Researchers report that Remcos Trojan was used by threat actors to target Ukrainian government entities through phishing attacks as part of wider cyberespionage operations. Meanwhile, Formbook and Emotet returned to the top three most prevalent malware families, and Education/Research remained the most targeted industry
Our latest Global Threat Index for February 2023 saw Remcos Trojan return to the top ten list for the first time since December 2022 after it was reported being used by threat actors to target Ukranian government entities through phishing attacks. Meanwhile, Emotet Trojan and Formbook Infostealer climbed the ranking taking second and third place respectively, while Education/Research remained the most targeted industry.
Despite researchers identifying a 44% decrease in the average number of weekly attacks per organization between October 2022 and February 2023, Ukraine remains a popular target for cybercriminals following the Russian invasion. In the most recent campaign, attackers impersonated Ukrtelecom JSC in a mass email distribution, using a malicious RAR attachment to spread the Remcos Trojan, which has returned to the top malware list for the first time since December 2022. Once installed, the tool opens a backdoor on the compromised system, allowing full access to the remote user for activities such as data exfiltration and command execution. The ongoing attacks are believed to be linked to cyberespionage operations due to the behavior patterns and offensive capabilities of the incidents.
While there has been a decrease in the number of politically motivated attacks on Ukraine, they remain a battleground for cybercriminals. Hacktivism has typically been high on the agenda for threat actors since the Russo-Ukrainian war began and most have favored disruptive attack methods such as DDoS to garner the most publicity. However, the latest campaign used a more traditional route of attack using phishing scams to obtain user information and extract data. It’s important that all organizations and government bodies follow safe security practices when receiving and opening emails. Do not download attachments without scanning the properties first. Avoid clicking on links within the body of the email and check the sender address for any abnormalities such as additional characters or misspellings.
CPR also revealed that “Web Servers Malicious URL Directory Traversal” was the most exploited vulnerability, impacting 47% of organizations globally. This was followed by “Web Server Exposed Git Repository Information Disclosure” which impacted 46% of organizations worldwide while “Apache Log4j Remote Code Execution” is the third most used vulnerability, with a global impact of 45%.
Top malware families
*The arrows relate to the change in rank compared to the previous month.
Qbot was the most prevalent malware last month, impacting more than 7% of organizations worldwide. This was followed by FormBook with a global impact of 5% and Emotet with a global impact of 4%.
- ↔ Qbot – Qbot AKA Qakbot is a banking Trojan that first appeared in 2008. It was designed to steal a user’s banking credentials and keystrokes. Often distributed via spam email, Qbot employs several anti-VM, anti-debugging, and anti-sandbox techniques to hinder analysis and evade detection.
- ↑ Formbook – Formbook is an Infostealer targeting the Windows OS and was first detected in 2016. It is marketed as Malware as a Service (MaaS) in underground hacking forums for its strong evasion techniques and relatively low price. FormBook harvests credentials from various web browsers, collects screenshots, monitors and logs keystrokes, and can download and execute files according to orders from its C&C.
- ↑ Emotet – Emotet is an advanced, self-propagate and modular Trojan. Emotet once used to be employed as a banking Trojan, and recently has been used as a distributor to other malware or malicious campaigns. It uses multiple methods for maintaining persistence and Evasion techniques to avoid detection. In addition, it can be spread through phishing spam emails containing malicious attachments or links.
- ↑ XMRig – XMRig is open-source CPU mining software used to mine the Monero cryptocurrency. Threat actors often abuse this open-source software by integrating it into their malware to conduct illegal mining on victims’ devices.
- ↓ AgentTesla – AgentTesla is an advanced RAT functioning as a keylogger and information stealer, which is capable of monitoring and collecting the victim’s keyboard input, system keyboard, taking screenshots, and exfiltrating credentials to a variety of software installed on a victim’s machine (including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and the Microsoft Outlook email client).
- ↑ GuLoader – Guloader is a downloader that has been widely used since December 2019. When it first appeared, GuLoader was used to download Parallax RAT but has been applied to other remote access trojans and info-stealers such as Netwire, FormBook, and Agent Tesla.
- ↑ Nanocore – NanoCore is a Remote Access Trojan that targets Windows operating system users and was first observed in the wild in 2013. All versions of the RAT contain basic plugins and functionalities such as screen capture, crypto currency mining, remote control of the desktop and webcam session theft.
- ↑ Remcos – Remcos is a RAT that first appeared in the wild in 2016. Remcos distributes itself through malicious Microsoft Office documents, which are attached to SPAM emails, and is designed to bypass Microsoft Windows’s UAC security and execute malware with high-level privileges.
- ↑ Tofsee – Tofsee is a Trickler that targets the Windows platform. This malware attempts to download and execute additional malicious files on target systems. It may download and display an image file to a user to hide its true purpose.
- ↑ Phorpiex – Phorpiex is a botnet (aka Trik) that has been active since 2010 and at its peak controlled more than a million infected hosts. It is known for distributing other malware families via spam campaigns as well as fueling large-scale spam and sextortion campaigns.
Top Attacked Industries Globally
Last month, Education/Research remained the most attacked industry globally, followed by Government/Military and then Healthcare.
Top exploited vulnerabilities
Last month “Web Servers Malicious URL Directory Traversal” was the most exploited vulnerability, impacting 47% of organizations globally. This was followed by “Web Server Exposed Git Repository Information Disclosure” which impacted 46% of organizations worldwide while “Apache Log4j Remote Code Execution” is the third most used vulnerability, with a global impact of 45%.
- ↑ Web Servers Malicious URL Directory Traversal – There exists a directory traversal vulnerability on different web servers. The vulnerability is due to an input validation error in a web server that does not properly sanitize the URI for the directory traversal patterns. Successful exploitation allows unauthenticated remote attackers to disclose or access arbitrary files on the vulnerable server.
- ↓ Web Server Exposed Git Repository Information Disclosure – An information disclosure vulnerability has been reported in Git Repository. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability could allow an unintentional disclosure of account information.
- ↑ Apache Log4j Remote Code Execution (CVE-2021-44228) – A remote code execution vulnerability exists in Apache Log4j. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability could allow a remote attacker to execute arbitrary code on the affected system.
- ↓ HTTP Headers Remote Code Execution (CVE-2020-10826,CVE-2020-10827,CVE-2020-10828,CVE-2020-13756) – HTTP headers allow the server to pass additional information with an HTTP request. A remote attacker may use a vulnerable HTTP Header to run arbitrary code on the victim’s machine.
- ↓ Command Injection Over HTTP (CVE-2021-43936,CVE-2022-24086) – A command Injection over HTTP vulnerability has been reported. A remote attacker can exploit this issue by sending a specially crafted request to the victim. Successful exploitation would allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code on the target machine.
- ↓ MVPower DVR Remote Code Execution – A remote code execution vulnerability exists in MVPower DVR devices. A remote attacker can exploit this weakness to execute arbitrary code in the affected router via a crafted request.
- ↔ PHP Easter Egg Information Disclosure – An information disclosure vulnerability has been reported in the PHP pages. The vulnerability is due to incorrect web server configuration. A remote attacker can exploit this vulnerability by sending a specially crafted URL to an affected PHP page.
- ↓ Dasan GPON Router Authentication Bypass (CVE-2018-10561) – An authentication bypass vulnerability exists in Dasan GPON routers. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability would allow remote attackers to obtain sensitive information and gain unauthorized access into the affected system.
- ↓ WordPress portable-phpMyAdmin Plugin Authentication Bypass (CVE-2012-5469) – An authentication bypass vulnerability exists in WordPress portable-phpMyAdmin Plugin. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability would allow remote attackers to obtain sensitive information and gain unauthorized access into the affected system.
- ↓ OpenSSL TLS DTLS Heartbeat Information Disclosure (CVE-2014-0160,CVE-2014-0346) – An information disclosure vulnerability exists in OpenSSL. The vulnerability, aka Heartbleed, is due to an error when handling TLS/DTLS heartbeat packets. An attacker can leverage this vulnerability to disclose memory contents of a connected client or server.
Top Mobile Malwares
Last month Anubis remained the most prevalent mobile malware, followed by Hiddad and AhMyth.
- Anubis – Anubis is a banking Trojan malware designed for Android mobile phones. Since it was initially detected, it has gained additional functions including Remote Access Trojan (RAT) functionality, keylogger, audio recording capabilities and various ransomware features. It has been detected on hundreds of different applications available in the Google Store.
- Hiddad – Hiddad is an Android malware which repackages legitimate apps and then releases them to a third-party store. Its main function is to display ads, but it can also gain access to key security details built into the OS.
- AhMyth – AhMyth is a Remote Access Trojan (RAT) discovered in 2017. It is distributed through Android apps that can be found on app stores and various websites. When a user installs one of these infected apps, the malware can collect sensitive information from the device and perform actions such as keylogging, taking screenshots, sending SMS messages, and activating the camera.
Check Point’s Global Threat Impact Index and its ThreatCloud Map is powered by Check Point’s ThreatCloud intelligence. ThreatCloud provides real-time threat intelligence derived from hundreds of millions of sensors worldwide, over networks, endpoints and mobiles. The intelligence is enriched with AI-based engines and exclusive research data from Check Point Research, the intelligence and research Arm of Check Point Software Technologies.