Last week in security news, security researchers investigated how ransomware actors are targeting victims’ cloud-based backups to maximize their profits. Speaking of ransomware, the security community learned of a new family attempting to encrypt the entire networks of U.S. cities and businesses. New attack attempts involving Cerberus and Domen also came to light.

Top Story of the Week: Cloud-Based Backups Targeted by Ransomware Actors

Bleeping Computer reached out to the operators of the DoppelPaymer and Maze ransomware families to learn how these threats target victims’ cloud backups. From this conversation, the computer self-help site learned that ransomware actors commonly use tools such as Mimikatz to dump credentials from the active directory as part of the infection chain. Malicious actors turned to this technique in the past in an attempt to gain access to organizations’ cloud backup software.

If they found properly configured software, the ransomware actors attempted to gain access to a victim’s credentials for the service using phishing attacks, keyloggers and/or other means. They then abused those credentials to authenticate themselves for the purpose of restoring a victim’s data onto their servers before deleting the backups and demanding that the victim pay up.

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Also in Security News

  • More Than a Billion Devices Open to Krøøk Vulnerability: ESET identified a vulnerability that could enable malicious actors to intercept and decrypt Wi-Fi traffic using WPA2 connections. The security flaw, dubbed Krøøk, affected more than a billion devices at the time of discovery, the security firm noted.
  • Expired Security Certificates Employed as Lure to Deliver Malware: Kaspersky Lab detected several attack attempts in which infected websites informed visitors that some kind of security certificate had expired and thus required an update. If they allowed the update to run, they unknowingly exposed themselves to Buerak, which then downloaded the Mokes backdoor.
  • Smoke Loader Distributed by Domen’s New Malvertising Campaign: In mid-February, Malwarebytes discovered a new malvertising campaign launched by the Domen social engineering toolkit. Using a VPN service as a lure, the campaign redirected its victims to Smoke Loader, a malicious downloader that installed numerous secondary payloads in some cases.
  • New RAT Capability Added by Cerberus Android Malware: Back in mid-January, security researchers at ThreatFabric came across a new variant of the Cerberus Android malware family. This version arrived with the ability to steal two-factor authentication (2FA) codes by abusing the Accessibility services on an infected device and the ability to intercept a user’s screen lock credentials via an overlay screen.
  • U.S. Cities, Businesses Caught in PwndLocker’s Crosshairs: Sources told Bleeping Computer that a new family of ransomware called PwndLocker began encrypting the entire networks of U.S. businesses and cities. In each of its successful attacks, the threat demanded high ransom payments ranging from $175,000 to $660,000.
  • OneNote Notebook Leveraged by Phishers to Prey Upon Users: Cofense discovered a phishing campaign in which malicious actors used a OneNote notebook hosted on OneDrive to phish for users’ account credentials. The threat actors behind this operation also leveraged the notebook to drop the Agent Tesla keylogger and other malware payloads.

Security Tip of the Week: Protect Your Organization’s Data Assets

Security professionals can help protect their organization’s data assets by using security controls to block and mask their sensitive information. These security measures should involve the implementation of encryption. Additionally, infosec personnel should use ongoing security awareness training to cultivate a strong security culture in the workplace.

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