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.

Attacks/Breaches

7/3/2019
08:15 AM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

TA505 Group Launches New Targeted Attacks

Russian-speaking group has sent thousands of emails containing new malware to individuals working at financial institutions in the US, United Arab Emirates, and Singapore.

Russian-speaking threat group TA505 has begun targeting individuals working at financial institutions in the US, United Arab Emirates, and Singapore with new malware for downloading a dangerous remote access Trojan (RAT).

Researchers at Proofpoint say they have observed TA505 sending out tens of thousands of emails containing the downloader — dubbed "AndroMut" — to users in the three countries. The group is also targeting users in South Korea in a separate but similar campaign.

In both campaigns, TA505 is using AndroMut to download "FlawedAmmyy," a full-featured RAT that allows the attackers to gain administrative control of an infected device to monitor user activity, profile the system, and steal credentials and other data from it.

FlawedAmmyy is malware that first surfaced in 2016 and is based on the leaked source code of a legitimate remote admin tool called Ammyy. TA505 has used it in previous campaigns.

"We regularly see the group Cobalt Strike using the legitimate Cobalt Strike penetration testing software in their attacks," says Chris Dawson, threat intelligence lead at Proofpoint. Threat actors also frequently abuse other remote admin tools, such as Team Viewer and VNC, in attacks. It is less common for a legitimate tool to be converted into standalone malware like FlawedAmmyy, he says.

The AndroMut downloader itself is new and first surfaced last month. The malware is written in C++ and appears to bear some resemblance to another downloader called Andromeda. AndroMut uses encryption and obfuscated API calls to evade detection and includes several anti-analysis features, including checks for sandboxes and emulators, checks for mouse movement, and checks for debuggers, Proofpoint said.

"TA505 has evolved over the last few years from an extremely high-volume actor dealing in global ransomware and banking Trojan campaigns to a targeted actor focused on regional campaigns and malware," Dawson says.

Its current malware portfolio includes multiple downloaders and sophisticated RATs. "Infections with tools like these are quiet," he notes. "Individuals and organizations often don't know that they are infected until the actor decides to install additional malware, steal credentials and identity information, or launch further attacks inside an organization."

The evasion and anti-analysis capabilities built into modern malware tools like AndroMut highlight the need for multilayered protections. In addition to securing emails and endpoint devices, organizations need to monitor for malware communication with command-and-control systems, Dawson notes.

For enterprises, the threat posed by TA505 appears to be growing, according to Proofpoint. The group is behind some of the largest email campaigns ever, including one to distribute the Locky ransomware.

Through 2017 and the first half of 2018, TA505 launched such massive campaigns that they dramatically affected global malicious email volumes, Dawson says. "The group saturated organizations with Locky ransomware and the Dridex banking Trojan," he notes.

When TA505 shifted to smaller — though still relatively large — campaigns distributing RATs and other malware, it triggered a similar shift in this direction among other attackers that continues today, Dawson says.

Related Content:

 

Black Hat USA returns to Las Vegas with hands-on technical Trainings, cutting-edge Briefings, Arsenal open-source tool demonstrations, top-tier security solutions, and service providers in the Business Hall. Click for information on the conference and to register.

 

 

 

 

Jai Vijayan is a seasoned technology reporter with over 20 years of experience in IT trade journalism. He was most recently a Senior Editor at Computerworld, where he covered information security and data privacy issues for the publication. Over the course of his 20-year ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Black Hat Q&A: Hacking a '90s Sports Car
Black Hat Staff, ,  11/7/2019
The Cold Truth about Cyber Insurance
Chris Kennedy, CISO & VP Customer Success, AttackIQ,  11/7/2019
6 Small-Business Password Managers
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  11/8/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: How do you like our new spear phishing email solution?
Current Issue
7 Threats & Disruptive Forces Changing the Face of Cybersecurity
This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at the biggest emerging threats and disruptive forces that are changing the face of cybersecurity today.
Flash Poll
Assessing Cybersecurity Risk in Today's Enterprise
Assessing Cybersecurity Risk in Today's Enterprise
Security leaders are struggling to understand their organizations risk exposure. While many are confident in their security strategies and processes, theyre also more concerned than ever about getting breached. Download this report today and get insights on how today's enterprises assess and perceive the risks they face in 2019!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-18881
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-12
WSO2 IS as Key Manager 5.7.0 allows unauthenticated reflected XSS in the dashboard user profile.
CVE-2019-18882
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-12
WSO2 IS as Key Manager 5.7.0 allows stored XSS in download-userinfo.jag because Content-Type is mishandled.
CVE-2019-18873
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-12
FUDForum 3.0.9 is vulnerable to Stored XSS via the User-Agent HTTP header. This may result in remote code execution. An attacker can use a user account to fully compromise the system via a GET request. When the admin visits user information under "User Manager" in the control panel, the pa...
CVE-2019-18874
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-12
psutil (aka python-psutil) through 5.6.5 can have a double free. This occurs because of refcount mishandling within a while or for loop that converts system data into a Python object.
CVE-2019-18862
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-11
maidag in GNU Mailutils before 3.8 is installed setuid and allows local privilege escalation in the url mode.