Since 2012, we’ve been keeping an eye on the IXESHE targeted attack campaign. Since its inception in 2009, the campaign has primarily targeted governments and companies in East Asia and Germany. However, the campaign appears to have shifted tactics and is once again targeting users in the United States.Read More
April last year, Pawn Storm reportedly compromised computers of the German Bundestag using data-stealing malware. This was the first documented political attack of Pawn Storm against Germany. One year later, this espionage actor group takes a swing once again.
In April 2016, we discovered that Pawn Storm started a new attack against the German Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the political party of the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel.
The attack consisted of seemingly coordinated credential phishing attacks against the CDU and high profile users of two German freemail providers. A fake corporate webmail server of CDU was set up in Latvia for advanced credential phishing. Around the same time, three domains were created for credential phishing targeting high-profile individual users of two German free webmail providers. The main fake webmail server of CDU was set up in Latvia, but the free webmail credential phishing sites are on servers of the Virtual Private Server provider in the Netherlands we have discussed previously.Read More
We recently came across a cyber attack that used a remote access Trojan (RAT) called Lost Door, a tool currently offered on social media sites. What also struck us the most about this RAT (detected as BKDR_LODORAT.A) is how it abuses the Port Forward feature in routers. Using this feature enables remote systems to connect to a specific computer or service within a private local-area network (LAN). However, when used maliciously, this feature allows remote attackers to mask their activities in the network and avoid immediate detection. Because this RAT is easy to customize, even knowledge of the indicators of compromise (which may change as a result) may not be sufficient in thwarting the threat. Easily customizable RATs like Lost Door can be hard to detect and protect against, posing a challenge to IT administrators.Read More
A small webhosting provider with servers in the Netherlands and Romania has been a hotbed of targeted attacks and advanced persistent threats (APT) since early 2015. Starting from May 2015 till today we counted over 100 serious APT incidents that originated from servers of this small provider. Pawn Storm used the servers for at least 80 high profile attacks against various governments in the US, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Formally the Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting company is registered in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). But from public postings on the Internet, it is apparent that the owner doesn’t really care about laws in UAE. In fact, Pawn Storm and another APT group, attacked the government of UAE using servers of the VPS provider through highly targeted credential phishing. Other threat actors like DustySky (also known as the Gaza hackers) are also regularly using the VPS provider to host their Command and Control (C&C) servers and to send spear phishing e-mails.Read More