Nov 21 2023
Welcome to Gone Phishing, your daily cybersecurity newsletter that longs for the day when the cybersecurity award ceremonies are afforded the same glitz, glamour, and prestige as the 2023 Billboard Music Awards. May it come #Swift 😂
Today’s hottest cybersecurity news stories:
👨💻 Darkode hacking forum mastermind ‘Fubar’ jailed for 18 👨⚖️
⛩️ DarkGate, PikaBot malware borrow from QakBot playbook ♟️
🐀 RAT infestation worsens w/ NetSupport targeting govt, biz. 🎯
👤 Dive into the saga of Thomas Kennedy McCormick, aka ‘Fubar,’ a 30-year-old from Cambridge, Massachusetts, now sentenced to 18 years in the slammer for orchestrating the notorious cybercrime forum, Darkode. 🌐
👀 The Hacker’s Kode
👮♂️ McCormick, an integral Darkode member since 2009 and one of its final administrators, recently faced the gavel on RICO conspiracy (12 months) and aggravated identity theft (6 months) charges.
His cyber misdeeds included malware distribution, website hacking, and the illicit trade of personal info, payment cards, and bank credentials. 😱
🕵️♂️ Darkode’s demise in 2015 saw the arrest of 70 cybercriminals. Fubar’s abode raid uncovered credit card info from nearly 30,000 individuals, revealing the scale of his illicit operations! 😮
🐀 Breaking the Kode
🤝 Playing a surprising turn in 2022, McCormick struck a deal with law enforcement, pledging to aid in the prosecution of other Darkode cohorts. His confession acknowledged causing financial losses of almost $680,000. 😞
💻 Despite some futile attempts to resurrect Darkode, the digital dungeon remains M.I.A., thanks to successful law enforcement operations. 🌐🔒 Justice prevails, making the online realm a tad safer!
Cybersecurity is more important than ever, and your Mac or PC are no exception. Over time, your Mac or PC can accumulate junk files, malware, and other threats that can slow it down and make it vulnerable to attack.
That’s where MacPaw comes in. MacPaw offers a suite of easy-to-use apps that can help you clean, optimize, and secure your Mac. With MacPaw, you can:
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Manage your extensions and apps to keep your Mac or PC running smoothly
Since 2008 MacPaw is trusted by over 30 million users worldwide, and it’s the perfect solution for keeping your Mac or PC safe and secure.
📉 Phishing campaigns deploying DarkGate and PikaBot are mirroring tactics reminiscent of the now-defunct QakBot trojan, warns a report from Cofense. 🦠
🔄 The attacks employ hijacked email threads for initial infection, unique URL patterns restricting user access, and an infection chain strikingly similar to QakBot’s modus operandi. QakBot, shut down in Operation Duck Hunt this August, still influences current threats. 🚫
💻 Both DarkGate and PikaBot serve as conduits for additional payloads, making them favoured choices for cybercriminals. Zscaler’s May 2023 analysis highlighted PikaBot’s parallels with QakBot in distribution methods and behaviours. 🎭
🚨 DarkGate stands out
This is thanks to its advanced evasion techniques against antivirus systems, keystroke logging, PowerShell execution, and bidirectional remote control capabilities.
Cofense’s analysis reveals a high-volume phishing campaign targeting various sectors, employing booby-trapped URLs in hijacked email threads.
A successful infection could unleash crypto miners, reconnaissance tools, ransomware, or other malicious files at the whim of threat actors. Stay vigilant, secure those inboxes! 🛡️
🃏 The Motley Fool: “Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.” Good ol’ George Dubya 😂 Let us tell who’s not fooling around though; that’s the Crüe 👀 at Motley Fool. You’d be a fool (alright, enough already! 🙈) not to check out their Share Tips from time to time so your savings can one day emerge from their cocoon as a beautiful butterfly! 🐛 Kidding aside, if you check out their website they’ve actually got a ton of great content with a wide variety of different investment ideas to suit most budgets 🤑 (LINK)
🚵 Wander: Find your happy place. Cue Happy Gilmore flashback 🏌️⛳🌈🕊️ Mmmm Happy Place… 😇 So, we’ve noticed a lot of you guys are interested in travel. As are we! We stumbled upon this cool company that offers a range of breath-taking spots around the United States and, honestly, the website alone is worth a gander. When all you see about the Land of the free and the home of the brave is news of rioting, looting and school shootings, it’s easy to forget how beautiful some parts of it are. The awe-inspiring locations along with the innovative architecture of the hotels sets Wander apart from your run of the mill American getaway 🏞️😍 (LINK)
🌊 Digital Ocean: If you build it they will come. Nope, we’re not talking about a baseball field for ghosts ⚾👻🍿 (Great movie, to be fair 🙈). This is the Digital Ocean who’ve got a really cool platform for building and hosting pretty much anything you can think of. If you check out their website you’ll find yourself catching the buzz even if you can’t code (guilty 😑). But if you can and you’re looking for somewhere to test things out or launch something new or simply enhance what you’ve got, we’d recommend checking out their services fo’ sho 😉 And how can you not love their slogan: Dream it. Build it. Grow it. Right on, brother! 🌿 (LINK)
Beware! Threat actors are deploying the NetSupport RAT in targeted attacks on the education, government, and business services sectors, according to VMware Carbon Black researchers. The trojan utilises various deceptive tactics, including fraudulent updates, drive-by downloads, malware loaders like GHOSTPULSE, and diverse phishing campaigns.
🔍 Recent Surge in Infections
In the last few weeks, researchers detected no less than 15 new infections related to NetSupport RAT. The surge highlights the severity and frequency of these targeted attacks.
🕵️♂️ From Legit Tool to Cyber Threat
Originally designed as a legitimate remote administration tool, NetSupport Manager has been misappropriated by malicious actors. It now serves as a beachhead for subsequent attacks on unsuspecting victims.
🌐 Deceptive Delivery Methods
Victims unknowingly download the RAT through deceptive means such as fake browser updates and compromised websites. In a previous campaign, compromised WordPress sites were used to distribute NetSupport RAT via fraudulent Cloudflare DDoS protection pages.
🚫 Advanced Malware Tactics
💻 Capabilities and Impact
Once infiltrated, NetSupport RAT empowers threat actors to monitor behaviour, transfer files, manipulate computer settings, and propagate within networks. The stakes are high, making it crucial to stay vigilant and fortify systems against these evolving cyber threats.
Stay informed, stay protected! 🛡️
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So long and thanks for reading all the phish!