Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Threat Intelligence

8/1/2019
11:15 AM
Dark Reading
Dark Reading
Products and Releases
50%
50%

Threat Actors Muddy Waters in Middle East with APT Hijacks, Fake Leaks in Q2 2019

Woburn, MA – August 1, 2019 – According to Kaspersky’s quarterly APT trends summary, advanced persistent threat (APT) activity in Q2 2019 included a number of attacks targeting or originating in the Middle East and South Korea. While the goal for many of these threats was focused on cyberespionage or financial gain, one campaign trend varied from the rest with the purpose of spreading misinformation.

Kaspersky’s APT trends summary is compiled using information from various resources including Kaspersky’s private threat intelligence research to highlight the main developments that researchers believe the public should be aware of. In the second half of 2019, Kaspersky researchers observed interesting activity in the Middle East including a series of online asset leaks such as code, infrastructure, group and apparent victim details, allegedly belonging to known Persian-speaking threat actors, OilRig and MuddyWater. Though these leaks originated from different sources, they all appeared within a few weeks of each other. The third online leak, which was said to expose information related to an entity called the “RANA institute,” was published in Persian on a website called “Hidden Reality.”

Kaspersky researchers’ analysis of the materials, infrastructure and the dedicated website led to the conclusion that this particular leak could be connected to the threat actor, Hades. Hades is the well-known cyber threat group behind the OlympicDestroyer incident targeting the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, as well as the ExPetr worm and other various disinformation campaigns including the 2017 leak of emails relating to Emmanuel Macron’s presidential election campaign in France.

Additional APT highlights in Q2 2019 include:

  • Russian-speaking groups continue to consistently refine and release new tools and launch new operations. Since March, Zebrocy appears to have turned its attention towards events, officials and related diplomats and military in Pakistan and India as well as maintaining ongoing access to local and remote Central Asian government networks. Turla’s attacks continue to feature a rapidly evolving toolset such as the apparent hijacking of infrastructure belonging to OilRig.
  • Korean-related activity remained high while the rest of South East Asia saw less activity than in previous quarters. Notable operations include an attack by the Lazarus group targeting a mobile gaming company in South Korea and a campaign by BlueNoroff, a Lazarus sub-group, targeting a bank located in Bangladesh and crypto-currency software.
  • Researchers also observed an active campaign targeting government bodies in Central Asia by Chinese-speaking APT group SixLittleMonkeys using a new version of the Microcin Trojan and a RAT that Kaspersky calls HawkEye as a last stager. 

The second quarter of 2019 shows just how clouded and confusing the threat landscape has become, and how often something is not what it seems,” said Vicente Diaz, principal security researcher, Global Research and Analysis Team, Kaspersky. “We saw a threat actor hijacking the infrastructure of a smaller group and another group possibly capitalizing on a series of online leaks to spread disinformation and undermine the credibility of exposed assets. The security industry faces an ever-growing task to cut through the smoke and mirrors to find the facts and threat intelligence that cybersecurity relies on. As always, it is important to add that that our visibility is not complete, and there will be activity that is not yet on our radar or not fully understood, so protection against both known and unknown threats remains vital for everyone.”

The APT trends report for Q2 summarizes the findings of Kaspersky’s subscriber-only threat intelligence reports, which also includes Indicators of Compromise (IOC) data and YARA rules to assist in forensics and malware-hunting. For more information, please contact: [email protected]

Read the full APT Q2 2019 trends report on Securelist.

 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 7/9/2020
Introducing 'Secure Access Service Edge'
Rik Turner, Principal Analyst, Infrastructure Solutions, Omdia,  7/3/2020
Russian Cyber Gang 'Cosmic Lynx' Focuses on Email Fraud
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  7/7/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal, a Dark Reading Perspective
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
This report describes some of the latest attacks and threats emanating from the Internet, as well as advice and tips on how your organization can mitigate those threats before they affect your business. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-5607
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
Open redirect vulnerability in SHIRASAGI v1.13.1 and earlier allows remote attackers to redirect users to arbitrary web sites and conduct phishing attacks via unspecified vectors.
CVE-2020-15001
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-09
An information leak was discovered on Yubico YubiKey 5 NFC devices 5.0.0 to 5.2.6 and 5.3.0 to 5.3.1. The OTP application allows a user to set optional access codes on OTP slots. This access code is intended to prevent unauthorized changes to OTP configurations. The access code is not checked when u...
CVE-2020-15092
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-09
In TimelineJS before version 3.7.0, some user data renders as HTML. An attacker could implement an XSS exploit with maliciously crafted content in a number of data fields. This risk is present whether the source data for the timeline is stored on Google Sheets or in a JSON configuration file. Most T...
CVE-2020-15093
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-09
The tough library (Rust/crates.io) prior to version 0.7.1 does not properly verify the threshold of cryptographic signatures. It allows an attacker to duplicate a valid signature in order to circumvent TUF requiring a minimum threshold of unique signatures before the metadata is considered valid. A ...
CVE-2020-15299
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-09
A reflected Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) Vulnerability in the KingComposer plugin through 2.9.4 for WordPress allows remote attackers to trick a victim into submitting an install_online_preset AJAX request containing base64-encoded JavaScript (in the kc-online-preset-data POST parameter) that is execu...