Details have emerged about a previously undocumented malware campaign undertaken by the Iranian MuddyWater advanced persistent threat (APT) group targeting Turkish private organizations and governmental institutions.
“This campaign utilizes malicious PDFs, XLS files and Windows executables to deploy malicious PowerShell-based downloaders acting as initial footholds into the target’s enterprise,” Cisco Talos researchers Asheer Malhotra and Vitor Ventura said in a newly published report.
The development comes as the U.S. Cyber Command, earlier this month, linked the APT to the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS).
The intrusions, which are believed to have been orchestrated as recently as November 2021, were directed against Turkish government entities, including the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK), using weaponized Excel documents and PDF files hosted on attacker-controlled or media-sharing websites.
These maldocs masqueraded as legitimate documents from the Turkish Health and Interior Ministries, with the attacks starting by executing malicious macros embedded in them to propagate the infection chain and drop PowerShell scripts to the compromised system.
A new addition to the group’s arsenal of tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) is the use of canary tokens in the macro code, a mechanism the researchers suspect is being used to track successful infection of targets, thwart analysis, and detect if the payload servers are being blocked at the other end.
Canary tokens, also known as honeytokens, are identifiers embedded in objects like documents, web pages and emails, which, when opened, triggers an alert in the form of an HTTP request, alerting the operator that the object was accessed.
The PowerShell script subsequently downloads and executes the next payload, also a PowerShell script that resides in the metadata of the maldoc, which, in turn, acts as the downloader for a third, unidentified PowerShell code that’s ultimately run on the infected endpoint.
At BLAKFX we have considered Cybersecurity a National Security issue since at least 2012. That is the year our CEO launched Wickr.
In fact, a primary reason we came into existence was to ensure cybersecurity was considered and integral part of national security and defense. We realized that the era of perimeter data security tools has long been over and that the threat of espionage and sabotage is too critical.
Our Motto: In Math We Trust
What is needed is a better approach to data security. Perimeter products that try to keep hackers out will all eventually be breached. Fanaticism on identification through bio-metrics, password managers or 2FA are only as secure as the person entrusted to follow the protocol. As we all have learned, the human error component can always be breached. In the near future, when quantum computing becomes more mainstream, products that rely on TLS-based encryption will be instantly obsolete.
The only solution is for data security products that actually protect the data itself.
The Helix22 data security SDK protects all data at rest, in use and in transit.
BLAKFX delivers all this security assurance very confidently due to our genius engineering team spearheaded by Robert Statica and Alex Maslov who have invented a new model for data security that required an innovative look at the problem.
The new era of data security is one that requires new solutions. The era of perimeter defenses is over as it is proving impossible to keep hackers from breaching the perimeter and accessing data. Further E2E encryption based on old models of RSA cryptography will be obsolete when quantum computing becomes mainstream.
Helix22 delivers perfect security assurance due to our genius engineering team that has invented a new model for data security that required an innovative look at the problem. The approach we took was to protect the data itself. Almost all other data security products try to build a perimeter or being fanatic on user credentials. However, once the product is breached or a password is stolen, even if it is 2FA or encrypted, your firms data is in the clear.
You see, the Helix22 cryptography is embedded with the data itself through our inventive and patented process of DNA BindingTM. Therefore, even if credentials are stolen the data cannot be exfiltrated. This means that all data is 100% protected regardless of the type of attack.
Another substantial advantage of Helix22, is that it protects all data whether at rest, in use or in transit. All communication apps for example, only encrypt data while in transit. Therefore, that encryption become useless for internal IT security or Artificial Intelligence or Machine Learning experimentation. All data generated during these massive computing exercises is equally protected in real time. Plus, the latency period for the Helix22 is exponentially less than any other security product, so it actually contributes to faster processing times.
In this protocol, we are truly a “zero-knowledge” server so your private communications and transmissions remain completely top secret. Even in the event that BLAKFX were subpoenaed, we can honor the request by just handing over the encrypted content…as that is literally all we have. Helix22 also only use keys just one-time and then destroys them. This way the data security is future forward prefect. Therefore, in our unique user-to-user encryption (U2U) world, there is no opportunity ever for any data leak.
The Helix22 data security SDK accomplishes the following:
- Protects all your firms data at rest, in use and in transit
- Renders ransomware threats obsolete
- Eliminates human error
- Eliminates all malicious or interior attacks
- Verifies original content i.e. minimizes the threat of impersonation attacks and deep fakes
- Reduces latency
- Installs with 5 lines of code
- Runs on any platform, network, device and in any programming language
- Provides perfect future/forward secrecy
- Delivers “zero-knowledge” encryption
- Compatible with all cloud, 3rd party and vendor services
- Enables Internet of Things data security by providing protection at the Edge and ultra low latency
- Ensures privacy and security for Decentralized Finance, blockchain and all cryptocurrency transactions
- Is quantum ready – so there’s no need to upgrade when the time comes
- Requires no employee training
- Exceeds all gov’t and banking standards
- Meets all international compliance regulations
We can make this claim as the tech engineers at BLAKFX invented and patented a genuine device2device (D2D) encryption. We manage data security transmission through the truly brilliant and also patented universal Helix22 key service. The Helix22 encryption originates on your network or device, not just when the app is opened. This means, that when data arrives to our key server, it is already encrypted so all it needs to do is issue another key. Signal and Telegram cannot claim this level of security. This key will then only work with the intended device, which generates a matching key required to open the data. In this protocol, we are truly a “zero-knowledge” server so your communications and transmissions remain completely top secret. Even in the event that BLAKFX were subpoenaed, we can honor the request by just handing over the encrypted content…as that is literally all we have. Helix22 also only use keys just one-time and then destroys them. This way the data security is future forward prefect. Therefore, in our unique device-to-device encryption (D2D) world, there is zero opportunity at all for any data leak.
This same protocol just described, can be the same with all your 3rd party vendors and suppliers. It does not matter in the least what platform they are running or what device they are using or even the type of data, it is all 100% protected. We do however, strongly advise that all firms involved be utilizing Helix22 due to the nature of the data content. Helix22 can ensure that whatever data they are generating is protected as well.
Let’s take it a step further. Even if your organization were a victim of an internal attack or a victim of malicious open source downloads, there is no reason for concern. Any data that has been forwarded, downloaded, copied or saved cannot be exfiltrated. Period. We have the technology industries foremost data packets which are protected with multi-layered, military grade encryption algorithms that have already proven the ability to withstand penetration testing from MI5 and quantum computing attacks.
One final practical genius of DNA BindingTM is in that it is immediately compatible with whichever system or software you are utilizing. Therefore, any organization can forward information to another and then discuss it and there is immediate privacy.
The BLAKFX Suite of Data Security Products
In addition to the fastest and most secure data protection product available in Helix22, we provide a full range of security products for an holistic approach.
We are on a mission to stop ransomware threats
Ransomware Auditing as a Service (RaaS): ransomware attacks have skyrocketed in the past year and currently represents the biggest threat to the data of government agencies, military, intelligence agencies as well as private enterprises. BLAKFX developed the first in the world Ransomware Auditing as a Service (RaaS) platform which allows our cyber security engineers to scan your network and simulate real-world ransomware attacks to test the prevention, detection and mitigation strategies of your organization and establish how resilient your network is to real ransomware attacks. After the scan we provide a comprehensive report and our recommendations for remediation.
If you are the victim of an actual ransomware attack, we are able to recover the data that has been hi-jacked during the attack and due to Helix22’s DNA BindingTM cryptography, restore it to its original state.
DARKHYDRA3 – Auditing/Penetration Testing: we provide cyber auditing & penetration testing services in order to identify the gaps in your network, cloud, communications, network appliances, wireless networks, laptops, desktops & mobile devices, website, backup and 3rd party applications and services. Once we scan your systems, we provide a comprehensive report and our recommendations for remediation.
MSS & Insider Threat Prevention: BLAKFX has a national security level Secure Operations Center that can monitor your network (via our Managed Security Service) for threats & vulnerabilities as well as your employees via threat behavioral analysis techniques in order to stop threats (including insider threats) before they become a problem for your network, data and organization.
TSCM: many organizations and government agencies are aware of the threats posed by hacking surveillance and data theft but are not aware that Technical Surveillance Counter Measures and Electronic Security are an essential component of overall risk mitigation. BLAKFX’s access to the most sophisticated equipment, military and intelligence community level RF frequencies monitoring expertise is unique in the world.
Physical Security: we offer overall physical security services and designs for your buildings, data centers, cloud providers, airplanes, vehicles and personnel security. We provide full physical security planning, insider threat detection and prevention, physical security audits, certification, and security awareness training.
Global Governments: (restrictions apply) Click here to request information & quotes
*Katim Ultra Secure Smartphone: part of the BLAKFX’s suite of secure products, we are pleased to offer governments, law enforcement, intelligence agencies, military forces globally and enterprises, a fully user2user encrypted phone, with secure messenger, secure email, secure news, secure audio/video calling & secure conference calling.
Blacklight & CyAn – OSINT: the Collection Platform provides real time comprehensive view of collected intelligence from various sources. The system allows for more effective operation management by allowing the operators to control all available intelligence gathering tools from a single, unified dashboard. By allowing centralized control, alongside presentation of key intelligence and insights the overall operational effectiveness is significantly increased.
The Analytics Platform system fuses all field intelligence meta-data and cyber intelligence content, as well as other data sources, to highlight and identify suspicious activity, important events and analyze suspects’ relationships and communications. The system can provide in-depth operational understanding in near-real-time to the field operations teams.
Pre-Crime, Data Fusion and Big-Data Analysis: a full range of capacity for big data analytics. Analyze billions of events, merge data from heterogeneous sources, reveal weak signals and understand the digital behavior of a target are some of the numerous features of the Analytics Center. It’s composed of modules like Analytics, Profile, Relational and Predictive.
LLDDS: Low Level Defender Drone System consists of three essential elements, the first of which is our Ground Based Sensor Node (GBSN). The GBSN employs a very low power, high sensitivity FMCW radar system, functionally integrated with a complementary video/IR detection and confirmation system. The GBSN is controlled by AI and by either a single on-site operator or via remote operator control over our fully secure Command, Control and Communications (C3) SatComm-based network. The second element in the System is a medium endurance, low-level, missile-armed defender drone. This critical airborne asset will provide: persistent or on-demand zone protection including airborne patrol, target identification, target confirmation, and attack. This unmanned, very capable platform is the attack and deterrent end of the LLDD defense chain. It is continuously and closely monitored and controlled by AI and a Controller/Operator – in real-time – via the LLDD C3 SatComm Network. Our highly automated and minimally manned concept employs proven off-the-shelf, ground-based and airborne sensors and platforms combined with proprietary BLAKFX technology.
Note: Items marked with * are available for enterprises as well
BLAKFX is Based on Success
Our founders, Robert Statica PhD and Kara Coppa, also founded Wickr, which is used by the US military and has never been hacked since its inception in 2012. The Helix22 data security SDK is several generations enhanced since then. Dr. Statica also delivered the encryption for the world’s most secure phone, Katim.
Founder – Robert Statica PhD Founder – Kara Coppa Founder – Alex Maslov MS, MBA
Co-Founders of Wickr KatimTM Ultra Secure Smartphone
Helix22 – Zero Risk