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Iranian threat actor exploits MSHTML vulnerability. WIRTE targets countries in the Middle East. Yanluowang ransomware attacks.




In one look.

  • Iranian threat actor exploits MSHTML vulnerability.
  • WIRTE targets countries in the Middle East.
  • Yanluowang ransomware attacks.
  • The ransomware player rebrands himself as “Sabbath”.

Iranian threat actor exploits MSHTML vulnerability.

SafeBreach researchers have observed an Iranian threat actor exploiting a Microsoft MSHTML remote code execution vulnerability (CVE-2021-40444) to target Farsi speaking victims with a PowerShell thief nicknamed “PowerShortShell”. The researchers say that “in just ~ 150 lines, it provides the adversary with a lot of critical information, including screenshots, telegram files, document collection and detailed data on the victim’s environment.” Attackers deliver the exploit via spear-phishing emails containing malicious Word documents. Microsoft published a patch for the vulnerability on September 14, explaining that “[a]An attacker could create a malicious ActiveX control for use by a Microsoft Office document that hosts the browser rendering engine. The attacker should then convince the user to open the malicious document. “

SafeBreach believes the attackers are targeting the Iranian diaspora:

“Almost half of the victims are in the United States. Based on the contents of the Microsoft Word document – which blames the Iranian leader for the ‘Corona massacre’ and the nature of the data collected, we suspect that the victims could be Iranians living abroad and could be seen as a threat to the Iranian Islamic regime. The adversary could be linked to the Iranian Islamic regime, as the use of Telegram surveillance is typical of Iranian threat actors like Infy, Ferocious Kitten and Rampant Kitten. “

The researchers note that the use of exploits is notable in this case, as Iranian threat actors typically rely on pure social engineering.

WIRTE targets countries in the Middle East.

Kaspersky describe a harpooning campaign targeting “diplomatic and financial institutions, government, law firms, military organizations and technology companies” in Middle Eastern countries including Armenia, Cyprus, Egypt, Jordan , Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and Turkey. The researchers attribute this campaign “with great confidence” to a threat actor identified as WIRTE. Researchers note similarities to Iranian threat actor MuddyWater, but they believe WIRTE is more likely to be linked to Gaza Cybergang (also known as Molerats) due to their use of bait linked to Palestine:

“We rate with low confidence that WIRTE is a sub-group under the Gaza Cybergang umbrella. Although the three subgroups we follow use entirely different TTPs, they all occasionally use decoys associated with Palestinian issues, which we have not seen commonly used by other threat actors, particularly those operating in the United States. the Middle East region such as MuddyWater and Oilrig …. WIRTE operators use simple and rather common TTPs that have allowed them to go undetected for a long time. turns out to be correct in the future, it may signal a change in the motivation of the group. Gaza Cybergang is politically motivated and therefore primarily targets government and political entities; it is unusual for such groups to target law firms and financial institutions. Despite the targeting of these latter spheres, the majority of victims still fall within the governmental and diplomatic categories. “

Yanluowang ransomware attacks.

Symantec researchers are regular a threat actor who has been using Yanluowang ransomware to attack U.S. organizations since at least August 2021. Researchers say the attackers “have focused heavily on organizations in the financial sector but have also targeted companies in manufacturing, IT, consulting, and engineering industries. Symantec notes possible connections to Thieflock ransomware as a service, indicating that these attacks are likely carried out by a former Thieflock affiliate:

“There is a temporary link between these Yanluowang attacks and older attacks involving Thieflock, a ransomware as a service developed by the Canthroid Group (aka Fivehands). Several TTPs used by these attackers overlap with the TTPs used in Thieflock attacks, including:

  • “Using custom password recovery tools such as GrabFF and other open source password dump tools
  • “Use of open source network scanning tools (SoftPerfect Network Scanner)
  • “Use of free browsers, such as s3browser and Cent browser”

The ransomware player rebrands himself as “Sabbath”.

Mandiant posted a report on a ransomware as a service operation dubbed “Sabbath,” which researchers say is a new image of the group behind the Arcane and Eruption ransomware operations. Mandiant follows this group as UNC2190, explaining that the threat actor “uses a multifaceted extortion model in which the deployment of ransomware can be quite limited, bulk data is stolen as leverage and the actor of the threat is actively trying to destroy the backups “. The group set up a new data breach extortion site on October 21:

Sabbath first appeared in October 2021 when the group publicly humiliated and extorted a US school district on Reddit and from a now suspended Twitter account, @ 54BB47h. During this recent extortion, the threatening actor demanded a multi-million dollar payment after the ransomware rolled out. Media reported that the group had taken the unusually aggressive step of sending emails directly to staff, parents and even students in order to exercise more control. public pressure on the school district.




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