Ukrainian military entities are the focus on of a phishing marketing campaign that leverages drone manuals as lures to provide a Go-based open-resource submit-exploitation toolkit referred to as Merlin.
“Given that drones or Unmanned Aerial Automobiles (UAVs) have been an integral tool applied by the Ukrainian navy, malware-laced lure files themed as UAVs assistance manuals have begun to surface area,” Securonix scientists Den Iuzvyk, Tim Peck, and Oleg Kolesnikov explained in a report shared with The Hacker News.
The cybersecurity company is tracking the marketing campaign below the name STARK#VORTEX.
The Windows-based mostly payload is decoded to extract the Merlin Agent, which, in switch, is configured to communicate with a command-and-management (C2) server for put up-exploitation actions, successfully seizing manage above the host.
“Even though the attack chain is fairly basic, the attackers leveraged some pretty intricate TTPs and obfuscation strategies in purchase to evade detection,” the scientists claimed.
This is the first time Ukrainian authorities companies have been qualified applying Merlin. In early August 2023, the Personal computer Unexpected emergency Reaction Workforce of Ukraine (CERT-UA) disclosed a identical attack chain that employs CHM information as decoys to infect the computer systems with the open-supply software.
CERT-UA attributed the intrusions to a risk actor it monitors beneath the title UAC-0154.
“Data files and files employed in the attack chain are pretty able of bypassing defenses,” the researchers stated.
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“Usually receiving a Microsoft support file above the internet would be considered strange. Even so, the attackers framed the entice documents to appear as anything an unsuspecting target could possibly assume to surface in a assist-themed document or file.”
The growth arrives months right after the CERT-UA explained it detected an unsuccessful cyber attack against an unnamed critical electrical power infrastructure facility in the state undertaken by the Russian state-sponsored crew identified as APT28.
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