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Toddler Android Banking Malware Spreads Across Europe

 

Cybersecurity researchers have unearthed a new Android banking Trojan dubbed ‘Toddler’, which is infecting users across Europe. According to the team at the PRODAFT Threat Intelligence (PTI), Toddler, also known as TeaBot / Anatsa, is part of an increasing trend of mobile banking malware attacking countries such as Spain, Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. 

The malware was first identified in January by a cybersecurity firm Cleafy. Threat actors have used the malware to attack users of 60 banks in Europe. In June, Bitdefender discovered Spain and Italy as two countries where users were most likely to get infected.

According to PTI, Spain has secured the top spot in cyberattacks in this year’s malware analysis. To date, at least 7,632 mobile devices have been infected. After breaking into the Command and Control (C2) server used by Trojan horse operators, the researchers also discovered over 1000 sets of stolen banking credentials.

Cybersecurity researchers have spotted numerous legitimate websites “serving” the Toddler malware through malicious .APK files and Android apps. However, there is no evidence of the malware on the Google Play Store. 

Toddler is pre-configured to target the users of “dozens” of banks across Europe, yet all of the known infections so far relate to just 18 different financial organizations, five of which comprise 90% of attacks. The Trojan works by utilizing overlay attacks to trick victims into submitting banking credentials on fraudulent login screens. Once installed, the malware monitors what legitimate apps are being opened -- and once target software is launched, the overlay attack begins. 

"Toddler downloads the specially-crafted login page for the opened target application from its C2. The downloaded webview phishing page is then laid over the target application. The user suspects nothing because this event happens almost instantaneously when the legitimate application is opened,” PRODAFT noted.

The malware also attempts to steal other account records, such as those used to access cryptocurrency wallets. The C2 command list includes the activation of an infected device’s screen, prompting users to grant permissions, uninstalling apps, and trying accessing Google Authenticator via accessibility. 

The level of permanence that this Trojan can sustain is unusual. Toddler includes multiple persistence mechanisms. Most notably, it exploits accessibility features to prevent infected devices from rebooting. "Toddler sets a new precedent for persistence module implementation. Removal of the malware from the device requires huge technical expertise, and it looks like the process will not get easier in the future,” researchers stated.

NATO's Cloud Platform Hacked

 

The SOA & IdM platform is utilized by NATO and is classified as secret. It was used to conduct various critical functions inside the Polaris programme. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), commonly known as the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance made up of 30 European and North American countries. 

The organization is responsible for carrying out the North Atlantic Treaty, which was signed on April 04, 1949. NATO is a collective defense organization in which NATO's independent member states commit to defending each other in the event of an external attack. NATO's headquarters are in Haren, Brussels, Belgium, and Allied Command Operations' headquarters is near Mons, Belgium. 

Polaris was developed as part of NATO's IT modernization effort and uses the SOA & IdM platform to provide centralized security, integration, and hosting information management. The military alliance classified the platform as a secret because it performs multiple key roles. 

According to the hackers, they used a backdoor to make copies of the data on this platform and attempted to blackmail Everis. They went even further, making jokes about handing over the stolen material to Russian intelligence. 

Paul Howland, Polaris Program Officer explained the benefits of the program: “This project has the potential to be a game-changer in how NATO will develop and deploy its operational services in the future. It will drive innovation and reduce costs. Operational by ensuring a much greater reuse of deployed capacities". 

The hackers who carried out the attack said they had no idea they could take advantage of a flaw in the NATO platform at first. Furthermore, they concentrated solely on Everis' corporate data in Latin America, despite NATO's announcement that it was ready to respond to a cyber-attack. One of the secure NATO systems was among Everis' subsidiaries, much to their astonishment. 

After analyzing the company and discovering documents connected to drones and military defense systems, the hackers continued stealing more data from Everis networks. They justified their actions by claiming that they were not "for peace on earth and in the cyber world" when they slowed the development of the Polaris programme. The hackers sought a ransom of XMR 14,500 from Everis in exchange for not linking the company's identity to the LATAM Airlines data breach. They've also demanded this money in exchange for not revealing any NATO data.

Malware Sload Aiming Europe Again

 

Sload (also termed as Starslord loader) has proven to be one of the most destructive malware variants in recent years. It usually acts as a downloader, which is a computer virus that accumulates and exfiltrates data from an infected system in order to analyze the target and drop a more significant payload if the target is profitable. 

Sload has been active in Europe since at least 2018, with numerous vendors reporting assaults on targets in the United Kingdom and Italy. Instead of employing an executable or a malicious document to invade devices, the malware's developers have chosen to use scripts that are intrinsic to Windows operating systems such as VBS and PowerShell as an initial foothold, tricking users into executing them using spear phishing. 

The downloader is undergoing development and has gone through several iterations; the creator is continuously changing the first stage script but the main module remains basically unchanged. 

According to early reports, this virus downloads a PowerShell script, which then downloads and executes Sload, using a rogue LNK file (Windows shortcut). Later editions start with obfuscated WSF/VBS scripts that are frequently mutated to avoid detection by anti-virus software. The initial script used in attacks has a low VirusTotal score and is meant to get beyond complex security technologies like EDRs. 

This year, Minerva Labs has noticed Sload infections arriving from Italian endpoints. The script they found is an obfuscated WSF script that decodes a sequence of malicious commands and then secretly downloads and runs a remote payload in memory after being executed. 

The script does this by renaming legal Windows binaries, which is a straightforward evasion method. Both "bitsadmin.exe" and "Powershell.exe" are copied and renamed, with the former being used to download a malicious PowerShell script and the latter loading it into memory and executing it. 

The downloader's final payload varies, but it has been known to drop the Ramnit and Trickbot banking trojans, both of which are extremely dangerous malware that can lead to ransomware attacks. 

APT: China-Based Threat Group Attacks Pulse Secure VPNs

 

Several hacker groups that are supposed to support Chinese long-term economic goals continue in the defense, high-tech, public, transportation, and financial services industry networks in the US and Europe. 

Many breaches have taken place wherein attacks by Chinese threat actors penetrated Pulse Secure VPN devices to break into an organization's network and steal confidential material. 

Whereas in several other incidents the attackers took full advantage of the Pulse Connect Secure (PCS) (CVE-2021-22893) authentication bypass vulnerability to enter into the victim's network. The intruders also gained control of the combination of previously known vulnerabilities. Meanwhile, last month, a failure in the bypass authentication was detected and rectified. 

Mandiant issued a warning this week – on China's advanced persistent threat (APT) activity for U.S. and European organizations. In the alert, Mandiant had focused on a battery of malware tools used to address vulnerabilities in Pulse Secure VPN devices on two Chinese-based organizations: UNC2630 and UNC2717. Mandiant said that UNC2630 had targeted US military industry groups and UNC2717 had attacked an EU entity. 

"The exploitation activity we have observed is a mix of targeting unpatched systems with CVEs from 2019 and 2020, as well as a previously unpatched 2021 CVE (CVE-2021-22893)," says Stephen Eckels, a reverse engineer at Mandiant. "Since our original report, Pulse Secure and Mandiant have worked together, and the zero-day has since been patched." 

"At this time, Pulse Secure has patched all known vulnerabilities," Eckels added. 

In certain cases, the attackers had set up their local admin accounts on critical Windows servers to operate freely on the target network. Instead of depending on internal endpoints of the security vulnerabilities, they used exclusivity of Pulse Secure web-shells and malware. 

The UNC2630 and UNC2717, according to Mandiant, are just two of the various groups which threaten Pulse Secure VPNs that seem to work for the interest of the Chinese administration. Many of the groups use the same number of instruments, but their strategies and tactics are different. 

There has been no confirmation so far that the threat actors had acquired American data that would provide economic advantages for Chinese enterprises. In particular, a 2012 agreement between President Barack Obama and a Chinese counterpart Xi prohibits cyber espionage of such data. 

"Right now we're not able to say that they haven't, just that we don't have direct evidence that they have violated [the agreement]," Mandiant says. "Some of the affected entities are private companies that would have commercial intellectual property, the theft of which would violate the agreement. We just have not seen direct evidence of that type of data being staged or exfiltrated." 

Mandiant's assessment of the Chinese ferocious ATP activities is coinciding with this week's alert from Microsoft for Nobellum, the Russian menace actor behind the SolarWinds attack and an extensive e-mail campaign. In both cases, cyber espionage seems to be the major motif in support of national strategic objectives.

Zeppelin Ransomware have Resumed their Operations After a Temporary Pause

 

According to BleepingComputer, the operators behind the Zeppelin ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS), aka Buran, have resumed operations following a brief outage. Zeppelin's operators, unlike other ransomware, do not steal data from victims or maintain a leak site. 

Experts from BlackBerry Cylance discovered a new version of the Vega RaaS, called Zeppelin, and it first appeared on the threat landscape in November 2019. In Europe, the United States, and Canada, the latest version was used in attacks against technology and healthcare firms. Zeppelin was discovered in November and was spread via a watering hole attack in which the PowerShell payloads were hosted on the Pastebin website. 

The Zeppelin ransomware does not infect users in Russia or other ex-USSR countries like Ukraine, Belorussia, or Kazakhstan, unlike other Vega ransomware variants. The ransomware enumerates files on all drives and network shares and attempts to encrypt them after being executed. Experts found that the encryption algorithm used is the same as that used by other Vega variants. 

“This is in contrast with the classic RaaS operations, where developers typically look for partners to breach into a victim network, to steal data, and deploy the file-encrypting malware. The two parties then split paid ransoms, with developers getting the smaller piece (up to 30%),” reported BleepingComputer. 

Advanced Intel (AdvIntel), threat detection and loss avoidance firm, discovered that the Zeppelin ransomware developers revised their operation in March. They announced a "big software upgrade" as well as a new round of sales. According to an intelligence survey, the new Zeppelin version costs $2,300 per core build, as per AdvIntel head of research Yelisey Boguslavskiy. 

Following the major update, Zeppelin's developers released a new version of the malware on April 27 that had few new features but improved the encryption's stability. They also promised that development on the malware would continue and that long-term users, known as "subscribers," would receive special care. 

“We continue to work. We provide individual conditions and a loyal approach for each subscriber, the conditions are negotiable. Write to us, and we will be able to agree on a mutually beneficial term of cooperation”, said Zeppelin ransomware. 

Zeppelin is one of the few ransomware operations on the market that does not use a pure RaaS model, and it is also one of the most common, with high-profile members of the cybercrime community recommending it.

New FiveHands Ransomware Deploy Into SonicWall Internal System

 

Earlier this year, money-oriented cybercriminals leveraged a zero-day vulnerability that has been introduced by SonicWall in its Secure Mobile Access (SMA) 100 Series VPN appliances to install advanced ransomware studied as FiveHands, victims are reported to be North American and European networks. 

The operation was traced by FireEye’s Mandiant cyber analysts as “UNC2447’’. Analysts unit has informed that the group took advantage of the CVE-2021-20016 SonicWall bug to breach networks and further install FiveHands ransomware payloads before the vendor released patches in late February 2021. Further, the report also reads that the threat actor poses advanced skills in exploiting networks. 

Additionally, over the past half a year, a brand new cyber hacker group has been noticed to be exploiting a wide range of malware and creating pressure on ransomware victims into making payments. 

Previously in similar contexts, FireEye reported that the cyber attackers have been deploying ransomware families and malware such as FiveHands (a variant of the DeathRansom ransomware), Sombrat, the Cobalt Strike beacon, the Warprism PowerShell dropper, and FoxGrabber, additionally the new ransomware's actions also demonstrated signs of RagnarLocker and HelloKitty ransomware affiliation. 

“When affiliate-based ransomware is observed by Mandiant, uncategorized clusters are assigned based on the infrastructure used, and in the case of UNC2447 were based on the Sombrat and Cobalt Strike Beacon infrastructure used across 5 intrusions between November 2020 and February 2021,” FireEye reported. 

The group deployed a critical SQL injection flaw in SonicWall SMA100 series devices, which will give remote access to attackers and further, access to login credentials, session information, and other vulnerable appliances. 

The existence of the vulnerability was first observed in January 2021, when SonicWall warned its customers that the company's internal system has been attacked in a cyber operation that may have targeted zero-day vulnerabilities in the company’s secure remote access devices. CVE-2021-20016 was patched in February 2021 by SonicWall, however, FireEye reported that UNC2447 had exploited it before the patch was released. 

"UNC2447 monetizes intrusions by extorting their victims first with FIVEHANDS ransomware followed by aggressively applying pressure through threats of media attention and offering victim data for sale on hacker forums," Mandiant further added in a report published today.

Facebook Dating Service available in 20 countries


Facebook has launched one of its most awaiting features; Facebook dating service in the United States and other 19 countries for its users who are above 18 years or older.

Currently, dating feature would be available in countries including US, Bolivia, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Singapore, Suriname, Thailand, Laos, Guyana, Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia, Philippines, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Columbia,  Vietnam, and Malaysia.

Facebook said that they would launch a dating service in Europe in early 2020. While there is no word when they would launch the service in South East Asia.

"Today people are asked to make a decision as to whether or not they like someone immediately based on a static profile. To help you show, rather than tell, who you are, we're bringing Stories to Dating," Facebook blog post.

The user can create a dating profile, which will be entirely different and separate from the main profile.  People can integrate their Instagram posts in a dating profile, by the end of the year, and they would be able to add Instagram followers to their Secret Crush lists, in addition of their Facebook friends.

"By the end of the year, we'll make it possible to add Facebook and Instagram Stories to your Dating profile too,"  Facebook wrote in a blog post.

The dating service won't match you with your  Facebook friend until you choose to use Secret Crush and your crush too should have added you to their crush list.

"All of your Dating activity will stay in Facebook Dating. It won't be shared to the rest of Facebook," said the company.

"Finding a romantic partner is deeply personal, which is why we built Dating to be safe, inclusive and opt-in. Safety, security and privacy are at the forefront of this product," blog post.

Russian Hackers attacked European Embassies






According to a report in Check Point Research, Russian hackers attacked several European embassies by sending them malicious email attachments disguised as official documents.

The European embassies in Italy, Guyana, Nepal, Liberia, Bermuda, Lebanon and Kenya were targeted by the hackers . The malicious email attachment looked like document from United States State department and contained Microsoft Excel sheets that contained macros, once those macros were opened, the hackers took complete control of the infected system through TeamViewer, which is a popular remote access service.

According to the Press release “It is hard to tell if there are geopolitical motives behind this campaign by looking solely at the list of countries it was targeting,” it further added “since it was not after a specific region and the victims came from different places in the world”

According to the Checkpoint government officials from revenue were the intended target “They all appear to be handpicked government officials from several revenue authorities,” the press release says.

CheckPoint suggested that the attackers are from Russia but denied the possibility of state — sponsored attack. One of the hacker was traced back and it was found that it has a registration on carding forum as a username “Evapiks," the hacker has instructed how to carry out cyberattacks on forums . Because of the attackers involvement in the carding community, checkPoint suggested the attack  could have been “Money motivated”

Spotify app: Crashed down for users around the world







Spotify users around the world are having trouble logging in the app as well as while streaming the music.

Initially, the users in the UK and Europe reported about the app's crashing down, but after some time the users around the world reported the same problem.

The first report of app crashing came out at 11am GMT (7am ET).

However, Spotify tweeted a response to the influx of reports from its customers: 'Something's not quite right, and we're looking into it. Thanks for your reports!'

 According to the outrage monitoring site DownDetector, users are facing a problem as the website is not working properly. Around 63 percent of users reported that they are facing trouble in playing music.

Users have started making memes about the crashing of the popular music streaming website.