Vietnam-based hackers target India, US & UK with potential malware: Report

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | October 22, 2023 IST

New Delhi, Oct 22: Vietnam-based cybercrime groups are targeting digital marketing firms based in India, the US and the UK by hijacking Facebook business accounts in a malicious campaign, a new report has found.

According to the cybersecurity company WithSecure, the popular malware 'Darkgate' has been combined with a Malware as a Service (MaaS) toolkit to infect victims with rival remote access trojans (RATs) and additional information-stealing malware like Ducktail, Lobshot, and Redline.

Multiple infection attempts with DarkGate malware were identified by researchers, targeting these countries on August 4.

The lure documents, target patterns, themes, delivery methods, and overall attack tactics are similar to those seen in recent DuckTail infostealer campaigns, the report said.

DarkGate is a Remote Access Trojan (RAT) that first emerged in cyberspace in 2018. It is usually offered as a Malware-as-a-Service tool to cybercriminals. 

The researchers examined open-source data associated with the DarkGate malware campaign and discovered connections to multiple infostealers. This pattern indicates that these attacks are being carried out by the same group or threat actor. 

“By identifying characteristics of DarkGate malware lures and campaigns, we have been able to find multiple pivot points which lead to other information stealers and malware being used in very similar if not identical campaigns, and it is assessed as likely that the same threat actor group performs these campaigns,” the researchers said.

According to the report, the attack began with a file called 'Salary and new' When unwitting users downloaded and extracted it, a VBS script was activated. 

This script renamed and duplicated the original Windows binary (Curl.exe) to a new location before connecting to an external server to retrieve two additional files: autoit3.exe and an Autoit3 script compiled. 

Following that, the script executed the executable, de-obfuscated, and assembled the DarkGate RAT with the help of strings from the script.

“Based on what we’ve observed, it is very likely that a single actor is behind several of the campaigns we’ve been tracking that target Meta Business accounts,” said senior threat intelligence analyst Stephen Robinson.

After gaining control of an account, the attackers can engage in a variety of malicious activities such as malware distribution and fraud, the report warned.


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