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New REvil Ransomware Version Automatically Logs Windows into Safe Mode

 

The REvil Ransomware is unstoppable when it comes to ingenious hacking tactics and techniques. The well-known ransomware has escalated its attack vector once again, this time by changing the victim's login password in order to reboot the computer into Windows Safe Mode. 

While malicious groups are constantly upgrading their attack strategies in order to fight security measures, the threat actors behind the REvil ransomware are especially skilled at honing their malware in order to make their attack campaigns more effective.

Last month, security researcher R3MRUM discovered a new sample of the REvil ransomware that improves the new Safe Mode encryption method by changing the logged-on user’s password and setting Windows to automatically login on reboot. The ransomware would update the user's password to ‘DTrump4ever’ if the -smode statement is used. 

Afterward, the ransomware configures the following Registry values for Windows to automatically log in with the new account information. It is currently unknown whether new REvil ransomware encryptor samples will continue to use the ‘DTrump4ever' password, but at least two samples submitted to VirusTotal in the last two days have done so. 

This latest strategy exemplifies how ransomware groups are actively refining their tactics in order to effectively encrypt users' devices and demand a ransom payment. 

Asteelflash, a world-leading French EMS company, confirmed last week that it has been the target of a cybersecurity incident, identifying the involvement of REvil ransomware. After initially setting the ransom at $12 million in Monero crypto, the attackers demanded Asteelflash pay a whopping $24 million ransom. However, as the negotiations didn’t reach a point of agreement in time, the actors raised the ransom to double the amount and leaked the first sample of the exfiltrated files. 

Acer, a computer manufacturer, was also hit by the REvil ransomware. REvil has demanded a ransom of $50 million, which may be the highest ever demanded ransom.

REvil has released a service for contact to news media, companies for the best pressure at no cost, and DDoS (L3, L7) as a paid service. Threat actors, or associated partners, will perform voice-scrambled VoIP calls to the media and victim’s business partners with information about the attack.

Slack and Discord are Being Hijacked by Hackers to Distribute Malware

 

A few famous online collaboration tools, including the likes of Slack and Discord, are being hijacked by hackers to disperse malware, experts have cautioned.

Cisco's security division, Talos, published new research on Wednesday featuring how, throughout the span of the Covid-19 pandemic, collaboration tools like Slack and, considerably more generally, Discord have become convenient mechanisms for cybercriminals. With developing frequency, they're being utilized to serve up malware to victims in the form of a link that looks reliable. In different cases, hackers have integrated Discord into their malware to remotely control their code running on tainted machines, and even to steal information from victims. 

Cisco's researchers caution that none of the methods they found really exploits a clear hackable vulnerability in Slack or Discord, or even requires Slack or Discord to be installed on the victims' machine. All things considered, they essentially exploit some little-analyzed features of those collaboration platforms, alongside their ubiquity and the trust that both clients and systems administrators have come to place in them. 

"People are way more likely to do things like click a Discord link than they would have been in the past, because they’re used to seeing their friends and colleagues posting files to Discord and sending them a link," says Cisco Talos security researcher Nick Biasini. "Everybody’s using collaboration apps, everybody has some familiarity with them, and bad guys have noticed that they can abuse them." 

With regards to information exfiltration, the Discord API, for instance, has demonstrated to be quite an effective tool. As the webhook functionality (originally intended to send automated alerts) was intended to have the option to convey any kind of information, and malware oftentimes uses it to ensure stolen information arrives at its intended destination. 

“Webhooks are essentially a URL that a client can send a message to, which in turn posts that message to the specified channel — all without using the actual Discord application,” the researchers say. “The Discord domain helps attackers disguise the exfiltration of data by making it look like any other traffic coming across the network.”

As texting applications grow in popularity, the threats will develop with them. Organizations should know about the dangers, and cautiously pick which platform to utilize, the researchers concluded.

North Korean Lazarus Group Attacks South African Freight Via New Weapon

 

The North Korean-backed Lazarus hacking group employed a new backdoor in targeted attacks against a South African freight and logistics company. ESET researchers first discovered the malware in June 2020, but further evidence suggests Lazarus has been using it in previous attacks going back to at least December 2020. 

The new backdoor malware, dubbed Vyveva is one of the latest tools discovered in the Lazarus armory. Vyveva has the capability of exfiltrating files, gathering data from an exploited machine and its drives, remotely connect to a command-and-control (C2) server and run arbitrary code. It also uses watchdogs to keep track of newly connected drives or the active user sessions to trigger new C2 connections on new sessions or drive events.

While ESET researchers have not gained much success in identifying the initial compromise vector but they have discovered three main components comprising Vyveva – its installer, loader and backdoor. Vyveva also consists a ‘timestomping’ option which allows its operators to manipulate any file’s data using metadata from other files on the system or by setting a random date between 2000 and 2004 to hide new or modified files. 

“Vyveva shares multiple code similarities with older Lazarus samples that are detected by ESET technology. However, the similarities do not end there: the use of a fake TLS protocol in network communication, command-like execution chains, and the methods of using encryption and Tor services all point toward Lazarus. Hence, we can attribute Vyveva to this APT group with high confidence,” security researcher Filip Jurcacko stated.

According to the US government, Lazarus group was formed in 2007 and since then, as per the researchers, the group has been responsible for the $80 million Bangladeshi bank heist and the HaoBao Bitcoin-stealing campaign. The Lazarus Group’s activities were widely reported only after it was blamed for the 2014 cyber-attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment and the 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack on the countries including the US and Britain.

German Company Hit By Supply Chain Attack, Only Few Device Affected

Gigaset, a German device maker, was recently hit with a supply chain attack, the hackers breached a minimum of one company server to attach the malware. Earlier known as Siemens Home and Office Communication Devices, Gigaset is Germany based MNC. The company holds expertise in communication technology area, it also manufactures DECT telephones. Gigaset had around 800 employees, had operations across 70 countries and a revenue of 280 Million euros in the year 2018. 

The attack happened earlier this month, the malware was deployed in the android devices of the German company. According to experts, various users reported cases of malware infections, complaining the devices were attacked with adwares that showed unwanted and intrusive ads. Most of the users reported their complaints on Google support forums. A German website published a list of these package names (unwanted popups) which were installed on the android devices. 

Earlier complaints from the users are suggesting that data might've also been stolen from these devices. The foremost issue that these users faced was SMS texting and sending Whatsapp messages, the latter suspended few accounts on suspicion of malicious activity. The company has confirmed about the breach and said that the only the users who installed latest firmware updates from the infected devices were affected. The company is already set on providing immediate solutions to the affected customers. "It is also important to mention at this point that, according to current knowledge, the incident only affects older devices," said the company. 

The company during its routine investigation found that few of the old devices had malware problems. It was further confirmed by the customer complaints. Gigaset says it has taken the issue very seriously and is working continuously to provide short term solution to its customers. "In doing so, we are working closely with IT forensic experts and the relevant authorities. We will inform the affected users as quickly as possible and provide information on how to resolve the problem. We expect to be able to provide further information and a solution within 48 hours," said Gigaset.

Fake Netflix App Spreads Malware via WhatsApp Messages

 

Researchers have discovered malware camouflaged as a Netflix application, prowling on the Google Play store, spread through WhatsApp messages. As per a Check Point Research analysis released on Wednesday, the malware took on the appearance of an application called "FlixOnline," which publicized by the means of WhatsApp messages promising "2 Months of Netflix Premium Free Anywhere in the World for 60 days." But once installed, the malware begins stealing information and credentials.

The malware was intended to monitor incoming WhatsApp messages and automatically react to any that the victims get, with the content of the response crafted by the adversaries. The reactions attempted to bait others with the proposal of a free Netflix service, and contained links to a phony Netflix site that phished for credentials and credit card information, analysts said. 

“The app turned out to be a fake service that claims to allow users to view Netflix content from around the world on their mobiles,” according to the analysis. “However, instead of allowing the mobile user to view Netflix content, the application is actually designed to monitor a user’s WhatsApp notifications, sending automatic replies to a user’s incoming messages using content that it receives from a remote server.” Once you install the FlixOnline application from the Play Store, it asks for three sorts of authorizations: screen overlay, battery optimization ignore, and notification. Researchers from Check Point noticed that overlay is utilized by malware to make counterfeit logins and steal client credentials by making counterfeit windows on top of existing applications. 

The malware was additionally able to self-propagate, sending messages to client's WhatsApp contacts and groups with links to the phony application. With that in mind, the computerized messages read, “2 Months of Netflix Premium Free at no cost For REASON OF QUARANTINE (CORONA VIRUS)* Get 2 Months of Netflix Premium Free anywhere in the world for 60 days. Get it now HERE [Bitly link].”

“The malware’s technique is fairly new and innovative,” Aviran Hazum, manager of Mobile Intelligence at Check Point, said in the analysis. “The technique here is to hijack the connection to WhatsApp by capturing notifications, along with the ability to take predefined actions, like ‘dismiss’ or ‘reply’ via the Notification Manager. The fact that the malware was able to be disguised so easily and ultimately bypass Play Store’s protections raises some serious red flags.”

Janeleiro a New Banking Trojan Targeting Corporate, Government Targets

 

A banking Trojan has been found out by cybersecurity researchers, which has targeted many organizations across the state of Brazil. An advisory has been released on Tuesday by ESET on the malware that was being developed in 2018. 
According to cyber intelligence, the Trojan named Janeleiro primarily focused on Brazil and launched multiple cyber attacks against corporate giants in various sectors such as engineering, healthcare sector, finance, retail, and manufacturing. Notably, the threat actors who are operating the banking trojan have also made attempts to get access into government systems using the malware.

According to the researchers, the Trojan is similar to other Trojans that are currently being operated across the state, specifically in Grandoreiro, Casbaneiro, and Mekotio, to name a major few. 

Janeleiro enters into smart devices similar to most malware, however, some features are different. First, Phishing emails will be sent in small batches, masked as unpaid invoices of the firm. These emails contain links that compromise servers into the system and download a .zip archive hosted in the cloud. If the target opens the archive file, a Windows-based MSI installer then loads the main Trojan DLL into the system. 

"In some cases, these URLs have distributed both Janeleiro and other Delphi bankers at different times," ESET says. 

“…This suggests that either the various criminal groups share the same provider for sending spam emails and for hosting their malware, or that they are the same group. We have not yet determined which hypothesis is correct." 

Interestingly, the Trojan first checks the geo-location of the targeted system's IP address. If the state code is Brazil and it remains and runs its operation but if it is other than Brazil then the malware will exit automatically. 

Janeleiro is being used to frame fake pop-up windows "on-demand," such as when operators compromised banking-related keywords from its machine. Once the operators get access to the system then they ask for sensitive credentials and banking details from targets.

The Less Progressive but Consistent, Cycldek Threat Actors

 

It is somewhat usual for tools and methodologies to be allowed to share throughout the nebula of Chinese threat actors. The infamous "DLL side-loading triad" is one of that kind of example. The side-loading-dynamic link library (DLL) is an extremely effective method of cyber-attack that benefits from the management of DLL files by Microsoft Windows applications. A genuine executioner, a malicious DLL, and an encrypted payload have usually been dropped from a self-extraction file. Initially regarded as the LuckyMouse signature, developers observed that other organizations were using a similar 'triad' like HoneyMyte. Although it indicates that attacks depending only on this technique cannot be attributed, the efficient prevention of such triads shows increasing malicious activity. 

A malware sample has been identified by researchers knows as FoundCore Loader which is configured to attack high-profile organizations in Vietnam. As per the high-level perspective of the researchers, the virus chain follows an execution that starts from the – FINDER.exe (a genuine MS Outlook file) which side loads to the outbill.dll (a malicious loader ) that eventually hijacks the flow of the execution and decrypts and runs a Shellcode placed in a rdmin.src file ( that is a malicious loader companion). 

The FoundCore payload is the final payload that is a remote access tool that provides its operators with complete control of the victim machine. This malware begins with 4 threads when it is executed. The first one determines persistence through the development of a service. The second establishes unclear information for the system by modifying its fields like 'Description,' 'Image Path,' 'Display Name' (among others). The third set the vacant DACL ("D:P" SDDL) image for the current process to avoid access to the entire malicious file. To discourage the malicious file from entering. In the end, the worker thread bootstraps execution and connects to the C2 server. It can also incorporate a copy of itself into another process, based on its configuration. FoundCore gives complete control of the victim's machine to the threat player. The malware supports various instructions to manipulate the filesystem, manipulate the procedure, execute arbitrary commands, and record screenshots. DropPhone and CoreLoader are other malware delivered during the attacks. 

Cycldek, which has been active since 2013 and is also recognized as Goblin Panda and Conimes, is famous for its targeted delivery and preferences being the Vietnam targets and the governments in South East Asia. As per a report, that in June 2020 a piece of personalized malware had been used to exfiltrate airborne data, a clear sign of transformation for a group considered less sophisticated. According to Kaspersky, more recent attacks show even more sophistication. 

A genuine part of Microsoft Outlook was mistreated to load a DLL which would operate a shellcode that acts as a loader of FoundCore RAT in an attack on a high-profile Vietnamese organization. While Cycldek has been regarded to be one of the less advanced threat actors in the Chinese-speaking world, the goal of the campaign is recognized to be consistent.

Protect Your Android Phones from Android 'System Update' Malware

 

Security researchers at Zimperium zLabs have discovered a new ‘sophisticated’ Android malware posing as a software update application. This malware becomes more lethal when it sits stealthily masqueraded as a system update.

Once the malware is downloaded on a device, the victim’s device is registered with the Firebase Command and Control (C2), upon which a hacker can send commands via Firebase messaging service to manage data theft. The process of data exfiltration starts once a condition is fulfilled, including the addition of a new mobile contact, app installation, or a receipt of an SMS text.

“When the victim is using Wi-Fi, all the stolen data from all the folders are sent to the C2, whereas when the victim is using a mobile data connection, only a specific set of data is sent to C2,” security researcher at Zimperium zLabs stated.

According to a report by researchers at Zimperium, this malware has the capability of stealing your data once it is installed into your Android phone. Once in control, cybercriminals can record audio and phone calls, take photos, access WhatsApp texts, steal instant messenger texts, peer into GPS location data, examine the default browser’s bookmarks, search for files with specific extensions, inspect the clipboard data, the content of the notifications, steal SMS texts and call logs, list the downloaded applications and even extract device information. 

Security researchers have termed the malware as ‘FakeSysUpdate’ which is quite capable of concealing its source. Unfortunately, researchers have not detected the source of this malware but advised the Android users to remain vigilant regarding the content on their device. Frequently check for official updates, uninstall all the apps that you feel are necessary, and also avoid installing apps from a third-party source.

In an interview with TechCrunch, Shridhar Mittal, CEO of Zimperium zLabs stated that “it’s easily the most sophisticated attack we’ve seen…I think a lot of time and effort was spent on creating this app. We believe that there are other apps out there like this, and we are trying our very best to find them as soon as possible.”

Hackers Attack Users With Malware Using Underground Call Centres

 

BazarLoader malware actors have started working with underground call centres to fool targets of their spamming campaign by making them open corrupted Office files and corrupting their devices with malware. It's not the first time when underground call centres and the hacking group have come up to work together, however, it's the first time when the likes of the BazarLoader gang, a major Malware distributer, have used this technique on such a massive scale. 

How it took place?

The recent attacks have been very unique from the general malware scenario of today, the attackers have their own identities, normally known as BazaCall or BazarCall, the reason being they depend upon telephone calls to conduct their infiltration. Currently, the attack techniques that these hackers use are simple and yet effective. The group (BazarLoader) initiates the malware campaign by sending spam campaigns to specific targets. To attract the attention of the users, the email baits the victims through offers, subscriptions, free trials, etc. 

The email also consists of details for users to call a specific number that is mentioned in the mail to know more about the offer. If the victim dials the mentioned number, they are redirected to a call centre, here, a supposed operator tells directs the victim into downloading an office file, tells the user to disable the office security features, and run an excel or word file which allows hackers to run macros (automated scripts), that is used to download and install the malware in victims' device. Thanks to cybersecurity expert Brad Duncan, the phone recordings of one of the call centres involved are available. 

Targets include high profile accounts 

A cybersecurity expert that goes by the name Analyst said that these attack campaigns started in January 2021. The analyst is the same person that termed the attack as BazarCall, says that most of the targets use .edu or corporate email address, never target home users that use free emails like Gmail, Yahoo, or Hotmail. The Record reports, "the security researcher says the classic endgame for these attacks is to infect corporate networks, where the BazarLoader malware can then turn around and rent access to ransomware gangs, such as the Ryuk crew, with which they’ve collaborated before.

WordPress Websites Infected with Malware Via Fake jQuery Files


Cybersecurity experts discovered fake variants of the jQuery Migrate plugin inserted in various sites that had unclear codes to launch malware. The files are tagged as jquery-migrate.min.js and jquery-migrate.js, currently located where Java files are generally found on WordPress websites but in reality are fake. Presently, around 7 Million websites use the jQuery Migrate plugin, the popularity of the plugin may have led hackers to use it as a decoy to plant their malware under the plugin name. 

Cybersecurity experts Adrian Stoian and Denis Sinegubko earlier this week discovered fake jQuery files pretending to be jQuery migrate plugins on several websites. To avoid getting caught, the infected files interchange with legitimate files having ./wp-includes/js/jquery/ directory where all the WordPress files are present. 

These counterfeit files have further muddled the codes using an anonymous analytics.js file containing malicious codes. As of now, the threat level of this attack is yet to be determined, but a search query shared by Sinegubko revealed that the malicious code infected around forty web pages.  

The filename 'analytics' however, has nothing to do with the metrics of websites. Bleeping computer enquired some infected file codes. "The code has references to "/wp-admin/user-new.php" which is the WordPress administration page for creating new users. Moreover, the code accesses the _wpnonce_create-user variable which WordPress uses to enforce Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) protections," reports Bleeping Computer. 

In general, if the hackers get the CSRF tokens, it allows them to imitate fake requests from the user end. Attaching these malicious scripts on WordPress websites allows hackers to deploy various cyberattacks using that may vary from credit card skimming for Megacart scams or redirecting users to scammed websites. Here, the victims may be led to fake survey forums, tech assistance frauds, requests for subscribing to spam notifications, or installing malicious browser extensions.  

Helpnet Security reports, "everyone with half a mind for security will tell you not to click on links in emails, but few people can explain exactly why you shouldn’t do that. Clicking on that link means that an attacker can fake any user-supplied input on a site and make it indistinguishable from a user doing it themselves."

Beware of Ongoing Brute-Force Attacks Against NAS Devices, QNAP Warns

 

Taiwanese firm, QNAP has warned its clients of ongoing attacks targeting QNAP NAS (network-attached storage) devices and urged to strengthen their devices’ security by changing their passwords and default access port number, and disabling the admin account.

The company warned its customers by stating, “recently QNAP has received multiple user reports of hackers attempting to log into QNAP devices using brute-force attacks – where hackers would try every possible password combination of a QNAP device user account. If a simple, weak, or predictable password is used (such as ‘password’ or ‘12345’) hackers can easily gain access to the device, breaching security, privacy, and confidentiality. ”

If threat actor manages to guess the right password then they are able to secure full access of the targeted device, allowing them to exfiltrate confidential documents or install malware. If the hackers are unable to brute-force their way in, the NAS devices’ system logs will mark the attempts and log them with ‘Failed to login’ warning texts.

To protect their devices from ongoing attacks, customers have to enhance NAS security by changing the default access port number, implementing password rotation policies, and disabling the default admin account. Additionally, since the attack is only viable on Internet-facing NAS devices, QNAP recommends customers don’t display their devices on public networks.

Firstly, customers have to create a new system administrator account before disabling the admin account. If the administrator account on QNAP NAS devices is running on QTS 4.1.2 then the following steps will disable the default admin account:

• Go to Control Panel > Users and edit the ‘admin’ account profile.
 
• Tick the ‘Disable this account’ option and select ‘OK’.

Additionally, customers can also configure the NAS device to automatically block IP addresses behind several numbers of troubled login attempts. QNAP has also published a checklist to secure their customers’ device and protect their data:

• Remove unknown or suspicious accounts from the device 

• Download QNAP MalwareRemover application through the App Center functionality 

• Change all passwords for all accounts on the device
 
• Set an access control list for the device (Control Panel > Security > Security level)

REvil Ransomware Gang Introduces New Malware Features which can Reboot Infected Devices

 

The ransomware gang REvil introduced a special malware feature that allows attackers to reboot infected devices after encryption. REvil emerged in April 2019 and is also recognized by the names Sodinokibi and Sodin. The ransomware gang was linked to many important attacks, including attacks in May 2020 on popular law firm Grubman Shire Meiselas and Sacks and also an attack in April 2020 on Travelex, a London-based currency exchange that paid a $2.3 million ransom for recovering its data. 

The MalwareHunter team researchers recently tweeted that the REvil operators have introduced two new command lines named 'AstraZeneca' and 'Franceisshit,' in Windows Safe Mode, which is utilized to reach the initialization screen for Windows devices. 

"'AstraZeneca' is used to run the ransomware sample itself in the safe mode, and 'Franceisshit' is used to run a command in the safe mode to make the PC run in normal mode after the next reboot," team of MalwareHunter tweeted. 

However it is not special, but the strategy is definitely uncommon, said the analysts. REvil implements this feature most likely as it will help the Ranking software to avoid detection by certain security devices because these functions allow attackers to encrypt the files in windows safe mode. 

"Causing a Windows computer to reboot in safe mode can disable software, potentially even antivirus or anti-ransomware software, that is working to keep your computer safe," says Erich Kron, security awareness advocate at the security firm KnowBe4. "This would then allow the attackers to make changes that may otherwise not be allowed in normal running mode." 

By tracking computers for unusual rebooting activities and by implementing successful data loss protection checks, organizations can deter malicious acts. Since REvil mainly uses compromised RDPs and mail phishing for distribution, it is essential for organizations, ideally through multi-factor authentication, to ensure that all Internet-accessible RDP instances are protected and that their employees are trained on high-quality security sensitives which can help them identify and track phishing attacks. 

Lately, the gang allegedly attacked Taiwan PC maker ‘Acer’ in an on-site version of Microsoft Exchange server, exploiting the unpatched ProxyLogon defect. 

The REvil Gang has gradually strengthened its malware and adapted various new methods of extortion. As of now, it frequently aims at bigger companies looking for significantly greater pay-outs, names, and shames via its devoted leak and targets cyber-insurance victims.

New Worm Capabilities Targets Windows Machines

 

A malware that has verifiably targeted exposed Windows machines through phishing and exploit kits have been retooled to add new "worm" capabilities. Purple Fox, which originally showed up in 2018, is an active malware campaign that as of, not long ago required user interaction or some kind of third-party tool to infect Windows machines. However, the assailants behind the campaign have now upped their game and added new functionality that can force its way into victims' systems on its own, as indicated by new Tuesday research from Guardicore Labs.

“Guardicore Labs have identified a new infection vector of this malware where internet-facing Windows machines are being breached through SMB password brute force,” Guardicore Labs Amit Serper said. In addition to these new worm abilities, Purple Fox malware now additionally incorporates a rootkit that permits the threat actors to conceal the malware on the machine and make it hard to distinguish and eliminate, he said. 

Researchers examined Purple Fox's most recent activity and discovered two huge changes to how assailants are spreading malware on Windows machines. The first is that the new worm payload executes after a victim machine is undermined through a weak exposed service. Purple Fox additionally is utilizing a past strategy to contaminate machines with malware through a phishing effort, sending the payload by means of email to exploit a browser vulnerability, researchers observed. When the worm infects a victim's machine, it creates a new service to establish persistence and execute a simple command that can iterate through a number of URLs that include the MSI for installing Purple Fox on a compromised machine, said Serper. 

“msiexec will be executed with the /i flag, in order to download and install the malicious MSI package from one of the hosts in the statement,” he explained. “It will also be executed with the /Q flag for ‘quiet’ execution, meaning, no user interaction will be required.”

Gadgets caught in this botnet incorporate Windows Server machines running IIS form 7.5 and Microsoft FTP, and servers running Microsoft RPC, Microsoft Server SQL Server 2008 R2, and Microsoft HTTPAPI httpd 2.0, and Microsoft Terminal Service.

Malware Campaign Targets Telegram Desktop Application

 

An independent security researcher based in Basel, Switzerland, Jannis Kirschner, began to look for the widely known Telegram desktop version on the internet on Sunday. The second Google result was an advertisement, which led him directly to malware cloaked as a Telegram for Windows desktop version. At first sight, it was sufficiently convincing for Kirschner to say that "almost fell for it myself." 

Malware vendors are habituated to use the same publicity tools that online businesses use to attract people. To stop such abuse, Google patrols its advertising ecosystem, but malware advertising is still an ongoing problem. Although a visit by telegramdesktop[dot]com to one of those sites now triggered an alert from the Google Safe Browsing service, that the two sites were unsafe and potentially still active and duplicated others. These include the telegraph[dot]net and the telegram[dot]org. The websites were reported to Google by Kirschner. 

Each of these three spoofed websites is Telegram's clones. All links on cloned sites are redirected to the legitimate Telegram domain, design.telegram.com. But one link is exchanged which is supposed to be the execution for the Telegram Desktop version of Windows. 

"A repo probably was a bad choice for delivering malware since it's very verbose (download numbers, time, and other documents)," Kirschner says. "The biggest opsec mistake was that they didn't clean one of the repo's metadata, which led me to discover commit messages and their e-mail [address]."

He further adds that "I believe that it is the same threat actor or group since the TTPs [tactics, techniques, and procedures] are the same, and all sites have been established in a very close timeframe using the same hoster and certificate authority." 

At least a temporary benefit is offered to host malware on platforms such as Bitbucket: surface links are often deemed to be genuine, and attackers are subject to a malicious reservoir that needs to be removed until someone reports it. The techniques help cover a technological filtering and manual screening campaign, but don't always measure properly, says Kirschner. 

A February 2020 report by the security firm Cybereason reported over half a dozen newcomers, crypto miners, ransomware, and other malware put on Bitbucket by bad actors. 

The telegramdesktop[dot]com website seems to be shared with Moldova. Kirschner says this domain was registered on 29 December 2020. A search in the Wayback Machine of the Internet Archive, reveals that telegramdesktop[dot]com was redirected to the rightful domain telegram.org in April 2018. However, according to DomainTools records, the domain expired in October 2018. 

"I assume that domain once belonged to Telegram themselves, expired and was taken over by the criminals now," Kirschner further says.

Everthing You Need to Know About Ongoing TrickBot Attacks, US Agencies Warn

 

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in unison with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) published an advisory on Wednesday to warn organizations of ongoing TrickBot attacks despite in October multiple security firms dismantled their C2 infrastructure in a joint operation.

In their joint advisory, two agencies disclosed that a sophisticated group of cybercrime actors is leveraging a traffic infringement phishing scheme to lure victims into installing the Trickbot malware.

TrickBot was initially observed in 2016, it is believed to be designed by the threat actors behind the Dyre Trojan. TrickBot has become one of the most prevalent families out there, entrapping machines into a botnet that was being offered under a malware-as-a-service model to both nation-states and cybercrime groups.

“The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have observed continued targeting through spear phishing campaigns using TrickBot malware in North America. A sophisticated group of cybercrime actors is luring victims, via phishing emails, with a traffic infringement phishing scheme to download TrickBot,” the joint advisory reads.

In October 2020, Microsoft revealed that it had disrupted the infrastructure behind TrickBot, taking most of it down. However, the malware survived the takedown attempt and came back stronger, with several new updates that protected against similar attempts. The recent attacks come as a confirmation to the same, that TrickBot’s operators were able to restore their malicious operations. 

“CISA and FBI are aware of recent attacks that use phishing emails, claiming to contain proof of a traffic violation to steal sensitive information. The phishing emails contain links that redirect to a website hosted on a compromised server that prompts the victim to click on photo proof of their traffic violation. In clicking the photo, the victim unknowingly downloads a malicious JavaScript file that, when opened, automatically communicates with the malicious actor’s command and control (C2) server to download Trickbot to the victim’s system,” the advisory further stated. 

CopperStealer Malware Steals Social Media Credentials

 

Researchers discovered a certain malware that was so far unidentified which silently hijacked Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Google, and other web giants' online accounts and then used them for nefarious activities. 

Cybercriminals have launched a new campaign to rob Facebook login credentials from Chrome, Edge, Yandex, Opera, and Firefox using malware 'CopperStealer.' 

The threat actors have used unauthorized access to Facebook and Instagram business accounts to run nefarious commercials and provide further malware in subsequent malware advertising campaigns as per the blog post published by the researchers at cyber safety company Proofpoint. In late January, researchers were first notified of the malware sample. The first samples found dated back from July 2019. 

Furthermore, CopperStealer versions targeting other major service providers such as Apple, Amazon, Bing, Google, PayPal, Tumblr, and Twitter have been discovered in the proven analytic evaluation. The malware aims to steal login credentials for some of the most famous internet services from large technological platforms and service providers. 

Researchers suspect that CopperStealer is a family that has originally been undocumented in the same malware class as SilentFade and StressPaint. Facebook attributed the invention of SilentFade to ILikeAD Media International Ltd, a Hong Kong-based company, and reported over $4 million in damages during the 2020 virus bulletin conference. 

Researchers found dubious websites, which include keygenninja[.]com, piratewares[.]com, startcrack[.]com and crackheap[.]net, that was advertised as 'KeyGen' or 'Crack' sites, which included samples from several families of malware, including CopperStealer. 

“These sites advertise themselves to offer “cracks”, “keygen” and “serials” to circumvent licensing restrictions of legitimate software. However, we observed these sites ultimately provide Potentially Unwanted Programs/Applications (PUP/PUA) or run other malicious executables capable of installing and downloading additional payloads,” said Proofpoint researchers. 

Malware also helps to find and send the saved passwords on one’s browser and uses stored cookies in order to extract a Facebook User Access Token. Once the User Access token has been collected, the malware will request multiple Facebook and Instagram API endpoints to gain additional contexts including the list of friends, any user's pay-out, and research listing the user's pages. "CopperStealer is going after big service provider logins like social media and search engine accounts to spread additional malware or other attacks," says Sherrod DeGrippo, senior director of threat research at Proofpoint. "These are commodities that can be sold or leveraged. Users should turn on two-factor authentication for their service providers."

ZHtrap, the Latest Malware to Install Honeypots on Devices to Identify More Targets

 

The security researchers at 360 Netlab have discovered a new botnet that is targeting and converting the infected routers, DVRs, and UPnP network into honeypots that supports it in identifying other targets to exploit.

Security experts have named the malware ‘ZHtrap’ which is based on Mirai’s source code. ZHtrap comes with support for x56, ARM, MIPS, and other CPU designs. ZHtrap botnet prevents other malware from re-infecting their bots when it takes charge of the device. Whitelist supports the botnet to run the system process and it blocks all the attempts to run new commands. 

The latest malware uses a Tor command-and-control (C2) server to connect with other botnet nodes and a Tor proxy to hide malicious traffic. It is so powerful that it can be used for attacking DDoS and scanning other susceptible devices to infect and it comes with backdoor entry permitting the operators to download and implement additional malicious payloads.

ZHtrap uses exploits targeting four N-day security flaws in Realtek SDK Miniigd UPnP SOAP endpoints, MVPower DVR, Netgear DGN1000, and an extensive list of CCTV-DVR devices for its propagation. It also looks for the devices with weak Telenet passwords from a list of randomly generated IP addresses gather with the support of the honeypot it installs on devices already entrapped in the botnet.

“Compared to other botnets we have analyzed before, the most interesting part of ZHtrap is its ability to turn infected devices into honeypot. Honeypots are usually used by security researchers as a tool to capture attacks, such as collecting scans, exploits, and samples. But this time around, we found that ZHtrap uses a similar technique by integrating a scanning IP collection module, and the collected Ips are used as targets in its own scanning module,” security researchers at 360 Netlab stated. 

Recently, security experts have also identified an upgraded version of the z0Miner cryptomining botnet, which now tries to corrupt susceptible Jenkins and ElasticSearch servers to mine for Monero (XMR) cryptocurrency.

Cutwail Botnet-Led Dridex and Malicious PowerShell Related Attacks, Increase with new Scripts

 

IBM X-Force intelligence has observed an increase in the Cutwail botnet-led Dridex-related network attacks. Dridex is shipped via e-mail with booby-trapped macros as a second-stage attacker after the original document or spreadsheet arrives. Recipients who unintentionally trigger the macros, launch malware that will install more malware in a PowerShell script. Currently, in Italy and Japan, X-Force is seen to be examining relatively smaller campaigns. 

Malspam emails are indeed the original infection vector for these threats. Recipients receive unwanted messages, mostly sent via the Cutwail botnet including Microsoft Office file attachments. It was a popular cybercrime spam platform in 2009 and is still distributing spam to prestigious malware-free gangs. Cutwail has been the biggest in its genres. In total, as of June 2020, at least 34% of all X-Force PowerShell attacks have been related to the Dridex payload. The uptick in PowerShell seemed obvious at the beginning of 2020 and began to rise significantly in May 2020. In December 2020, the activity peaks of X-Force recorded an 80 percent raise over the previous six-month duration in the total number of malicious PowerShell attacks. 

In January 2021, it was observed that both PowerShell's attacks and Dridex's integrated attacks saw a sudden decrease, presumably with the end of the campaign, and a new one was launched using the separate macro as well as other scripts.  

In the case of X-Force investigation, the PowerShell function is directed to override the local operation policies and runs a Base64 encrypted command, resulting in a demand to navigate to the so-called Microsoft URL. This script retrieves a malicious file from the typo-squatted region. These basic steps differ per model and campaign. The Dridex payload is the executable file. It masks itself as a hosting service operation and starts to implement its data-robbing techniques to prevent identification. 

If one looks at the sectors most commonly targeted are controlled security networks, X-Force acknowledges that the top goal of the increased rise in PowerShell attacks is health care. Ransomware attacks in many cases tend to compromise hospitals for heavy ranches to shield patients and to restart operations. 

Dridex mainly works with other cybercrime organizations having links in East Europe's powerful criminal arena. In the past, Necurs had been Dridex's leading spamming operation. Dridex stepped on and off of Necurs, holding Emotet as the botnet that paves the way to corporate networks when strategies have shifted from widespread infection to targeted attack.

Ryuk Ransomware Hits Spain's Employment Agency

 

The Spanish State Employment Service (SEPE) has been targeted by a ransomware attack which has resulted in hundreds of offices being knocked offline. According to Central Independent Trade Union and Civil Servants, the ransomware attack on SEPE has affected the agency’s offices around the country, forcing employees to use pen and paper to take appointments.

SEPE is a Spanish government agency for labor that provides employment opportunities to the public. The ransomware is said to have spread beyond SEPE’s workstations and also targeted the agency’s remote working employees’ devices. 

The SEPE published a note on their website which said, “currently, work is being done with the objective of restoring priority services as soon as possible, among which is the portal of the State Public Employment Service and then gradually other services to the citizens, companies, benefit and employment offices. The application deadlines for benefits are extended by as many days as the applications are out of service. In no case will this situation affect the rights of applicants for benefits.” 

According to Business Insider Spain, the cyberattack is the work of Ryuk ransomware. Ryuk is a ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) group that’s been active since August 2018 and is known for running a private affiliate program. In this program, affiliates can submit applications and resumes to apply for membership. The threat group has targeted several organizations over the past year, such as Universal Health Services.

Gerardo Gutiérrez, director of SEPE confirmed that the agency’s network systems were encrypted by the Ryuk ransomware operators after the incident. “Confidential data is safe. The payroll generation system is not affected and the payment of unemployment benefits and ERTE will be paid normally,” he further added. 

According to Central Sindical Independiente y de Funcionarios (CSIF), the attack has caused hundreds of thousands of appointments made through the agency throughout Spain to be delayed. The ransomware has also spread beyond SEPE’s workstations and has reached the agency’s remote working staff’s laptops.

Malware WannaCry And Vulnerability EternalBlue Remain at Large

 

One specific aspect of malware and one vulnerability continues to develop as security companies have been reconstructing the highest trends in the past weeks that is - WannaCry and EternalBlue. WannaCry spreads quickly since Windows Server Message Block Version 1, also known as EternalBlue, had a vulnerability to a broad flaw. Microsoft had already fixed the vulnerability, CVE-2017-0143 - effectively, shortly before WannaCry was released - with its system update MS17-010.
For example, the security agency Trend Micro claims that WannaCry, trailed by cryptocurrency miners, and Emotet has been the most popular form of malware family found last year. Whereas Emotet was newly disrupted by police departments.

“The one thing that really keeps WannaCry prevalent and active is the fact that it is wormable ransomware,” says Rik Ferguson, vice president of security research at Trend Micro. "Couple that with the fact that Shodan showed me just now that there remain 9,131 internet-facing machines vulnerable to MS17-010 and you quickly begin to understand why it continues to propagate." 

The National Security Agency, which apparently developed the exploit for the SMB v1 flaw, seems to have started the EternalBlue. This exploit was then leaked or robbed by the Shadow Brokers Party in 2017 and eventually obtained and leaked. Two months later, EternalBlue-targeting was released, with many analysts claiming it was created by North Korean hackers, who then might have lost all control of the WannaCry. 

Although WannaCry seems to be the malware frequently detected, it does not imply that it is the most harmful or even most of the devices contain it. Not all such codes are published and even if they are, they don't guarantee success. 

However, everything being favorable, the continued circulation of WannaCry shows that at least some unencrypted devices remain infected. Regrettably, certain unencrypted systems asymptotically decrease, never reaching zero. In 2020, Conficker - a Malware Family that was initially identified as targeting a vulnerability in Microsoft Server - was the 15th largest form of malware by Trend Micro. "Other variants after the first Conficker worm spread to other machines by dropping copies of itself in removable drives and network shares," according to Trend Micro. 

Though ransomware profits may be rising, the most frequently viewed malware in the wild has improved little in recent times from a quantitative point of view. 

The Finnish security company, F-Secure, for example, lists network exploits and file handling errors as the most malicious code attacks in 2020. And the most frequently viewed form of attempted exploit still battles the EternalBlue vulnerability of SMB v1. "There are three different threat detections that contributed to this: Rycon, WannaCry, and Vools," Christine Bejerasco, vice president of security firm F-Secure, Tactical Defense Unit, stated.