Palmerworm.. Chinese active APT.

A new espionage campaign targeting media, construction, engineering, electronics, and finance sectors in Japan, Taiwan, the U.S., and China.Linking the attacks to Palmerworm (aka BlackTech) — likely a China-based advanced persistent threat (APT) — initial traces found in 2019 . majorly a cyber espionage campaign

Among the multiple victims infected by Palmerworm, the media, electronics, and finance companies were all based in Taiwan, while an engineering company in Japan and a construction firm in China were also targeted.

A 2017 analysis by Trend Micro found the group to have orchestrated three campaigns — PLEAD, Shrouded Crossbow, and Waterbear — with an intent to steal confidential documents and the target’s intellectual property.

Stating that some of the identified malware samples matched with PLEAD, the researchers said they identified four previously undocumented backdoors (Backdoor.Consock, Backdoor.Waship, Backdoor.Dalwit, and Backdoor.Nomri),

The brand new custom malware toolset alone would have made the attribution difficult if it were not for the use of dual-use tools (such as Putty, PSExec, SNScan, and WinRAR) and stolen code-signing certificates to digitally sign its malicious payloads and thwart detection, a tactic that it has been found to employ before.

Another detail that’s noticeably not too clear is the infection vector itself, the method Palmerworm has used to gain initial access to the victim networks. The group, however, has leveraged spear-phishing emails in the past to deliver and install their backdoor, either in the form of an attachment or through links to cloud storage services.

“APT groups continue to be highly active in 2020, with their use of dual-use tools and living-off-the-land tactics making their activity ever harder to detect, and underlining the need for customers to have a comprehensive security solution in place that can detect this kind of activity,”.

APT 41 into limelight

Tracked as Barium, Wicked Panda, Winnti, and Wicked Spider, the cyber-espionage group is said to have hacked over 100 organizations worldwide,

APT41’s activity spans over more than a decade, with victims located in the United States, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. Researchers tracked the hacker groups called Grayfly and Blackfly

Grayfly activity, which has been observed in recent years, is associated with the indictment against Jiang, Qian, and Fu, who hold senior positions in a Chinese company named Chengdu 404.

Malware used by the threat actor includes Barlaiy/POISONPLUG and Crosswalk/ProxIP (Backdoor.Motnug), with many victims compromised through public facing web servers. Backdoor.Motnug, remote accessing to the breached environment and also provides proxy access to hard-to-reach segments of the network.

Blackfly,has been active since at least 2010 and is mainly known for the targeting of video gaming companies. .

Malware used by the threat actor includes PlugX/Fast (Backdoor.Korplug), Winnti/Pasteboy (Backdoor.Winnti), and Shadowpad (Backdoor.Shadowpad). One specific artifact observed in the group’s attacks was the use of the names of security vendors when naming their malicious binaries.

The link between Grayfly and Blackfly, the security firm says, is drawn by two other Chinese nationals that the U.S. indicted as part of the APT41 group, namely Zhang Haoran and Tan Dailin. They allegedly worked at Chengdu 404 for a while, but also collaborated with the Blackfly actors for extra cash.

“Grayfly and Blackfly have been prolific attackers in recent years and, while it remains to be seen what impact the charges will have on their operations, the publicity surrounding the indictments will certainly be unwelcome among attackers who wish to maintain a low profile,”.

Sepulcher ! APT TA 413

Tracked as APT TA413 and previously associated with LuckyCat and ExileRAT malware, the threat actor has been active for nearly a decade, and is believed to be responsible for a multitude of attacks targeting the Tibetan community.

A July campaign targeting Tibetan dissidents was attempting to deliver the same Sepulcher malware from the same infrastructure, with some of the employed email addresses previously used in attacks delivering ExileRAT, suggesting that both campaigns are the work of TA413.

Targeting European diplomatic and legislative entities and economic affairs and non-profit organizations, the March campaign attempted to exploit a Microsoft Equation Editor flaw to deliver the previously unidentified Sepulcher malware.

The July campaign was employing a malicious PowerPoint (PPSX) attachment designed to drop the same malware, and Proofpoint connected it to a January 2019 campaign that used the same type of attachments to infect victims with the ExileRAT malware.

What linked these attacks, Proofpoint reveals, was the reuse of the same email addresses, clearly suggesting that a single threat actor was behind all campaigns. The use of a single email address by multiple adversaries, over the span of several years, is unlikely, the researchers say.

“While it is not impossible for multiple APT groups to utilize a single operator account (sender address) against distinct targets in different campaigns, it is unlikely. It is further unlikely that this sender reuse after several years would occur twice in a four-month period between March and July, with both instances delivering the same Sepulcher malware family,” Proofpoint says.

The Sepulcher malware can conduct reconnaissance on the infected host, supports reverse command shell, and reading and writing from/to file. Based on received commands, it can gather information about drives, files, directories, running processes, and services, can manipulate directories and files, moving file source to destination, terminate processes, restart and delete services, and more.

Covid …gives the chance for APT groups to be more sophisticated..that too Chinese APT’s