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Myanmar President’s Office Hacked for the Second Time

 

A cyber-espionage hacking gang is suspected of breaking into the Myanmar president's office website and injecting a backdoor trojan into a customized Myanmar font package accessible for download on the home page. ESET, a Slovak security firm, discovered the attack on Wednesday, June 02, 2021. 

The software employed in the attack resembles malware strains used in previous spear-phishing efforts intended at Myanmar targets by a Chinese state-sponsored hacker outfit known as Mustang Panda, RedEcho, or Bronze President, according to researchers. 

Mustang Panda is mostly focused on non-governmental organizations (NGOs). It employs Mongolian language decoys and themes, as well as shared malware such as Poison Ivy and PlugX, to attack its targets. Their attack chain looks something like this: 

• A malicious link is disguised using the goo.gl link shortening tool and sent to a Google Drive folder.

• When you click on the Google Drive link, you'll be taken to a zip file that contains a.Ink file disguised as a.pdf file. 

• The user is redirected to a Windows Scripting Component (.wsc) file when they open the file. This file can be found on a malicious microblogging website.
 
• A VBScript and a PowerShell script from the Twitter page are included in the.Ink file to get the fake PDF file. 
 
• A Cobalt Strike (https://know.netenrich.com/threatintel/malware/Cobalt % 20Strike) payload is created by the PowerShell script. 

• The threat actor can operate the system remotely using Cobalt Strike's connection to the command-and-control IP address. 

Mustang Panda has a history of carefully constructed email-based attacks; for this operation, the gang appears to have modified a Myanmar Unicode font package available for download on the Myanmar presidency's website. “In the archive, attackers added a Cobalt Strike loader [named] Acrobat.dll, that loads a Cobalt Strike shellcode,” the ESET team wrote in a Twitter thread. 

This loader, according to researchers, pings a command and control (C&C) server at 95.217.1[.]81. The loader resembled other malware copies that had previously been transmitted as file attachments in spear-phishing efforts directed at Myanmar targets.

The archives show signs of an advanced and stealthy cyber-espionage operation hidden in files named “NUG Meeting Report.zip,” “Proposed Talking Points for ASEAN-Japan Summit.rar,” “MMRS Geneva,” “2021-03-11.lnk,” and “MOHS-3-covid.rar,” even if ESET said it has yet to officially confirm Mustang Panda's involvement beyond a doubt.

This is the second time the Myanmar president's office has been hacked in order to launch a watering hole attack. The first incident occurred between November 2014 and May 2015, when the site was used to disseminate a version of the EvilGrab malware by another alleged Chinese cyber-espionage group.

ESET has revealed a new series of Lazarus attacks

Experts of the antivirus company ESET have discovered a series of attacks, behind which is one of the most famous North Korean groups, Lazarus. The hackers targeted users of government and banking websites in South Korea. The cybercriminals used an unusual mechanism to deliver the malware, disguising themselves as stolen security software and digital certificates.

The spread of the Lazarus virus was facilitated by the fact that South Korean Internet users are often asked to install additional security programs when visiting government websites or Internet banking websites, explained the head of the investigation, Anton Cherepanov.

"The WIZVERA VeraPort integration installation program is widespread in South Korea. After installation, users can download the necessary software for a specific website. This scheme is usually used by the South Korean government and banking websites. For some of these sites, the presence of WIZVERA VeraPort is mandatory,” said Mr. Cherepanov.

Attackers used illegally obtained code signing certificates to inject malware samples. And one of these certificates was issued to a firm specializing in security - the American branch of a South Korean security company.

"Hackers disguised Lazarus malware samples as legitimate programs. These samples have the same file names, icons and resources as legitimate South Korean software," said Peter Kalnai, who was involved in the investigation of the attack.

ESET's analysis once again demonstrated the non-standard nature of the methods of intrusion, encryption and configuration of the network infrastructure, which has become the business card of Lazarus hackers.

It is worth noting that on November 13, Microsoft representatives reported that, according to their data, in recent months, three APT groups attacked at least seven companies engaged in COVID-19 research and vaccine development. The Russian-speaking group Strontium (Fancy Bear, APT28, and so on), as well as North Korean Zinc (Lazarus) and Cerium, are blamed for these attacks.

Hacker group Zinc (aka Lazarus) mainly relied on targeted phishing campaigns, sending potential victims emails with fictitious job descriptions and posing as recruiters.

ESET: hackers used the Adobe brand to attack government websites


IT specialists of the Slovak company ESET warn of a new series of attacks committed by the Turla cyber-spy group, which are aimed at websites of government agencies in the world.

"ESET, a leader in information security, has discovered a new activity of the Turla group, which is aimed at government websites. This time, cybercriminals are using social engineering techniques, using a fake Adobe Flash update as a decoy to download malicious software," said the website.

According to the report, as a result of such attacks, at least four websites, two of which belong to the government of Armenia, were infected. At the same time, these web portals have been infected at least since the beginning of 2019. ESET specialists warned the national unit of CERT of Armenia. Thus, the researchers concluded that the main target of cybercriminals is officials and politicians.

During the recorded cyberattacks, hackers infect the selected site with malicious software, which is subsequently transmitted to the devices of users of the resource. After the initial infection, Turla operators get full access to the victims' devices.

ESET specialists were not able to determine what the hackers did on infected devices, but they usually try to steal confidential documents.

According to ESET, during the latest attacks, the cybercriminals of the Turla group used a completely new backdoor called PyFlash. According to ESET experts, the authors of Turla used Python for the first time in this malicious software. The command server sends commands to the backdoor to download files, execute Windows commands, and launch and remove malicious software.

The company added that the group of cybercriminals Turla is active in most of the world, but mainly its activities are aimed at countries in Eastern Europe and East Asia. Its main goals are government and military organizations. A group of cyber spies has been working for more than ten years.