Go to listing page

Cyware Monthly Threat Intelligence, April 2020

Cyware Monthly Threat Intelligence, April 2020

Share Blog Post

The Good

Considering the exigency around COVID-19 themed cyberattacks, various industry leaders have stepped up to ensure enhanced and collaborative security practices. Last month, Microsoft released new security guidelines to safeguard against attacks on employees working from home during the pandemic. Also, the US Office for Civil Rights (OCR) dropped HIPAA penalties for community-based testing sites to assuage the operations of healthcare providers. Meanwhile, the two tech giants, Microsoft and Google, updated their respective cloud computing services to improve the security of data processing.

  • Microsoft published new threat intel and security guidance for individuals and organizations in the wake of rising incidents of phishing and social engineering attacks that have hit every country during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced to lift penalties around HIPAA compliance for 19 community-based testing sites during the pandemic. Previously, the agency had also carved out exceptions for business associates, first responders, and telehealth use to ease operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Google has adapted its machine learning models to improve Gmail’s security against COVID-19-themed phishing email attacks. Using these models, Gmail malware scanners have blocked around 18 million phishing and malware emails, and more than 240 million spam messages (using COVID-19 baits), within seven days.
  • Microsoft and Google announced updates for their respective virtual machine (VM) instances storing highly confidential information processed in Microsoft Azure and Google Compute Engine cloud platforms.

The Bad

While the lockdown keeps everyone worried, hackers continue to upgrade capabilities of malicious exploits while enhancing their attack techniques. A security researcher reported multiple online firms blurting out email data of their customers to third-party advertising and analytics companies. In other news, hackers put 530,000 Zoom login credentials for sale on an underground marketplace. Also, Travelex paid $2.3 million ransom in bitcoin to get hold of their stolen data.

  • A researcher reported multiple popular websites exposing millions of user email addresses to advertising and analytics companies. The websites included Quibi.com, JetBlue.com, KongHQ.com, NGPVan.com, Mailchimp’s Mandrill.com, WashingtonPost.com, and Wish.com.
  • Hackers put 530,000 Zoom login credentials for sale on hacker forums for a price of $0.0020 per account. The hacker(s) had gathered these account details from third-party data breaches rather than hacking Zoom directly.
  • Le Figaro, a popular French daily newspaper, exposed 7.4 billion records due to a misconfigured Elasticsearch database. The exposed PII data included full names, emails, home addresses, countries of residence, postcodes, IP addresses, server access tokens, and passwords for new users.
  • Unknown activists posted nearly 25,000 email addresses and passwords belonging to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), World Health Organization (WHO), Gates Foundation, and other groups working to combat the coronavirus pandemic. The lists were posted on 4chan, Pastebin, Twitter, and Telegram.
  • An unsecured database owned by the email delivery and marketing firm, Maropost, leaked about 95 million email records and email logs in a data breach. The leaked email logs contained relevant metadata, such as the exact date and time when the emails were sent. The database, which was hosted on a Google cloud server, was taken offline on April 1, 2020.
  • Cybercriminals breached the database of the Aptoide app store to steal 39 million user records. Out of these, 20 million user details, including login emails and hashed passwords, were published on a popular hacker forum.
  • Nearly 9 million travel logs belonging to British citizens were exposed due to a glitch in Sheffield City Council’s automatic number-plate recognition (ANPR) system. The exposed records included number plates and travel logs going through Sheffield’s road network. In a different incident, GDPR.EU had also leaked Git data and passwords due to a flaw in the website.
  • The US Small Business Administration (SBA) revealed that the personally identifiable information (PII) for some of the financial relief loan applicants may have been exposed to other applicants online. The incident occurred due to a security flaw in the loan application site. The issue was immediately resolved and the application portal was relaunched to avoid exposure of sensitive data.
  • Personal and contact details of 1.41 million US-based doctors stolen from qa.findadoctor[.]com were also put up for sale by a cybercriminal. The compromised data included full names, genders, locations, mailing addresses, country, phone numbers, and license numbers of doctors.
  • Travelex disclosed that it paid a ransom of $2.3 million in bitcoin to the Sodinokibi group to get back their stolen data and restore operations. The attack had taken place during the New Year’s eve of 2020. The Sodinokibi ransomware operators had stolen nearly 5 GB of data from the firm during the attack.

New Threats

Among new threats, FPGA chips were found to be affected by two flaws that could expose several critical systems to attack. Also, researchers discovered several new malware like EventBot, LeetHozer botnet, Asnarök trojan, and more, last month. Additionally, the Trickbot trojan made a comeback, leveraging the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to create lures related to COVID-19.

  • A group of academics demonstrated a new technique to break into Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) systems by using FPGA’s own encryption engine. The technique involved abusing a MultiBoot function that allows users to specify an address to begin execution after reboot. 
  • Researchers discovered EventBot, which targeted banking apps and cryptocurrency wallets for Android, whereas LeetHozer botnet exploited the telnetd service on targeted devices to launch DDoS attacks. The Asnarök trojan was used in an attack campaign that exploited a zero-day SQL injection vulnerability in Sophos firewall products.
  • A new campaign, dubbed ‘Project Spy’ distributed spyware through a fake ‘Coronavirus Update’ app to infect Android and iOS devices. The app gained a small number of downloads in Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Austria, Romania, Grenada, and Russia.
  • Researchers observed a new bitcoin-mining campaign, targeting misconfigured open Docker Daemon API ports. It has been found that thousands of attempts are being made every day to compromise such containers as part of the campaign. The purpose of these attacks is to deploy Kinsing malware in the final stage of the infection to run cryptominers.
  • Kpot v2.0 trojan made a comeback in a COVID-19-themed attack campaign that targeted Internet Explorer users. The malware was distributed through the Fallout exploit kit embedded in malicious advertisements on websites.
  • A sophisticated PhantomLance campaign, which has been active since 2015, continues to target Android users in Southeast Asia. The campaign is still ongoing and is operated by the OceanLotus APT group.
  • US taxpayers were targeted by a new variant of NetWire RAT designed to steal credentials and tax information from victims. The malware was distributed via IRS-themed phishing emails that carried an attachment with a legacy Microsoft Excel 4.0 macro to evade detection.
  • Trickbot trojan made a comeback in a phishing campaign that leveraged the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to create lures related to COVID-19. The trojan was distributed via emails that appeared to come from the US Department of Labor (DoL).
  • Ten critical vulnerabilities were found in HP Support Assistant, exposing Windows computers to remote code execution attacks. Those could allow attackers to elevate privileges or to delete arbitrary files. The flaws include five local privilege escalation flaws, two arbitrary file deletion vulnerabilities, and three remote code execution vulnerabilities.
  • The cryptomining botnet dubbed DDG was updated by its authors to adopt a proprietary peer-to-peer (P2P) mechanism. The botnet, first reported by Netlab 360 researchers in January 2018, had undergone 16 different updates over the past three months to become a highly sophisticated and seemingly unstoppable threat, according to the researchers. The botnet can fully function using its P2P protocol as a failsafe, even after its C2 servers are taken down.


zoom credentials
le figaro
project spy
netwire rat
us small business administration
phantomlance campaign
fpga chips

Posted on: May 13, 2020

More from Cyware

Stay updated on the security threat landscape and technology innovations at Cyware with our threat intelligence briefings and blogs.