Menu
Israel targeted by malware packaged with pornographic video

Israel targeted by malware packaged with pornographic video

Trend Micro said two campaigns, one sophisticated and one not, shared the same infrastructure

Israeli institutions have been targeted by an Arab-speaking hacker group that sought to extract sensitive documents, according to Trend Micro.

The campaign, which Trend called Operation Arid Viper, focused on sending phishing emails to targets. Those emails came with malware packaged with a short pornographic video, according to the company's report.

The phishing emails were sent to targets including a government office, infrastructure providers, a military organization and academic institutions in Israel and Kuwait.

The attacks "targeted professionals who might be receiving very inappropriate content at work and so would hesitate to report the incident," Trend wrote. "These victims' failure to act on the threat could have then allowed the main malware to remain undiscovered."

The malware then began hunting around on a victim's hard disk for Word, Excel, PowerPoint and text files. It reported the files to the command and control server, which then decided which files to steal.

The command-and-control servers used by Arid Viper were "closely locked down, providing very little hint that could aid our investigation," Trend said.

Trend found the Arid Viper attacks shared the same command-and-control infrastructure as another campaign it calls Advtravel, although the style of attacks are very different.

The company gained insight into Advtravel after a server connected with the operation was left open on the Internet.

"This allowed us to download copies of its entire content to study as part of our investigation before its owners realized their mistake and locked it down," the report said.

The Advtravel attackers infected more than 500 systems of mostly Arabs living in Egypt. They focused on stealing images from victims' computers, many of which were screenshots of Facebook profiles, perhaps in an attempt to identify victims.

"This could be a sign that they are looking for incriminating or compromising images for blackmail purposes," Trend wrote. "As such, the attackers may be less-skilled hackers who are not after financial gain nor hacking for espionage purposes."

Overall, the Advtravel attackers were much less skilled than Arid Viper. "They look like a classic group of beginner hackers just starting their careers," Trend said.

Trend did extensive research into the email addresses used to register domain names use for Arid Viper's command-and-control infrastructure as well as Advtravel, linking some possible actors to the Gaza Strip.

But it cautioned that such analysis was not definitive, as the attackers could have easily faked information required to register domain names.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags trend microsecuritymalware

Featured

Slideshows

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

HP honoured leading partners across the channel at the Partner Awards 2017 in New Zealand, recognising excellence across the entire print and personal systems portfolio.

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ
Tech industry comes together as Lexel celebrates turning 30

Tech industry comes together as Lexel celebrates turning 30

Leading figures within the technology industry across New Zealand came together to celebrate 30 years of success for Lexel Systems, at a milestone birthday occasion at St Matthews in the City.​

Tech industry comes together as Lexel celebrates turning 30
HP re-imagines education through Auckland event launch

HP re-imagines education through Auckland event launch

HP New Zealand held an inaugural Evolve Education event at Aotea Centre in Auckland, welcoming over 70 principals, teachers and education experts to explore ways of shaping and enhancing learning using technology.

HP re-imagines education through Auckland event launch
Show Comments