The threat group found to be active at least from April 2018 and they target South African regions, starting from May 2019 the group launches campaigns against oil and gas organizations in the Middle East.
Earlier Dragos identified an activity group HEXANE targeting oil and gas companies in the Middle East, followed to that now Secureworks published a report on LYCEUM activities.
LYCEUM Threat Group Toolkit
LYCEUM uses simple attack techniques to attack Critical Infrastructure organizations. The attack starts with credentials obtained through password spraying or brute-force attacks.
Once they gain access to the accounts they use targeted spear-phishing emails to the targeted executives such as human resources (HR) staff and IT personnel.
The Emails originates from Internal Email address and they use “security best practice” themed documents to trick the users.
The Email contains malicious Excel attachment that delivers DanBot malware, which is focused on stealing various sensitive information from victims.
Following are the tools used by LYCEUM threat group.
DanBot – First stage which provides remote access capability, a communication mechanism and ability to execute arbitrary commands.
DanDrop – Malicious macro used to drop DanBot payload
kl.ps1 – Customized keylogger to capture keystrokes.
Decrypt-RDCMan.ps1 – PoshC2 penetration testing framework used to decrypt stored passwords.
Get-LAPSP.ps1 – Powershell script that is capable of stealing information from Active Directory via LDAP.
“LYCEUM registered infrastructure using the PublicDomainRegistry.com, Web4Africa and Hosting Concepts B.V. registrars. New domains appear to be registered for individual campaigns,” according to a report published by SecureWorks.
The threat actor group actively targets energy organizations in the Middle East, in the future, they expand their attack sector.
“Aside from deploying novel malware, LYCEUM’s activity demonstrates capabilities CTU researchers have observed from other threat groups and reinforces the value of a few key controls. Password spraying, DNS tunneling, social engineering, and abuse of security testing frameworks are common tactics, particularly from threat groups operating in the Middle East.”
Indicators of compromise