Ukraine’s technical security and intelligence service is warning of a new wave of cyber attacks that are aimed at gaining access to users’ Telegram accounts.
“The criminals sent messages with malicious links to the Telegram website in order to gain unauthorized access to the records, including the possibility to transfer a one-time code from SMS,” the State Service of Special Communication and Information Protection (SSSCIP) of Ukraine said in an alert.
The attacks, which have been attributed to a threat cluster called “UAC-0094,” originate with Telegram messages alerting recipients that a login had been detected from a new device located in Russia and urging the users to confirm their accounts by clicking on a link.
The URL, in reality a phishing domain, prompts the victims to enter their phone numbers as well as the one-time passwords sent via SMS that are then used by the threat actors to take over the accounts.
The modus operandi mirrors that of an earlier phishing attack that was disclosed in early March that leveraged compromised inboxes belonging to different Indian entities to send phishing emails to users of Ukr.net to hijack the accounts.
Another social-engineering campaign was observed by the Computer Emergency Response Team of Ukraine (CERT-UA). War-related emails were sent to Ukrainian agencies in order to install a piece espionage software.
The emails contain an HTML attachment “War Criminals of the Russian Federation.htm”, which can be opened and used to download and execute a PowerShell-based infection on the infected host.
CERT-UA attributed the attack to Armageddon, a Russia-based threat actor with ties to the Federal Security Service (FSB) that has a history of striking Ukrainian entities since at least 2013.
In February 2022, the hacking group was connected to espionage attacks targeting government, military, non-government organizations (NGO), judiciary, law enforcement, and non-profit organizations with the main goal of exfiltrating sensitive information.
Armageddon, also known by the moniker Gamaredon, is also believed to have singled out Latvian government officials as part of a related phishing attack towards the end of March 2022, employing war-themed RAR archives to deliver malware.
Other phishing campaigns documented by CERT-UA in recent weeks have deployed a variety of malware, including GraphSteel, GrimPlant, HeaderTip, LoadEdge, and SPECTR, not to mention a Ghostwriter-spearheaded operation to install the Cobalt Strike post-exploitation framework.
The disclosure is made as an advanced persistent threat (APT), group from Iran, China and North Korea has used the Russo–Ukrainian conflict as a pretext for backdoor victim networks, as well as other malign activities.