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Cybersecurity researchers have disclosed a series of attacks by a threat actor of Chinese origin that has targeted organizations in Russia and Hong Kong with malware — including a previously undocumented backdoor.

Attributing the campaign to Winnti (or APT41), Positive Technologies dated the first attack to May 12, 2020, when the APT used LNK shortcuts to extract and run the malware payload. A second attack detected on May 30 used a malicious RAR archive file consisting of shortcuts to two bait PDF documents that purported to be a curriculum vitae and an IELTS certificate.

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With the January 2021 Patch Tuesday security updates release, Microsoft has released fixes for 83 vulnerabilities, with ten classified as Critical and 73 as Important.

There is also one zero-day and one previously disclosed vulnerabilities fixed as part of the January 2021 updates.

For information about the non-security Windows updates, you can read about today’s Windows 10 KB4598229 & KB4598242 cumulative updates.

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Romanian cybersecurity firm Bitdefender has released a free decryptor for the DarkSide ransomware to allow victims to recover their files without paying a ransom.

DarkSide is a human-operated ransomware that has already earned millions in payouts since it started targeting enterprises in August 2020.

The operation has seen a spike in activity between October and December 2020 when the amount of DarkSide sample submissions on the ID-Ransomware platform more than quadrupled.

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Security researchers following the money circuit from Ryuk ransomware victims into the threat actor’s pockets estimate that the criminal organization made at least $150 million.

They found that Ryuk operators primarily use two legitimate cryptocurrency exchanges to cash out the Bitcoin from paying victims as fiat money.

Ryuk’s money circuit

Threat intelligence companies Advanced Intelligence and HYAS tracked 61 Bitcoin wallets attributed to the Ryuk malware enterprise and discovered that the cryptocurrency moves from an intermediary to Huobi and Binance exchanges.

When a Ryuk victim pays the ransom, the money reaches a broker that passes it to the malware operators. The money then goes through a laundering service before getting to legitimate cryptocurrency exchanges or being used to pay for criminal services on underground markets. Read more »

Zyxel has released a patch to address a critical vulnerability in its firmware concerning a hardcoded, undocumented secret account that could be abused by an attacker to login with administrative privileges and compromise its networking devices.

The flaw, tracked as CVE-2020-29583 (CVSS score 7.8), affects version 4.60 present in a wide-range of Zyxel devices, including Unified Security Gateway (USG), USG FLEX, ATP, and VPN firewall products. Read more »