The hacker group behind the attacks still remain unknown and the attacks targeted organizations in Cameroon, Congo (DR), Ghana, Equatorial Guinea, and Ivory Coast. The attack uses generic malware and use living off the land tactics.
Living off the land tactics is the use of operating system features or legitimate network administration tools to compromise victims’ networks.
Multiple Attack Vectors On
Security researchers from Symantec observed four distinct attack campaigns that affected multiple financial institutions in Africa.
NanoCore & PsExec
Attackers used weaponized word documents that referred to be from West African bank, with this campaign attackers infected victims through NanoCore malware and then it was executed using Microsoft Sysinternals tool PsExec on infected computers.
Mimikatz, Cobalt Strike & UltraVNC
The second type of attack uses Mimikatz(Hacking tool), Cobalt Strike(malware) & UltraVNC(remote administration tool).
According to the Symantec report, the attack appears to be started in late 2017 and the attackers use PowerShell scripts to infect victims, uses Mimikatz for credential stuffing and UltraVNC for remote administration. Attackers used Cobalt Strike malware for backdooring on the computer and to establish the
Remote Manipulator System RAT, Mimikatz & RDP
This type of attack targets organization in Ivory Coast, attackers used Remote Manipulator System RAT along with Mimikatz tool to steal the credentials and the stolen credentials allows attackers to establish a
Imminent Monitor RAT
The fourth type of attack uses info stealer Imminent Monitor RAT that steals the information from the compromised computer and downloads additional malware. The attack originated in December 2018 and targets organizations in Ivory Coast.
A growing number of attackers in recent years are adopting “living off the land” tactics—namely the use of operating system features or network administration tools to compromise victims networks, reads Symantec report.