Go to listing page

Cyware Weekly Threat Intelligence, February 06–10, 2023

Cyware Weekly Threat Intelligence, February 06–10, 2023

Share Blog Post

The Good

A new family of cryptographic algorithms has been approved by the NIST to protect the integrity of data security in lightweight IoT devices. The algorithm, known as Ascon, comprises several authenticated ciphers that will ensure that the protected data is authentic and has not been changed in transit. Meanwhile, the U.S. and the U.K have jointly issued sanctions against seven criminals connected to TrickBot trojan, as well as to Conti and Ryuk ransomware. This is one of the first actions taken by both countries amid the growing number of high-profile attacks worldwide.

  • The NIST has selected the Ascon algorithm developed at Graz University as a cryptography standard for lightweight IoT protection. The algorithm has been selected from 57 proposals submitted in 2019. The agency will publish the full standard later in 2023, which applies to miniature technologies such as medical implants or keyless car openers. 
  • The U.S. President announced his intent to appoint 14 industry executives to the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC). The new appointees will assist the previously appointed NSTAC members to provide national security and emergency preparedness solutions across operational technology and digital systems. 
  • The U.K and the U.S. sanctioned seven people connected to a single network behind the Conti and Ryuk ransomware gangs, as well as the Trickbot banking trojan. The sanctions are considered the first major move of a new campaign of concrete action between the two countries.
  • Flawed encryption logic used in Cl0p ransomware’s Linux variant allowed SentinelOne researchers to create and release a free decryptor. The Linux Cl0p variant is relatively new and was first spotted in late December 2022. The ransomware encrypts the RC4 key responsible for the file encryption using the asymmetric algorithm RSA and a public key.

The Bad

A sophisticated snooping operation on organizations in the U.S. and Germany was discovered this week. The campaign dubbed Screentime targeted around 1,000 organizations with a variety of malware designed to monitor victims’ activity and capture screenshots. On the other hand, customers of a popular meal delivery service, Weee!, are at risk of identity theft as a hacker named IntelBroker leaked their sensitive information on hacker forums. Furthermore, the Lorenz ransomware gang has added a U.S.-based healthcare organization to its list of victims and posted the stolen data on its site. 

  • A data breach at the Weee! Asian and Hispanic meal delivery service resulted in the leak of the personal information of 11 million customers. A threat actor named IntelBroker has leaked the stolen data on hacking forums. The data includes last names, email addresses, phone numbers, order notes, and order comments of users who placed an order between July 12, 2021, and July 12, 2022.  
  • A novel phishing attack that deploys a first-stage malware payload targeted 1,000 organizations in the U.S. and Germany. The campaign, dubbed Screentime, was first observed in October 2022 and was attributed to a new threat actor TA866. The malware used in the campaign were WasabiSeed, Screenshotter, AHK Bot, and Rhadamanthys Stealer. 
  • Reddit suffered a cyberattack, allowing attackers to access internal business systems and steal internal documents and source code. The hackers used phishing lures to target Reditt employees with a landing page impersonating its intranet site. The fake site stole employees’ credentials and two-factor authentication tokens.
  • Researchers cited an increased prevalence of HTML smuggling activity that lures users into deploying malicious payloads. The campaign impersonated brands such as Adobe Acrobat, Google Drive, and the US Postal Service, and have recently been detected to deploy Cobalt Strike, QakBot, IceID, and Xworm RAT.
  • The U.S. and South Korean government agencies are warning against ongoing ransomware activity against healthcare and other critical infrastructure sectors. These attacks are linked to the North Korea-based DPRK threat actors who earn revenue from ransom demands.
  • The Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare (TMH) hospital was forced to cancel all non-emergency surgeries and other medical procedures following a security incident that crippled its computer systems. The incident is believed to be yet another ransomware attack on the U.S. healthcare providers. 
  • The Lorenz ransomware gang added the healthcare company AmerisourceBergen to its list of victims. The attackers posted the exfiltrated data on their site with a previous date, November 1, 2022, suggesting that the incident took place a while back. 
  • Berkeley County Schools, West Virginia, was forced to temporarily cancel its daily classes and activities following a cyberattack. Law enforcement agencies were notified about the attack and the institution worked constantly to restore the affected IT systems, internet, and phone services. 
  • Indigo Books & Music, the largest bookstore chain in Canada, was hit by a cyberattack that forced the chain to shut down its website. While the exact nature of the incident remains unclear, Indigo has not yet confirmed if the hackers have stolen customer data. 

New Threats

Don’t fall victim to ESXiArgs ransomware! The CISA and the FBI issued a warning as they continue to track new variants of the ransomware. It has been revealed that the attackers have so far compromised over 3,800 vulnerable VMware ESXi servers worldwide. Additionally, there is evidence that other ransomware operators are exploiting the ESXi server flaw to launch attacks. Cyberattacks leveraging the OneNote application have also become a matter of security concern as another campaign deploying QakBot has come to light. Meanwhile, the Gootkit malware loader is on a rampage, targeting healthcare and financial institutions in the U.S., the U.K, and Australia.

  • A new version of the Medusa botnet, based on Mirai code, has been spotted in the wild. It features a ransomware module and a Telnet brute-forcer, along with DDoS capabilities. The new version of Medusa features a data exfiltration tool, however, it does not steal user files before encryption. 
  • A new ransomware named ESXiArgs and the Royal Ransomware’s Linux variant was found actively targeting a two-year-old RCE vulnerability in VMware ESXi servers. Additionally, BlackBasta ransomware operators have been blamed for multiple attacks that involved the exploitation of vulnerable ESXi servers.  
  • A modified version of the Stealerium malware named Enigma was used in a campaign that targeted the cryptocurrency industry in Eastern European countries. The attack was launched using phishing emails pretending to be a job offer with fake cryptocurrency interviews to lure their targets.  
  • A new threat group known as NewsPenguin used espionage tools to target Pakistan’s Navy. The group used the upcoming Pakistan International Maritime Expo & Conference as a lure to trick victims into opening phishing emails containing malware.  
  • The Gootkit malware is prominently going after healthcare and finance in the U.S., the U.K., and Australia. The attack chain relies on luring victims searching for agreements and contracts on DuckDuckGo and Google and redirecting them to fake web pages that ultimately lead to the deployment of the malware. 
  • Sonatype researchers identified four malicious Python libraries hosted on the official PyPI portal. The libraries contained functionality to install malware, delete the netstat utility, and tamper with SSH keys installed on systems. In another incident, a bunch of malicious PyPI packages was associated with a malware author named Core 1337 to steal personal information through Discord. 
  • A malvertising campaign, tracked as D-Shortiez, was spotted hijacking back button presses in WebKit-based browsers to redirect users to scam sites. Researchers identified that more than 300 million malicious ads were served over the last six months to target users in the U.S. 
  • Avast found four malicious Dota 2 game mods published on the official Steam store. The bundled backdoor within malicious game modes potentially allowed the installation of further malware on the victim’s device. The attackers also exploited a known Google V8 JavaScript flaw as part of the malware execution process.
  • An alert from the CERT-UA revealed that threat actors conducted a phishing campaign against Ukrainian government agencies to deploy the Remcos RAT on their computers. The email contained a file reminding recipients to pay for services availed from Ukrtelecom.


conti ransomware attack
cobalt strike tool
rhadamanthys stealer
lorenz ransomware gang
esxiargs ransomware
xworm rat
trickbot trojan

Posted on: February 10, 2023

More from Cyware

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

The Virtual Cyber Fusion Suite