Colin Mc Hugo

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Colin Mc Hugo
Security Engineer Manager & CEO at Quantum Infinite Solutions Group Ltd.

Cybercriminals Using Telegram Messenger to Control ToxicEye Malware

April 22, 2021

Adversaries are more and more abusing Telegram as a “command-and-control” system to distribute malware into organizations that would then be used to seize delicate info from focused methods.

“Even when Telegram will not be put in or getting used, the system permits hackers to ship malicious instructions and operations remotely by way of the moment messaging app,” mentioned researchers from cybersecurity agency Examine Level, who’ve recognized no fewer than 130 assaults over the previous three months that make use of a brand new multi-functional distant entry trojan (RAT) referred to as “ToxicEye.”

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Using Telegram for facilitating malicious actions will not be new. In September 2019, an info stealer dubbed Masad Stealer was discovered to plunder info and cryptocurrency pockets information from contaminated computer systems utilizing Telegram as an exfiltration channel. Then final yr, Magecart groups embraced the identical tactic to ship stolen fee particulars from compromised web sites again to the attackers.

The technique additionally pays off in numerous methods. For a begin, Telegram will not be solely not blocked by enterprise antivirus engines, the messaging app additionally permits attackers to stay nameless, given the registration course of requires solely a cell quantity, thereby giving them entry to contaminated gadgets from nearly any location the world over.

The most recent marketing campaign noticed by Examine Level isn’t any completely different. Unfold by way of phishing emails embedded with a malicious Home windows executable file, ToxicEye makes use of Telegram to speak with the command-and-control (C2) server and add information to it. The malware additionally sports activities a spread of exploits that permits it to steal information, switch and delete information, terminate processes, deploy a keylogger, hijack the pc’s microphone and digicam to report audio and video, and even encrypt information for a ransom.

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Particularly, the assault chain commences with the creation of a Telegram bot by the attacker, which is then embedded into the RAT’s configuration file, earlier than compiling it into an executable (e.g. “paypal checker by saint.exe”). This .EXE file is then injected right into a decoy Phrase doc (“resolution.doc”) that, when opened, downloads and runs the Telegram RAT (“C:UsersToxicEyerat.exe”).

“We have now found a rising pattern the place malware authors are utilizing the Telegram platform as an out-of-the-box command-and-control system for malware distribution into organizations,” Examine Level R&D Group Supervisor Idan Sharabi mentioned. “We consider attackers are leveraging the truth that Telegram is used and allowed in virtually all organizations, using this method to carry out cyber assaults, which might bypass safety restrictions.”

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