Hackers use open source tools to steal usernames and passwords

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Security researchers have discovered a new campaign by cyber criminal gang TeamTNT that targets multiple operating systems and applications.

Dubbed Chimaera, this campaign uses multiple shell/batch scripts, new open source tools, a cryptocurrency miner, the TeamTNT IRC bot, and more, according to AT&T Alien Labs.

In an investigation of the group's command and control (C&C) server, researchers said the campaign has been running since July this year and is responsible for thousands of infections globally.

Researchers said the hackers are using new, open source tools to steal usernames and passwords from infected machines and targeting various operating systems, including Windows and various Linux distributions, including Alpine (used for containers), AWS, Docker, and Kubernetes.

Tools the hackers used include, Masscan and port scanner to search for new infection candidates; bprocesshider for executing their bot directly from memory; 7z to decompress downloaded files; b374k shell, which is a PHP web administrator that can be used to control infected systems; and Lazagne, an open source tool for multiple web operating systems that collects stored credentials from numerous applications.

When attacking Windows systems, the attackers use a malicious script that downloads all the tools required for unpacking and executing the Xmrig miner. This includes the 7z tool for decompressing downloaded files and Nssm to add the miner as a service.


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Worryingly, many malware samples researchers collected still have zero antivirus detections, and others have low detection rates.

“However, defenders can be proactive in hardening their systems. For example, due to the recent, high profile attacks on Kubernetes — including those executed by TeamTNT — the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) published “Kubernetes Hardening Guidance” in August of this year,” said Ofer Caspi, security researcher at Alien Labs.

Caspi said that as researchers have observed TeamTNT in older campaigns, the hackers are focusing on stealing cloud systems credentials, using infected systems for cryptocurrency mining, and abusing victim’s machines to search and spread to other vulnerable systems.

“The use of open-source tools like Lazagne allows TeamTNT to stay below the radar for a while, making it more difficult for anti-virus companies to detect,” added Caspi.

Researchers urged organizations to keep software updated and maintain minimal exposure to the internet on Linux servers and internet of things (IoT) devices and use a properly configured firewall.

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.