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OilRig Hackers Attacking Individuals And Organizations In The Middle East

OilRig is an Iranian-linked cyber espionage group that has been active since 2015, and this group is known for its sophisticated spear-phishing campaigns and advanced infiltration techniques. 

This group conducts a multitude of cyber attacks against various sectors, and among them, the most executed ones are intelligence gathering, surveillance, and high-profile cyberattacks.

Besides this, cybersecurity researchers at Cyble recently identified that OilRig hackers have been actively attacking Middle Eastern entities and organizations related to Iranian interests. 

The group continually evolves its tools to evade detection and has expanded its operations to include disruptive attacks like ransomware and data-wiping.

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OilRig Hackers Attacking Individuals

OilRig targets over 20 countries across various regions:-

Origin and Targeted Countries (Source – Cyble)

It attacks diverse sectors including:-

  • Aerospace & Defense 
  • BFSI 
  • Chemicals 
  • Education 
  • Energy & Utilities 
  • Government & LEA 
  • Hospitality 
  • IT & ITES 
  • Technology 
  • Telecommunication 

The group employs customizable attack vectors, often starting with spear-phishing or exploiting public-facing applications to deliver malware for data exfiltration. 

OilRig is suspected to have links with Greenbug and is known for exploiting unpatched SharePoint servers. Its extensive reach and adaptable tactics make it a significant threat in the cyber espionage landscape.

The group OilRig made use of LinkedIn-based phishing masquerading as Cambridge University Members and exploited already known vulnerabilities like CVE-2019-0604 and CVE-2017-11882.

LinkedIn Message Asking to Download File (Source – Cyble)

For persistence, OilRig uses malicious loaders, VBScript, or scheduled tasks. Their arsenal also includes various RATs like Alma Communicator and BONDUPDATER, among others.

The group also employs living-off-the-land tactics to attack public-facing applications in their operations, as the Cyble report reads.

They do so by linking IPs and domains from previous attacks, which helps them illuminate the group’s development as a continuous threat touching many sectors.

Here below we have mentioned all the tools used:-

  • Alma Communicator
  • BONDUPDATER
  • Clayslide
  • DistTrack
  • DNSExfitrator
  • DNSpionage
  • Dustman
  • Fox Panel
  • Helminth
  • ISMAgent
  • ISMDoor
  • ISMInjector
  • Karkoff
  • Mimikatz
  • LaZagne
  • LIONTAIL
  • LONGWATCH
  • SideTwist
  • Neuron
  • Nautilus
  • PICKPOCKET
  • Plink
  • PsList
  • RDAT
  • Saitama
  • SpyNote RAT
  • TONEDEAF

OilRig is a group of elite hackers who are experts in cyber espionage. They specialize in secret C&C communication using various methods.

They have developed targeted exchange servers, HTPSnoop implants, HTTP and DNS queries, and protocol tunneling for stealthy network communications.

Recommendations

Here below we have mentioned all the recommendations:-

  • Regular software patching
  • Enhanced email security
  • Robust network monitoring
  • Advanced endpoint protection
  • Strict access control
  • Comprehensive incident response plan
  • Utilize threat intelligence
  • Ongoing employee cybersecurity training

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Tushar Subhra Dutta
Tushar Subhra Dutta
Tushar is a Cyber security content editor with a passion for creating captivating and informative content. With years of experience under his belt in Cyber Security, he is covering Cyber Security News, technology and other news.

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