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Group-IB has identified a group of hackers engaged in corporate espionage

The hacker group RedCurl hacked companies around the world and stole corporate documents. The damage from its activities can amount to tens of millions of dollars

Group-IB, a cybersecurity company, has uncovered a previously unknown hacker group that engaged in corporate espionage.

B Group-IB found that in total, the group carried out 26 attacks on companies from such sectors as construction, finance, retail, banks, insurance, tourism. The hackers targeted commercial organizations in Russia, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Norway, and Ukraine.  The victims of the hackers were 14 organizations. At the same time, at least 10 companies were attacked in Russia.

The group allegedly consists of Russian-speaking hackers. Group-IB notes that RedCurl used a unique tool that allowed it to remain unnoticed for a long time for its victims.

The first known hacker attack occurred in May 2018. Hackers used phishing emails to access corporate information. Most often, employees of one Department of the victim company received an email allegedly from the HR Department, for example, about annual bonuses. The fake emails contained the company's signature, logo, and fake domain name.

When opening bonus documents attached to emails, a Trojan was launched on the victim's computer, which was controlled by RedCurl through legitimate cloud storage. Using them, as well as the PowerShell language in the development of Trojans, allowed hackers to remain unnoticed for a long time for traditional cyber defenses.

After that, hackers analyzed the contents of hard drives of users and stole information. First, they were interested in business correspondence, trade secret documents, personal data and passwords of employees.

At the same time, the launched Trojans continued to spread within the victim's network, infecting more and more computers. Group-IB specialists found that the hackers stayed there from two months to six months. According to Rustam Mirkasymov, head of the Group-IB Dynamic Malware Analysis Department, despite the absence of direct financial damage, indirect losses of victim companies from RedCurl actions can amount to tens of millions of dollars.

Experts continue to record new attacks by the hacker group in different countries of the world.

The United States accused the manager of Group-IB of cybercrime


According to an indictment in a court database, US authorities accuse Nikita Kislitsin, manager of a Russian cybersecurity company Group-IB, of hacking the Formspring social network. Group-IB, which does not appear in the charge, found the charges against its employee unfounded.

Kislitsin was the editor-in-chief of magazine Hacker from 2006 to 2012. In 2012, he worked for some time in the United States, and since 2013, he has been working at Group-IB, where he is engaged in security threat intelligence. The indictment against Kislitsin dates back to 2014 but was declassified and uploaded to the San Francisco court database only this week.

Kislitsin was charged with two counts related to the use of illegal access devices. One article assumes up to 10 years in prison, another - up to 5 years, also Kislitsin faces a fine of 250 thousand dollars.

The indictment states that Kislitsin received the names, email addresses and passwords of Formspring customers from an accomplice-hacker, and then tried to sell them to another accomplice for 5.5 thousand euros. In total, the case involves three accomplices of Kislitsin, not one of them is named.

Group-IB issued a statement on its website linking the charges against Kislitsin to the case of Yevgeny Nikulin, whose trial opens in California next week. Nikulin is accused of illegally accessing data from the social network LinkedIn, Dropbox and Formspring servers.

Group-IB states that it supports its employees. Moreover, the company and its employee Nikita Kislitsin did not receive the official summons, notifications or invitations to the upcoming court hearing in the Nikulin case.

The company said that Group-IB is currently consulting with international lawyers for a legal assessment of the situation and making a decision on further actions.

Group-IB reported attempts to hack Telegram of Russian entrepreneurs


The company specializing in the investigation of cybercrime Group-IB reported that attackers attempted to hack correspondence of Telegram messenger, and Russian entrepreneurs became the target of cyberattacks.

As the experts explained, at the end of 2019 several Russian entrepreneurs turned to them for help, who faced the problem of unauthorized access by unknown persons to their correspondence in the Telegram messenger.

The incidents occurred on iOS and Android, regardless of the carrier used. Group-IB believes that the attackers were able to view and copy activation codes from SMS messages that Telegram sends when activated on a new device.

Technically, the cyber attack could have been carried out using a vulnerability in the SS7 Protocol. However, attacks on SS7 are rare.

“It is much more difficult to implement such an attack, it requires certain qualifications in the field of data transmission networks and their protocols,” explained Kaspersky Lab’s antivirus expert Viktor Chebyshev.

"The attack began when a message was sent to the Telegram messenger from the Telegram service channel (this is the official messenger channel with a blue verification tick) with a confirmation code that the user did not request. After that, an SMS with an activation code was sent to the victim’s smartphone, and almost immediately a notification came to the Telegram service channel that the account was logged in from a new device,” reported Group-IB.

It is known that other people's accounts were hacked through the mobile Internet, the IP address of the attackers was most often determined in the city of Samara.

It is assumed that the attackers used disposable SIM cards. They deliberately sent SMS with the code, intercepted it and authorized in Telegram. They could buy access to tools for hacking in the Darknet from 100 thousand rubles ($1,565).

The company drew attention to the fact that in all cases, SMS messages were the only authorization factor on devices affected by hacking attempts. Accordingly, such an attack can only be successful if the “Cloud Password” or “Two-step verification” options are not activated in the Telegram settings on the smartphone.

According to anti-virus expert Viktor Chebyshev, Telegram is consistently included in the list of applications targeted by cybercriminals in various spy campaigns. Such an attack can allow attackers to gain access to the correspondence of specific people.

Avito users were targeted by a dangerous Android Trojan


International company Group-IB, which specializes in the prevention of cyber attacks, has recorded a new Android Trojan campaign, the victims of which are customers of 70 banks, payment systems, web-wallets in the Russian Federation and the CIS. The potential damage from the Trojan, called FANTA, amounted to at least 35 million rubles ($547,000).

FANTA belongs to the Flexnet malware family, which is known to experts since 2015 and studied in detail. The Trojan and its associated infrastructure are constantly evolving: attackers are developing more effective distribution schemes, adding new functionality to more effectively steal money from infected devices and bypass security measures.

According to the company, the Trojan is aimed, in particular, at users who place purchase and sale advertisements on a Russian classified advertisements website Avito.

Attackers find contact details of sellers in a network, and after a while the victim receives personalised SMS about the transfer of full cost of goods to his account. The message contains a link where sellers can find payment details. Then the link opens a phishing page on the Avito website, which notifies the seller of the purchase and contains a description of his goods and the amount received from the sale of the goods. After clicking on the "Continue" bottom, FANTA malware disguised as the Avito application is downloaded to the phone.

The receipt of bank card data is carried out in a standard way for Android Trojans: the user opens phishing site that disguises as legitimate mobile banking application where the victim enters their bank card details", the Group-IB described the scheme of attackers.

Moreover, FANTA analyzes which apps are running on the infected device. Experts found that in addition to demonstrating pre-prepared phishing pages, FANTA also reads the notifications text about 70 banking applications, fast payment systems and e-wallets. In addition, an important feature of FANTA, which the creators paid special attention, is the bypass of anti-virus tools.

According to Group-IB, the latest attack was aimed at Russian — speaking users, most of the infected devices are located in Russia, a smaller part is in Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus.
It's interesting to note that FANTA developers are able to hack the devices of users of about 30 different Internet services, such as AliExpress, Youla, Pandao, Aviasales, Booking, Trivago, as well as taxi and car sharing services.

Earlier in another Russian service of free ads Youla stated that the company plan to completely remove the display numbers, keeping all communications within the service.

Russian-speaking hacker group silence stole 272 million rubles from banks in three years


Russian-speaking hacker group Silence has damaged financial institutions around the world, including Russia, in the amount of $4.2 million over the past three years. This is stated in the report of the international company Group-IB, specialising in the prevention of cyberattacks.

According to Group-IB, for three years (from June 2016 to June 2019), Silence attacked financial institutions in more than 30 countries in Europe and Asia, including Russian banks. As a result, the hacker group was stolen at least 272 million rubles.

As Group-IB noted, the company's specialists continuously monitor the activity of Silence since 2016. As a result, Group-IB discovered that in 2019 the geography of Silence attacks became the largest ever.

Recall that hacker groups Silence and Cobalt performed a large-scale attack on Russian banks in late 2018, they managed to steal $ 20 million.

In addition, in January this year, the hacker group Silence made about 80 thousand malicious mailings to employees of Russian Banks, credit and financial institutions and payment systems. Hackers started sending phishing emails on behalf of "Forum iFin-2019" with an attached ZIP archive, inside of which there is an invitation to the banking forum, as well as a malicious attachment Silence.Downloader aka TrueBot.

On February 7 a hacker attack was committed on the IT Bank of the Russian city Omsk. Hacker group Silence stole 25 million rubles.

During 2018, the General Directorate of protection and information security at the Bank of Russia (FinCERT) repeatedly recorded targeted attacks on credit and financial institutions, which were committed by two major criminal groups - Cobalt and Silence.

For example, cybercriminals performed a large-scale attack on Russian banks in late 2018, they managed to steal $ 20 million. The scammers on behalf of the FinCERT division of the Central Bank sent out malicious documents with macros. In addition, a compromised account of an employee of the company Alfacapital was used.

It is interesting to note that, according to Group-IB, the attackers have now come up with another method for more successful attacks in the future.

Group-IB: Hackers hit hard SEA and Singapore in 2018




Singapore, 19.03.2019 – Group-IB, an international company that specializes in preventing cyberattacks, on Money2020 Asia presented the analysis of hi-tech crime landscape in Asia in 2018 and concluded that cybercriminals show an increased interest in Asia in general and Singapore in particular. Group-IB team discovered new tool used by the Lazarus gang and analyzed North Korean threat actor’s recent attacks in Asia. Group-IB specialists discovered 19 928 of Singaporean banks’ cards that have shown up for sale in the dark web in 2018 and found hundreds of compromised government portals’ credentials stolen by hackers throughout past 2 years. The number of leaked cards increased in 2018 by 56%. The total underground market value of Singaporean banks’ cards compromised in 2018 is estimated at nearly $640 000.

Lazarus go rogue in Asia. New malware in gang’s arsenal

According to Group-IB Hi-Tech Crime Trends 2018 report, Southeast Asia, and Singapore in particular, is one of the most actively attacked regions in the world. In just one year, 21 state-sponsored groups, which is more than in the United States and Europe combined, were detected in this area, among which Lazarus – a notorious North-Korean state-sponsored threat actor.

Group-IB established that Lazarus is responsible for a number of latest targeted attacks on financial organizations in Asia. Group-IB Threat Intelligence team detected and analyzed the gang’s most recent attack, detected by the company experts, on one of the Asian banks.

In January 2019, Group-IB specialists obtained information about previously unknown malware sample used in this attack, dubbed by Group-IB RATv3.ps (RAT - remote administration tool). The new Trojan was presumably downloaded to a victim’s computer as part of the second phase of a so-called watering hole attack, which, according to Group-IB report on Lazarus, the group has been actively using since 2016. During the first stage, cybercriminals supposedly infected a website, visited by a victim, with a Trojan Ratankba, a unique tool used by Lazarus. Group-IB specialists note that the new RATv3.ps might have been used by North Korean hackers in other recent attacks at the end of 2018. At least one of RATs was available via a legitimate Vietnamese resource, which might have been involved in other attacks.

“The newly discovered Lazarus’ malware is multifunctional: it is capable of data exfiltration from the victim’s computer, downloading and executing programs and commands via shell, acting as a keylogger to retrieve victim’s passwords, moving, creating and deleting files, injecting code into other processes and screencasting,” – comments Dmitry Volkov, Group-IB CTO and Head of Threat Intelligence. “So in case of Lazarus a stitch in time saves nine. It is very hard to contain their attacks as they happen. You have to be well prepared and know their tactics and tools. In particular, it is extremely important to have most up-to date indicators of compromise, unavailable publicly, that can only be gathered through automated machine learning-powered threat hunting solutions. Given the group’s increased activity in the region in 2018, we believe that Lazarus will continue to carry out attacks against banks, which will result in illicit SWIFT payments, and will likely experiment with attacks on card processing, primarily focusing on Asia and the Pacific.”

Several cybersecurity researchers note that also in 2018 Lazarus carried out global campaign known as “Rising sun”. The malicious campaign affected close to 100 organizations around the world, including Singapore. The gang’s new endeavor took its name from the implant downloaded to victims’ computers. It was found that Rising Sun was created on the basis of the Trojan Duuzer family, which also belongs to cybercriminals from the Lazarus group. The malware spreader as part of this campaign was primarily aimed at collecting information from the victim’s computer according to various commands

According to Group-IB Hi-Tech Crime Trends report 2018, Lazarus, unlike most of other state-sponsored threat actors, does not shy away from attacking crypto. “Singapore, being one of the most crypto-friendly countries in the world, attracts not only thousands of crypto and blockchain entrepreneurs every year, but also threat actors willing to grab a piece of the pie. We expect that that other APTs like Silence, MoneyTaker, and Cobalt will stage multiple attacks on cryptocurrency exchanges in the near future,” – says Dmitry Volkov.

Have you been pwned?

Group-IB Threat Intelligence team identified hundreds of compromised credentials from Singaporean government agencies and educational institutions over the course of 2017 and 2018. Users’ logins and passwords from the Government Technology Agency (https://www.tech[.]gov.sg/), Ministry of Education (https://www.moe[.]gov.sg/), Ministry of Health (https://www.moh[.]gov.sg/), Singapore Police Force website (https://polwel[.]org.sg/about/), National University of Singapore learning management system (ivle.nus[.]edu.sg) and many other resources were stolen by cybercriminals. CERT-GIB (Computer Emergency Response Team) reached out to Singaporean CERT upon identification of this information. “Users’ accounts from government resources are either sold on underground forums or used in targeted attacks on government agencies for the purpose of espionage or sabotage. Even one compromised account, unless detected at the right time, can lead to the disruption of internal operations or leak of government secrets,” – comments Dmitry Volkov. Cybercriminals steal user accounts’ data using special spyware aimed at obtaining users' authentication data. According to Group-IB data, PONY FORMGRABBER, QBot and AZORult became the TOP 3 most popular Trojan-stealers among cybercriminals.

Pony Formgrabber retrieves login credentials from configuration files, databases, secret storages of more than 70 programs on the victim’s computer and then sends stolen information to cyber criminals’ C&C server. Another Trojan-stealer — AZORult, aside from stealing passwords from popular browsers, is capable of stealing crypto wallets data. Qbot worm gathers login credentials through use of keylogger, steals cookie files and certificates, active internet sessions, and forwards users to fake websites. All these Trojans are capable of compromising the credentials of crypto wallets and crypto exchanges users. More information on the most actively used Trojans and their targets can be accessed through Group-IB Threat Intelligence.

Public data leaks is another huge source of compromised user credentials from government websites. Group-IB team analyzed recent massive public data breaches and discovered 3689 unique records (email & passwords) related to Singaporean government websites accounts.

Underground market economy. Number of compromised cards of Singaporean banks on sale increases

In 2018, Group-IB detected the total of 19,928 compromised payment cards related to Singaporean banks on darknet cardshops. Singapore, as one of the major financial hubs in Southeast Asia is drawing more and more attention of financially motivated hackers every year. According to Group-IB data, compared to 2017, the number of leaked cards increased in 2018 by 56%. The total underground market value of Singaporean banks’ cards compromised in 2018 is estimated at nearly $640,000.

Group-IB Threat Intelligence team observed two abnormal spikes in Singaporean banks’ dumps, unauthorized digital copies of the information contained in magnetic stripe of a payment card, offered for sale on the dark web in 2018. The first one occurred on July 20th, when almost 500 dumps related to top Singaporean banks surfaced on one of the most popular underground hubs of stole card data, Joker’s Stash. On overage, the price per dump in this leak was relatively high and kept at 45$. The high price is due to the fact that most of the cards were premiums (e.g. Platinum, Signature etc.).

Another significant breach happened on November 23rd when the details of 1147 Singaporean banks dumps were set up for sale on cardshops. The seller wanted 50$ per item– 50% of stolen cards in batch were also marked as Premium.

Group-IB Threat Intelligence continuously detects and analyses data uploaded to cardshops all over the world. According to Group-IB’s annual Hi-Tech Crime Trends 2018 report, on average, from June 2017 to August 2018, the details of 1.8 million payment cards were uploaded to card shops monthly.

Group-IB : payment data of thousands of customers of UK and US online stores could have been compromised




Moscow, 14.03.2019 – Group-IB, an international company that specializes in preventing cyberattacks, has uncovered a malicious code designed to steal customers’ payment data on seven online stores in the UK and the US. The injected code has been identified as a new JavaScript Sniffer (JS Sniffer), dubbed by Group-IB as GMO.

Group-IB Threat Intelligence team first discovered the GMO JS Sniffer on the website of the international sporting goods company FILA UK, which could have led to the theft of payment details of at least 5,600 customers for the past 4 months.

Do your payments have the sniffles?

Most recent breaches similar to this include British Airways and Ticketmaster which were first analyzed by RiskIQ research team, where cybercriminals managed to compromise personal information of thousands of travelers and concert goers with a few of lines of code. British Airways and Ticketmaster websites were infected with JS Sniffers, a type of malicious code injected into a victim’s website designed to steal a consumer’s personal data including payment card details, names, credentials etc.

FILA UK website (fila.co[.]uk) became cybercriminals’ new major target on the UK market . GMO JS Sniffer has also been discovered on 6 other websites of US-based companies. This type of attack is especially dangerous given that it can be applied to almost any e-commerce site around the world. Group-IB made multiple attempts to alert FILA, which was known to be impacted by GMO. Six other websites affected by this JS Sniffer were notified upon discovery as well. Group-IB team has also reached out to local authorities in the UK and the US to conduct outreach.

Group-IB’s Threat Intelligence team first discovered GMO on the FILA UK website. The malicious code was detected in early March 2019. In the course of further research it was revealed that GMO JS Sniffer has presumably been collecting customer payment data since November 2018. According to Alexa.com, the number of fila.co[.]uk unique monthly visitors is estimated at around 140k per month.

According to IRP, UK market research firm, a minimum conversion into purchase for fashion and clothing ecommerce is equal to 1%. Using very conservative estimates, payment and personal details of at least 5,600 customers could have been stolen by cybercriminals – everyone who has purchased items on fila.co.uk since November 2018 has potentially had their details compromised. Typically, after customer data is stolen, it is usually resold on underground cardshops. Another scheme of cashing out involves the use of compromised cards to buy valuable goods, e.g. electronics, for onward sale.

Infamous North Korean Hacking Group Steals $571 Million in Cryptocurrency


The North Korean Hacking Group, Lazarus has managed once more to embezzle more than a billion dollars in cryptocurrency. The group has purportedly done such sorts of thefts since January 2017, amassing an enormous $571 million from the attacks. This was in accordance with an article published on Friday by The Next Web as well as the coming yearly report from the cybersecurity vendor Group-IB.

The claims made by some South Korean officials in February express that the North Korean hackers likely stole millions of dollars' worth in cryptocurrency in the year 2017.

Since the beginning of last year, the greatest contribution that could be made in hacking outfits has been done by Lazarus, which stole $571 million in cryptocurrency. Their greatest plunder - $534 million originated from a solitary attack led earlier in January 2018.

As indicated by the eminent cybersecurity unit Group IB the hacking outfits are more acclimated with utilizing techniques extending from spear phishing to social engineering and malware introduction to compromising cryptocurrency exchange networks.

"After the local network is successfully compromised, the hackers browse the local network to find work stations and servers used working with private cryptocurrency wallets," says the summary of an annual report prepared by the unit detailing the situation of hi-tech cybercrime trends across the globe. It also indicates that $882 million in cryptocurrency was stolen from exchanges in total from 2017 to 2018.

Massive phishing groups, as the report stated, are exploiting the users' fear of missing out a major opportunity, baiting them to invest their resources into unauthentic projects on knockoff websites.
Group IB additionally states that the quantity of attacks focusing on crypto trades is probably going to rise further, with hackers of more conventional financial institutions, like the banks are being attracted to the space looking for enormous increases.

All the more worryingly, these thefts are prognosticated to increment similarly as with time, more and more aggressive hacking groups are likely to move towards cryptocurrency.