” 

This phishing campaign also shares similarities with Operation In(ter)caption, in which hackers used LinkedIn phishing messages that were containing job offers for target working audiences in relevant sectors. Malicious files and data were sent either via email or LinkedIn in a OneDrive link, it was first exposed by ESET in June 2020. 

“Once the recipient opened the file, a seemingly innocent PDF document with salary information related to the fake job offer was displayed. Meanwhile, the malware was silently deployed on the victim’s computer. In this way, the attackers established an initial foothold and reached a solid persistence on the system,” ESET reported. 

Although, the government of North Korea denied its involvement in any cyber-related theft, however, the U.S. government federal agencies, such as the Department of State and the FBI, earlier this year released warnings to the organizations against randomly hiring freelancers from North Korea, as they were potentially misleading businesses with their true identities and state's (DPRK) backing in their activities. 

Hackers Use Malware To Spy on Emails


Gmail users should keep a watch out for the recently found email spying software called SHARPEXT. The malware was found by Volexity, a cybersecurity firm. The spying malware targets AOL and Google account holders and can read/download their personal e-mails and attachments.

A hacking group that is believed to work from North Korea is loading harmful browser extensions for Edge and Chrome. It tries to steal email info from open AOL and Gmail sessions and interchange browser preference files. 

About SHARPEXT

Volexity experts found the malicious extension, known as SHARPEXT, it is active for almost a year by Kimsuky (aka SharpTongue). It uses the extension after the attack has been launched, for keeping its presence. 

"SharpTongue's toolset is well documented in public sources; the most recent English-language post covering this toolset was published by Huntress in 2021. The list of tools and techniques described in that post is consistent with what Volexity has commonly seen for years. However, in September 2021, Volexity began observing an interesting, undocumented malware family used by SharpTongue," reports Volexity.

Kimsuky's Attack

Unlike other harmful browser extensions, SHARPEXT isn't made for stealing user credentials. On the contrary, the extension steals information from the e-mail inboxes of the victims.

The hackers deploy the extension manually via a VBS script once the initial breach of the victim system has been done. 

How SHARPEXT is installed

To install SHARPEXT, the hackers replace the Preferences and Secure Preferences files, for the aimed Chromium-based browser, which is generally said to be a difficult task to execute. 

• To interchange the Secure Preferences file, the hackers obtain some details from the browser and make a new file running on browser start-up.

• After that, the attackers use a secondary script to conceal some of the extension's features and any other windows that can surface and alarm the users about suspicious activities. 

• Lastly, the extension uses a pair of listeners for a particular type of activity in the browser tabs. Installation is then modified for different respective targets. 

Volexity says "the purpose of the tabs listeners is to change the window title of the active tab in order to add the keyword used by dev.ps1, the PowerShell script described previously. The code appends the keyword to the existing title (“05101190” or “Tab+”, depending on the version). The keyword is removed when DevTools is enabled on the tab." 

Phishing Scam Exploit's American Express, Snapchat Open-Redirect Threats

Phishing emails aimed at users of Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 have been sent as a result of open-redirect vulnerabilities affecting the American Express and Snapchat domains.

The term "open redirects" refers to a software vulnerability that makes it simpler for hackers to point users toward harmful resources they control.

Vulnerabilities :

Open redirect occurs when a website doesn't validate user input, allowing hackers to modify the URLs of domains with stellar reviews to route consumers to malicious sites. Because the initial domain name in the altered link is a well-known one, like American Express or Snapchat, victims will believe it.

The link may seem secure to an untrained eye because the first domain name in the modified link is actually the domain name of the original site. According to email security firm INKY, the trusted domain, such as American Express or Snapchat, serves as a temporary landing page before redirecting the user to a malicious website.

DocuSign, FedEx, and Microsoft were used as baits in phishing emails distributed to the Snapchat group, which led to sites that harvest user credentials. Researchers from Inky claim that 6,812 phishing emails sent from Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 hacked over the course of two and a half months used the Snapchat open redirect.

On August 4, 2021, professionals informed Snapchat of a vulnerability through the Open Bug Bounty site, but nothing has been done to fix it.

The matter was made worse by the discovery of the American Express open-redirect vulnerability in more than 2,000 phishing emails in only two days in July. The vulnerability has since been patched, as per the report, and any user who opens the link now is led to an error page on the company's legitimate website.

Prevention cautions

Roger Kay of INKY provided easy measures for preventing open redirect attacks:
  • Domain owners can undertake a few easy actions if they want to further reduce open redirect attacks. First, don't use redirection at all in your site architecture. Domain owners can, however, build an allowlist of permitted safe links to reduce open-redirect misuse if it's required for business reasons.
  • Additionally, domain owners have the option to display caution about external links before forwarding viewers to external websites.
  • Users should be on the lookout for URLs that include things like "url=," "redirect=," "external-link," or "proxy" as they explore websites online. These strings can suggest that a reputable domain might reroute traffic to another website.
  • Additionally, recipients of emails with links should look for repeated instances of "http" in the URL, another possible sign of redirection.

FortiGuard Labs: Evolving RapperBot IoT Malware Detected

Since June, FortiGuard Labs has been monitoring the "RapperBot" family of revolving IoT malware. Although the original Mirai source code was greatly influenced by this family, it differs from other IoT malware families in that it has the capacity to brute force credentials and connect to SSH servers rather than Telnet, which was how Mirai implemented it. 

The malware is alleged to have gathered a series of hacked SSH servers, with over 3,500 distinct IP addresses used to scan and brute-force its way into the servers. The malware is named from an encoded URL to a YouTube rap music video in an early draft.

Analysis of the malware

According to the Fortinet analysis, the majority of the malware code implements an SSH 2.0 client that can connect to and brute force any SSH server that supports Diffie-Hellmann key exchange with 768-bit or 2048-bit keys and data encryption using AES128-CTR.

RapperBot turned out to be a Mirai fork with unique features, its own command and control (C2) protocol, and unusual post-compromise for a botnet. RapperBot was created to target ARM and MIPS and has limited DDoS capabilities.

The attempt to create durability on the compromised host, which effectively allows the hacker to keep ongoing access long after the malware has been uninstalled or the unit has been restarted, serves as further proof of how Mirai has deviated from its usual behavior.

RapperBot used a self-propagation technique via a remote binary downloader, which was eliminated by the hackers in mid-July, as per Fortinet researchers who watched the bot and proceeded to sample new variants.

The recent versions in circulation at the time included a shell command that switched the victim's SSH keys for the hackers. A unique file named "/.ssh/authorized keys" is used to get access by inserting the operators' SSH public key. This enables the attacker to log in and authenticate to the server using the associated private key without providing a password.

The root user "suhelper" is added by the bot to the compromised endpoints in the most recent samples that the researchers have examined. The bot also sets up a Cron job to add the user again every hour if an administrator finds the account and deletes it.

Observations 

As per Fortinet, analysts observed no new post-compromise payloads transmitted during the monitoring time, so the virus simply lays dormant on the affected Linux systems. 

Despite the botnet abandoning self-propagation in favor of persistence, it is said that the botnet underwent substantial alterations in a short period of time, the most notable of which being the removal of DDoS attack elements from the artifacts at one point, only to be reinstated a week later.

At best, the campaign's ultimate goals are still unclear, and little more action is taken after a successful compromise. It is evident that SSH servers with pre-configured or easily guessable credentials are being gathered into a botnet for some unknown future use.

Users should set secure passwords for their devices or, turn off password authentication for SSH to protect themselves from such attacks.