Latest Update25/07/2024

Threats Feed

  1. Public

    Lord Nemesis Targets Israeli Academia in Sophisticated Supply Chain Attack

    The Iranian hacktivist group Lord Nemesis, also known as 'Nemesis Kitten,' targeted the Israeli academic sector via a supply chain attack on Rashim Software, a provider of academic administration and training software. They breached Rashim's infrastructure and accessed its clients, including numerous academic institutions, by using stolen credentials and exploiting admin accounts on customer systems. This allowed them to extract sensitive data, circumvent multi-factor authentication, and instill fear by releasing findings and sending ominous warnings. The attack highlights the significant risks posed by third-party vendors and demonstrates the group's sophisticated planning and understanding of targeted IT environments.

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  2. Public

    MuddyWater's Covert Phishing Campaign Targets Israeli Government Sectors

    In March 2024, the National Cyber Directorate of Israel detected a sophisticated phishing campaign attributed to the Iranian group MuddyWater. This campaign, primarily targeting government and local government sectors in Israel, employs phishing emails with links to malicious ZIP files hosted on Onehub. These files contain the ScreenConnect tool, which enables remote control over compromised computers, allowing for sustained network access. MuddyWater is known for its expertise in social engineering and exploiting vulnerabilities, actively targeting sectors like aviation, academia, communications, government, and energy. Their focus is on maintaining a stealthy presence to facilitate further malicious activities.

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  3. Public

    Peach Sandstorm’s Multi-Faceted Attacks on Satellite, Defense, and Pharma Sectors

    Peach Sandstorm, an Iranian threat actor, has conducted password spray attacks since February 2023 against global organizations, notably in the satellite, defense, and pharmaceutical sectors. These attacks originated from TOR IPs and employed a mix of public and custom tools like AzureHound and Roadtools for reconnaissance. Once inside the network, the group established persistence through mechanisms like Azure subscriptions and Azure Arc. They also attempted to exploit vulnerabilities in Zoho ManageEngine and Confluence. Some instances involved data exfiltration and lateral movement using techniques like Golden SAML and remote desktop protocol (RDP).

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  4. Public

    Ballistic Bobcat Exploits Microsoft Exchange Vulnerabilities to Compromise 34 Organizations

    The Ballistic Bobcat (aka Charming Kitten) threat group exploited known vulnerabilities in Microsoft Exchange servers, particularly CVE-2021-26855, to gain initial access to 34 organizations, primarily located in Israel. The group employed a backdoor known as Sponsor and relied on a modular approach that used both configuration files and batch files to evade detection. Besides, the group utilized a range of open-source tools for various activities, including tunneling and credential dumping. The victims are from diverse sectors but are mainly opportunistic rather than specifically targeted. Two victims were identified outside Israel, in Brazil and the UAE, linked to healthcare and an unidentified organization.

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  5. Public

    Iranian-backed APTs Target Aeronautical Sector: A Multi-Vector Attack

    The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), FBI, and Cyber National Mission Force (CNMF) identified multiple APT actors exploiting vulnerabilities in an Aeronautical Sector organization as early as January 2023. The actors targeted a public-facing application (Zoho ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus) and the organization’s firewall device, exploiting CVE-2022-47966 and CVE-2022-42475. They gained unauthorized access, established persistence, moved laterally, and engaged in defense evasion by deleting logs. Although the attackers achieved extensive network enumeration and credential access, the report didn't confirm any data exfiltration.

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  6. Public

    APT34 Targets U.S. Enterprises with New SideTwist Trojan Variant

    APT34 has launched a new phishing campaign, using a decoy file named “GGMS Overview.doc” to target U.S.-based enterprises. The campaign employs a variant of the SideTwist Trojan for long-term control over victim hosts. Malicious macros in the document deploy the Trojan, which communicates with a C&C server. Interestingly, the C&C IP address is associated with the United States Department of Defense Network Information Center. The Trojan is capable of executing commands from the C&C and exfiltrating local files. It suggests the APT34 group might be conducting a test operation to preserve attack resources.

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  7. Public

    TA453 Campaign Deploys Novel PowerShell Backdoor and Mac-Specific Malware

    In mid-May 2023, threat actor TA453 targeted a US-based nuclear security expert affiliated with a foreign affairs think tank using deceptive emails. After initial contact, TA453 deployed a novel PowerShell backdoor, GorjolEcho, via cloud hosting providers. Upon realizing the target used a Mac, they sent another malicious email that delivered Mac-specific malware, NokNok. TA453 operates in support of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), specifically focusing on entities and individuals in the foreign affairs sector, particularly those dealing with Middle Eastern affairs and nuclear security.

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  8. Public

    MuddyWater Upgrades: The Emergence of PhonyC2 Framework

    Deep Instinct's research team has uncovered a new Command and Control (C2) framework named PhonyC2, which is believed to be linked to the threat group MuddyWater. The PhonyC2 framework was found on a server connected to infrastructure previously used by MuddyWater in various cyberattacks, including the assault on Technion in Israel. This discovery suggests PhonyC2 is MuddyWater's latest tool for orchestrating cyber espionage and it's used in an active PaperCut exploitation. The code analysis revealed structural and functional similarities to MuddyWater's previous C2 frameworks (MuddyC3), reinforcing the attribution.

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  9. Public

    Decoding Charming Kitten's POWERSTAR Deployment in Recent Cyber Attack

    The Iranian cyber-espionage group, Charming Kitten, targeted an individual who published an article about Iran. The attackers impersonated a reporter and carried out a series of seemingly benign interactions before sending a malicious RAR file containing the POWERSTAR backdoor. The backdoor, once executed, collects system information and communicates with a command-and-control server via encrypted channels. The attackers employ several modules for system reconnaissance, establishing persistence, and cleaning up forensic evidence. Notably, they leveraged the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) as a fallback mechanism for command-and-control communication.

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  10. Public

    Unveiling BellaCiao: Charming Kitten's Sophisticated Malware Tailored For Individuals

    Charming Kitten group's latest malware, BellaCiao, targets Microsoft Exchange servers across the United States, Europe, the Middle East (Turkey), and India. The malware uses a unique communication approach with its command-and-control infrastructure and is tailored to suit individual targets. BellaCiao is a dropper malware that delivers other payloads based on instructions from the C2 server. The initial infection vector is suspected to be Microsoft Exchange exploit chains, and the malware establishes persistence by masquerading as legitimate Microsoft Exchange server processes.

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  11. Public

    Mint Sandstorm Subgroup Targets US Critical Infrastructure

    The report details the Mint Sandstorm subgroup's cyberattacks targeting US critical infrastructure, including seaports, energy companies, transit systems, and a major utility and gas entity. The group rapidly adopted publicly disclosed proof-of-concept (POC) code to exploit vulnerabilities in internet-facing applications. The attacks also involved custom tools and implants, lateral movement, and persistence techniques. The phishing campaigns targeted individuals affiliated with think tanks and universities in Israel, North America, and Europe. The targeted sectors include transportation, energy, utilities, policy, security, and academia.

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  12. Public

    MERCURY and DEV-1084's Destructive Cyber Operations Against Cloud and On-Premises Environments

    MERCURY and DEV-1084, associated with the Iranian government, orchestrated a destructive operation targeting on-premises and cloud environments under the guise of a standard ransomware campaign. The attack chain involved exploiting unpatched vulnerabilities for initial access, extensive reconnaissance, persistence establishment, and lateral movement within the network. High-privilege credentials were used to create widespread destruction of resources. The attackers also breached Azure AD environments to cause further damage and data loss. They conducted extensive mailbox operations and sent emails internally and externally impersonating high-ranking employees.

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  13. Public

    Broadening Horizons: TA453's New Approaches in Cyber Operations

    Since late 2020, threat actor TA453 has exhibited a shift in targeting and tactics. Previously targeting academics, diplomats, and journalists among others, TA453 has expanded to target medical researchers, aerospace engineers, realtors, and travel agencies. New tactics include the use of compromised accounts, malware, and confrontational lures. Despite this shift, Proofpoint assesses that TA453 operates in support of Iran's IRGC Intelligence Organization, indicating a broadening scope of cyber operations. The operations appear to focus on the US, Israel, and various European countries, targeting sectors like academia, diplomacy, journalism, human rights, and energy.

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  14. Public

    Drokbk Malware: A Tool for COBALT MIRAGE's Cyber Arsenal

    The COBALT MIRAGE threat group is using Drokbk malware to target U.S. local government networks. The malware, written in .NET, consists of a dropper and a payload, with limited built-in functionality, primarily executing additional commands from the command and control (C2) server. The February 2022 intrusion began with a compromise of a VMware Horizon server using two Log4j vulnerabilities. Drokbk is deployed post-intrusion alongside other access mechanisms, such as Fast Reverse Proxy (FRPC) tool, for persistence within the victim's environment.

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  15. Public

    Spearphishing and Syncro: The Tools of MuddyWater's Recent Cyber Attacks

    The MuddyWater group has launched a campaign targeting countries including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Oman, Qatar, Tajikistan, and the UAE. The group has employed the remote administration tool "Syncro" and used spear-phishing techniques, leveraging Dropbox and OneDrive to deliver the malicious Syncro MSI installer. The threat actors also utilized legitimate corporate email accounts to distribute their phishing emails. The sectors notably targeted include the data hosting, hospitality, and insurance sectors.

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  16. Public

    Iranian APTs Exploit Log4Shell to Compromise FCEB Network

    In April 2022, CISA detected Iranian government-sponsored APT activity compromising an FCEB organization's network via the Log4Shell vulnerability. Initial exploitation targeted an unpatched VMware Horizon server, later spreading to the domain controller. The threat actors utilized PowerShell commands, disabled Windows Defender, and established persistence through scheduled tasks. Tools like Mimikatz and Ngrok were deployed for credential harvesting and C2 communication. Despite attempts to dump the LSASS process, additional anti-virus measures thwarted this activity. Lateral movement was observed, as were activities aimed at credential and account manipulation.

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  17. Public

    Unveiling the Actors behind COBALT MIRAGE: A Ransomware Incident Analysis

    The Secureworks Counter Threat Unit analyzed a ransomware incident involving the Iranian COBALT MIRAGE threat group. The group exploited ProxyShell vulnerabilities, used a customized variant of Fast Reverse Proxy (FRPC) named TunnelFish, and encrypted servers using BitLocker. Despite attempts to erase their digital footprint, several tools and artifacts were recoverable, leading to the identification of associated individuals and entities, including Ahmad Khatibi, CEO of Afkar System Co., and Mansour Ahmadi, CEO of Najee Technology.

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  18. Public

    "Korg" in Action: How TA453 Leveraged Multi-Persona Impersonation in Spear Phishing

    The Iran-aligned threat actor TA453 has introduced a novel technique known as Multi-Persona Impersonation (MPI) to its spear-phishing campaigns. This method involves the simultaneous use of multiple false identities to enhance the credibility of their social engineering attacks. Alongside MPI, TA453 uses a malicious Word document exploiting Remote Template Injection, codenamed "Korg," to exfiltrate data.

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  19. Public

    DEV-0270's Cyber Offensive: A Profiling of Their Ransomware Operations

    The DEV-0270 group, believed to be linked to the Iranian organization Secnerd/Lifeweb, has been conducting ransomware operations primarily by exploiting known vulnerabilities in Exchange and Fortinet. The group typically targets organizations with exposed and vulnerable servers. Their tactics involve account discovery, credential dumping, account creation, process injection, privilege escalation, and data encryption. They also use evasion techniques like disabling antivirus tools, and masquerading malicious activities under legitimate processes. Notably, the group uses lateral movement methods like Remote Desktop Protocol and WMIExec for propagation across networks.

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  20. Public

    MERCURY Turns to SysAid Applications for Targeted Cyberattacks in Israel

    The Iran-based threat actor MERCURY, linked to Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), was detected exploiting Log4j 2 vulnerabilities in SysAid applications against organizations in Israel. Using these exploits for initial access, MERCURY established persistence, dumped credentials, and moved laterally within the targeted organizations. The actor also utilized both custom and well-known hacking tools alongside built-in operating system tools. Microsoft has implemented detections against MERCURY's tools in its Defender Antivirus and Defender for Endpoint and has directly notified customers targeted or compromised by MERCURY.

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  21. Public

    Charming Kitten's HYPERSCRAPE Tool Found Stealing User Data from Email Accounts

    A new tool called HYPERSCRAPE, discovered by Google Threat Analysis Group in December 2021, has been found to be used by Charming Kitten to steal user data from Gmail, Yahoo and Microsoft Outlook accounts. HYPERSCRAPE requires the victim's account credentials to run, and once logged in, it changes the account's language settings to English, downloads messages individually as .eml files, and reverts the language back to its original settings once the inbox has been downloaded.

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  22. Public

    Yellow Garuda's New Arsenal: Telegram 'Grabber' Tool and Android Malware in Focus

    Yellow Garuda has been observed using a new Telegram 'grabber' tool alongside Android malware for domestic targeting, including victims likely linked to the Iranian music industry. The threat actor has been active since 2012, primarily using phishing attacks to harvest credentials. Despite operational security errors, Yellow Garuda has expanded its toolset to include macro-enabled template files. The observed document lures used themes related to nuclear energy, weapons, US shipping ports, and Iran's relationship with the Taliban, indicating potential targeting of a wide range of sectors.

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  23. Public

    MuddyWater's Malicious Macros: A Long-Term Threat to Middle Eastern Nations

    The MuddyWater threat group has been conducting a long-term infection campaign targeting Middle East countries since the last quarter of 2020. The campaign utilizes a malicious Word document containing VBA macros wrapped in a compressed file to compromise victims' systems. The VBA macros drop a concise VBS script, which functions as a small RAT, allowing the execution of commands via cmd and communication with a C2 server using HTTP GET and POST requests. The targeted countries include Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Syria, Israel, Bahrain, Turkey, South Africa, Sudan, and others in the Middle East region.

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  24. Public

    Iranian-Linked POLONIUM Targets Israeli Manufacturing and Defense Industries

    POLONIUM, suspected to be coordinating with Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security, is actively targeting Israeli organizations across multiple sectors such as critical manufacturing, IT, and defense. The group exploits supply chain vulnerabilities by compromising IT companies to further target downstream organizations like aviation companies and law firms. TTPs include custom implants like CreepyDrive that use cloud services for C2 and data exfiltration. MSTIC also notes overlap with Iranian groups MERCURY, CopyKittens, both in targeted victims and techniques like using AirVPN and OneDrive. Though unconfirmed, around 80% of victims were observed running Fortinet appliances, suggesting a potential CVE-2018-13379 exploitation.

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