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Cyware Weekly Threat Intelligence, December 13–17, 2021

Cyware Weekly Threat Intelligence, December 13–17, 2021

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The Good

Have you ever grown tired of the unwanted, suspicious Google calendar invites you may get at times? You can now block them and stay safe from a potential phishing attack. The U.S. Senate approved the NDAA bill stuffed with many provisions for cybersecurity programs. The landmark policy changes would enable the nation to tackle cyber threats to critical infrastructure with proper investment.

  • Amid rising activities of criminals and nation-state actors—and in a bid to position the U.K as a global cyber power—the government published a new National Cyber Strategy to bolster the nation’s cyber defense capabilities. Apart from this, the government is announcing a new Cyber Explorers online training to teach cyber skills to students.
  • The U.S. Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), approving the $768 billion annual defense spending bill containing cybersecurity provisions. The bill also contains an outline of the National Cyber Exercise Program that mandates the CISA and other government entities to test the National Cyber Incident Response Plan.
  • The Ukrainian police arrested 51 suspects allegedly trading stolen personal data of hundreds of millions of individuals worldwide in underground marketplaces. The seized databases consist of information about 300 million citizens of the U.S., Ukraine, and Europe. The stolen personal data on sale included full names, phone numbers, and addresses, and vehicle registration info in some cases.
  • The Europol, FBI, and Romanian National Police detained a suspected ransomware affiliate involved in targeting corporate customers via supply chain attacks on firms in Romania and abroad. The perpetrator would steal the personal information of employees, companies’ financial information, and customers’ details, and ask for a hefty ransom in cryptocurrency.
  • Google improved the “Automatically Add Invitations” setting to enable blocking unwanted calendar invites. Unwanted calendar invitations are a great way for threat actors to conduct phishing campaigns.

The Bad

Another week, another crypto theft. Vulcan Forged, once again, became the victim of a hacking incident in which hackers stole millions in cryptocurrency. Conti struck again; this time on brewpub chain McMenamins. The attackers stole corporate documents and data. Another ransomware attack disrupted operations at Ultimate Kronos Group. The firm is in the process of restoring its systems.

  • Users of the blockchain gaming company Vulcan Forged have been affected by a hacking incident. Following the attack, the attackers made away with around $135 million. They stole the private keys to access 96 wallets. This is the third crypto theft the company suffered in the past 11 months. 
  • The Oregon Anesthesiology Group (OAG) disclosed a ransomware attack that occurred in July. The breach affected the information of 750,000 patients and 522 current and former employees. The attack was likely launched by the HelloKitty ransomware group. The FBI assessed that the attackers abused a flaw in OAG’s third-party firewall. 
  • Propane gas distributor Superior Plus Corp was hit by a ransomware attack on December 12. This had temporarily disabled some of its systems. Currently, the firm is investigating the matter and has no evidence of any data being stolen.
  • Kronos, the workforce management platform, was hit by a ransomware attack that left some of its cloud services unavailable for several weeks. This has affected the payroll systems and other HR activities of its customers such as Tesla, Puma, and YMCA, among others. The firm stated that it would take several weeks to restore its systems and thus, customers should execute alternative protocols. 
  • Hackers reportedly stole and published a small subset of an IT recruitment firm’s, Finite Recruitment, data on the dark web. The company is listed on Conti ransomware’s leak site that claims to have stolen more than 300GB of data, including contracts, financial information, customer databases, and mail correspondence, among others. 
  • Swedish manufacturer Volvo Cars disclosed details of a cyberattack on one of its repositories. As a result, hackers have stolen research and development secrets from its systems. However, the company stated that the safety and security of its customers’ personal information and cars have not been affected. 
  • Tens of thousands of people were temporarily locked out of their Australian Taxation Office (ATO) online accounts following a ransomware attack on Frontier Software last month. While around 38,000 people had their data stolen, experts believe that further 42,000 sensitive records might also have been stolen. The stolen data includes names, dates of birth, addresses, bank account details, tax file numbers, and remuneration contributions. 
  • Portland-based brewery and hotel chain McMenamins suffered a ransomware attack by Conti, disrupting the company’s operations. The attackers encrypted workstations, servers, and POS systems. While corporate documents and data have been stolen, it is yet unclear if customer data was impacted. 

New Threats

The Log4j vulnerabilities have taken the world by storm. While a third new flaw was disclosed, multiple threat actors started exploiting the vulnerabilities. A new financially-motivated threat actor, named Karakurt, was found exfiltrating data from victims for extortion purposes. The infamous Phorpiex botnet came back with a twist in a new variant dubbed Twizt. It has made off with hundreds of thousands in cryptocurrency from its victims. 

  • Aclip is a new backdoor malware that is being used by the MuddyWater threat actor group to steal airline data. The attack campaign abuses Slack API to evade detection. IBM Security X-Force states that the malware is likely propagated by the MuddyWater hacking group. Aclip utilizes Slack API to send files, system information, and screenshots to the C2 server. 
  • Emotet is back in a new campaign. It is directly installing Cobalt Strike beacons in an attempt to expand cyberattacks. The penetration tool can be used by threat actors to spread laterally through a network, steal files, and deploy malware. This access would speed up attack delivery and can lead to multiple data breaches. 
  • A new variant of the Phorpiex botnet, called Twizt, was found targeting cryptocurrency users in 93 countries, including Ethiopia, Nigeria, and India. As many as 969 transactions have been intercepted by the new malware. The group stole more than $500,000 worth of cryptocurrency from thousands of victims. 
  • Researchers have demonstrated a new attack technique called ‘combo-chips’ that leverages both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chips. The attack can allow attackers to exfiltrate passwords and manipulate traffic on a user’s phone. These wireless chips, instead of directly escalating into the mobile OS, escalate privileges onto other wireless chips.
  • A new separate security weakness affecting the Log4j version 2.15.0 was found by researchers. The flaw, for which technical details are yet to be disclosed, can be exploited to exfiltrate sensitive data in certain circumstances. It is not clear if the issue has been fixed in version 2.16.0. In addition to this, Bitdefender and CrowdStrike added that Khonsari and Nemesis Kitten ransomware groups are also actively exploiting the vulnerability. Also, Check Point spotted that Chinese groups have launched more than 840,000 attacks on companies since last Friday.
  • Researchers spotted a new espionage campaign targeting telecommunications and IT service providers in the Middle East and Asia. The campaign, which has been active for six months, is associated with the SeedWorm APT group. The campaign makes use of spear-phishing emails and targets vulnerable Microsoft Exchange servers which are later used to deploy web shells. Organizations in Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Pakistan, Thailand, and Laos have been targeted in the campaign. The attackers were also observed mounting supply chain attacks to target a bigger number of organizations. 
  • TinyNuke banking trojan, also known as Nukebot, resurfaced in a new attack campaign that targets French users and organizations. The attack uses invoice-themed emails as a lure to target individuals. Organizations in manufacturing, technology, construction, and business services are the primary targets of the trojan.
  • Owowa is a new malware that targets Microsoft Exchange servers. The malware is capable of stealing credentials from the OWA login page and allowing attackers to run commands on the underlying server. It is a C#-developed .NET v4.0 assembly intended to load as a module within an IIS web server. 
  • A newly found Karakurt threat actor group has been held responsible for a string of data theft and extortion attacks between September and November. These attacks affected over 40 entities, including healthcare, industrial, retail, technology, and entertainment verticals. Most of the victim organizations are located in North America. While the group steals data for extortion, it doesn’t deploy ransomware.
  • Kaspersky unearthed PseudoManuscrypt - a new global spyware threat that has infected over 35,000 ICS computers across 195 countries. It bears similarity to Manuscrypt malware used by the Lazarus group. The malware contains sophisticated spying functionalities and has been targeting industrial control systems and government organizations across several industries. 


tinynuke banking trojan
superior plus
log4shell vulnerability
vulcan forged
coexistence attacks
aclip backdoor
oregon anesthesiology group oag
ultimate kronos group ukg
volvo cars
seedworm apt group
finite recruitment

Posted on: December 17, 2021

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