Targets positioned in Azerbaijan have been singled out as a part of a brand new marketing campaign that is designed to deploy Rust-based malware on compromised methods.
Cybersecurity agency Deep Intuition is monitoring the operation beneath the title Operation Rusty Flag. It has not been related to any recognized risk actor or group.
“The operation has at the least two totally different preliminary entry vectors,” safety researchers Simon Kenin, Ron Ben Yizhak, and Mark Vaitzman mentioned in an evaluation printed final week. “One of many lures used within the operation is a modified doc that was utilized by the Storm-0978 group. This might be a deliberate ‘false flag.'”
The assault chain leverages an LNK file named 1.KARABAKH.jpg.lnk as a launchpad to retrieve a second-stage payload, an MSI installer, hosted on Dropbox.
The installer file, for its half, drops an implant written in Rust, an XML file for a scheduled process to execute the implant, and a decoy picture file that options watermarks of the image of the Azerbaijan Ministry of Protection.
An alternate an infection vector is a Microsoft Workplace doc named “Overview_of_UWCs_UkraineInNATO_campaign.docx,” which exploits CVE-2017-11882, a six-year-old reminiscence corruption vulnerability in Microsoft Workplace’s Equation Editor, to invoke a Dropbox URL internet hosting a unique MSI file serving a variant of the identical Rust backdoor.
Using Overview_of_UWCs_UkraineInNATO_campaign.docx is noteworthy, as a lure with the identical filename was leveraged by Storm-0978 (aka RomCom, Tropical Scorpius, UNC2596, and Void Rabisu) in latest cyber assaults focusing on Ukraine that exploit an Workplace distant code execution flaw (CVE-2023-36884).
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“This motion appears like a deliberate false flag try and pin this assault on Storm-0978,” the researchers mentioned.
The Rust backdoor, considered one of which masquerades as “WinDefenderHealth.exe,” comes fitted with capabilities to assemble data from the compromised host and ship it to an attacker-controlled server.
The precise finish targets of the marketing campaign stay unclear at this stage. On the similar time, the likelihood that it might be a purple group train has not been discounted.
“Rust is gaining popularity amongst malware authors,” the researchers mentioned. “Safety merchandise aren’t but detecting Rust malware precisely, and the reverse engineering course of is extra complicated.”