Expanding its malicious operations on Apple’s macOS, the North Korean hacking group Lazarus is targeting financial sectors, especially the cryptocurrency businesses.
The hacking group has been using Microsoft-owned task automation and configuration management framework — PowerShell — to control Windows systems and macOS malware for Apple users, Russian cyber security firm Kaspersky wrote in a blog post on Tuesday.
“They have developed custom PowerShell scripts that communicate with malicious command-and-control (C2) servers and execute commands from the operator,” the post said.
The malware then gets distributed via documents prepared to attract the attention of cryptocurrency professionals.
“Apple products are popular among successful Internet startups and fintech companies, and this is why the malicious actor built and used macOS malware,” it said.
The hacking group also appears to be working with the same developers to expand to other platforms, because some of the features have remained consistent as its malware evolves.
“We’d therefore like to ask Windows and macOS users to be more cautious, exercise extra caution when dealing with new third parties, installing softwares and never ‘Enable Content’ (macro scripting) in Microsoft Office documents, received from new or untrusted sources,” the post informed.
Lazarus has been linked to a string of cyber attacks on businesses, banks and government agencies across the world, including the 2016 Sony hack and the WannaCry ransomware outbreak in 2017. (IANS)
If you thought instant messaging platforms like WhatsApp and Telegram that provide end-to-end encryption give you rock-solid security, think again. Researchers from cyber-security firm Symantec on Monday revealed vulnerabilities that allowed hackers to manipulate the images and audio files you receive on these platforms.
The security flaw, dubbed “Media File Jacking”, affected WhatsApp for Android by default, and Telegram for Android if certain features were enabled, Symantec researchers said in a blog post.
According to the researchers, WhatsApp saves files to external storage automatically, while Telegram does so when the “Save to Gallery” feature is enabled. However, neither apps have any system in place to protect users from a Media File Jacking attack, the researchers from Symantec’s Modern OS Security team explained.
Attackers could exploit this vulnerability to scam victims in various ways.
“If the security flaw is exploited, a malicious attacker could misuse and manipulate sensitive information such as personal photos and videos, corporate documents, invoices, and voice memos,” wrote Software Engineer Alon Gat and Yair Amit, Vice-President and Chief Technology Officer, Modern OS Security, Symantec.
Giving example of image manipulation, the researchers said a seemingly innocent, but actually malicious, app downloaded by a user could manipulate personal photos in near-real time and without the victim knowing.
The app runs in the background and performs a “Media File Jacking attack” while the victim uses WhatsApp. It monitors for photos received through the app, identifies faces in photos, and replaces them with something else, such as other faces or objects.
“A WhatsApp user may send a family photo to one of their contacts, but what the recipient sees is actually a modified photo. While this attack may seem trivial and just a nuisance, it shows the feasibility of manipulating images on the fly,” said the blog post.
Using the same vulnerability, the attackers could make payment manipulation, audio message spoofing or spread fake news.
“In one of the most damaging Media File Jacking attacks, a malicious actor can manipulate an invoice sent by a vendor to a customer, to trick the customer into making a payment to an illegitimate account,” Gat and Amit wrote.
“The Media File Jacking threat is especially concerning in light of the common perception that the new generation of IM (instant messaging) apps are immune to content manipulation and privacy risks, thanks to the utilisation of security mechanisms like end-to-end encryption,” they added.
Reports in May revealed that a bug in WhatsApp’s audio call feature allowed hackers to install spyware onto Android and iOS phones just by calling the target. The spyware was reportedly developed by the Israeli cyber intelligence company NSO Group.