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Malware Affecting Apple’s New M1 Chip Detected by Researchers

 

MAC malware has relatively been a less popular choice than its equivalents for Windows attacks, but the vulnerability to Apple computers has been more prevalent in the last few years. There are adware and even Mac-customized malware, and attackers still try to bypass Apple's new protections. Hackers have now made their debut in malware programmed to run Apple's latest M1 ARM processors, launched in November for MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac Mini. 

Apple's M1 chip is a divergence since 2005 from the Intel x86 architecture, which provides Apple a chance to bake some Mac security safeguards and functionality directly to its processors. This transition allowed legitimate developers to create the software version that runs on M1 "natively" and does not require translating via an Apple emulator named Rosetta 2. 

As per a blog published on 14th February by Mac security researcher Patrick Wardle, a Safari adware extension, originally written for Intel x86 chips, was modified to operate on new M1 chips. The malicious GoSearch22 extension has been traced to the Pirrit Mac adware family, according to Wardle. 

Researchers from the Red Canary along with the Pirrit Mac adware have written a blog on another strain of malware – Silver Sparrow – which varies from the one detected by Wardle. Although Silver Sparrow has not yet released malicious packages, the Red Canary researchers have confirmed that they are able to discharge malicious payloads at a time. Silver Sparrow compromised 29,139 macOS endpoints, including the high identification volumes in the U.S.A., the United Kingdom, Canada, France, and Germany, on February 17 in 153 countries, based on data from Malwarebytes given to Red Canary.

Kevin Dunne -President of Greenlight, said malware developers' capability to reverse engineer the M1 chip is only three months. Although the malware only has a minimum footprint, Dunne said that it will likely grow with time to harness more vectors of attack. 

“Once bad actors have control of the physical device, they can use that device as an access point to the networks that machine is connected to, either physically or via VPN,” Dunne said. “This reinforces the need for additional protection at the application layer, to constantly assess activity within those applications for unusual behaviour and mitigate potential risks in real time.”

Malware manufacturers and dealers are developing advanced devices and software with the way they produce and sell them, and so are the legal businesses, Jon Gulley, a security test application at nVisium added. 

For now, researchers have found that the native M1 malware doesn't appear to be an incredibly dangerous threat. However, the advent of these new strains is a sign of the future and of the need for detective devices to close the void.

Cyber-Surveillance Operation Resumed by Iran After a Long Break

 

Iran, one of the resourceful countries in Western Asia in terms of weapons and cyber intelligence has resumed its cyberespionage operation after a two-year downtime. Cybersecurity firms SafeBreach and Check Point directed joint research to discover an Iran-linked cyberespionage operation which has resumed with the latest second-stage malware and with an updated version of the Infy malware.

Espionage, destructive attacks, and social media manipulation- three major weapons of Iranian cyber capabilities, and the evidence suggest that Iran started the cyberespionage operation way back in 2007. For the first time, in 2016 the details regarding this operation were disclosed, Foudre a type of malware was used in these operations, and by 2018 it was updated eight times.

In the fast half of 2020, the operation was resumed with the latest versions of Foudre (versions20-22) and with new documents that were designed to tempt the victims and to execute the malicious code when closed. Following the execution of malicious code Foudre links to the command and control (C&C) server and fetches a new part of the malware, called Tonnerre.

According to the cybersecurity experts, Tonnerre is designed to expand the capabilities of Foudre but it is released as a different component. Foudre may only be deployed when the situation is out of control and it poses as legitimate software that can steal files from corrupt machines, can execute commands received from the C&C server, record sound and capture the screenshots.

Domain Generating Algorithms (DGA) are used by Tonnerre to link to the C&C which then stores data about the target, steal files, download updates and get an additional C&C. Both HTTP and FTP are used by Tonnerre to communicate with the C&C server. During the investigation, SafeBreach and Check Point spotted two dozen victims, most located in Sweden (6), the Netherlands (4), Turkey (3), and the United States (3). While, Romania, India, Russia, Iraq, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, and Azerbaijan had one victim each.

Last week, Check Point reported that the Iranian government has targeted more than 1,200 citizens in extensive cyber-surveillance operations. A blog post containing details on both Foudre and Tonnerre read, “it seems that following a long downtime, the Iranian cyber attackers were able to regroup, fix previous issues and dramatically reinforce their OPSEC activities as well as the technical proficiency and tooling capabilities”.

Operation LadyBird: International Law Enforcement Agencies Crackdown Emotet

 

European and US law agencies earlier this week directed a brilliant crackdown on Emotet. Emotet is a botnet of corrupted computers, which has attacked millions of victims to date. The international police operation "LadyBird" consisted of a team of officials from nine governments. The Dutch police, however, was more resolute and used its cyber agencies to get access to the Emotet infrastructure. Next, it installed a software update on the servers which disrupted the communication between botnet and hacked computers, putting a stop to its further spread.  

FBI can learn a thing or two from this operation, realizing that sometimes foreign allies can be a help too. Here, the Dutch police were a step ahead of the bureau in making an arrest and even using offensive cyber capabilities to get the mission done. The Bureau had first discovered Emotet in 2017, by that time, it had already dealt damage of $1.4 Million to North Carolina school computers. As per the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), it cost the agency around $1 Million to settle the dust after each Emotet incident happened, however, not clear how the agency calculated this data. 

An FBI agent, however, suggested the estimated total cost to be around hundreds of millions of dollars, that the U.S victims might have suffered from the digital cyberattack. But, American agents failed to reach Emotet's infrastructural roots on their own. A senior FBI cyber-official in a press conference said that this is why it becomes so important for law enforcement agencies to work together. Hinting to the Dutch crackdown on Emotet, the official said "working within the legal frameworks of each individual partner to make sure that we have the greatest impact that we can within the law."  As of now, it's not confirmed if the Emotet's criminal group will be back in the action again. 

Experts say that Botnet generally survives until its operatives are finally captured. Dutch news website Politie reports, "A computer infection with Emotet malware often comes about through a phishing attack by email. In doing so, the victim is tempted to click on a malicious link, for example in a PDF file, or to open a Word file containing macros. The cybercriminals behind Emotet used different types of 'bait' to trick unsuspecting users into opening malicious attachments. For example, last year they pretended that e-mail attachments contained information about COVID-19."

The FSB recorded an attempt to encrypt the data of patients in hospitals in Russia

The deputy director of the National coordination center for computer incidents (NCCI) Nikolay Murashov during a speech at the information security forum stated that for the first time in 2020, the Special Services recorded attempts by hackers to introduce malicious software into the information resources of Russian medical institutions in order to encrypt user data.

According to him, there were also hacker attacks on the information resources of the Central Election Commission and Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation.

Murashov said that the special services managed to prevent attacks on the services of state structures.

In total, over the past year, the NCCI has stopped the work of more than 132 thousand malicious resources. At the same time, according to Murashov, the main sources of cyber attacks on Russian resources are located outside the country: 67 thousand foreign malicious resources and 65 thousand such resources in Russia were blocked by the Center for the year. The attacks were carried out from Turkey, the Netherlands, and Estonia and were aimed at state authorities and industrial enterprises.

In general, according to Murashov, remote work has complicated the protection of personal data, as attacks began to be carried out through insufficiently protected remote access centers and vulnerable software. NCCI specialists also registered the sending of phishing messages, most often, card data were stolen through phishing.

The National coordination center for computer incidents has been recording for several years that the main sources of hacker attacks on Russian organizations are located abroad.

In late January, the NCCI center warned of possible cyberattacks from the United States. The threat of attacks in the Center was associated with accusations against Russia from Western countries of involvement in hacker attacks on American government resources, as well as with threats from them to carry out "retaliatory" attacks on Russian critical information infrastructure.

According to the Investigative Committee, in general, the number of cybercrimes over the past seven years in Russia has increased 20 times, and every seventh crime is committed using information technology or in cyberspace.

The NCCI was created in 2018 by order of the FSB to combat the threat of hacker attacks on Russia's infrastructure.

Sprite Spider Emerging as One of The Most Destructive Ransomware Threat Actors

 

Recently, two CrowdStrike cybersecurity leads during a Cyber Threat Intelligence Summit at the SANS  Senior Security Researcher Sergei Frankoff, and Senior Intelligence Analyst Eric Loui, shared detailed information on the ‘Spirit Spider’, an emerging leading ransomware actor. Like other ransomware attacks, the malicious crew behind Sprite Spider attacks has rapidly increased in terms of sophistication and damage capabilities since 2015. At present, Sprite Spider has become one of the most dangerous ransomware malicious actors of 2021. 

Although, this ransomware ‘Sprite Spider’, did not come as a surprise for many world-leading IT firms, like other organized ransomware groups which are filled with threat actors who are often fruitfully employed by nation-state cybercriminals. 

The journey of Sprite Spider


To have come so far to make headlines, it must have gotten started somewhere, but when and where? It was back in 2015 when the ransomware was employed as a banking Trojan called Shifu, and then in 2017, a malware loader called Vatet. The gang had deployed a remote access Trojan called PyXie, in 2018, and in 2019, the attackers’ deployed ransomware called DEFRAY777. 

Crowdstrike researchers linked Shifu, Wyatt, and Pixi to the DEFRAY777 ransomware attacks. At this point they realized that all the activities from these components were linked to a single-malicious group, operating stealthily behind the scenes. 

The threat actors can often avoid detection mainly because the malicious code is secretly hidden in open-source projects such as Notepad++, which technically is invisible and hence visibly harmless. The only thing the Sprite Spider writes to disk is ‘Vatet’, which makes it even more difficult for the intelligence to identify it during an attack. 

“I think we’ve seen a number of nation-states engage in these types of attacks to generate revenue, specifically North Korea,” CrowdStrike’s senior vice president of intelligence Adam Meyers tells CSO. He added that “Iran and China are also getting in on the ransomware game. It’s not necessarily the nation-state that is conducting the attack, but [the cybercriminals] are using the skills they learned [by working for nation-state attackers] to make a little extra money on the side. The individuals engaged by the nation-state are conducting ransomware attacks on a moonlight shift.” 

Mark Weatherford, chief strategy officer at the National Cybersecurity Center and a former DHS cybersecurity official in the Obama administration, said “I think it will take an international effort to address the growing ransomware scourge. Until there is more of an international policy discussion, I think we’re going to see these things grow. What we need is an international combined effort from nations around the world to say that this is no longer acceptable.” He tells CSO.

Hackers Attack Gaming Community Using Supply Chain Attacks

 

Researchers at ESET found that NoxPlayer's latest updated mechanism, which is an android emulator for macOS and Windows, was attacked by hackers. The attacker used the hack to corrupt gamer systems with malware. BigNox, a Hongkong based company, makes these emulators. Gamers across 150 countries around the world use NoxPlayer, says BigNox. However, research by ESET indicates that the supply chain attack only focused on Asian gamers. The attacker used three different malware strains. The threat actor behind the attack is currently named "Nightscout." 

To plant corrupt payloads in their victims' systems, Nightscout attacked BigNox's "res06.bignox.com storage infrastructure" to store the trojan and "api.bignox.com API infrastructure" to run the payloads.  ESET report says, "in January 2021, we discovered a new supply-chain attack compromising the update mechanism of NoxPlayer, an Android emulator for PCs and Macs, and part of BigNox’s product range with over 150 million users worldwide. This software is generally used by gamers in order to play mobile games from their PCs, making this incident somewhat unusual." 

Experts at ESET are positive about BigNox's infrastructure compromise used to host malware, along with the compromise of their API infrastructure. In few cases, attacked used BigNox updater to download additional payloads using hacker-controlled servers. ESET discovered few other supply chain attacks in 2020 like "Operation SignSight" which attacked the Vietnamese government and compromised their software, and "Operation StealthyTrident" which attacked desktop users, the banking sector, and government agencies. However, Operation Nightscout is slightly different, and more dangerous, as it attacked the gaming community to gain intelligence. It is rare to collect information through espionage attacks on the gaming community, which makes operation Nightscout a bigger threat.  

"We spotted similarities in loaders we have been monitoring in the past with some of the ones used in this operation, such as instances we discovered in a Myanmar presidential office website supply-chain compromise on 2018, and in early 2020 in an intrusion into a Hong Kong university. Three different malware families were spotted being distributed from tailored malicious updates to selected victims, with no sign of leveraging any financial gain, but rather surveillance-related capabilities," says ESET.

Cybersecurity Researchers Identifies an Updated Variant of 'Pro-Ocean' Malware

 

Cybersecurity experts have discovered an updated version of ‘Pro-Ocean malware’, this malware was used as a weapon by a cybercriminal gang called Rocke Group to target cloud infrastructure with crypto-jacking strikes.

Cybersecurity experts first discovered the Pro-Ocean malware in 2019 and it has evolved to be even more deadly due to its worm capabilities and rootkit detection evasion features. Aviv Sasson with Palo Alto Networks stated that "this malware is an example that demonstrates that cloud providers’ agent-based security solutions may not be enough to prevent evasive malware targeted at public cloud infrastructure."

The Rocke Group has expanded its targeting of cloud applications such as Oracle WebLogic, ActiveMQ, and open-source data structure store Redis for mining Monero. Pro-Ocean malware has been on the radar of many cybersecurity firms since these attacks occurred. The latest malware targets to bypass these detection and mitigation efforts.

Pro-Ocean malware exploits various known vulnerabilities to target cloud applications which includes a severe flaw in Apache ActiveMQ (CVE-2016-3088) and a high severity susceptibility in Oracle WebLogic (CVE-2017-10271). The malware is also known to target vulnerable instances of Redis. After the malware is downloaded it strives to detach other malware and cryptominers, including BillGates, XMRig, Luoxk, and Hashfish. Once downloaded, it kills any process that utilizes the CPU heavily so that it is capable of using 100% of the CPU and mine Monero effectively.

Pro-Ocean malware has four components: A rootkit module that downloads a rootkit and various other malicious services; a mining module that operates the XMRig miner; a Watchdog module that implements two Bash scripts (for checking that the malware is operating and finding out any processes using CPU heavily); and an infection module that carries ‘worm’ capabilities. The latest ‘worm’ feature is a new inclusion for Pro-Ocean malware, which previously have targeted the victims manually, Python infection script is now used by malware to acquire the public IP address of the victim’s machine.

Pro-Ocean malware does this to secure online service with the domain ‘ident.me’ which extends out IP addresses for various web servers and then the script attempts to corrupt all the machines in the same 16-bit subnet (e.g., 10.0.X.X).

In this regard, cybersecurity researchers explained that “cryptojacking malware targeting the cloud is evolving as attackers understand the potential of that environment to mine for crypto coins. We previously saw simpler attacks by the Rocke Group, but it seems this group presents an ongoing, growing threat. This cloud-targeted malware is not something ordinary since it has worm and rootkit capabilities. We can assume that the growing trend of sophisticated attacks on the cloud will continue”.

'Android Worm' Malware is Spreading Via WhatsApp User Contact List

 

Security expert Lucas Stefanko unearthed the malware known as ‘Android Worm’. Threat actors are using this malware as a weapon to send malicious messages to WhatsApp users and extract critical information or shutting their accounts entirely. ‘Android Worm’ make an entrance into a user phone as a disguised message and then corrupts the victim’s contact list without the victim being aware of it.

Lucas Stefanko shared a video detailing the android worm malware – “Android WhatsApp Worm? Malware spreads via victim’s WhatsApp by automatically replying to any received WhatsApp message notification with a link to malicious Huawei Mobile app. The message is sent only once per hour to the same contact. It looks to be adware or subscription scam”.

The malware enters a user phone via message and then uploads adware onto a users’ device and expands by sending WhatsApp messages to the victim’s contact list and keeping the victim in a dark. As per the reports of The Sun, initially, the victim gets a message from a contact or an anonymous number by asking the him to download a link to win a free smartphone. Then after tapping on the link, the victim will be taken into the confidence that a Huawei mobile application is being downloaded into the victim’s device, and to make the message trustworthy, a fake Google page will also be shown. Then, once the victim taps on the install button the victim will end up installing the Android worm into his/her device. 

After that, every hour the malicious link will be further sent to some of the user’s contact list and the user will not know if the victim doesn’t check his/her device after every frequent interval. According to the ESET blog “this malware could possibly distribute more dangerous threats since the message text and link to the malicious app are received from the attacker’s server. It could simply distribute banking trojans, ransomware or spyware”.

Trickbot- A Banking Trojan Returns With Latest Phishing Campaigns and Attacks

 

Trickbot, a banking malware has resurged again with new phishing campaigns and attacks after the collaboration of cybersecurity and technology companies disrupted the Trickbot malware in October last year. Trickbot malware evolved into a highly favorable form of malware among threat actors after starting life as a banking trojan.

Trickbot is a banking malware that sends victims banking-related website pages that almost look identical to the original thing. Trickbot is a replication of older malware Dyre/Dyreza and is also dispersed via malicious spam including HTML attachments. These HTML files download a Word document posing as a login form, in reality, it is embedded with a malicious macro that restores Trickbot from the threat actors’ command and control (C&C) server when permitted.

Microsoft targeted the infamous Trickbot malware last year due to its ability to possess ransomware that could pose a threat to the websites that display election information or to third party software dealers that supply resources to election officials. Trickbot can steal information, keys, and credentials and give backdoor access for transporting other malware, including ransomware.

Threat actors are specifically targeting legal and insurance companies in North America and sending phishing emails to the potential targets and tricking them to click on a link that will transfer them to a server that downloads a malicious payload.

Vinay Pidathala, director of security research at Menlo Security stated that “where there’s a will, there’s a way. That proverb certainly holds true for the bad actors behind Trickbot operations. While Microsoft and its partners’ actions were commendable and Trickbot activity has come down to a trickle, the threat actors seem to be motivated enough to restore operations and cash in on the current threat environment”.

UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) issued the advisory that companies should patch the security vulnerabilities and should run on the latest versions of operating system and software.

Deceased User's Accounts used by Nefilim Ransomware Actors

 

Recently we are witnessing that the Ransomware operators are teaming up to exchange software and infrastructure to further accelerate the operation of leakage and extortion that harms the victims of such attacks. One such ransomware is Nefilim. 

Nefilim also known as Nemty has emerged in 2020 as a new category onto the list of ransomware strains, here if the victims do not pay the ransom, Nefilim threatens to reveal information to the public; it has its own leaks platform called Corporate Leaks and is located in the TOR node. 

As stated by Michael Heller, a researcher at Sophos, the Rapid Response is a 24/7 service provided by Sophos that helps organizations to detect and neutralize the active threat by actors as soon as possible. Lately, a company that has been attacked with the Nefilim ransomware, reached out to the Rapid Responses by Sophos for help. In the incident reported by the company, a ransomware attack from Nefilim locked up more than 100 systems stemmed from the unregulated account compromised of an employee who died three months ago. The attackers traveled silently through the network, stole the domain admin keys, then located and filtered hundreds of GB of data prior to unleashing any malware that exposes the existence of such data. The account was obviously held deliberately as it was used for utilities, so the Rapid Response team had to determine which acts were legit and which were deceptive from that account. 

Nefilim ransomware replaces the initial files with encrypted copies, nearly all the big ransomware, making recovery difficult without either a decryption key or a recent backup. As soon as the Customer contracted Sophos, the Rapid Response Team took steps to load security into any applications that they might use, to guarantee that all the security measured required were added to systems that had already been implemented by Sophos and to find evidence about how and where the invading processes started and what could have been stolen. 

 As stated by Michael Heller, the latest victim of the attack was compromised by exploiting vulnerable versions of the Citrix Software, after which the actors gained access to the domain key or the domain admin account using Mimikatz. Well in general the actor can gain access either by Citrix Software or by Remote Desktop Protocol. 

“Ransomware is the final payload in a longer attack. It is the attacker telling you they already have control of your network and have finished the bulk of the attack. It is the attacker declaring victory,” stated, Peter Mackenzie, manager of Rapid Response. “Identifying you are under a ransomware attack is easy, identifying the attacker was on your network a week earlier is what counts.”

Rocke Group’s Pro Ocean Crypto-jacking Malware now Comes with Worm Feature

 

The Rocke Group's used cloud-targeted malware for carrying out crypto-jacking attacks for Monero that was documented in 2019 by Unit 42 researchers. Since then, the malware has been present in cybersecurity firms, which hindered the crypto-jacking activity of the Rocke Community. The threat actors behind the attack have reportedly updated the malware as researchers discovered a modified malware version used by the Rocke Community, a cyber-crime gang that attacks crypto-jack cloud infrastructure. 

The malware is known as "Pro Ocean," first detected in 2019, and now includes "worm" features and the detection-evasion features of rootkits. 

For cloud apps, Pro-Ocean utilizes well-known vulnerabilities Pro-Ocean attacked Apache ActiveMQ, Oracle WebLogic (CVE-2017-10271), and Redis in their study. If the malware is built-in Tencent Cloud or Alibaba Cloud, one can disable tracking agents using the same code of the previous malware to prevent detection. If the malware is installed, it destroys any operation that heavily uses the Kernel to use 100% of the CPU and Monero effectively. 

“This malware is an example that demonstrates that cloud providers’ agent-based security solutions may not be enough to prevent evasive malware targeted at public cloud infrastructure,” said Aviv Sasson. “As we saw, this sample can delete some cloud providers’ agents and evade their detection,” Sasson further added. 

The malware is comprised of four components: a rootkit package, which installs a rootkit and many other malice utilities, an XMRig mining module; a Watchdog module with two Bash scripts (to see whether the malware runs a strong CPU scan and some process). 

The latter “worm” feature is a recent Pro-Ocean addition. The ransomware now reverts to the public IP address of the victim's computer with a Python infection script. This is achieved by using an online service, which scopes IP addresses for different web servers with an "ident.me" address. The script then attempts in the same 16-Bit subnet to corrupt all computers (e.g. 10.0.X.X). The Pro-Ocean malware has also added new rootkit capabilities that cloak its malicious activity. 

“It does this by blindly executing public exploits one after the other in the hope of finding unpatched software it can exploit,” said Sasson. Researchers said that they believe, Rocke Group will be constantly modifying its malware, particularly as the cloud expands as a lucrative target for attackers.

Emotet - 'Most Dangerous Malware in the World' Disrupted by the Law Enforcement Agencies

 

The European Union Agency for Law Enforcement announced that a global collaboration of law enforcement agencies had disrupted Emotet, what it called the ‘most dangerous malware in the world’.

‘Operation ladybird’ was conducted via a collaboration of private security experts with global law enforcement agencies to disrupt Emotet and take charge of Emotet’s command-and-control infrastructure. While conducting the raid Ukrainian police arrested at least two Ukrainian citizens working for the cybercriminal group.

Ukrainian law enforcement published a video showing officers seizing cash, computer equipment, and rows of gold bars. Neither Europol nor the Ukrainian police has shared the details regarding threat actors or their asserted role in the Emotet group. Ukrainian authorities released a statement explaining that “other members of an international hacker group who used the infrastructure of the Emotet bot network to conduct cyberattacks have also been identified. Measures are being taken to detain them”.

Europol stated that “the Emotet infrastructure essentially acted as a primary door opener for computer systems on a global scale”. A malware globally known as Emotet has jeopardized the free-flowing working of the Internet and has grown into one of the biggest botnets across the globe and ruining organizations with data theft and ransomware.

In 2014, Emotet was initially known as a banking trojan, the malware gradually evolved into a powerful weapon used by threat actors across the globe to secure unauthorized access to computer systems. Emotet’s designers known as APT group TA542 shared the malware with other threat actors who used malware to install banking trojans or ransomware, onto a victim’s computer system.

Interpol stated that “the infrastructure that was used by Emotet involved several hundreds of servers located across the world, all of these having different functionalities to manage the computers of the infected victims, to spread to new ones, to serve other criminal groups, and to ultimately make the network more resilient against takedown attempts”.

NHS Urged Public to Remain Vigilant Regarding Fake Covid-19 Vaccinations

 

Fraudsters are tricking people in the UK via fake Covid-19 vaccination invites, scammers are posing to be from the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), and are sending fake emails including a link to enroll for the vaccine.

NHS has alerted the public by tweeting on their official account that no registration is required for the real vaccination. We would never ask for bank details, verification of documents such as your passport, driving license, bills, or payslips, and no payment is required for the vaccination.

The multiple variants of phishing emails are floating around the internet but they all point towards the NHS, claiming a message from the NHS website ‘noreply@nhs.gov.uk’ (the original NHS website is NHS.uk). Scammers are using mail subject identical to “IMPORTANT – Public Health Message. Decide whether if you want to be vaccinated”.
 
Cybersecurity consultant Daniel Card explained that traffic data is suggesting fraudsters have tricked thousands of recipients to click on the fake website but it remains unclear how many recipients have filled in the form. National Cyber Security Centre and Action Fraud have urged people to report scam emails or texts.

Health secretary Matt Hancock stated that “vaccines are our way out of this pandemic, it is vital that we do not let a small number of unscrupulous fraudsters undermine the huge team effort underway across the country to protect millions of people from this terrible disease”.

This was not the first phishing campaign related to the covid-19 vaccination, at the start of this month fraudsters sent bogus text messages to the recipients posing to be from the NHS and asking recipients to register for a vaccine and provide bank details for verification.

Rogue: An Android Malware That Gives Hackers Full Control Over a Phone

 

Another sort of Android malware that provides hackers with nearly-full access to a client's Android cell phone is doing rounds on underground forums. Colloquially known as 'Rogue' Remote Administration Tool (RAT), the malware infects victims with a keylogger – permitting attackers to effectively monitor the utilization of sites and applications to take usernames and passwords, just as more delicate data like a client's financial data. The malware, as per reports, is accessible on underground forums for as low as $29.99 (generally Rs 2,200).

This low-cost malware undermines a full-scale takeover of a victim's cell phone, observing the GPS area on the target, taking screenshots, utilizing the camera to take pictures, secretly recording sound from calls, and more. The virus does this while being hidden from the owner of the cell phone. All an attacker requires is their own cell phone to give commands on an infected device. This malware has been detailed by cybersecurity researchers at Checkpoint Research as a mix of two past groups of Android RATs - Cosmos and Hawkshaw - and exhibits the advancement of malware improvement on the dark web. 

Rogue is crafted by Triangulum and HeXaGoN Dev, known Android malware creators that have been selling their vindictive products on underground markets for quite a long while. For the development of Rogue, the malware creator evidently joined forces with HexaGoN Dev, which specializes in the building of Android RATs. Beforehand, Triangulum bought projects from NexaGoN Dev. "The mix of HeXaGon Dev's programming skills and Triangulum's social marketing abilities clearly posed a legitimate threat," Check Point's security researchers note.

While there is no single manner by which hackers introduce Rogue, it is normally pushed on a victim's cell phone either by phishing, malevolent applications, or other such techniques. In the wake of being downloaded on a cell phone, Rogue asks for permissions that it needs for the hacker to remotely get to a cell phone. When the permissions are in all actuality, Rogue registers itself as the device administrator and conceals its icon from the home screen. 

The best way to try not to succumb to this is to not click on suspicious links or download applications from outside sources other than Google Play and Apple App Store. Further, it is additionally imperative to ensure all security updates are installed on the device.

JetBrains – A possible Doorway to Massive Hacking Plot?

 

JetBrains a software company based in the Czech Republic could possibly be used as a doorway by Russian hackers to secure access to United States private sector systems and federal government systems. American intelligence agencies and private Cybersecurity researchers are investigating the position of a software company that could possibly be used as a pathway by Russian hackers to inject malware that would glide to several technology firms.

JetBrains a software company established in Prague, Czech Republic has more than 1,200 employees and the company’s products are widely used across the globe by more than 300,000 companies and 9,000,000 developers which include 79 Fortune Global 100 companies and 95 Fortune 100 companiesJetBrains is widely recognized as a leading instrument for developing software.

Numerous leading companies like Citibank, Google, Netflix, HP, Twitter, Volkswagen, Expedia, NASA, Valve, Ubisoft, VMware, The New York Times, and Hewlett-Packard are among its consumers and it also has a major say in developing the software for Siemens – a leading supplier of technology in a sensitive framework such as nuclear and power plants.

Maxim Shafirov, the company’s chief executive officer stated in a post that “we have not been contacted by any government or security agency regarding this matter, nor are we aware of being under any investigation, if such an investigation is undertaken, the authorities can count on our full cooperation”.

SolarWinds, the company stationed in Austin, Texas is one of the primary consumers of JetBrains. TeamCity software is a product of JetBrains, it is a continuous integration and deployment system used for unit testing and code quality analysis. The software was utilized as a weapon by the threat actors to gain access to the SolarWinds TeamCity server by manipulating high severity vulnerabilities. However, JetBrains’ CEO denied all the allegations regarding the involvement of the company in the SolarWinds hack.

Meet Oski Stealer: In-depth Analysis Of the Popular Credential Stealer


In the current scenario credential theft malware is one of the most frequently employed malware in cyber hacking. Many government and non-government organizations are becoming victims of such attacks as employees are being attacked for their credentials. 

The main objective of this malware is to actively acquire confidential and sensitive data, consisting of users' official names, passwords of their systems, and financial information. 

Credential theft Malware is something that can cause destruction to a computer system and its network. The threat actors just don’t use this malware to steal passwords, but also to delete files and render computers inoperable. Potentially, malware can lead to infections which in turn can cause many problems that affect daily operations and the long-term security of affected organizations. 

‘The Oski stealer’, is a credentials stealer, first, it was reported in November 2019. As the name suggests, ‘the Oski stealer’ works as a big information stealer consisting of personal and sensitive information from its victims. 'Oski', the name has been derived from an old Nordic word, meaning ‘Viking warrior’, which is quite fitting considering this popular info-stealer is extremely effective at pillaging privileged information from its targets.  

As per the sources, “the ‘Oski’ stealer’ is a classic information stealer platform that is being sold on Russian underground hacking forums at a low price of $70-$100. The stealer is written in C++ and it has all the typical features of credential theft malware”. 

According to the research, ‘Oski’ targets sensitive information including: 

• Login credentials from different applications 
• System information 
• Browser information (cookies, autofill data, and credit cards) 
• Screenshots 
• Crypto wallets 
• Different user files 

Besides, the stealer can also work as a Downloader to download a second-stage malware with modification of tools. 

Every infection involving three parties: 
1. Malware authors 
2. Malware customers 
3. Malware victims 

The customers contact ‘Oski actors’ on underground forums to buy the malware and, once purchased, they customize it and disperse it to their targets. Oski has become popular and has built a strong reputation within the underground community, with many of its buyers on regular basis providing positive feedback and reviews about the functions of the malware. 

While giving further insights, sources from Intelligence said, “Even we have to admit that Oski’s functionality works pretty well. From setting up and checking the environment to stealing information by application type, Oski’s code is written with purpose and care. The code is neat and clean, without any presence of useless code lines, however, it does lack sophisticated anti-analysis tricks like anti-debugging and dynamic anti-analysis tricks”.

December 2020’s Most Wanted Malware: Emotet Returns as Top Malware Threat

 

The threat Intelligence arm of Check Point Software Technologies Ltd., a world-leading cybersecurity solutions provider has recently published its Global Threat Index for December 2020. 

Global Threat Index for December 2020 has disclosed that the Emotet trojan, once again ranked at the top of the malware list. According to the sources, currently, the malware is affecting 7% of organizations worldwide following a spam campaign that has targeted over 100,000 people per day in December 2020. 

“In September and October 2020, Emotet was consistently at the top of the Global Threat Index and was linked to a wave of ransomware attacks. But in November it was much less prevalent, dropping to 5th place in the Index. It has now been updated with new malicious payloads and improved detection evasion capabilities: the latest version creates a dialogue box, which helps it evade detection from users. The new malicious spam campaign uses different delivery techniques to spread Emotet, including embedded links, document attachments, or password-protected Zip files,” the report reads. 

This malware was first identified in 2014, according to the data present, ‘Emotet developers’ have updated their tools to organize and maintain its continued effectiveness while executing their malicious motives. The Department of Homeland Security while making an estimation, stated, “each incident involving Emotet costs organizations upwards of 1 million dollars to rectify..” 

Additionally, the research team is also warning organizations against ‘MVPower DVR Remote Code Execution’ “which is the most commonly exploited vulnerability, impacting 42% of organizations globally, followed by ‘HTTP Headers Remote Code Execution (CVE-2020-13756)’ which is affecting 42% of organizations worldwide,” Researchers added. 

At present, ‘Emotet’ will remain on the top of the list as the most dangerous malware with a global impact of 7% on organizations, followed by Trickbot, Formbook, Dridex, XMRig, Qbot, Hiddad, RigEK, Ramnit, Glupteba malware. 

What is Emotet and what it does to your system? 


‘Emotet’ is a dangerously advanced malware, it's a self-propagating and modular Trojan. Originally Emotet had been discovered as a banking Trojan, but it has been modified to function as a distributor for other malware or cyber campaigns, through multiple methods. Operators constantly evaluate the malware for its maintenance, persistence, and evasion techniques to avoid any form of detection with ease. It is also noteworthy that this sophisticated malware can be distributed through phishing spam emails containing malicious attachments or links.

Ryuk Ransomware: What Can We Learn From DCH Cyberattack?

Hackers have profited a lot from the Covid-19 pandemic by targeting health institutions, let us look back and learn from these attacks. For a very long time, cybercriminals have been attacking healthcare institutions, one fine example is the "DCH ransomware" attack. E Hacking News in this article analysis the events of the DCH ransomware incident, and how Alabama healthcare dealt with the attack.  

About the attack
Alabama's DCH health system was hit by a ransomware attack in October 2019. The attack forced DHS to shut down its 3 state units named- Fayette Medical Center, Northport Medical Center, and Tuscaloosa’s DCH Regional Medical Center. Because of the attack, the computer systems in the 3 hospitals stopped working and the hospital staff couldn't access important files and patient records. DCH took applied emergency measures to deal with the crisis, the hospitals took in critical patients, whereas non-critical cases were transferred off to other health institutions, and only admitted after 10 days.  

About DCH Ransomware 
Hackers attacked DCH systems using a strain of Ryuk ransomware, the malware used by Wizard Spider, a Russian hacking group. Ryuk uses malicious social engineering techniques and uses phishing attacks to trick users into opening false links. Once opened, the malware deploys itself with the target device. When Ryuk is successfully deployed, it gets into the system codes and stops the device from functioning. It is followed by encryption and the last step is demanding ransom.  

Aftermaths of the Ransomware Attack 
DCH couldn't continue it's healthcare services for 10 days due to the partial disruption caused by the ransomware. Four patients filed a lawsuit against DCH for violating "information privacy law" and affecting their medical treatment during the ransomware attack. The lawsuit stated, "because of the ransomware attack, plaintiffs and class members had their medical care and treatment, as well as their daily lives, disrupted." "As a consequence of the ransomware locking down the medical records of plaintiffs and class members, plaintiffs and the class members had to forego medical care and treatment or had to seek alternative care and treatment."

Ezuri Crypter Being Used to Evade Antivirus Detection

 

As per a report delivered by AT&T Alien Labs, various cyber criminals are utilizing Ezuri crypter to pack their malware and dodge antivirus detection. Although Windows malware has been known to deploy similar tactics, cybercriminals are currently utilizing Ezuri for penetrating Linux systems too. Written in Golang, Ezuri acts both as a crypter and loader for ELF (Linux) binaries. Utilizing AES, it encrypts the malware code and, on decoding, executes the noxious payload directly inside memory without producing any records on the disk. 

Systems engineer and Ezuri's maker, Guilherme Thomazi Bonicontro ('guitmz'), had open-sourced the ELF loader on GitHub in 2019 and debuted the tool in his blog entry. In an email interview with, Bonicontro otherwise known as TMZ shared that he is a malware researcher and makes research apparatuses for spreading awareness and aiding defenders. 

“I'm an independent malware researcher, I do this as one of my leisure activities. The objective of my work is just to learn and bring awareness on assorted PoC assault and defense techniques, yet never bring on any harm. As a general guideline, I generally share samples of my ventures with antivirus organizations and I never discharge code with ruinous payload or anything with refined replication capabilities. I believe knowledge ought to be available to everybody and every individual ought to be answerable for their own activities to rest soundly at night,” said Bonicontro. 

Researchers Ofer Caspi and Fernando Martinez of AT&T Alien Labs noted in the wake of decrypting the AES-encrypted payload, Ezuri quickly passes the subsequent code to the runFromMemory work as a contention without dropping malware files anyplace on the tainted system. During the last few months, Caspi and Martinez distinguished a few malware creators that pack their samples with Ezuri. These incorporate the cybercrime group, TeamTnT, active since at least April 2020. 

TeamTnT is known to assault misconfigured Docker instances and exposed APIs to transform weak systems into DDoS bots and crypto miners. Later variations of TeamTnT's malware, for example, "Black-T" that install network scanners on tainted systems and extract AWS credentials from memory were likewise discovered to be bound with Ezuri. As indicated by the AT&T researchers, "the last Black-T sample distinguished by Palo Alto Networks Unit42 is really an Ezuri loader." The researchers additionally saw the presence of the 'ezuri' string in numerous Ezuri-packed binaries. 

Malware samples which were commonly distinguished by about 50% of antivirus engines on VirusTotal, yielded 0 detections when encoded with Ezuri, at the time of AT&T's research. Even today, the Ezuri-stuffed sample has less than a 5% detection rate on VirusTotal.

Cisco Talos Researchers Discovered Multiple Susceptibilities in SoftMaker Office TextMaker

 

Cisco Talos researchers exposed multiple vulnerabilities in SoftMaker Office TextMaker that can be exploited by cyber attackers. These vulnerabilities in SoftMaker office can be exploited for arbitrary code execution by generating malicious documents and deceiving victims into opening them. 

SoftMaker Office TextMaker is a German-based software developer; it has various suites like a spreadsheet, word processing, presentation, and database software components, and all these well-liked software suites are presented to individuals and enterprises. The common and internal document file formats also acquire the support of the SoftMaker office suite. 

The foremost issue is a sign extension bug, CVE-2020-13544 which influences the document-analyzing functionality of SoftMaker Office TextMaker 2021 and the subsequent vulnerability has been traced as CVE-2020-13545 which is a sign altering flaw in the same document-analyzing of the application. 

Cisco Talos researchers illustrated that “a specially crafted document can cause the document parser to sign-extend a length used to terminate a loop, which can later result in the loop’s index being used to write outside the bounds of a heap buffer during the reading of file data”. A heap-based memory can be corrupted by an attacker who can adeptly design a document which can lead to the document analyzer. 

The document analyzer can misjudge the length while assigning a buffer which will lead the application to be written outside the bounds of the buffer. Traced as CVE-2020-13546, the flaw is detected to affect the SoftMaker Office 2021 by integer overflow susceptibility. 

SoftMaker office 2021 was evaluated with a Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) of 8.8 and now all three vulnerabilities are secured. The most threatening issue was that the attacker can exploit the loophole in the SoftMaker office in 2021 from any remote location.