Apple addressed two zero-day vulnerabilities, exploited by threat actors, affecting iOS, iPadOS, and macOS devices.
Apple this week released security updates for iOS, iPadOS, and macOS platforms to address two zero-day vulnerabilities exploited by threat actors. Apple did not share details about these attacks.
The two flaws are:
CVE-2022-32893 – An out-of-bounds issue in WebKit which. An attacker can trigger the flaw by tricking target devices into processing maliciously crafted web content to achieve arbitrary code execution. Apple is aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited.
CVE-2022-32894 – An out-of-bounds issue in the OS Kernel that could be exploited by a malicious application to execute arbitrary code with the highest privileges.
The vulnerabilities have been fixed with the release iOS 15.6.1, iPadOS 15.6.1, and macOS Monterey 12.5.1. The iOS and iPadOS updates are available for iPhone 6s and later, iPad Pro (all models), iPad Air 2 and later, iPad 5th generation and later, iPad mini 4 and later, and iPod touch (7th generation).
The IT giant solved both the vulnerabilities with improved bounds checking.
Apple has addressed other six zero-day vulnerabilities since January, below is the list of fixed issues:
Exploit code for a critical vulnerability affecting networking devices using Realtek RTL819x system on a chip released online.
The PoC exploit code for a critical stack-based buffer overflow issue, tracked as CVE-2022-27255 (CVSS 9.8), affecting networking devices using Realtek’s RTL819x system on a chip was released online. The issue resides in the Realtek’s SDK for the open-source eCos operating system, it was discovered by researchers from cybersecurity firm Faraday Security
“On Realtek eCos SDK-based routers, the ‘SIP ALG’ module is vulnerable to buffer overflow. The root cause of the vulnerability is insufficient validation on the received buffer, and unsafe calls to strcpy. The ‘SIP ALG’ module calls strcpy to copy some contents of SIP packets to a predefined fixed buffer and does not check the length of the copied contents.” reads the advisory published by Realtek, which published the issue in March 2022. “A remote attacker can exploit the vulnerability through a WAN interface by crafting arguments in SDP data or the SIP header to make a specific SIP packet, and the successful exploitation would cause a crash or achieve the remote code execution.”
Millions of devices, including routers and access points, are exposed to hacking.
A remote attacker can exploit the flaw to execute arbitrary code without authentication by sending to the vulnerable devices specially crafted SIP packets with malicious SDP data.
The issue is very dangerous because the exploitation doesn’t require user interaction.
The PoC code developed by the experts works against Nexxt Nebula 300 Plus routers.
“This repository contains the materials for the talk “Exploring the hidden attack surface of OEM IoT devices: pwning thousands of routers with a vulnerability in Realtek’s SDK for eCos OS.”, which was presented at DEFCON30.” reads the description provided with the exploit code on GitHub.
The repo includes:
analysis: Automated firmware analysis to detect the presence of CVE-2022-27255 (Run analyse_firmware.py).
exploits_nexxt: PoC and exploit code. The PoC should work on every affected router, however the exploit code is specific for the Nexxt Nebula 300 Plus router.
ghidra_scripts: Vulnerable function call searching script and CVE-2022-27255 detection script.
DEFCON: Slide deck & poc video.
Johannes Ullrich, Dean of Research at SANS shared a Snort rule that can be used to detect PoC exploit attempt.
“The rule looks for “INVITE” messages that contain the string “m=audio “. It triggers if there are more than 128 bytes following the string (128 bytes is the size of the buffer allocated by the Realtek SDK) and if none of those bytes is a carriage return. The rule may even work sufficiently well without the last content match. Let me know if you see any errors or improvements.” wrote the expert.
A China-linked APT group named RedAlpha is behind a long-running mass credential theft campaign aimed at organizations worldwide.
Recorded Future researchers attributed a long-running mass credential theft campaign to a Chinese nation-state actor tracked RedAlpha. The campaign targeted global humanitarian, think tank, and government organizations.
Experts believe RedAlpha is a group of contractors conducting cyber-espionage activity on behalf of China. Recorded Future identified a link between RedAlpha and a Chinese information security company, whose name appears in the registration of multiple RedAlpha domains. The company called “Nanjing Qinglan Information Technology Co., Ltd.” is now known as “Jiangsu Cimer Information Security Technology Co. Ltd.
“In this activity, RedAlpha very likely sought to gain access to email accounts and other online communications of targeted individuals and organizations.” reads the report published by Recorded Future.
“RedAlpha’s humanitarian and human rights-linked targeting and spoofing of organizations such as Amnesty International and FIDH is particularly concerning given the CCP’s reported human rights abuses in relation to Uyghurs, Tibetans, and other ethnic and religious minority groups in China.”
Since 2019, RedAlpha registering and weaponizing hundreds of domains that were spoofing organizations such as the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Amnesty International, the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS), Radio Free Asia (RFA), the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), and other global government, think tank, and humanitarian organizations.
Experts also noticed that the attackers used domains spoofing major email and storage service providers like Yahoo (135 typosquat domains), Google (91 typosquat domains), and Microsoft (70 typosquat domains). The domains some cases were hosting fake login pages for popular email providers such as Outlook and Zimbra.
The attackers sent out phishing messages leading victims to phishing pages posing as legitimate email login portals. Experts believe attackers target individuals affiliated with the above organizations rather than imitating these organizations to target other third parties.
The attack vector is phishing emails containing PDF files that embed malicious links that point to the phishing login pages.
“RedAlpha’s activity has expanded over the past several years to include credential-phishing campaigns spoofing ministries of foreign affairs in multiple countries.” continues the report. “We observed phishing pages imitating webmail login portals for Taiwan and Portugal’s MOFAs, as well as multiple domains spoofing Brazil and Vietnam’s MOFAs.”
“Based on these findings and wider activity examined, it is very likely that RedAlpha operators are located within the PRC. Chinese intelligence services’ use of private contractors is also an established trend, with groups such as APT3, APT10, RedBravo (APT31), and APT40 all identified as contractors working for China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS) (1,2,3,4).” concludes the report. “In the case of RedAlpha, the group’s targeting closely aligns with the strategic interests of the Chinese government, such as the observed emphasis on China-focused think tanks, civil society organizations, and Taiwanese government and political entities.”
Researchers have discovered a previously undocumented Android dropper, dubbed BugDrop, that’s still under development.
Recently, researchers from ThreatFabric discovered a previously undetected Android dropper, dubbed BugDrop, which is under active development and was designed to bypass security features that will be implemented in the next release of the Google OS.
The experts noticed something unusual in the latest sample of the malware family Xenomorph, it was an improved version of the threat that included RAT capabilities by using “Runtime modules”. The Runtime modules allow the malware to perform gestures, touches, and other operations.
The new version of Xenomorph was dropped by the BugDrop malware which is able to defeat security measures that Google will introduce to prevent malware requesting Accessibility Services privileges from victims.
The dropper was developed by a cybercriminal group known as Hadoken Security, which is the same threat actor that is behind Xenomorph and Gymdrop Android malware.
The malicious application spotted by the researchers poses as a QR code reader.
Upon launching the application it will request the Accessibility Services access to the user to perform gestures and touches on behalf of the victim.
“Once granted, while showing a loading screen, the dropper initiates a connection with its onion.ws C2, which relies on the TOR protocol, obtaining back its configuration and the URL of the payload to download and install.” reads the analysis of the experts. “Throughout the course of our investigation, this URL changed from being one of the samples in the open folder, to an external URL again referring to QR code scanners functionalities, which used a endpoint very similar to what was used by Gymdrop samples that we observed in the wild in the last few months.”
The presence of instructions in the dropper code to send error messages back to the C2 suggests it is still under development.
The experts noticed that starting with Android 13, Google is blocking accessibility API access to apps installed from outside of the official app store.
However, BugDrop, attempts to bypass this security measure by deploying malicious payloads via a session-based installation process.
“In this context, it is important to remind the new security features of Android 13, which will be released in fall of 2022. With this new release, Google introduced the “restricted setting” feauture, which blocks sideloaded applications from requesting Accessibility Services privileges, limiting this kind of request to applications installed with a session-based API (which is the method usually used by app stores).” states the analysis. “With this in mind, it is clear what criminals are trying to achieve. What is likely happening is that actors are using an already built malware, capable of installing new APKs on an infected device, to test a session based installation method, which would then later be incorporated in a more elaborate and refined dropper.”
Upon completing the development of the new features, BugDrop will give attackers new capabilities to target banking institutions and bypass security solutions currently being adopted by Google.
Google addressed a dozen vulnerabilities in the Chrome browser, including the fifth Chrome zero-day flaw exploited this year.
Google this week released security updates to address a dozen vulnerabilities in its Chrome browser for desktops including an actively exploited high-severity zero-day flaw in the wild.
The actively exploited flaw, tracked as CVE-2022-2856, is an Insufficient validation of untrusted input in Intents. The flaw was discovered by Ashley Shen and Christian Resell of Google Threat Analysis Group on 19 July 2022.
“Google is aware that an exploit for CVE-2022-2856 exists in the wild.” reads the advisory published by Google.
Google did not share technical details about the issue to prevent further exploitation in the wild.
The IT giant also fixed a critical issue, tracked as CVE-2022-2852, which is use after free in FedCM. This issue was reported by Google Project Zero researcher Sergei Glazunov on August 2, 2022.
Below is the list of the other issues addressed by the company:
[$7000] High CVE-2022-2854: Use after free in SwiftShader. Reported by Cassidy Kim of Amber Security Lab, OPPO Mobile Telecommunications Corp. Ltd. on 2022-06-18
[$7000] High CVE-2022-2855: Use after free in ANGLE. Reported by Cassidy Kim of Amber Security Lab, OPPO Mobile Telecommunications Corp. Ltd. on 2022-07-16
[$5000] High CVE-2022-2857: Use after free in Blink. Reported by Anonymous on 2022-06-21
[$5000] High CVE-2022-2858: Use after free in Sign-In Flow. Reported by raven at KunLun lab on 2022-07-05
[$NA] High CVE-2022-2853: Heap buffer overflow in Downloads. Reported by Sergei Glazunov of Google Project Zero on 2022-08-04
[$3000] Medium CVE-2022-2859: Use after free in Chrome OS Shell. Reported by Nan Wang(@eternalsakura13) and Guang Gong of 360 Alpha Lab on 2022-06-22
[$2000] Medium CVE-2022-2860: Insufficient policy enforcement in Cookies. Reported by Axel Chong on 2022-07-18
[$TBD] Medium CVE-2022-2861: Inappropriate implementation in Extensions API. Reported by Rong Jian of VRI on 2022-07-21
The CVE-2022-2856 is the fifth zero-day vulnerability in Chrome that Google has addressed this year, the other ones are:
CVE-2022-2294 (July 4) – Heap buffer overflow in the Web Real-Time Communications (WebRTC) component
CVE-2022-0609 – (February 14) – use after free issue that resides in the Animation component.
Users should update to version 104.0.5112.101 for macOS and Linux and 104.0.5112.102/101 for Windows.
The North Korea-linked Lazarus Group has been observed targeting job seekers with macOS malware working also on Intel and M1 chipsets.
ESET researchers continue to monitor a cyberespionage campaign, tracked as “Operation In(ter)ception,” that has been active at least since June 2020. The campaign targets employees working in the aerospace and military sectors and leverages decoy job offer documents.
ESET published a series of tweets detailing the recent attacks, the experts spotted a signed Mac executable disguised as a job description for Coinbase. The malicious code was uploaded to VirusTotal from Brazil on August 11, 2022.
Malware is compiled for both Intel and Apple Silicon, it drops three files: a decoy PDF document Coinbase_online_careers_2022_07.pdf, a bundle http://FinderFontsUpdater.app and a downloader safarifontagent. The discovery is similar to other attacks detected by ESET researches in May.
The bundle employed in the attack is signed July 21 using a certificate issued in February 2022 to a developer named Shankey Nohria and team identifier 264HFWQH63.
“The application is not notarized and Apple has revoked the certificate on August 12.” states ESET.
Experts noticed that unlike May attacks, the downloader safarifontagent connects to a different C&C server (https://concrecapital[.]com/%user%.jpg). The C2 server did not respond at the time ESET experts analyzed this malware.
The researcher @h2jazi also discovered a Windows counterpart of this malware on August 4, it was dropping the exact same decoy.
ESET also shared Indicators of compromise (IoCs) for this threat.
Researchers uncovered a new flaw, dubbed ÆPIC, in Intel CPUs that enables attackers to obtain encryption keys and other secret information from the processors.
The ÆPIC Leak (CVE-2022-21233) is the first architecturally CPU bug that could lead to the disclosure of sensitive data and impacts most 10th, 11th and 12th generation Intel CPUs.
ÆPIC Leak works on the newest Intel CPUs based on Ice Lake, Alder Lake, and Ice Lake SP and does not rely on hyperthreading enabled.
“A potential security vulnerability in some Intel® Processors may allow information disclosure.Intel is releasing firmware updates to address this potential vulnerability.” reads the advisory published by Intel.
“Improper isolation of shared resources in some Intel(R) Processors may allow a privileged user to potentially enable information disclosure via local access.”
The discovery of the flaw is the result of research conducted by boffins from the Sapienza University of Rome, the Graz University of Technology, Amazon Web Services, and the CISPA Helmholtz Center for Information Security.
Unlike Meltdown and Spectre, ÆPIC Leak is an architectural bug, which means that the sensitive data are disclosed without relying on side channel attacks
“ÆPIC Leak is like an uninitialized memory read in the CPU itself.” reads the description published by the researchers. “A privileged attacker (Administrator or root) is required to access APIC MMIO. Thus, most systems are safe from ÆPIC Leak. However, systems relying on SGX to protect data from privileged attackers would be at risk, thus, have to be patched.”
The CVE-2022-21233 issue resides in the Advanced Programmable Interrupt Controller (APIC), responsible for accepting, prioritizing, and dispatching interrupts to processors.
“The scan of the I/O address space on Intel CPUs based on the Sunny Cove microarchitecture revealed that the memory-mapped registers of the local Advanced Programmable Interrupt Controller (APIC) are not properly initialized. As a result, architecturally reading these registers returns stale data from the microarchitecture.” reads the research paper. “As the I/O address space is only accessible to privileged software, ÆPIC Leak targets Intel’s TEE, SGX. ÆPIC Leak can leak data from SGX enclaves that run on the same physical core. While ÆPIC Leak would represent an immense threat in virtualized environments, hypervisors typically do not expose the local APIC registers to virtual machines, eliminating the threat in cloud-based scenarios.”
The experts tested the ÆPIC Leak issue with 100 different random keys and tried to leak the AES keys with a single run of the attack. The results are that full key recovery takes on average 1.35 s (n = 100, σ = 15.70%) with a success rate of 94 %
The flaw enables an attacker with permissions to execute privileged native code on a target machine to extract the private keys, and worse defeat attestation, a cornerstone of the security primitives used in SGX to ensure the integrity of code and data.
“We show attacks that allow leaking data held in memory and registers. We demonstrate how ÆPIC Leak completely breaks the guarantees provided by SGX, deterministically leaking AES secret keys, RSA private keys, and extracting the SGX sealing key for remote attestation.” concludes the paper.
The researchers also propose several firmware and software mitigations that would prevent ÆPIC Leak from leaking sensitive data or completely prevent ÆPIC Leak.
Intel has already released firmware updates to address the flaw.
The experts published a video demo to show how an attacker can disclose data from a protected SGX enclave.
The development comes as researchers demonstrated what’s the first-ever side channel attack (CVE-2021-46778) on scheduler queues impacting AMD Zen 1, Zen 2, and Zen 3 microarchitectures that could be abused by an adversary to recover RSA keys.
The attack, codenamed SQUIP (short for Scheduler Queue Usage via Interference Probing), entails measuring the contention level on scheduler queues to potentially glean sensitive information.
No security updates have been released to patch the line of attack, but the chipmaker has recommended that “software developers employ existing best practices, including constant-time algorithms and avoiding secret-dependent control flows where appropriate.”
Zoom addressed two high-severity vulnerabilities in its macOS app that were disclosed at the DEF CON conference.
Zoom last week released macOS updates to fix two high-severity flaws in its macOS app that were disclosed at the DEF CON conference. Technical details of the vulnerabilities were disclosed at the DEF CON conference by security researcher Patrick Wardle during its talk “You’re M̶u̶t̶e̶d̶ Rooted.”
In his talk, the expert explored Zoom’s macOS application to uncover several critical security flaws that can be exploited by a local unprivileged attacker to achieve root access to the device.
Wardle demonstrated that an attacker could hijack the update mechanism to downgrade the software to an older version that is known to be affected by vulnerabilities.
The experts pointed out that macOS users are not prompted for their admin password when Zoom is updated, because the auto-update feature is enabled by default.
Zoom informed customers last week that macOS updates for the Zoom application patch two high-severity vulnerabilities. Details of the flaws were disclosed on Friday at the DEF CON conference in Las Vegas by macOS security researcher Patrick Wardle.
Wardle, who is the founder of the Objective-See Foundation, a non-profit that provides free and open source macOS security resources, showed at DEF CON how a local, unprivileged attacker could exploit vulnerabilities in Zoom’s update process to escalate privileges to root.
“In this talk, we’ll explore Zoom’s macOS application to uncover several critical security flaws. Flaws, that provided a local unprivileged attacker a direct and reliable path to root.” Wardle explained. The first flaw, presents itself subtly in a core cryptographic validation routine, while the second is due to a nuanced trust issue between Zoom’s client and its privileged helper component.”
Wardle demonstrated that a local attacker abusing the auto-update process and leveraging a cryptographic issue related to insecure update package signature validation can install an update package.
Zoom addressed some related vulnerabilities in the past months, but Wardle explained that he was still able to exploit them in his attack. The day after the talk, the company released Client for Meetings for macOS 5.11.5 that fix the auto-update process vulnerability (CVE-2022-28756). The company also announced Version 5.11.3 which addresses the packet signature validation issue (CVE-2022-28751).
A cyber attack disrupted the IT operations of South Staffordshire Water, a company supplying drinking water to 1.6M consumers daily.
South Staffordshire Water has issued a statement confirming the security breach, the company pointed out that the attack did not impact the safety and water distribution systems.
South Staffordshire Water plc known as South Staffs Water is a UK water supply company owned by a privately owned utilities company serving parts of Staffordshire the West Midlands as well as small areas of surrounding counties in England. South Staffordshire Water plc is part of South Staffordshire plc.
Thanks to security systems in place, the company was able to supply safe water to its customers or those of its subsidiaries, Cambridge Water and South Staffs Water.
“This incident has not affected our ability to supply safe water and we can confirm we are still supplying safe water to all of our Cambridge Water and South Staffs Water customers.” reads a statement published by the company. “This is thanks to the robust systems and controls over water supply and quality we have in place at all times, as well as the quick work of our teams to respond to this incident and implement the additional measures we have put in place on a precautionary basis.”
South Staffordshire Water reassures customers that the cyber attack will not cause an extended outage.
The company is investigating the incident and is working closely with the relevant government and regulatory authorities.
The Clop ransomware gang claimed responsibility for the attack and added the name of the utility to its Tor leak site.
The ransomware gang claims to be able to impact the operations and the safety of the water supply.
The gang also claims to have stolen 5TB of data from the company.
The ransomware group has already published a sample of stolen data that includes passports, ID Cards, and images of SCADA systems.
Thames Water has denied that the Clop has breached its network and excluded any risk for its customers due to the attack.
“We are aware of reports in the media that Thames Water is facing a cyber attack. We want to reassure you that this is not the case and we are sorry if the reports have caused distress.” reads the statement from Thames Water. “As providers of an essential service, we take the security of our networks and systems very seriously and are focused on protecting them, so that we can continue to provide you with the services and support you need from us.”
BleepingComputer noticed that sample data published by Clop operators include usernames and passwords, which refer South Staff Water and South Staffordshire email addresses.
One of the leaked documents sent to the targeted firm is explicitly addressed to South Staffordshire PLC.
This circumstance suggests that Clop misidentified the victim.
Cybercriminals don’t pick their targets randomly, as hitting water suppliers during harsh drought periods could apply insurmountable pressure to pay the demanded ransom.
For this to happen, though, Clop has to redirect its threats to the correct entity, but considering the publicity the matter has taken, it’s probably too late for that.
The Computer Emergency Response Team of Ukraine (CERT-UA) confirmed the ongoing cyber espionage campaign.
Symantec and TrendMicro first discovered the Gamaredon group in 2015, but evidence of its activities has been dated back to 2013. The group targeted government and military organizations in Ukraine.
The recent wave of attacks began on July 15 and was ongoing as recently as August 8, 2022.
The attack chain starts with spear-phishing messages using a self-extracting 7-Zip file, which was downloaded via the system’s default browser. Then the mshta.exe downloaded an XML file, which was likely masquerading as an HTML application (HTA) file.
“The downloading of the XML file onto victim networks was followed by the execution of a PowerShell stealer. We saw three versions of the same PowerShell stealer appear on the one system.” reads the analysis published by Symantec. “It’s possible the attackers may have deployed multiple versions of the stealer, which were all very similar, as an attempt to evade detection.”
The files were hosted on a subdomain known to be associated with Shuckworm activity since May 2022. The final payload deployed by the attackers is a PowerShell stealer malware dubbed GammaLoad.PS1_v2.
In some cases, attackers also delivered two backdoors named Giddome and Pterodo, which are known to be part of the Gamaredon arsenal.
Pterodo is a multistage Visual Basic Script (VBS) backdoor designed to collect sensitive information or maintain access to compromised machines. It is distributed in a spear-phishing campaign with a weaponized office document that appears to be designed to lure military personnel.
The Giddome backdoor supports multiple capabilities, including recording audio, taking screenshots, logging keystrokes, and downloading and executing arbitrary executables onto the infected hosts.
Threat actors also used the legitimate remote desktop protocol (RDP) tools Ammyy Admin and AnyDesk for remote access
“As the Russian invasion of Ukraine approaches the six-month mark, Shuckworm’s long-time focus on the country appears to be continuing unabated. That this recent activity continues even after CERT-UA documented it shows that fear of exposure does not deter the group from its activities.” concludes the report. “While Shuckworm is not necessarily the most tactically sophisticated espionage group, it compensates for this in its focus and persistence in relentlessly targeting Ukrainian organizations.”
Symantec also shared Indicators of Compromise (IoCs) for this campaign.
For about 1,900 users, Twilio hackers could have attempted to re-register their number to another device or learned that their number was registered to Signal.
Communication company Twilio provides Signal with phone number verification services, and recent security breach it has suffered had also impacted some users of the popular instant-messaging app.
Twilio hackers could have attempted to re-register the number of Signal users to another device or learned that their number was registered to Signal.
“For about 1,900 users, an attacker could have attempted to re-register their number to another device or learned that their number was registered to Signal. This attack has since been shut down by Twilio. 1,900 users is a very small percentage of Signal’s total users, meaning that most were not affected.” reads the advisory published by Signal.
The company said that all users can rest assured that their message history, contact lists, profile information, whom they’d blocked, and other personal data remain private and secure and were not affected.
The Signal PIN was not exposed as part of this security breach.
The company is notifying the 1,900 impacted users, and is prompting them to re-register Signal on their devices. Users that have received an SMS message from Signal with a link to a support article, have to follow these steps:
Open Signal on your phone and register your Signal account again if the app prompts you to do so.
To best protect your account, we strongly recommend that you enable registration lock in the app’s Settings. We created this feature to protect users against threats like the Twilio attack.
The attackers gained access to Twilio’s customer support console via phishing. For approximately 1,900 users, either 1) their phone numbers were potentially revealed as being registered to a Signal account, or 2) the SMS verification code used to register with Signal was revealed.
The experts added that the attacker explicitly searched for three numbers, and Signal received a report from one of those three users that their account was re-registered.
“We encourage users to enable registration lock for their Signal account. Using an optional registration lock with your Signal PIN adds an additional verification layer to the registration process. Go to Signal Settings (profile) > Account > Registration Lock to do this.” concludes the security advisory.
Microsoft disrupted a hacking operation linked conducted by Russia-linked APT SEABORGIUM aimed at NATO countries.
The Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) has disrupted activity by SEABORGIUM (aka ColdRiver, TA446), a Russia-linked threat actor that is behind a persistent hacking campaign targeting people and organizations in NATO countries.
SEABORGIUM has been active since at least 2017, its campaigns involve persistent phishing and credential theft campaigns leading to intrusions and data theft. The APT primarily targets NATO countries, but experts also observed campaigns targeting the Baltics, Nordics, and Eastern Europe regions, including Ukraine.
The SEABORGIUM group primarily focuses operations on defense and intelligence consulting companies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), think tanks, and higher education.
The group also targets former intelligence officials, experts in Russian affairs, and Russian citizens abroad.
SEABORGIUM’s campaigns begin with a reconnaissance activity of target individuals, with a focus on identifying their contacts on social networks or the sphere of influence.
“Based on some of the impersonation and targeting observed, we suspect that the threat actor uses social media platforms, personal directories, and general open-source intelligence (OSINT) to supplement their reconnaissance efforts.” reads the post published by Microsoft.“MSTIC, in partnership with LinkedIn, has observed fraudulent profiles attributed to SEABORGIUM being used sporadically for conducting reconnaissance of employees from specific organizations of interest. “
Threat actors used fake identities to contact target individuals and start a conversation with them to build a relationship and trick them into opening an attachment sent via phishing messages
The phishing messages used PDF attachments and in some cases, they included links to file or document hosting services, or to OneDrive accounts hosting the PDF documents.
Upon opening the PDF file, it will display a message stating that the document could not be viewed and that they should click on a button to try again.
Clicking the button, the victim is redirected to a landing page running phishing frameworks, such as EvilGinx, that displays the sign-in page for a legitimate provider and intercept any credentials
After the credentials are captured, the victim is redirected to a website or document to avoid raising suspicion.
Once the attackers have gained access to the targeted email account, they exfiltrate intelligence data (emails and attachments) or set up forwarding rules from victim inboxes to actor-controlled dead drop accounts.
In several cases, SEABORGIUM has been observed using their impersonation accounts to facilitate dialog with specific people of interest.
Microsoft confirmed it has taken action to disrupt SEABORGIUM’s operations by disabling accounts used for surveillance, phishing, and email collection. The IT giant also shared Indicators of compromise (IOCs) for this threat actor, which includes a list of more than sixty domains used by the APT in its phishing campaigns.
The complete list of domains can be found in Microsoft’s advisory, as well as safeguards that network defenders can use to prevent similar attacks.
Defenses include disabling email auto-forwarding in Microsoft 365, using the IOCs to investigate for potential compromise, requiring MFA on all accounts, and for more security, requiring FIDO security keys.
Microsoft has also released Azure Sentinel hunting queries [1, 2] that can be used to check for malicious activity.
Researchers from threat intelligence firm Cyble reported a surge in attacks targeting virtual network computing (VNC).
Virtual Network Computing (VNC) is a graphical desktop-sharing system that leverages the Remote Frame Buffer (RFB) protocol to control another machine remotely. It transmits the keyboard and mouse input from one computer to another, relaying the graphical-screen updates, over a network.
Researchers from Cyber looked for VNC exposed over the internet and discovered over 8000 VNC instances with authentication disabled, most of them in China, Sweden, and the United States.
Cyble observed a surge in attacks on the default port for VNC, port 5900, most of them originated from the Netherlands, Russia, and Ukraine. Exposing VNCs to the internet, increases the likelihood of a cyberattack.
Threat actors could use the access through VNC to carry out a broad range of malicious activities, such as deploying ransomware, malware, or spy on the victims.
The researchers discovered multiple Human Machine Interface (HMI) systems, Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition Systems (SCADA), Workstations, etc., connected via VNC and exposed over the internet
Cyble also reported that threat actors are selling access to systems exposed on the Internet via VNC on cybercrime forums.
“Our investigation found that selling, buying, and distributing exposed assets connected via VNCs are frequently on cybercrime forums and markets. A few examples of the same can be seen in the figures below.” Cyble states.
The experts pointed out that even if the count of exposed VNCs is low compared to previous years, some of the exposed VNCs belong to various organizations in the Critical Infrastructures sector such as water treatment plants, manufacturing plants, research facilities, etc.
“Remotely accessing the IT/OT infrastructure assets is pretty handy and has been widely adopted due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and work-from-home policies. However, if organizations do not have the appropriate safety measures and security checks in place, this situation can lead to severe monetary loss for an organization. Leaving VNCs exposed over the internet without any authentication makes it fairly easy for intruders to penetrate the victim’s network and create havoc.” Cyble concludes. “Attackers might also try to exploit the VNC service by using various vulnerabilities and techniques, allowing them to connect with the exposed asset(s).”
Security researchers from Cleafy reported that the SOVA Android banking malware is back and is rapidly evolving.
The SOVA Android banking trojan was improved, it has a new ransomware feature that encrypts files on Android devices, Cleafy researchers report.
The malware has been active since 2021 and evolves over time. The latest version of the SOVA Trojan, 5.0, targets over 200 banking and cryptocurrency exchange apps.
The authors also enhanced its evasion capabilities.
In March 2022, SOVA authors released version 3.0 which was able to capture 2FA codes and cookies, it also implemented new injections to target applications from multiple banks.
Version 4, which was released in July, unlike previous versions includes several new codes. The most interesting capability is the VNC (virtual network computing).
“Starting from SOVA v4, TAs can obtain screenshots of the infected devices, to retrieve more information from the victims. Furthermore, the malware is also able to record and obtain any sensitive information, as shown in Figure 5. These features, combined with Accessibility services, enable TAs to perform gestures and, consequently, fraudulent activities from the infected device, as we have already seen in other Android Banking Trojans (e.g. Oscorp or BRATA).” reads the analysis published by Cleafy. “With SOVA v4, TAs are able to manage multiple commands, such as: screen click, swipe, copy/paste and the capability to show an overlay screen to hide the screen to the victim.”
In SOVA v4, the author has further improved and refactored the cookie stealer mechanism. Another interesting feature updated in SOVA v4 is the protection module, which was designed to protect the malware from the victim’s actions, such as the manual uninstall of the malicious code.
If the user tries to uninstall the malware from the settings or pressing the icon, SOVA is able to intercept these actions and prevent them from abusing the Accessibilities services by returning to the home screen and showing a popup displaying “This app is secured”.
The SOVA v4 also includes a new module designed to target the Binance exchange and the Trust Wallet (official crypto wallet of Binance). The module allows operators to obtain different information, including the balance of the account, the history of the actions performed by the victim, and the seed phrase to access the crypto wallet.
Version 5 was completely refactored and new features and changes were added, including the communications between the malware and the C2 server. Experts noticed that the VNC module has yet to be integrated into the latest version.
The most interesting feature added in SOVA v5 is the ransomware module, which was already announced in the roadmap for September 2021.
The malware encrypts the files inside the infected devices using an AES algorithm and renaming them with the extension “.enc”.
“The ransomware feature is quite interesting as it’s still not a common one in the Android banking trojans landscape. It strongly leverages on the opportunity arises in recent years, as mobile devices became for most people the central storage for personal and business data.” concludes the report. “
With the discovery of SOVA v4 and SOVA v5, we uncovered new evidence about how TAs are constantly improving their malware and the C2 panel, honouring the published roadmap.Although the malware is still under development, it’s ready to carry on fraudulent activities at scale.“
Security Researchers discovered a new PyPI Package designed to drop fileless cryptominer to Linux systems.
Sonatype researchers have discovered a new PyPI package named ‘secretslib‘ that drops fileless cryptominer to the memory of Linux machine systems.
The package describes itself as “secrets matching and verification made easy,” it has a total of 93 downloads since August 6, 2020.
“Sonatype has identified a ‘secretslib’ PyPI package that describes itself as “secrets matching and verification made easy.”” reads the post published by the experts. “On a closer inspection though, the package covertly runs cryptominers on your Linux machine in-memory (directly from your RAM), a technique largely employed by fileless malware and crypters.”
The package fetches a Linux executable from a remote server and execute it to drop an ELF file (“memfd“) directly in memory. It is a Monero crypto miner likely created via the ‘memfd_create‘ system call.
“Linux syscalls like ‘memfd_create’ enable programmers to drop “anonymous” files in RAM as opposed to writing the files to disk. Because the intermediate step of outputting the malicious file to the hard drive is skipped, it may not be as easy for antivirus products to proactively catch fileless malware, that now resides in a system’s volatile memory, although the task is certainly not impossible.” continues the analysis. “Moreover, since ‘secretslib’ package deletes ‘tox’ as soon as it runs, and the cryptomining code injected by ‘tox’ resides within the system’s volatile memory (RAM) as opposed to the hard drive, the malicious activity leaves little to no footprint and is quite “invisible” in a forensic sense.”
It is interesting to note that threat actors behind the ‘secretslib’ used the name of an engineer working for Argonne National Laboratory (ANL.gov), an Illinois-based science and engineering research lab operated by UChicago Argonne LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy.
A few days ago, Check Point researchers discovered another ten malicious packages on the Python Package Index (PyPI). The packages install info-stealers that allow threat actors to steal the private data and personal credentials of the developers.
China-linked threat actors Iron Tiger backdoored a version of the cross-platform messaging app MiMi to infect systems.
Trend Micro researchers uncovered a new campaign conducted by a China-linked threat actor Iron Tiger that employed a backdoored version of the cross-platform messaging app MiMi Chat App to infect Windows, Mac, and Linux systems.
The Iron Tiger APT (aka Panda Emissary, APT27, Bronze Union, Lucky Mouse, and TG-3390) is active at least since 2010 and targeted organizations in APAC, but since 2013 it is attacking high-technology targets in the US.
Trend Micro experts discovered a server hosting both a HyperBro sample and a malicious Mach-O executable named “rshell.” While HyperBro is a malware family that is associated with APT27 operations, the Mach-O sample appears to be a new malware family targeting the Mac OS platform. The researchers also found samples compiled to infect Linux systems.
“We noticed that a chat application named MiMi retrieved the rshell executable, an app we came across recently while investigating threat actor Earth Berberoka. We noticed Iron Tiger controlling the servers hosting the app installers of MiMi, suggesting a supply chain attack.” reads the analysis published by Trend Micro. “Further investigation showed that MiMi chat installers have been compromised to download and install HyperBro samples for the Windows platform and rshell samples for the Mac OS platform.”
The Chinese hackers compromised the installers of the chat application MiMi and the malicious code was used to download and install HyperBro samples for the Windows operating system and rshell for Linux and macOS.
This appears as a supply chain attack because the Iron Tiger APT compromised the server hosting the legitimate installers for this MiMi chat application.
The rshell executable is a standard backdoor that allows operators to collect OS information and send it to the C2 server, receive commands from the C2 server, and send command execution results back to the C2.
The experts noticed that running the DMG installer on a macOS system, the user is displayed several warnings before the backdoored app is installed, such as an alert about an unverified developer.
Both the legitimate and the backdoored versions of the installer were unsigned, this implies that Mac users that want to install MiMi chat were probably used to all these extra steps to finally install it and ignore the warnings.
This is the first time the attackers attempted to target macOS alongside Windows and Linux systems.
Experts found 13 different systems infected by this campaign, eight were compromised with she’ll, six in Taiwan, one in the Philippines, and one being in Taiwan and the Philippines. The remaining ones were infected with HyperBro (four in Taiwan and one in the Philippines).
Below is the timeline of the campaign:
June 2021: Oldest Linux rshell sample found
November 2021: Threat actor modified version 2.2.0 of Windows MiMi chat installer to download and execute HyperBro backdoor
May 2021: Threat actor modified version 2.3.0 of Mac OS MiMi chat installer to download and execute “rshell” backdoor
The analysis also includes a list of Indicators of Compromise (IOCs) for this campaign.
“We attribute this campaign to Iron Tiger for multiple reasons.” concludes the analysis.
Flaws in Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T and Redmi Note 11 models could be exploited to disable the mobile payment mechanism and even forge transactions.
Check Point researchers discovered the flaws while analyzing the payment system built into Xiaomi smartphones powered by MediaTek chips.
Trusted execution environment (TEE) is an important component of mobile devices designed to process and store sensitive security information such as cryptographic keys and fingerprints.
TEE protection leverages hardware extensions (such as ARM TrustZone) to secure data in this enclave, even on rooted devices or systems compromised by malware.
The most popular implementations of the TEE are Qualcomm’s Secure Execution Environment (QSEE) and Trustronic’s Kinibi, but most of the devices in the wider Asian market are powered by MediaTek chips, which is less explored by security experts.
The experts explained that on Xiaomi devices, trusted apps are stored in the /vendor/thh/ta directory. The apps are in the format of unencrypted binary file with a specific structure.
Trusted apps of the Kinibi OS have the MCLF format, while Xiaomi uses its own format.
A trusted app can have multiple signatures following the magic fields and the magic fields are the same across all trusted apps on the mobile device.
The researchers noticed that the version control field is omitted in the trusted app’s file format, this means that an attacker can transfer an old version of a trusted app to the device and use it to overwrite the new app file. Using this trick, the TEE will load the app transferred by the attacker.
“Therefore, an attacker can bypass security fixes made by Xiaomi or MediaTek in trusted apps by downgrading them to unpatched versions. To prove the issue, we successfully overwrote the thhadmin trusted app on our test device running MIUI Global 22.214.171.124 OS with an old one extracted from another device running MIUI Global 10.4.1.0 OS.” reads the analysis published by Check Point researchers “The old thhadmin app was successfully launched, even though its code is significantly different from the original.”
The experts also found multiple flaws in “thhadmin,” app that could be exploited to leak stored keys or to execute malicious code in the context of the app.
Check Point researchers have analyzed an embedded mobile payment framework, named Tencent Soter, used by Xiaomi devices. This framework provides an API for third-party Android applications to integrate the payment capabilities. Tencent soter allows to verify payment packages transferred between a mobile application and a remote backend server, it is supported by hundreds of millions Android devices.
A heap overflow vulnerability in the soter trusted app could be exploited to trigger a denial-of-service by an Android app that has no permissions to communicate with the TEE directly.
The researchers demonstrated that it is possible to extract the private keys used to sign payment packages by replacing the soter trusted app with an older version affected by an arbitrary read vulnerability. Xiaomi tracked the issue as CVE-2020–14125.
“This vulnerability [CVE-2020–14125] can be exploited to execute a custom code. Xiaomi trusted apps do not have ASLR. There are examples on the Internet of exploiting such a classic heap overflow vulnerability in Kinibi apps. In practice, our goal is to steal one of the soter private keys, not execute the code. The key leak completely compromises the Tencent soter platform, allowing an unauthorized user to sign fake payment packages.” concludes the report.
“To steal a key, we used another arbitrary read vulnerability that exists in the old version of the soter app (extracted from the MIUI Global 10.4.1.0). As noted, we can downgrade the app on Xiaomi devices.”
Xiaomi addressed the CVE-2020-14125 vulnerability on June 6, 2022.
The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the FBI are warning of Zeppelin ransomware attacks.
The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have published a joint advisory to warn of Zeppelin ransomware attacks.
The Zeppelin ransomware first appeared on the threat landscape in November 2019 when experts from BlackBerry Cylance found a new variant of the Vega RaaS, dubbed Zeppelin.
The ransomware was involved in attacks aimed at technology and healthcare, defense contractors, educational institutions, manufacturers, companies across Europe, the United States, and Canada. At the time of its discovery, Zeppelin was distributed through watering hole attacks in which the PowerShell payloads were hosted on the Pastebin website.
Before deploying the Zeppelin ransomware, threat actors spend a couple of weeks mapping or enumerating the victim network to determine where data of interest is stored. The ransomware can be deployed as a .dll or .exe file or contained within a PowerShell loader.
Zeppelin actors request ransom payments in Bitcoin, they range from several thousand dollars to over a million dollars.
The group uses multiple attack vectors to gain access to victim networks, including RDP exploitation, SonicWall firewall vulnerabilities exploitation, and phishing attacks.
The threat actors also implement a double extortion model, threatening to leak stolen files in case the victims refuse to pay the ransom.
Zeppelin is typically deployed as a .dll or .exe file within a PowerShell loader. To each encrypted file, it appends a randomized nine-digit hexadecimal number as an extension. A ransom note is dropped on the compromised systems, usually on the desktop.
“The FBI has observed instances where Zeppelin actors executed their malware multiple times within a victim’s network, resulting in the creation of different IDs or file extensions, for each instance of an attack; this results in the victim needing several unique decryption keys.” reads the joint advisory.
The US agencies recommend not paying the ransom because there is no guarantee to recover the encrypted files and paying the ransomware will encourage the illegal practice of extortion.
The alert also included Indicators of Compromise (IOC) along with MITRE ATT&CK TECHNIQUES for this threat.
The FBI also encourages organizations to report any interactions with Zeppelin operators, including logs, Bitcoin wallet information, encrypted file samples, and decryptor files.
To mitigate the risks of ransomware attacks, organizations are recommended to define a recovery plan, implement multi-factor authentication, keep all operating systems, software, and firmware up to date, enforce a strong passwords policy, segment networks, disable unused ports and services, audit user accounts and domain controllers, implement a least-privilege access policy, review domain controllers, servers, workstations, and active directories, maintain offline backups of data, and identify, detect, and investigate abnormal activity and potential traversal of the indicated ransomware with a networking monitoring tool.
“The FBI is seeking any information that can be shared, to include boundary logs showing communication to and from foreign IP addresses, a sample ransom note, communications with Zeppelin actors, Bitcoin wallet information, decryptor files, and/or a benign sample of an encrypted file” concludes the alert.
Russian hacker group Killnet claims to have launched a DDoS attack on the aerospace and defense giant Lockheed Martin.
The Moscow Times first reported that the Pro-Russia hacker group Killnet is claiming responsibility for a recent DDoS attack that hit the aerospace and defense giant Lockheed Martin.
The Killnet group also claims to have stolen data from a Lockheed Martin employee and threatened to share it.
The group has been active since March, it launched DDoS attacks against governments that expressed support to Ukraine, including Italy, Romania, Moldova, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Norway, and Latvia.
In a video shared by the group on Telegram, the group claimed to have stolen the personal information of the Lockheed Martin employees, including names, email addresses, phone numbers, and pictures.
The group also shared two spreadsheets containing a message in Russian:
“If you have nothing to do, you can email Lockheed Martin Terrorists – photos and videos of the consequences of their manufactured weapons! Let them realize what they create and what they contribute to.” (Tanslated with Google).
At this time it is impossible to determine the real source of these data. Lockheed Martin is aware of the Killnet claims, but it did not comment on them.