Sunday, December 3, 2023

Chinese Cyber Espionage Group Targeting United States Engineering & Academic Organizations With Advanced Hacking Tools

Chinese cyber espionage actor actively distributing TEMP.Periscope malware campaign that used for set of powerful malware toolkit to compromise U.S Engineering and other  Organizations such as maritime industry, research institutes in the United States.

This malware actively distributing since 2017 along with other Chinese malware campaign but it used various infection approach with a revised toolkit.

This Chinese Cyber Espionage Group Primary focus on earlier stage was multiple targeting vectors including engineering firms, shipping and transportation, manufacturing, defense, government offices, and research universities.

Most number of Identified infected victims by this group from the United States, also Europe and Hong Kong countries affected next to the U.S.

TEMP.Periscope also leveraging a large library of malware that used by other Chinese hacking groups. and its using tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs)

Also Read: OceanLotus APT Hacking Group Distributing Backdoor to Compromise Government Networks

List of Large Malware Library From Other Chinese Cyber Espionage Group

  • AIRBREAK  – JavaScript-based backdoor to compromise legitimate services by retrieves commands from hidden strings in compromised web pages.
  • BADFLICK – A Backdoor for generating a reverse shell, modifying the file system.
  • PHOTO –  A DLL backdoor creating a reverse shell to screen captures; recording video and audio.
  • HOMEFRY –  Windows password dumper/cracker using in other backdoor and revealed the password in cleartext credentials.
  • LUNCHMONEY- Dropbox file Exfiltration
  • MURKYTOP – command-line reconnaissance tool to delete files locally,  steal the information  OS, users, groups, and shares on remote hosts.
  • China Chopper: a simple code injection that allows the shell to upload and download files.

Also TEMP.Periscope leverage some of the old past operations and use it again.

  • Beacon –  a backdoor for injecting and executing arbitrary code, uploading and downloading files, and executing shell commands.
  • BLACKCOFFEE: a backdoor that obfuscates its communications
According to FireEye Report, this Chinese Cyber Espionage Group using aditional  TTPs such as,
  • Spear phishing, including the use of probably compromised email accounts.
  • Lure documents using CVE-2017-11882 to drop malware.
  • Stolen code signing certificates used to sign malware.
  • Use of bitsadmin.exe to download additional tools.
  • Use of PowerShell to download additional tools.
  • Using C:\Windows\Debug and C:\Perflogs as staging directories.
  • Leveraging Hyperhost VPS and Proton VPN exit nodes to access webshells on internet-facing systems.
  • Using Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) for persistence.
  • Using Windows Shortcut files (.lnk) in the Startup folder that invoke the Windows Scripting Host (wscript.exe) to execute a Jscript backdoor for persistence.
  • Receiving C2 instructions from user profiles created by the adversary on legitimate websites/forums such as Github and Microsoft’s TechNet portal.

TEMP.Periscope Primarily focusing to steal research and development data, intellectual property.


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BALAJI is an Ex-Security Researcher (Threat Research Labs) at Comodo Cybersecurity. Editor-in-Chief & Co-Founder - Cyber Security News & GBHackers On Security.

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