The active espionage actor group Pawn Storm didn’t shy away from continuing their brazen attacks in the second half of 2017. Pawn Storm’s attacks usually are not isolated incidents. We can often relate them to earlier attacks by carefully looking at the technical indicators and motives.Read More
Patchwork (also known as Dropping Elephant) is a cyberespionage group known for targeting diplomatic and government agencies that has since added businesses to their list of targets. Patchwork’s moniker is from its notoriety for rehashing off-the-rack tools and malware for its own campaigns. The attack vectors they use may not be groundbreaking—what with other groups exploiting zero-days or adjusting their tactics—but the group’s repertoire of infection vectors and payloads makes them a credible threat.
We trailed Patchwork’s activities over the course of its campaigns in 2017. The diversity of their methods is notable—from the social engineering hooks, attack chains, and backdoors they deployed. They’ve also joined the Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) and Windows Script Component (SCT) abuse bandwagons and started exploiting recently reported vulnerabilities. These imply they’re at least keeping an eye on other threats and security flaws that they can repurpose for their own ends. Also of note are its attempts to be more cautious and efficient in their operations.Read More
REDBALDKNIGHT, also known as BRONZE BUTLER and Tick, is a cyberespionage group known to target Japanese organizations such as government agencies (including defense) as well as those in biotechnology, electronics manufacturing, and industrial chemistry. Their campaigns employ the Daserf backdoor (detected by Trend Micro as BKDR_DASERF, otherwise known as Muirim and Nioupale) that has four main capabilities: execute shell commands, download and upload data, take screenshots, and log keystrokes.
Our recent telemetry, however, indicates that variants of Daserf were not only used to spy on and steal from Japanese and South Korean targets, but also against Russian, Singaporean, and Chinese enterprises. We also found various versions of Daserf that employ different techniques and use steganography—embedding codes in unexpected mediums or locations (i.e., images)—to conceal themselves better.Read More
A few months ago, we covered the ChessMaster cyberespionage campaign, which leveraged a variety of toolsets and malware to compromise its targets—primarily organizations in Japan. A few weeks ago, we observed new activity from ChessMaster, with notable evolutions in terms of new tools and tactics that weren’t present in the initial attacks.Read More
A couple of common questions that arise whenever cyberpropaganda and hacktivism issues come up: who engages in it? Where do the people acquire the tools, skills, and techniques used? As it turns out, in at least one case, it comes from the traditional world of cybercrime. We’ve come across a case where a cybercriminal based in Libya turned from cybercrime to cyberpropaganda. This highlights how the cybercrime underground in the Middle East/North African region (covered in our paper titled Digital Souks: A Glimpse into the Middle Eastern and North African Underground) can expand their activity into areas beyond their original area of expertise.Read More