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Cyware Weekly Threat Intelligence, May 11 - 15, 2020

Cyware Weekly Threat Intelligence, May 11 - 15, 2020

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The Good

The cyber ecosystem witnessed many organizations and agencies making strides in enhancing their approaches toward malware and vulnerabilities detection. Microsoft, along with Intel, launched a new tactic called STAMINA to analyze malware using deep learning. On the other hand, Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST) released an updated version of ‘The Guidelines for Multi-Party Vulnerability Coordination and Disclosure’ to improve the coordination and communication of vulnerability disclosure.

  • Microsoft and Intel jointly released a new malware detection approach, dubbed STAMINA. Referred to as STAtic Malware-as-Image Network Analysis, the approach consists of four steps, viz. preprocessing, transfer learning, evaluation, and interpretation.
  • FIRST released an updated version of ‘The Guidelines for Multi-Party Vulnerability Coordination and Disclosure’. The purpose of the guidelines is to improve coordination and communication across different stakeholders during a vulnerability disclosure.
  • Microsoft is open-sourcing its threat knowledge to help the security community build protective solutions for users. The initiative has been taken following the increase in Coronavirus-related threats. 

The Bad

Security breaches that resulted in the compromise of millions of records also grabbed headlines this week. In one incident, databases belonging to twenty-nine companies were put for sale on the dark web. On the other hand, Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks lost 756 GB of data on  celebrities, in an attack.

  • As many as 550 million stolen user records belonging to twenty-nine different companies were put up for sale on a dark web forum. Out of these, the oldest breached database dates back to 2012.
  • Pitney Bowes became the latest victim of Maze ransomware though it partially prevented the attack by not letting the attackers encrypt their files. However, some of the firm’s data was stolen in the attack.
  • The database of WeLeakData[.]com was published on the dark web for sale. It included private chats, login names, email addresses, and IP addresses of hackers.
  • Around 756 GB of documents and correspondence belonging to high-profile personalities were stolen after an attack at Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks. The attackers demanded a ransom of $21 million to stop the release of the documents on the internet.
  • Magellan Healthcare reported a ransomware attack, which resulted in the compromise of sensitive data. This included the personal data of some of its employees.
  • Stadler disclosed a security breach that might have led to a data leak. To execute the attack, hackers deployed malware on some of the company's machines.
  • Diebold Niixford, a major provider of ATMs and payment technology for banks and retailers, suffered an attack from ProLock ransomware. This hampered operations across its corporate network.
  • Fraudsters swindled off $10 million from Norfund in a sophisticated BEC scam. The miscreants hijacked an email account to draw cash from the Norwegian sovereign investment fund.
  • The IT office of the Texas judicial system was hit by a ransomware attack. As a result, the court took down its websites and halted legal proceedings.
  • ARCHER, one of Britain’s most powerful supercomputers, fell victim to a cyberattack that exploited its login nodes. This forced the admin to reset passwords and SSH keys for all users.
  • Two phishing attacks were also witnessed by the New South Wales Government and The West Australian newspaper. While the attack at the NSW affected the emails accounts of 47 staff members, the security breach at The West Australian resulted in the compromise of its subscribers’ personal data.
  • Elexon’s internal IT network and employee laptops were affected in a cyberattack. The company identified the root cause of the attack and worked on it to restore the impact.

New threats

Talking of new threats reported this week, Ako ransomware operators added a new tactic to extort more money from victims. They demanded additional ransom from organizations to delete their stolen files. Moreover, a new malware, called Ramsay, was found stealing sensitive data from air-gapped systems.

  • The operators of the Ako ransomware evolved to add a new tactic in addition to the existing ‘naming and shaming’ strategy to force victim organizations into making extra ransom payments. The extra amount is for deleting the files from firms. In a different development, the Sodinokibi ransomware was updated with a new feature that allows it to encrypt more victims’ files.
  • The Netwalker ransomware operators are aggressively recruiting potential affiliates to drive their ransom payments. This appears to be a future attack strategy of the hackers.
  • All computers manufactured before 2019 are affected by seven vulnerabilities found in Intel’s Thunderbolt hardware interface. Collectively known as Thunderspy, the flaws can allow attackers to gain physical access to devices and steal data from their hard drives.
  • The US Cyber Command and CISA have released details about three new malware samples used by the HIDDEN COBRA threat actor group. The newly discovered malware variants are COPPERHEDGE, TAINTEDSCRIBE, and PEBBLEDASH.
  • Variants of several malware like Astaroth, Zeus Sphinx, Dark Crystal RAT, and Anubis trojan were uncovered this week. While the new samples of Astorath, Dark Crystal RAT, and Zeus-Sphinx had anti-analysis techniques added to their modules, the new variant of Anubis, which is under development, could allow attackers to gain a granular insight into an infected device.
  • A new discovered Ramsay malware toolkit was found to be capable of collecting sensitive files from air-gapped systems. It is delivered via a malicious RTF file. Also, a new trojan, dubbed QNodeService, leveraged COVID-19 tax relief announcement to lure users.
  • LokiBot trojan returned in a COVID-19 themed phishing campaign to target businesses across the globe. The phishing emails included fake messages about business continuity plans during the pandemic.
  • A new vulnerability, PrintDemon, that resides in the Windows Print Spooler Service, could allow attackers to run arbitrary code with elevated system privileges. The flaw affects Windows 7, 8.1, and 10, and also Windows Server 2008, 2012, 2016, and 2019.
  • The Tropic Trooper threat actor group targeted Taiwanese and Filipino military agencies through a USBferry attack. They had employed a USB malware that executed different commands on specific targets.
  • A new spying trojan targeted European diplomatic entities through spoofed visa applications. This spyware is built on the same codebase as COMPFun.
  • The DHS, CISA, and FBI jointly shared a list of 10 most frequently exploited vulnerabilities. Microsoft Office topped the list with the highest number of flaws.
  • Avast and ESET researchers together analyzed an APT group that targeted Central Asian entities. The attackers infiltrated the network of these organizations and planted backdoors for monitoring and gathering information.The attack had occurred in September 2019.


netwalker ransomware operators
grubman shire meiselas sacks
magellan healthcare
maze ransomware
diebold niixford
ako ransomware

Posted on: May 15, 2020

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