The Laptop or computer Emergency Reaction Crew of Ukraine (CERT-UA) has warned of a new phishing marketing campaign orchestrated by the Russia-joined APT28 group to deploy beforehand undocumented malware these types of as OCEANMAP, MASEPIE, and STEELHOOK to harvest delicate information.
The activity, which was detected by the agency involving December 15 and 25, 2023, targets authorities entities with email messages urging recipients to click on on a backlink to perspective a doc.
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MASEPIE is a Python-dependent instrument to down load/add documents and execute commands, with communications with the command-and-command (C2) server having place over an encrypted channel making use of the TCP protocol.
The attacks more pave the way for the deployment of further malware, including a PowerShell script referred to as STEELHOOK that’s able of harvesting web browser information and exporting it to an actor-managed server in Foundation64-encoded format.
Also shipped is a C#-centered backdoor dubbed OCEANMAP that is intended to execute instructions making use of cmd.exe.
“The IMAP protocol is made use of as a regulate channel,” CERT-UA explained, adding persistence is reached by generating a URL file named “VMSearch.url” in the Windows Startup folder.
“Instructions, in Foundation64-encoded kind, are contained in the ‘Drafts’ of the corresponding email directories each and every of the drafts includes the name of the laptop, the name of the user and the model of the OS. The benefits of the commands are saved in the inbox listing.”
The agency even further pointed out that reconnaissance and lateral movement routines are carried out inside of an hour of the original compromise by taking advantage of instruments like Impacket and SMBExec.
The disclosure comes months after IBM X-Drive disclosed APT28’s use of lures relevant to the ongoing Israel-Hamas war to facilitate the supply of a custom backdoor referred to as HeadLace.
In new weeks, the prolific Kremlin-backed hacking team has also been attributed to the exploitation of a now-patched critical security flaw in its Outlook email provider (CVE-2023-23397, CVSS score: 9.8) to achieve unauthorized access to victims’ accounts inside of Trade servers.
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