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  • An unknown group is spying on telecommunications companies in the Middle East

    The cloud as a control server and WhatsApp messages as an infection vector.

    Cybersecurity researchers at SentinelOne have discovered that a previously unknown group is attacking telecommunications companies in the Middle East as part of a cyberespionage campaign.

    Experts track the group as WIP26. According to them, WIP26 uses a public cloud infrastructure to deliver malware and store deleted data, as well as for command and control (C&C, C2) purposes. Hackers use this tactic to avoid detection.

    The attacks seen by SentinelOne usually started with WhatsApp messages addressed to specific employees of the targeted companies. The messages included a link to a Dropbox archive that allegedly contained documents on poverty-related topics relevant to the region. But in fact, it also contained a malware downloader.

    Users who followed the link ended up installing 2 backdoors on their devices. SentinelOne tracks one of them as CMD365 - it uses the Microsoft 365 email client as a C2 server, and the second backdoor, dubbed CMDEmber, uses a Google Firebase instance for the same purpose.

    WIP26 uses backdoors to:

    conducting reconnaissance;
    privilege escalation;
    deployment of additional malware;
    theft of personal data of the user's browser;
    information about valuable systems in the victim's network;
    other data.

    SentinelOne estimates that much of the data it collects allows hackers to prepare for a future attack.

    WIP26 is one of many attackers that have attacked telecommunications companies over the past few years. One recent example is the attack on the Australian telecommunications company Optus. Security experts have cited these attacks as a sign of increased interest in telecommunications companies among cybercriminals seeking to steal customer data or hijack mobile devices using the SIM Swapping technique.

    Author DeepWeb
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