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
Firms Improve Threat Detection but Face Increasingly Disruptive Attacks
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  2/20/2020
Ransomware Damage Hit $11.5B in 2019
Dark Reading Staff 2/20/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
6 Emerging Cyber Threats That Enterprises Face in 2020
This Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at six emerging cyber threats that enterprises could face in 2020. Download your copy today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises Are Developing and Maintaining Secure Applications
How Enterprises Are Developing and Maintaining Secure Applications
The concept of application security is well known, but application security testing and remediation processes remain unbalanced. Most organizations are confident in their approach to AppSec, although others seem to have no approach at all. Read this report to find out more.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2018-19668
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-27
** REJECT ** DO NOT USE THIS CANDIDATE NUMBER. ConsultIDs: CVE-2018-17963. Reason: This candidate is a reservation duplicate of CVE-2018-17963. Notes: All CVE users should reference CVE-2018-17963 instead of this candidate. All references and descriptions in this candidate have been removed to preve...
CVE-2019-12882
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-27
** REJECT ** DO NOT USE THIS CANDIDATE NUMBER. ConsultIDs: none. Reason: This candidate was withdrawn by its CNA. Further investigation showed that it was not a security issue. Notes: none.
CVE-2017-6363
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-27
** DISPUTED ** In the GD Graphics Library (aka LibGD) through 2.2.5, there is a heap-based buffer over-read in tiffWriter in gd_tiff.c. NOTE: the vendor says "In my opinion this issue should not have a CVE, since the GD and GD2 formats are documented to be 'obsolete, and should only be used for...
CVE-2017-6371
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-27
Synchronet BBS 3.16c for Windows allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (service crash) via a long string in the HTTP Referer header.
CVE-2017-5861
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-27
** REJECT ** DO NOT USE THIS CANDIDATE NUMBER. ConsultIDs: CVE-2017-1000020. Reason: This candidate is a reservation duplicate of CVE-2017-1000020. Notes: All CVE users should reference CVE-2017-1000020 instead of this candidate. All references and descriptions in this candidate have been removed to...