Feb 16 2024

US GOV OFFERS A REWARD OF UP TO $10M FOR INFO ON ALPHV/BLACKCAT GANG LEADERS

Category: Cyber crime,Cybercrimedisc7 @ 2:12 pm

The U.S. government offers rewards of up to $10 million for information that could lead to the identification or location of ALPHV/Blackcat ransomware gang leaders.

The U.S. Department of State is offering a reward of up to $10 million for information leading to the identification or location of the key figures behind the ALPHV/Blackcat ransomware operation. The US government is also offering a reward offer of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction in any country of any individual conspiring to participate in or attempting to participate in ALPHV/Blackcat ransomware attacks.

This additional reward aims to target affiliated and initial access brokers involved and that facilitated the attacks of the group.

BlackCat/ALPHV ransomware gang has been active since November 2021, the list of its victims is long and includes industrial explosives manufacturer SOLAR INDUSTRIES INDIA, the US defense contractor NJVC, gas pipeline Creos Luxembourg S.A., the fashion giant Moncler, the SwissportNCR, and Western Digital. The ransom demands of the group range from a few tens of thousands of dollars up to tens of millions of dollars.

On December 19, 2023, the FBI seized the Tor leak site of the AlphV/Blackcat ransomware group and replaced the home page with the announcement of the seizure.

On December 7th, BleepingComputer and other prominent experts reported that the ALPHV gang’s websites went offline.

On December 10th, the primary domain of the group went offline and administrators claimed the problem was caused by a hardware failure. At the same time, rumors circulated that the site was taken offline as a result of law enforcement’s operation. The group always denied this circumstance, but today the domain displayed the following message to the visitors.

The seizure is the result of a joint operation conducted by international law enforcement agencies from the US, Denmark, Germany, UK, Netherlands, Germany, Australia, Spain, Austria and Europol.

“This action has been taken in coordination with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida and the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section of the Department of Justice with substantial assistance from Europol and Zentrale Kriminalinspektion Guttingen.” reads the message published by law enforcement on the seized websites.

“The Justice Department announced today a disruption campaign against the Blackcat ransomware group — also known as ALPHV or Noberus — that has targeted the computer networks of more than 1,000 victims and caused harm around the world since its inception, including networks that support U.S. critical infrastructure.” reads the press release published by DoJ.

The ALPHV/Blackcat group was the second most prolific ransomware-as-a-service operation, it amassed hundreds of millions of dollars in ransom payments.  

The FBI developed a decryption tool that could allow over 500 victims to recover their systems for free.

“FBI identified ALPHV/Blackcat actors as having compromised over 1,000 victim entities in the United States and elsewhere, including prominent government entities (e.g., municipal governments, defense contractors, and critical infrastructure organizations).” reads the press release. “To date, the FBI has worked with dozens of victims in the United States and internationally to disseminate a decryption tool to restore victim systems and prevent ransom demand payments of approximately $99 million.”

According to the press release published by the U.S. Department of State, ALPHV/Blackcat actors have compromised over 1,000 victim entities in the United States and elsewhere.

People who have information eligible for the reward can access the following Tor website set up by the US Department of State: he5dybnt7sr6cm32xt77pazmtm65flqy6irivtflruqfc5ep7eiodiad.onion

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Tags: ALPHV/BLACKCAT


Feb 08 2024

As-a-Service tools empower criminals with limited tech skills

Category: Cybercrime,Ransomware,Security Toolsdisc7 @ 9:45 am

As-a-service attacks continue to dominate the threat landscape, with Malware-as-a-Service (MaaS) and Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) tools making up the majority of malicious tools in use by attackers, according to Darktrace.

Cybercriminals exploit as-a-Service tools

As-a-Service tools can provide attackers with everything from pre-made malware to templates for phishing emails, payment processing systems and even helplines to enable criminals to mount attacks with limited technical knowledge.

The most common as-a-Service tools Darktrace saw in use from July to December 2023 were:

  • Malware loaders (77% of investigated threats), which can deliver and execute other forms of malware and enable attackers to repeatedly target affected networks.
  • Cryptominers (52% of investigated threats), which use an infected device to mine for cryptocurrency.
  • Botnets (39% of investigated threats) enrol users in wider networks of infected devices, which attackers then leverage in larger-scale attacks on other targets.
  • Information-stealing malware (36% of investigated threats), malicious software like spyware or worms, designed to secretly access and collect sensitive data from a victim’s computer or network.
  • Proxy botnets (15% of investigated threats), more sophisticated botnets that use proxies to hide the true source of their activity.

Phishing threats escalate in business communications

Darktrace identified Hive ransomware as one of the major Ransomware-as-a-Service attacks at the beginning of 2023. With the dismantling of Hive by the US government in January 2023, Darktrace observed the rapid growth of a range of threats filling the void, including ScamClub, a malvertising actor notorious for spreading fake virus alerts to notable news sites, and AsyncRAT, responsible for attacking US infrastructure employees in recent months.

As businesses continue to rely on email and collaboration tools for communication, methods such as phishing continue to cause a headache for security teams. Darktrace detected 10.4 million phishing emails across its customer fleet between the 1st September and the 31st December 2023.

But the report also highlights how cybercriminals are embracing more sophisticated tools and tactics designed to evade traditional security parameters. One example is the rise of Microsoft Teams phishing in which attackers contact employees through Teams, posing as a co-worker and tricking them into clicking malicious links.

In one case in September 2023, Darktrace identified a suspected Teams phisher attempting to trick users into clicking a SharePoint link that would download the DarkGate malware and deploy further strains of malware across the network.

Multi-function malware on the rise

Another new trend identified is the growth of malware developed with multiple functions to inflict maximum damage. Often deployed by sophisticated groups like cyber cartels, these Swiss Army knife-style threats combine capabilities.

For example, the recent Black Basta ransomware also spreads the Qbot banking trojan for credential theft. Such multi-tasking malware lets attackers cast a wide net to monetise infections.

“Throughout 2023, we observed significant development and evolution of malware and ransomware threats, as well as changing attacker tactics and techniques resulting from innovation in the tech industry at large, including the rise in generative AI. Against this backdrop, the breadth, scope, and complexity of threats facing organizations has grown significantly,” comments Hanah Darley, Director of Threat Research, Darktrace. “Security teams face an up-hill battle to stay ahead of attackers, and need a security stack that keeps them ahead of novel attacks, not chasing yesterday’s threats.”

Future Crimes: Inside the Digital Underground and the Battle for Our Connected World

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Tags: As-a-Service, darktrace, Malware


Jan 29 2024

Cybercriminals embrace smarter strategies, less effort

Category: Cyber crime,Cybercrimedisc7 @ 8:20 am

2024 is shaping up to be a record-breaking year for data breaches, according to Experian. Despite 2023 being labeled as a ‘successful’ year for malicious actors, the upcoming months may bring forth developments that could further disrupt the cybersecurity landscape.

Supply chain vulnerabilities amplified

There’s no question third-party data breaches have made headlines. With increased data collection, storage, and movement, there are plenty of partners down the supply chain that could be targeted. We predict attacks on systems four, five or six degrees from the source as vendors outsource data and technology solutions who outsource to another expert and so on.

Digital transformation is expanding threat surfaces. SaaS platforms and public cloud infrastructures, are pushing the perimeter out into the internet itself—putting users at greater risk.

When trying to achieve a goal, it’s said that taking small steps can lead to big results. Hackers could apply that same rule. Instead of making drastic moves and trying to reap instant reward such as with ransomware, bad actors may manipulate or alter the tiniest bits of data to stay under the radar such as changing a currency rate or adjusting the coordinates for transportation, which can have a major impact.

It’s widely known who the major players are globally that sponsor attacks and a new country in South Asia may join the international stage with their large population of engineers and programmers. While reportedly having been in the game focusing cyberattacks regionally due to political tensions, this country may broaden their sights in the future.

Plutonium, terbium, silicon wafers — these rare earth materials that are the building blocks for today’s hardware are rapidly becoming the most sought-after resources on the planet. Any disruption to an strained supply chain could send the industry (and the economy that relies on these materials) spinning.

This presents an intriguing opportunity for threat actors seeking mass disruption or nations looking to corner markets.

“Cybercriminals are continually working smarter, not harder,” said Michael Bruemmer, VP, Global Data Breach Resolution at Experian. “They are leveraging new technologies like artificial intelligence and applying their talents in different ways to be more strategic and stay a step ahead. Organizations should not ignore even the slightest security abnormalities and be more aware of what global interests may make them a target.”

Winning from the inside

Like drug cartels, cybergangs are forming sophisticated organizations as joining like-minded actors can be incredibly advantageous. This spans globally with countries potentially helping each other to advance common goals and interests. We’ll see more hackers for trade, crews looking to expand their monopolies, and cyberwarfare alliances.

In 2024, enterprising threat actors may target more publicly traded companies to gain insights to cheat the stock market or plan their attacks and sell their stash before value nosedives. Rather than breach an organization and play in the underground with stolen data, threat actors could leverage data extraction and their talents in plain sight as everyday investors.

“Today, perpetrators can come from anywhere in the world and bring with them robust resources and expertise,” added Jim Steven, Head of Crisis and Data Response Services at Experian Global Data Breach Resolution in the United Kingdom. “There are many global crime syndicates and nation-backed operations, so companies need to invest in sophisticated prevention and response methods to protect themselves.”

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Tags: Cybercriminals


Nov 18 2023

Review: Cyberbunker: The Criminal Underworld

Category: Cyber crime,Cybercrimedisc7 @ 11:41 am

Written and directed by Kilian Lieb and Max Rainer, Cyberbunker is a Netflix documentary about a group of hackers that enabled the proliferation of dark web forums where illegal materials were bought and sold.

Cyberbunker: The Criminal Underworld

The documentary begins with a special police unit performing a raid in what looks like a military bunker. We are then shown a thin individual with glasses and long, gray hair: Herman Johan Xennt.

The (now) 64-year-old Dutchman, who is currently serving a prison sentence in Germany, is a bunker aficionado, having been fascinated with them since he visited a WWII bunker in Arnhem when he was a kid.

Understanding the possibilities of computer technology and the internet, he first opened a profitable computer store in the early 90s. In 1995, with the money earned from this business, he was able to buy a former NATO bunker in the southern part of the Netherlands, which ended up being the location of the first Cyberbunker – a company that provides internet and web hosting services to questionable operations.

In 2002, a fire broke in the bunker and revealed the existence of an MDMA lab. Xennt claimes that he knew nothing about the lab and that he was simply subletting part of the bunker to another group. For many years after, the company’s servers were located above ground, in Amsterdam. In 2013, Xennt found and purchased a 5-level underground Cold War-era bunker in Traben-Trarbach, a small town in the South of Germany.

But the town’s mayor soon grew suspicious of the activities going on in the bunker and decided to contact the authorities, which started telephone surveillance in 2015. The group communicated in codes, though, which made crime identification impossible. In 2017, the authories began monitoring the network node to identify illegal data traffic.

This led to the discovery of evidence of criminal activity: Cyberbunker provided hosting for dark web marketplaces, a forum for exchanging illegal drugs, counterfeit money and fake identification, and more.

The undercover operation provided crucial information to the police, helping them to plan and execute a successful raid. Xennt and his criminal colleagues were arrested, and over 280 servers hosting websites for up to 200 customers were shut down.

The idea of “freedom of the internet”

Cyberbunker was know among cybercriminals as a “bulletproof hoster”, which meant that the servers hosting the content stayed online no matter what (i.e., even if the authorities requested sites’ removal). It also guaranteed privacy, which was very convenient for anyone who wanted to host questionable or illegal content.

Cyberbunker advertised that it would host everything except child pornography and terrorism-related content, but the group later claimed that they didn’t really know what the clients were using their servers for.

The group was driven by the idea of “freedom of the internet” and, during the interviews with all the members of the group (including Xennt), we can see that they have a twisted idea of what it should be.

They went so far as to declare the Republic of Cyberbunker, with its “administration” and hierarchy, and perpetuated the delusion that what they were doing was good.

Does it strike the right chord?

The documentary is suitable for a wide audience and does not burden the spectator with technical details. Instead, it has a movie-like format that’s captivating and easy to follow.

The timeline of the events is well presented and clear, complemented with historical data about the main “character” – Xennt – and original private and police footage.

The authors tried to create a tense and scary atmosphere, though the characters at times act bizarrely and seem out of touch with reality that, on occasion, you might almost feel sorry for them. It’s hard to believe these individuals thought they were untouchable and that, even after getting arrested, they were still convinced they were making the world a better place.

Codes of the Underworld: How Criminals Communicate

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Tags: Codes of the Underworld, Cyberbunker


Oct 11 2023

UNMASKING CRACKED COBALT STRIKE 4.9: THE CYBERCRIMINAL’S TOOL OF CHOICE

Category: Cybercrime,Security Toolsdisc7 @ 8:58 am

Cobalt Strike, a legitimate commercial penetration testing tool, has inadvertently become a favored instrument among cybercriminals for its efficacy in infiltrating network security. Initially released in 2012 by Fortra (formerly known as Help Systems), Cobalt Strike was designed to aid red teams in identifying vulnerabilities within organizational infrastructures. Despite stringent customer screening and licensing for lawful use only, malicious actors have successfully obtained and distributed cracked versions of the software, making it a prevalent tool in cyberattacks involving data theft and ransomware.

Cobalt Strike 4.9 is now available. This release sees an overhaul to Cobalt Strike’s post exploitation capabilities to support user defined reflective loaders (UDRLs), the ability to export Beacon without a reflective loader which adds official support for prepend-style UDRLs, support for callbacks in a number of built-in functions, a new in-Beacon data store and more.  

COBALT STRIKE 4.9 FEATURES

The latest release, version 4.9, introduces several significant features and improvements:

  • User-Defined Reflective Loaders (UDRLs): This feature enhances post-exploitation capabilities by allowing users to define and use their reflective loaders, providing more flexibility and control over the loading process of the Beacon payload.
  • Export Beacon Without a Loader: Users can now export the Beacon payload without a reflective loader, which officially supports prepend-style UDRLs, allowing for more versatile deployment and execution of the Beacon payload in various environments.
  • Callback Support: Version 4.9 introduces support for callbacks, enabling users to implement and handle custom callback routines effectively.
  • Beacon User Data Structures Improvement: These structures have been improved to prevent crashes and provide more stability during operations. They also allow a Reflective Loader to resolve and pass system call information to Beacon, overriding Beacon’s default system call resolver.
  • Host Profile Support for HTTP(S) Listeners: This feature addresses limitations in HTTP(S) processing by introducing a new Malleable C2 profile group named http-host-profiles.
  • WinHTTP Support: The update adds support for the WinHTTP library to the Beacon’s HTTP(S) listener.
  • Beacon Data Store: This feature allows users to store Buffer Overflow Frameworks (BOFs) and .NET assemblies in a structured manner.

CRACKED VERSIONS IN THE WILD

Google researchers have recently identified 34 different cracked versions of the Cobalt Strike hacking toolkit actively being used in the wild. These cracked versions are exploited by cybercriminals for various malicious activities, emphasizing the tool’s popularity and widespread illicit use in the cybercriminal community. The discovery of cracked version 4.9 of Cobalt Strike highlights the significant challenges and risks associated with the illicit use of this powerful toolkit.

THE CRACKDOWN

Microsoft, in collaboration with Fortra and the Health Information Sharing and Analysis Center (Health-ISAC), has initiated a widespread legal crackdown on servers hosting these cracked copies. This concerted effort aims to dismantle the malicious infrastructure and disrupt the operations of threat actors utilizing Cobalt Strike for nefarious purposes.

WHY COBALT STRIKE?

Cobalt Strike has gained notoriety among cybercriminals for its post-exploitation capabilities. Once the beacons are deployed, these provide persistent remote access to compromised devices, allowing for sensitive data harvesting or the dropping of additional malicious payloads.

THE USERS

Cobalt Strike’s cracked versions are used by unidentified criminal groups, state-backed threat actors, and hacking groups acting on behalf of foreign governments. These actors have been linked to numerous ransomware attacks impacting various industries, causing significant financial and operational damage.

REMEDIATION EFFORTS

To counteract the malicious use of Cobalt Strike, various entities have provided resources to assist network defenders in identifying Cobalt Strike components within their networks. These resources include open-sourced YARA rules and a collection of indicators of compromise (IOCs).

The illicit use of Cobalt Strike poses a significant threat to global cybersecurity. The ongoing crackdown led by Microsoft, Fortra, and Health-ISAC represents a crucial step towards mitigating the risks associated with Cobalt Strike, underscoring the importance of collaborative efforts in the fight against cybercrime.

Cobalt Strike, a Defender’s Guide

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Sep 05 2023

Connected cars and cybercrime: A primer

Category: Cybercrimedisc7 @ 9:30 am

Analysis of chatter in criminal underground message exchanges, however, reveals that the pieces exist for multi-layered, widespread attacks in the coming years. And given that the automotive industry’s customary development cycles are long, waiting for the more sophisticated cyberattacks on connected cars to appear is not a practical option.

What should the world’s automotive OEMs and suppliers do now to prepare for the inevitable transition from today’s manual, car-modding hacks to tomorrow’s user impersonation, account thefts and other possible attacks?

How connectivity is changing car crime

As our vehicles become more connected to the outside world, the attack surface available to cybercriminals is rapidly increasing, and new “smart” features on the current generation of vehicles worldwide open the door for new threats.

Our new “smartphones on wheels”—always connected to the internet, utilizing many apps and services, collecting tremendous amounts of data from multiple sensors, receiving over-the-air software updates, etc.—stand to be attacked in similar ways to how our computers and handheld devices already are today.

Automotive companies need to think now about those potential future threats. A car that an OEM is planning today will likely reach the market in three to five years. It will need to be already secured against the cyberthreat landscape that might be in existence by then. If the car hits the market without the required cybersecurity capabilities, the job of securing it will become significantly more difficult.

The likelihood of substantially more frequent, devious, and harmful attacks is portended by the complex attacks on connected cars that we have seen devised by industry researchers. Fortunately, the attacks to this point largely have been limited to these theoretical exercises in the automotive industry. Car modding – e.g., unlocking a vehicle’s features or manipulating mileage – is as far as real-world implementation has gotten.

Connectivity limits some of the typical options that are available to criminals specializing in car crime. The trackability of contemporary vehicles makes reselling stolen cars significantly more challenging, and even if a criminal can manage to take a vehicle offline, the associated loss of features renders the car less valuable to potential buyers.

Still, as connectivity across and beyond vehicles grows more pervasive and complicated, so will the threat. How are attacks on tomorrow’s connected cars likely to evolve?

Emerging fronts for next-generation attacks

Because the online features of connected cars are managed via user accounts, attackers may seek access to those accounts to attain control over the vehicle. Takeover of these car-user accounts looms as the emerging front for attack for would-be car cybercriminals and even criminal organizations, creating ripe possibilities for user impersonation and the buying and selling of the accounts.

Stealing online accounts and selling them to rogue collaborators who can act on that knowledge tee up a range of future possible attacks for tomorrow’s automotive cybercriminals:

  • Selling car user accounts
  • Impersonating users via phishing, keyloggers or other malware
  • Remote unlocking, starting and controlling connected cars
  • Opening cars and looting for valuables or committing other one-off crimes
  • Stealing cars and selling for parts
  • Locating cars to pinpoint owners’ residential addresses and to identify when owners are not home

The crime triangle takes shape

Connected car cybercrime is still in its infancy, but criminal organizations in some nations are beginning to recognize the opportunity to exploit vehicle connectivity. Surveying today’s underground message forums quickly reveals that the pieces could quickly fall into place for more sophisticated automotive cyberattacks in the years ahead. Discussions on underground crime forums around data that could be leaked and needed/available software tools to enable attacks are already intensifying.

post from a publicly searchable auto-modders forum about a vehicle’s multi-displacement system (MDS) for adjusting engine performance, is symbolic of the current activity and possibilities.

Another, in which a user on a criminal underground forum offers a data dump from car manufacturer, points to the possible threats that likely are coming to the industry.

Though they still seem to be limited to accessing regular stolen data, compromises and network accesses are for sale in the underground. The crime triangle (as defined by crime analysts) for sophisticated automotive cyberattacks is solidifying:

  • Target — The connected cars that serious criminals will seek to exploit in the years ahead are becoming more and more prevalent in the global marketplace.
  • Desire — Criminal organizations will find ample market incentive to monetize stolen car accounts.
  • Opportunity — Hackers are steeped in inventive methods to hijack people’s accounts via phishing, infostealing, keylogging, etc.

Penetrating and exploiting connected cars

The ways for seizing access to the data of users of connected cars are numerous: introducing malicious in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) apps, exploiting unsecure IVI apps and network connections, taking advantage of unsecure browsers to steal private data, and more.

Also, there’s a risk of exploitation of personally identifiable information (PII) and vehicle telemetric data (on a car’s condition, for example) stored in smart cockpits, to inform extremely personalized and convincing phishing emails.

Here’s one method by which it could happen:

  • An attacker identifies vulnerabilities that can be exploited in a browser.
  • The attacker creates a professional, attractive webpage to offer hard-to-resist promotions to unsuspecting users (fast-food coupons, discounts on vehicle maintenance for the user’s specific model and year, insider stock information, etc.)
  • The user is lured into visiting the malicious webpage, which bypasses the browser’s security mechanisms
  • The attacker installs backdoors in the vehicle IVI system, without the user’s knowledge or permission, to obtain various forms of sensitive data (driving history, conversations recorded by manufacturer-installed microphones, videos recorded by built-in cameras, contact lists, text messages, etc.)

The possible crimes enabled by such a process are wide ranging. By creating a fraudulent scheme to steal the user’s identity, for example, the attacker would be able to open accounts on the user’s behalf or even trick an OEM service team into approving verification requests—at which point the attacker could remotely open the vehicle’s doors and allow a collaborator to steal the car.

Furthermore, the attackers could use the backdoors that they installed to infiltrate the vehicle’s central gateway via the IVI system by sending malicious messages to electronic control units (ECUs). A driver could not only lose control of the car’s IVI system and its geolocation and audio and video data, but also the ability to control speed, steering and other safety-critical functions of the vehicle, as well as the range of vital data stored in its digital clusters.

Positioning today for tomorrow’s threat landscape

Until now there might have been reluctance among OEMs to invest in averting cyberattacks, which haven’t yet materialized in the real world. But a 2023 Gartner Research report, “Automotive Insight: Vehicle Cybersecurity Ecosystem Creates Partnership Opportunities,” is among the industry research documenting a shift in priorities.

Driven by factors such as the significant risk of brand and financial damage from cyberattacks via updatable vehicle functions controlled by software, as well as emerging international regulatory pressures such as the United Nations (UN) regulation 155 (R155) and ISO/SAE 21434, OEMs have begun to emphasize cybersecurity.

And today, they are actively evaluating and, in some cases, even implementing a few powerful capabilities:

  • Security for IVI privacy and identity
  • Detection of IVI app vulnerabilities
  • Monitoring of IVI app performance
  • Protection of car companion apps
  • Detection of malicious URLs
  • 24/7 surveillance of personal data

Investing in cybersecurity in the design stage, versus after breaches, will ultimately prove less expensive and more effective in terms of avoiding or mitigating serious crimes involving money, vehicle and identity theft from compromised personal data by the world’s most savvy and ambitious business criminals.

Building Secure Cars

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Tags: Connected cars


May 08 2023

RECONSHARK: NEW UNDETECTABLE RECONNAISSANCE TOOL USED BY CYBERCRIMINALS FOR HACKING

Category: Cybercrime,Security Toolsdisc7 @ 1:21 pm

Kimsuky is an advanced persistent threat (APT) organization that originates in North Korea and has a lengthy history of launching targeted attacks all around the globe. According to what is currently known about the organization, they have been mainly tasked with conducting information gathering and espionage activities in behalf of the North Korean government from at least the year 2012. Throughout the course of history, Kimsuky targets have been spread throughout several nations in North America, Asia, and Europe. In its most recent efforts, the organization has continued their strategy of worldwide targeting, which is centered on a variety of contemporary geopolitical concerns. The most recent Kimsuky ads, for instance, have been centered on nuclear agendas between China and North Korea; these agendas are pertinent to the continuing confrontation between Russia and Ukraine. In 2018, the gang was seen deploying a malware family known as BabyShark, and  most recent observations show that the group has developed the malware with an enhanced capacity for reconnaissance. Experts call to this component of BabyShark as ReconShark.

During a recent campaign, Kimsuky targeted the employees of the Korea Risk Group (KRG), which is an information and analysis organization that specializes in subjects that have both direct and indirect effects on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Kimsuky continues to employ phishing emails that have been carefully designed by himself for the purpose of deploying ReconShark. Notably, spear-phishing emails are created with a degree of design quality customized for certain persons, which increases the possibility that the target would open the email. This involves using correct formatting, language, and visual signals so that the content seems authentic to readers who are not paying attention. Notably, both the targeted emails, which include links to download harmful papers, as well as the malicious documents themselves, exploit the names of genuine people whose knowledge is relevant to the subject matter of the bait, such as Political Scientists.

Kimsuky’s nefarious emails include a link that, when clicked, will direct the recipient to a file that requires a password in order to access it. Most recently, they started hosting the infected document for download on Microsoft OneDrive, which is a cloud storage service.Exfiltrating information about the infected platform is the primary function of ReconShark. This includes information about current processes, information about the battery that is attached to the device, and information about endpoint threat detection measures that have been implemented.

In a manner similar to those of earlier iterations of BabyShark, ReconShark depends on Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) to query information on processes and batteries. ReconShark does more than just steal information; it also distributes additional payloads in a multi-stage process. These payloads may be built as scripts (VBS, HTA, and Windows Batch), macro-enabled Microsoft Office templates, or Windows DLL files. The types of detecting mechanism processes that are active on compromised computers are taken into consideration when ReconShark chooses which payloads to send out.

In order to avoid being detected by static analysis methods, some ReconShark sequences are encoded using a pretty simple encryption. Typically, the instructions or scripts that are included inside these strings are for downloading and/or running payloads. All of the infrastructure that has been spotted as part of this campaign is housed on a shared hosting server provided by NameCheap. LiteSpeed Web Server (LSWS) was often used by operators of the Kimsuky malware in order to manage the harmful functionality. The continual attacks by Kimsuky and their use of the innovative reconnaissance tool ReconShark provide insight on the ever-changing nature of the North Korean threat environment. Organizations and people need to be aware of the tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) utilized by North Korea state-sponsored advanced persistent threats (APTs) and take the required steps to defend themselves against attacks of this kind.

Field Manual FM 3-98 Reconnaissance and Security Operations

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Tags: RECONSHARK


Apr 07 2023

Microsoft aims at stopping cybercriminals from using cracked copies of Cobalt Strike

Category: Cyber crime,CybercrimeDISC @ 11:21 am

Microsoft announced it has taken legal action to disrupt the illegal use of copies of the post-exploitation tool Cobalt Strike by cybercriminals.

Cobalt Strike is a paid penetration testing product that allows an attacker to deploy an agent named ‘Beacon’ on the victim machine. The Beacon includes a wealth of functionality for the attacker, including, but not limited to command execution, key logging, file transfer, SOCKS proxying, privilege escalation, mimikatz, port scanning and lateral movement. 

Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit (DCU) announced that has collaborated with Fortra, the company that develops and maintains the tool, and Health Information Sharing and Analysis Center (Health-ISAC) to curb the abuse of Cobalt Strike by cybercriminals.

The Microsoft DCU secured a court order in the U.S. to remove cracked versions of Cobalt Strike (“refer to stolen, unlicensed, or otherwise unauthorized versions or copies of the tool”) so they can no longer be used by cybercriminals.

Threat actors, including ransomware groups and nation-state actors, use Cobalt Strike after obtaining initial access to a target network. The tool is used to conduct multiple malicious activities, including escalating privileges, lateral movements, and deploying additional malicious payloads.

“More specifically, cracked versions of Cobalt Strike allow Defendants to gain control of their victim’s machine and move laterally through the connected network to find other victims and install malware. This includes installing ransomware like ContiLockBit, Quantum Locker, Royal, Cuba, BlackBasta, BlackCat and PlayCrypt, to arrest access to the systems. In essence, Defendants are able to leverage cracked versions of Cobalt Strike to brutally force their way into victim machines and deploy malware.” reads the court order. “Additionally, once the Defendants deploy the malware or ransomware onto computers running Microsoft’s Window operating system, Defendants are able to execute a series of actions involving abuse of Microsoft’s copyrighted declaring code.”

Cobalt Strike attack chain

Example of an attack flow by threat actor DEV-0243.

Microsoft observed more than 68 ransomware attacks, involving the use of cracked copies of Cobalt Strike, against healthcare organizations in more than 19 countries around the world.

The attacks caused huge financial damages to the attacked hospitals in recovery and repair costs, plus interruptions to critical patient care services.

Microsoft also observed nation-state actors, including APT groups from Russia, China, Vietnam, and Iran, using cracked copies of Cobalt Strike.

“Microsoft, Fortra and Health-ISAC remain relentless in our efforts to improve the security of the ecosystem, and we are collaborating with the FBI Cyber Division, National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force (NCIJTF) and Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) on this case. While this action will impact the criminals’ immediate operations, we fully anticipate they will attempt to revive their efforts. Our action is therefore not one and done.” concludes the report.

In November 2022, Google Cloud researchers announced the discovery of 34 different Cobalt Strike hacked release versions with a total of 275 unique JAR files across these versions.

Google Cloud Threat Intelligence (GCTI) researchers developed a set of YARA rules to detect hacked variants in the wild with a high degree of accuracy. The researchers noticed that each Cobalt Strike version contains approximately 10 to 100 attack template binaries


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Tags: Cobalt Strike, Microsoft


Feb 21 2023

Franco-Israeli Gang Linked to $40 Million CEO Scam Busted

Category: Cyber crime,CybercrimeDISC @ 10:37 am

Europol has dismantled a gang linked to a $40 million CEO scam. Find out more about how this international criminal syndicate was uncovered and who was involved.

The email scam gang behind France’s largest-ever CEO scam has been dismantled after a coordinated police operation across multiple countries was successful in arresting six people in France and two in Israel. 

The Europe-wide operation to track down the Franco-Israeli criminal organization involved the Croatian National Police, the Croatian Anti Money Laundering Office, the French National Police, the French Gendarmerie, the Hungarian Budapest Metropolitan Police, the Israel Police, the Portuguese Judicial Police, and the Spanish National Police.

Franco-Israeli Gang Linked to $40 Million CEO Scam Busted
Law enforcement authorities involved in the operation (Image: Europol)

In early December 2021, one of the gang members, now arrested as a suspect, impersonated the CEO of a metallurgy company in northeastern France and tricked the accountant into making an urgent and confidential transfer of €500,000 ($530,000) which was subsequently spotted and blocked. 

In late December 2021, according to Europol’s press release, Sefri-Cime, a real-estate developer, fell victim to the same group after its members impersonated lawyers working for a well-known French accounting firm. According to Europol, they persuaded the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) to transfer almost €38 million ($40 million) altogether.

The criminal network, consisting of French and Israeli nationals, used a pre-existing money laundering scheme that laundered the funds via European countries, China, and then Israel. An investigation that followed revealed the money mules working for the gang in Croatia, Portugal, and Hungary.

The police were able to seize electronic equipment and vehicles, €3 million from Portuguese bank accounts, €1.1 million from Hungarian bank accounts, €600,000 from Croatian bank accounts, €EUR 400,000 from Spanish bank accounts and €350,000 in virtual currencies. 

The operation continued for five days between January 2022 and 2023 in France and Israel, leading to eight house searches and eight arrests, including the alleged Israeli gang leader, according to Europol.

Previous posts on Cybercrime

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Tags: Cyber Crime Scams and Fraud


Jan 02 2023

Cyber Crime: The Dark Web Uncovered

Category: Cybercrime,Dark Web,Information SecurityDISC @ 2:54 pm

Cyber Crime: The Dark Web Uncovered

11 of the world’s top cyber security experts gather to discuss how to protect ourselves against cybercrime. Includes interviews with Rob Boles, Jesse Castro, Michael Einbinder-Schatz, Rick Jordan, Konrad Martin, Rene Miller, Paul Nebb, Will Nobles, Adam Pittman, Leia Shilobod, and Peter Verlezza.

Directors Jeff Roldan Starring 11 Top Cyber Security Experts

Genres Documentary SubtitlesEnglish [CC] Audio languagesEnglish

Tags: cyber crime, dark web


Dec 30 2022

Cybercriminals create new methods to evade legacy DDoS defenses

Category: Cybercrime,DDoSDISC @ 10:40 am

The number of DDoS attacks we see around the globe is on the rise, and that trend is likely to continue throughout 2023, according to Corero. We expect to see attackers deploy ever higher rate request-based or packets-per-second attacks.

“DDoS attacks have historically focused around sending packets of large sizes with the aim to paralyze and disrupt the internet pipeline by exceeding the available bandwidth. Recent request-based attacks, however, are sending smaller size packets, to target higher transaction processing to overwhelm a target. Those with responsibility for network health and internet service uptime should be taking note of this trend,” explained Corero CTO, Ashley Stephenson.

Legal responsibility

Corero also predicts that 2023 will see more breaches being reported, because of the increasing trend for transparency in data protection regulations. Regulations such as the UK Government’s Telecoms Security Bill will compel organizations to disclose more cyber-incidents publicly.

We are also likely to see the legal responsibility for bad corporate behaviour when dealing with breaches being linked to individual executives. Examples such as Joe Sullivan, the former head of security at Uber, who was recently found guilty of hiding a 2016 breach, could set a precedent for linking data protection decisions to the personal legal accountability of senior executives.

Evading DDoS defenses

Attackers will continue to make their mark in 2023 by trying to develop new ways to evade legacy DDoS defenses. We saw Carpet Bomb attacks rearing their head in 2022 by leveraging the aggregate power of multiple small attacks, designed specifically to circumvent legacy detect-and-redirect DDoS protections or neutralize ‘black hole’ sacrifice-the-victim mitigation tactics. This kind of cunning will be on display as DDoS attackers look for new ways of wreaking havoc across the internet and attempt to outsmart existing thinking around DDoS protection.

In 2023, the cyberwarfare that we have witnessed with the conflict in Ukraine will undoubtedly continue. DDoS will continue to be a key weapon in the Ukrainian and other conflicts both to paralyse key services and to drive political propaganda objectives. DDoS attack numbers rose significantly after the Russian invasion in February and DDoS continues to be used as an asymmetric weapon in the ongoing struggle.

Earlier this year, in other incidents related to the conflict, DDoS attackers attempted to disrupt the Eurovision song contest in an attempt to frustrate the victory of the Ukrainian contestants. Similarly, when Elon Musk showed support for Ukraine by providing Starlink satellite broadband services, DDoS attackers tried to take the satellite systems offline and deny Ukraine much needed internet services.

“Throughout 2022 we observed DDoS attacks becoming increasingly sophisticated while at the same time the DDoS attack surface is expanding. With the number of recorded attacks on the rise and significant shifts in attackers’ motives and goals, 2023 will require organizations to ensure they have robust DDoS defense in place,” said Lionel Chmilewsky, CEO at Corero Network Security.

DDoS

AWS Best Practices for DDoS Resiliency

DDoS Defense Standard Requirements

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Tags: ddos


Oct 22 2022

Student Jailed for Hacking into Email & Snapchat Accounts of Female Classmates

Category: Cyber crime,Cybercrime,HackingDISC @ 12:55 pm

As part of the criminal case against a former student of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR), a judge in Puerto Rico sentenced him to serve 13 months in federal prison. 

The former student, Iván Santell-Velázquez (aka Slay3r_r00t) was accused of hacking over a dozen of the university’s female classmates’ email and Snapchat accounts.

On July 13, Ivan pled guilty to being a cyberstalker, admitting that he had targeted over 100 students in his online campaign. He also engaged in other schemes to steal information such as using spoofing and phishing.

He has been accused of harassing women and in some cases, he has published pictures that he has stolen from them in their nudist states between 2019 and 2021.

Apart from hacking student email accounts, he also managed to get access to multiple university email accounts by spoofing and phishing attempts through which he gathered personal information.

Students Data Stolen

The appellant, Iván Santell-Velázquez targeted 15 female students in total at the University of Puerto Rico. A victim of cyberstalking may experience a significant amount of emotional distress as a result of it.

Here’s what U.S. Attorney Muldrow stated:-

“The prosecution of cyber criminals is a top priority in the Justice Department. Cybercrimes not only cause financial losses to corporate victims but also result in financial and psychological harm to vulnerable victims, oftentimes children or the elderly. This conduct will not be tolerated.” 

“This case also demonstrates the importance of safeguarding personal information and passwords, and the care we must take when responding to suspicious e-mails and text messages.”

As a result of his illicit crimes, Iván Santell-Velázquez was sentenced to 13 months of rigorous imprisonment along with 2 years of supervised release for cyberstalking by Silvia Carreño Coll, the U.S. District Court Judge.

Student Jailed for Hacking into Email & Snapchat Accounts of Female Classmates

Cyber Crime

Tags: cyber crime


Oct 17 2022

New UEFI rootkit Black Lotus offered for sale at $5,000

Category: APT,Cyber crime,CybercrimeDISC @ 10:02 am

Black Lotus is a new, powerful Windows UEFI rootkit advertised on underground criminal forums, researcher warns.

Cybersecurity researcher Scott Scheferman reported that a new Windows UEFI rootkit, dubbed Black Lotus, is advertised on underground criminal forums. The powerful malware is offered for sale at $5,000, with $200 payments per new updates.

The researcher warns that the availability of this rootkit in the threat landscape represents a serious threat for organizations due to its evasion and persistence capabilities.

“Considering this tradecraft used to be relegated to APTs like the Russian GRU and APT 41 (China nexus), and considering prior criminal discoveries we’ve made (e.g. Trickbot‘s #Trickboot module), this represents a bit of a ‘leap’ forward, in terms of ease of use, scalability, accessibility and most importantly, the potential for much more impact in the forms of persistence, evasion and/or destruction.” wrote Scheferman.

Black Lotus is written in assembly and C and is only 80kb in size, the malicious code can be configured to avoid infecting systems in countries in the CIS region.

The malware supports anti-virtualization, anti-debugging, and code obfuscation. Black Lotus is able to disable security solutions, including Hypervisor-protected Code Integrity (HVCI), BitLocker, and Windows Defender. The rootkit is able to bypass security defenses like UAC and Secure Boot, it is able to load unsigned drivers used to perform a broad range of malicious activities.

The threat is very stealth, it can achieve persistence at the UEFI level with Ring 0 agent protection.

Black Lotus supports a full set of backdoor capabilities, it could be also used to potential target IT and OT environments.

Black Lotus is bringing APT capabilities to malicious actors in the threat landscape.

New UEFI rootkit Black Lotus

Tags: APT, Black Lotus, criminal forums, UEFI rootkit


Oct 12 2022

Refund Fraud-as-a-Service Ads on Hacker Forums Increase by 60%

Category: Cyber crime,Cyber Threats,CybercrimeDISC @ 9:42 am

Research from Netacea reveals that as of September 2022, there are over 1,600 professional refund service adverts on hacker forums.

Cybercrime’s continued shift to a service-driven economy has enabled several new professionalized hacking services with Refund Fraud-as-a-Service being one of the latest to rise in popularity over the last few years. This is according to Netacea’s latest threat report, which researched rising trends across a multitude of hacking forums.

Refund fraud is the abuse of refund policies for financial gain and costs e-commerce businesses more than $25 billion every year. Those interested in committing refund fraud can outsource the process to professional social engineers offering Refund-as-a-Service. This poses a significant challenge to retailers, as previously legitimate customers can enlist highly experienced fraudsters to perpetrate this fraud on their behalf, making it difficult to identify fraudulent activity. As online shopping continues its upward trend, professional fraudsters will look to cash in on the opportunity.

Netacea’s research also found:

  • Over 540 new refund fraud service adverts were identified in the first three quarters of 2022
  • Refund fraud services increased by almost 150% from 2019 – 2021

Netacea’s report explores the current structure of the underground Refund-as-a-Service market, the changing tactics and methods used by adversarial groups to perform refund fraud, and how threat intelligence and fraud teams can work collaboratively to effectively combat it.

“As shown in the rise of ransomware-as-a-service attacks, cybercriminals have shifted to a service-based economy — and refund fraud is no exception” said Cyril Noel-Tagoe, Principal Security Researcher, Netacea. “As we approach Black Friday and the holiday season, e-commerce stores should take the necessary steps to reduce their risk of refund fraud, including educating employees on the methods and tactics fraudsters take.”

Additional steps include:

  1. Delivery carriers should replace or complement signatures with one-time passwords to prevent refund fraudsters from claiming that packages did not arrive.
  2. E-commerce stores and delivery carriers should work together to look for patterns in their data sets that may indicate fraudulent activity.
  3. Reputation is power in the underground market. In the instance that an e-commerce store identifies the claim to be fraudulent after a refund payment has been made, the store should rebill the customer’s account. An influx of rebill complaints from customers may cause the refund fraud service to drop the retailer from their store list, to avoid negative reviews.

Source:

https://www.darkreading.com/attacks-breaches/refund-fraud-as-a-service-ads-on-hacker-forums-increase-by-60-

What are refunding services and how to stop them - Kount
Kount
What are refunding services and how to stop them – Kount

The Increase in Ransomware Attacks on Local Governments

Tags: Refund Fraud-as-a-Service


Sep 22 2022

IT admin gets 7 years for wiping his company’s servers to prove a point

Category: Cyber crime,Cybercrime,Information SecurityDISC @ 2:47 pm

Han Bing allegedly felt undervalued after his security warnings were ignored, and decided to prove his point by trashing four financial servers.

Servers at risk
(Image credit: Getty – Andrew Aitchison)

An indignant IT admin, seemingly aiming to prove the lax security his employer had hitherto ignored, proceeded to delete a bunch of vital financial databases, and has subsequently been given seven years in prison as a result. It’s what’s known in the IT trade as ‘cutting your nose off to spite your face,’ or inadvisably hulking out on a server you’re known to have access to and have already complained about.

Han Bing, a database administrator for Lianjia, a Chinese real estate brokerage, previously known as Homelink, was allegedly one of only five people in the security team with access to the company’s financial system databases. So when someone logged in with root access to Lianjia’s financial system and deleted the lot(opens in new tab) (via Bleeping Computer(opens in new tab)), the company already had a handful of suspects.

Four of the five handed over their laptops and passwords immediately, while Bing refused to hand over his password, claiming that it held private information. He agreed to access the device for the company’s investigators while he was present, and no incriminating evidence was found on his machine. 

The company, however, claimed the attack could be done simply by connecting to the server in a way that would leave no residual trace on the client laptop. 

Subsequent electronic forensic analysis of the company’s server logs, alongside the use of CCTV footage, linked records held on the server with the host name of Bing’s MacBook, “Yggdrasil,” as well as certain MAC and IP addresses linked on his computer.

Yeah, Yggdrasil. The tree of life. The roots of which can be seen sprawling across the sky in Valheim, and as that big f-off plant glowing away in Elden Ring. Everything in 2022 always seems to lead back to Elden Ring. This whole case is probably in the game somewhere as lore.

With all the evidence in hand, the Beijing Tongda Fazheng Forensic Identification Centre concluded none of the other potential suspects could be linked to the attack on June 4, 2018, and Han Bing was found guilty of damaging computer information and sentenced to seven years in prison. 

Initially that feels a bit harsh on the guy, but he did basically destroy four different servers, salting the earth so nothing could be recovered, and grinding the company’s operation to a halt. It then had to pay some $30,000 as amends for the fact that Lianjia employees were left without pay for an extended amount of time.

Which is also pretty harsh.

Bing’s colleagues have suggested that the reasoning behind his deletion of company records was down to the fact he discovered the security of the financial system was compromised, and his concerns were ignored.

He worked with another database admin to bring the issues to his seniors in the organisation but was apparently dismissed. It’s alleged this led to Bing arguing with other colleagues, and after his office was relocated it is suggested that he no longer felt valued by the company, was “passive and sluggish, often late and early, and there is also the phenomenon of absenteeism.” That’s according to the Edge machine translation, so make of that what you will.

Maybe Bing thought he was going to be rewarded for highlighting the problems more obviously, or maybe he was just a grumpy, vengeful admin by the end of it. Either way going to prison for seven years was most definitely not what he was aiming to get out of this.

https://www.pcgamer.com/it-admin-gets-7-years-for-wiping-his-companys-servers-to-prove-a-point/?

#CyberCrime

Tags: cyber crime


Sep 12 2022

FBI warns of vulnerabilities in medical devices following several CISA alerts

Category: Cyber crime,Cybercrime,hipaaDISC @ 2:14 pm
FBI warns of vulnerabilities in medical devices following several CISA alerts

The FBI on Monday warned that hundreds of vulnerabilities in widely used medical devices are leaving a door open for cyberattacks.

In a white notice from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), the law enforcement agency said it has identified “an increasing number” of vulnerabilities posed by unpatched medical devices that run on outdated software and devices that lack adequate security features.

The FBI specifically cited vulnerabilities found in insulin pumps, intracardiac defibrillators, mobile cardiac telemetry, pacemakers and intrathecal pain pumps, noting that malicious hackers could take over the devices and change readings, administer drug overdoses, or “otherwise endanger patient health.”

“Cyber threat actors exploiting medical device vulnerabilities adversely impact healthcare facilities’ operational functions, patient safety, data confidentiality, and data integrity,” the alert said. 

“Medical device vulnerabilities predominantly stem from device hardware design and device software management. Routine challenges include the use of standardized configurations, specialized configurations, including a substantial number of managed devices on the network, lack of device embedded security features, and the inability to upgrade those features.”

The FBI noted that medical device hardware is often used for more than 30 years at some healthcare facilities, giving cybercriminals and state actors ample time to discover and exploit bugs. 

Many legacy devices used by hospitals and clinics contain outdated software because they do not get manufacturer support for patches or updates, the FBI said, adding that many devices are not designed with security in mind. 

The white notice then quotes several reports from cybersecurity firms that highlighted the magnitude of the problem, most notably that about 53% of all connected medical devices and other internet of things (IoT) devices in hospitals had known critical vulnerabilities. 

One report found an average of 6.2 vulnerabilities per medical device and reported that more than 40% of medical devices are at the end-of-life stage, offering little to no security patches or upgrades.

The alert comes days after the multibillion-dollar healthcare company Baxter International notified customers of four vulnerabilities affecting their infusion pumps and WiFi batteries. CISA released its own advisory about the issues, the second they released last week related to medical devices. 

In March, Palo Alto Networks security researchers discovered that more than 100,000 infusion pumps were susceptible to two known vulnerabilities that were disclosed in 2019.

Infusion pumps have long been a source of ire for cybersecurity experts and vendors who have spent more than a decade trying to improve their security. Palo Alto noted that the Food and Drug Administration announced seven recalls for infusion pumps or their components in 2021 and nine more recalls in 2020.

Last year, German healthcare giant B. Braun updated several faulty IV pumps after McAfee discovered vulnerabilities allowing attackers to change doses.

Healthcare organizations continue to face a barrage of ransomware incidents and cyberattacks. Cybersecurity firm Proofpoint released a report last week that found 89% of healthcare professionals surveyed experienced at least one cyberattack in the last 12 months.

More than 20% of those attacked saw an increase in mortality rates and over half said the attacks caused longer patient stays, delays in procedures and overall decreases in the quality of care.

https://therecord.media/fbi-warns-of-vulnerabilities-in-medical-devices-following-several-cisa-alerts/

Cybersecurity for Healthcare Professionals: Keeping You and Your Patients Safe from Cyberattacks

Tags: healthcarecybercrime


Jul 28 2022

Messaging Apps Tapped as Platform for Cybercriminal Activity

Category: Cyber crime,Cybercrime,Information SecurityDISC @ 8:56 am

Built-in Telegram and Discord services are fertile ground for storing stolen data, hosting malware and using bots for nefarious purposes.

Cybercriminals are tapping the built-in services of popular messaging apps like Telegram and Discord as ready-made platforms to help them perform their nefarious activity in persistent campaigns that threaten users, researchers have found.

Threat actors are tapping the multi-feature nature of messaging apps—in particularly their content-creation and program-sharing components—as a foundation for info-stealing, according to new research from Intel 471.

Specifically, they use the apps “to host, distribute, and execute various functions that ultimately allow them to steal credentials or other information from unsuspecting users,” researchers wrote in a blog post published Tuesday.

“While messaging apps like Discord and Telegram are not primarily used for business operations, their popularity coupled with the rise in remote work means a cybercriminal has a bigger attack surface at their disposal than in past years,” researchers wrote.

Intel 471 identified three key ways in which threat actors are leveraging built-in features of popular messaging apps for their own gain: storing stolen data, hosting malware payloads, and using bots that perform their dirty work, they said.

Storing Exfiltrated Data

Having one’s own dedicated and secure network to store data stolen from unsuspecting victims of cybercrime can be costly and time-consuming. Instead, threat actors are using data-storage features of Discord and Telegram as repositories for info-stealers that actually depend upon the apps for this aspect of functionality, researchers have found.

Indeed, novel malware dubbed Ducktail that steals data from Facebook Business users was recently seen storing exfiltrated data in a Telegram channel, and it’s far from the only one.

Researchers from Intel 471 observed a bot known as X-Files that uses bot commands inside Telegram to steal and store data, they said. Once the malware infects a system, threat actors can swipe passwords, session cookies, login credentials and credit-card details from popular browsers– including Google Chrome, Chromium, Opera, Slimjet and Vivaldi–and then deposit that stolen info “into a Telegram channel of their choosing,” researchers said.

Another stealer known as Prynt Stealer functions in a similar fashion, but does not have the built-in Telegram commands, they added.

Other stealers use Discord as their messaging platform of choice for storing stolen data. One stealer observed by Intel 471, known as Blitzed Grabber, uses Discord’s webhooks feature to deposit data lifted by the malware, including autofill data, bookmarks, browser cookies, VPN client credentials, payment card information, cryptocurrency wallets and passwords, researchers said. Webhooks are similar to APIs in that they simplify the transmission of automated messages and data updates from a victim’s machine to a particular messaging channel.

Blitzed Grabber and two other stealers observed using messaging apps for data storage–—Mercurial Grabber and 44Caliber–also target credentials for the Minecraft and Roblox gaming platforms, researchers added.

“Once the malware spits that stolen information back into Discord, actors can then use it to continue their own schemes or move to sell the stolen credentials on the cybercrime underground,” researchers noted.

Payload Hosting

Tags: Messaging Apps


Apr 21 2022

Cybercriminals Deliver IRS Tax Scams & Phishing Campaigns By Mimicking Government Vendors

Category: Cyber Threats,Cybercrime,PhishingDISC @ 8:28 am

Threat intelligence firm Resecurity details how crooks are delivering IRS tax scams and phishing attacks posing as government vendors.

Cybercriminals are leveraging advanced tactics in their phishing-kits granting them a high delivery success rate of spoofed e-mails which contain malicious attachments right before the end of the 2021 IRS income tax return deadline in the U.S. April 18th, 2022 – there was a notable campaign detected which leveraged phishing e-mails impersonating the IRS, and in particular one of the industry vendors who provide solutions to government agencies which including e-mailing, digital communications management, and the content delivery system which informs citizens about various updates.

Cybercriminals purposely choose specific times when all of us are busy with taxes, and preparing for holidays (e.g., Easter), that’s why you need to be especially careful during these times.

The IT services vendor actors impersonated is widely used by major federal agencies, including the DHS, and other such WEB-sites of States and Cities in the U.S. The identified phishing e-mail warned the victims about overdue payments to the IRS, which should then be paid via PayPal, the e-mail contained an HTML attachment imitating an electronic invoice.

Cybercriminals Deliver IRS Tax Scams & Phishing Campaigns by Mimicking Government Vendors

Notably, the e-mail doesn’t contain any URLs, and has been successfully delivered to the victim’s inbox without getting flagged as potential spam. Based on the inspected headers, the e-mail has been sent through multiple “hops” leveraging primarily network hosts and domains registered in the U.S.:

Cybercriminals Deliver IRS Tax Scams & Phishing Campaigns by Mimicking Government Vendors

It’s worth noting, on the date of detection none of the involved hosts have previously been ‘blacklisted’ nor have they had any signs of negative IP or abnormal domain reputation:

Cybercriminals Deliver IRS Tax Scams & Phishing Campaigns by Mimicking Government Vendors

The HTML attachment with the fake IRS invoice contains JS-based obfuscated code.

IRS Internal Revenue Service

Scam Me If You Can: Simple Strategies to Outsmart Today’s Rip-off Artists

Tags: IRS Tax Scams, phishing, phishing countermeasures


Feb 03 2022

Fake Cash Scams Thrive on Facebook and Insta—FTC

Category: Cyber crime,Cyber sanctions,CybercrimeDISC @ 10:01 am

Cryptocurrency scammers love social media—especially Meta’s platforms. The Federal Trade Commission says hundreds of millions of dollars were scammed from U.S. consumers in 2021 (and that’s just the scams the FTC knows about).

And the problem’s growing incredibly fast—with no hint of a fix in sight. Meta claims to be “tackling” it, but we’ve probably all experienced scam reports to Facebook and Instagram being ignored or closed with no action. But why expect anything different? Meta makes money from all the scam ads and “engagement.”

Of course, some say all cryptocurrencies, NFTs and DeFi are scams. In today’s SB Blogwatch, we couldn’t possibly comment.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention: Nothingverse.

Imaginary Money Enriches Zuckerberg

What’s the craic? Sarah Perez reports—“US consumers lost $770 million in social media scams in 2021, up 18x from 2017”:

“A large majority … involve cryptocurrency”
A growing number of U.S. consumers are getting scammed on social media. … That number has also increased 18 times … the FTC said, as new types of scams involving cryptocurrency and online shopping became more popular. This has also led to many younger consumers getting scammed.

Facebook and Instagram were where most of these social media scams took place. … More than half (54%) of the investment scams in 2021 began with social media platforms, where scammers would promote bogus investment opportunities or connect with people directly to encourage them to invest. … A large majority of the investment scams now involve cryptocurrency.

Why does it matter? Sara Fischer and Margaret Harding McGill tells us—“Crypto leads to massive surge in online scams”:

“Bogus investment sites”
Cryptocurrency is an easy target because while it’s surging in popularity, there’s still a lot of confusion about how it works. … One type of crypto scam reported to the agency involves someone bragging about their own success to drive people to bogus investment sites.

“We put significant resources towards tackling this kind of fraud and abuse,” said a spokesperson for … Meta. “We also go beyond suspending and deleting accounts, Pages, and ads. We take legal action against those responsible when we can and always encourage people to report this behavior when they see it.”

Horse’s mouth? Here’s the FTC’s Emma Fletcher—“Social media a gold mine for scammers”:

“Urgent need for money”
Social media is also increasingly where scammers go to con us. More than one in four people who reported losing money to fraud in 2021 said it started on social media with an ad, a post, or a message.

For scammers, there’s a lot to like about social media. It’s a low-cost way to reach billions of people. [It] is a tool for scammers in investment scams, particularly those involving bogus cryptocurrency investments — an area that has seen a massive surge. … People send money, often cryptocurrency, on promises of huge returns, but end up empty handed.

If you get a message from a friend about an opportunity or an urgent need for money, call them. Their account may have been hacked – especially if they ask you to pay by cryptocurrency, gift card, or wire transfer. … To learn more about how to spot, avoid, and report scams—and how to recover money if you’ve paid a scammer—visit ftc.gov/scams.

Who would fall for such scams? King_TJ hates to admit it:

“Facebook is complicit”
Hate to admit it, but I fell for one of these scams on Facebook myself. It was probably about a year ago. I ran across a “seller” in one of the ads that scrolled by on my feed. … There were plenty of comments posted ranging from other people interested in one, to claims they got one and liked it.

After a little while … the tracking info showed the package as delivered, but I never received anything at all. … When I started digging around more on Facebook after that, I realized the scammers … were actually running dozens of ads for various products, giving out web URLs that were almost identical except with one letter changed in their name. Reported the original ad … to Facebook, but … got no response.

That’s when it struck me that Facebook is complicit in all of this, in the sense they make a lot of ad revenue off of these scams. … It’s more profitable for them to turn a blind eye and simply take one down when a user complains about it specifically.

Facebook is complicit? Carrie Goldberg—@cagoldberglaw—puts it more bluntly:

Platforms love scams because user engagement is so high from all the accounts they create, posts, and messaging; not to mention the panicked use by victims.

Scam Me If You Can: Simple Strategies to Outsmart Today’s Rip-off Artists

Tags: Fake Cash Scams


Jan 02 2022

North Korea-linked threat actors stole $1.7 billion from cryptocurrency exchanges

Category: Crypto,CybercrimeDISC @ 10:57 am

North Korea-linked threat actors are behind some of the largest cyberattacks against cryptocurrency exchanges.

North Korea-linked APT groups are suspected to be behind some of the largest cyberattacks against cryptocurrency exchanges. According to South Korean media outlet Chosun, North Korean threat actors have stolen around $1.7 billion (2 trillion won) worth of cryptocurrency from multiple exchanges during the past five years.

According to local media, US federal prosecutors believe that North Korea’s government considers cryptocurrency a long-term investment and it is amassing crypto funds through illegal activities.

In a classified report cited by Chosun, the US National Intelligence Service (DNI) found that North Korea was financing its ‘priority policies’, such as nuclear and missile development, through cybercrime. Government experts noticed that nation-state actors are not immediately cashing out all the stolen crypto to create a crypto fund reserve.

“Citing the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the media reported that all banks in the world are being targeted by North Korea’s cyberattacks. It also reported that North Korea is committing cybercriminals such as stealing defense secrets from major powers, using ransomware to steal funds, hijacking cryptocurrencies, and “laundering” criminal proceeds into cryptocurrencies.” reads a post published by Chosun.

“Then, citing the results of investigations by the United States and the UN Security Council, it was estimated that the Kim Jong-un regime’s fraudulent profits from cyber crimes have already reached $2.3 billion (about 2.7 trillion won).”

The report states that North Korea-linked attacks employed the AppleJeus malware to steal cryptocurrency. According to Bloomberg, multiple versions of Apple Zeus have been used in attacks against entities in 30 countries since 2018, and according to a UN and US investigation, between 2019 and November 2020, North Korean hackers stole $316.4 million in cryptocurrency through this program. 380 billion.

According to Chosun, North Korea’s dependence on cybercrime will increase due to international sanctions that limit the amount of money that North Korea can earn from coal exports to $400 million (about 480 billion won) per year.

The Infinite Machine: How an Army of Crypto-hackers Is Building the Next Internet with Ethereum

Tags: Crypto-hackers, North Korea-linked threat


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