Initial Access Broker involved in Log4Shell attacks against VMware Horizon Servers.

Views expressed in this cybersecurity-cybercrime update are those of the reporters and correspondents.

Accessed on 27 January 2022, 0230 UTC.

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Initial Access Broker Involved in Log4Shell Attacks Against VMware Horizon Servers

January 26, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
An initial access broker group tracked as Prophet Spider has been linked to a set of malicious activities that exploits the Log4Shell vulnerability in unpatched VMware Horizon Servers. According to new research published by BlackBerry Research & Intelligence and Incident Response (IR) teams today, the cybercrime actor has been opportunistically weaponizing the shortcoming to download a second-stage payload onto the victimized systems. The payloads observed include cryptocurrency miners, Cobalt Strike Beacons, and web shells, corroborating a previous advisory from the U.K. National Health Service (NHS) that  sounded the alarm  on active exploitation of the vulnerabilities in VMware Horizon servers to drop malicious web shells and establish persistence on affected networks for follow-on attacks. Log4Shell  is a moniker used to refer to an exploit affecting the popular Apache Log4j library that results in remote code execution by logging a specially crafted string. Since public

Webinar: How to See More, But Respond Less with Enhanced Threat Visibility

January 26, 2022The Hacker News
The subject of threat visibility is a recurring one in cybersecurity. With an expanding attack surface due to the remote work transformation, cloud and SaaS computing and the proliferation of personal devices, seeing all the threats that are continuously bombarding the company is beyond challenging. This especially rings true for small to medium-sized enterprises with limited security budgets and lean IT security teams. An upcoming webinar ( register here ) tries to help lean security teams understand how to tackle this intractable problem. While adding security solutions to cover blind spots seems logical, the webinar will argue that this just leads to more alarms and more noise. While this approach might be workable for large security teams, smaller teams simply don’t have the bandwidth to handle an increase in alerts. Instead, organizations need broad threat visibility to cover the current blind spots, but then needs the ability to combine, rank and filter alarms by importanc

Google Drops FLoC and Introduces Topics API to Replace Tracking Cookies for Ads

January 25, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Google on Tuesday announced that it is abandoning its controversial plans for replacing third-party cookies in favor of a new Privacy Sandbox proposal called  Topics , which categorizes users’ browsing habits into approximately 350 topics. The new mechanism , which takes the place of  FLoC  (short for Federated Learning of Cohorts), slots users’ browsing history for a given week into a handful of top pre-designated interests (i.e., topics), which are retained only on the device for a revolving period of three weeks. Subsequently, when a user visits a participating site, the Topics API selects three of the interests — one topic from each of the past three weeks — to share with the site and its advertising partners. To give more control over the framework, users can not only see the topics but also remove topics or disable it altogether. By labeling each website with a recognizable, high-level topic and sharing the most frequent topics associated with the browsing history,

12-Year-Old Polkit Flaw Lets Unprivileged Linux Users Gain Root Access

January 25, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
A 12-year-old security vulnerability has been disclosed in a system utility called Polkit that grants attackers root privileges on Linux systems, even as a proof-of-concept (PoC) exploit has emerged in the wild merely hours after technical details of the bug became public. Dubbed “PwnKit” by cybersecurity firm Qualys, the weakness impacts a component in polkit called pkexec, a program that’s installed by default on every major Linux distribution such as Ubunti, Debian, Fedora, and CentOS. Polkit  (formerly called PolicyKit ) is a toolkit for controlling system-wide privileges in Unix-like operating systems, and provides a mechanism for non-privileged processes to communicate with privileged processes. “This vulnerability allows any unprivileged user to gain full root privileges on a vulnerable host by exploiting this vulnerability in its default configuration,” Bharat Jogi, director of vulnerability and threat research at Qualys,  said , adding it “has

Hackers Exploited MSHTML Flaw to Spy on Government and Defense Targets

January 25, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
Cybersecurity researchers on Tuesday took the wraps off a multi-stage espionage campaign targeting high-ranking government officials overseeing national security policy and individuals in the defense industry in Western Asia. The attack is unique as it leverages Microsoft OneDrive as a command-and-control (C2) server and is split into as many as six stages to stay as hidden as possible, Trellix — a new company created following the merger of security firms McAfee Enterprise and FireEye — said in a report shared with The Hacker News. “This type of communication allows the malware to go unnoticed in the victims’ systems since it will only connect to legitimate Microsoft domains and won’t show any suspicious network traffic,” Trellix explained. First signs of activity associated with the covert operation are said to have commenced as early as June 18, 2021, with two victims reported on September 21 and 29, followed by 17 more in a short span of three days between Oct

Hackers Infect macOS with New DazzleSpy Backdoor in Watering-Hole Attacks

January 25, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
A previously undocumented cyber-espionage malware aimed at Apple’s macOS operating system leveraged a Safari web browser exploit as part of a watering hole attack targeting politically active, pro-democracy individuals in Hong Kong. Slovak cybersecurity firm ESET  attributed  the intrusion to an actor with “strong technical capabilities,” calling out the campaign’s overlaps to that of a similar digital offensive  disclosed  by Google Threat Analysis Group (TAG) in November 2021. The attack chain involved compromising a legitimate website belonging to D100 Radio, a pro-democracy internet radio station in Hong Kong, to inject malicious inline frames (aka  iframes ) between September 30 and November 4, 2021. Separately, a fraudulent website called “fightforhk[.]com” was also registered for the purpose of luring liberation activists. In the next phase, the tampered code acted as a conduit to load a  Mach-O  file by leveraging a remote code execution bug in

TrickBot Malware Using New Techniques to Evade Web Injection Attacks

January 25, 2022Ravie Lakshmanan
The cybercrime operators behind the notorious TrickBot malware have once again upped the ante by fine-tuning its techniques by adding multiple layers of defense to slip past antimalware products. “As part of that escalation, malware injections have been fitted with added protection to keep researchers out and get through security controls,” IBM Trusteer  said  in a report. “In most cases, these extra protections have been applied to injections used in the process of online banking fraud — TrickBot’s main activity since its inception after the  Dyre Trojan ‘s demise.” TrickBot , which started out as a banking trojan, has evolved into a multi-purpose crimeware-as-a-service (CaaS) that’s employed by a variety of actors to deliver additional payloads such as ransomware. Over 100 variations of TrickBot have been identified to date, one of which is a ” Trickboot ” module that can modify the UEFI firmware of a compromised device. In the fall of 2

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