Attackers Hide Malware in James Webb Telescope Images

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Securonix researchers have uncovered a malicious campaign called “GO # WEBBFUSCATOR,” which embeds malicious documents in space images from the Webb telescope.

After investigating a recent incident, researchers discover that the threat actor drops payloads onto the virus scanning platform that are not now marked as malicious.

The infection process begins with a phishing email with an attached malicious document, “Gens-Rates.docx,” which downloads a template file. The file contains an obfuscated VBS macro that auto-executes it macros are enabled in the Office suite.

The code then downloads a JPG image from a remote resource, decodes it into an executable program, and launches it. JPG shows the galaxy cluster SMACS 0723, which was released by NASA in July 2022 when it was launched with an image viewer. When opened with a text editor, the image displays additional content disguised as an accompanying certificate, which is a Base64-encoded payload that turns into the malicious 64-bit executable.

The malware achieves persistence by copying itself and adding a new registry key. Once executed, the malware establishes a DNS connection to the command and control (C2) server and sends encrypted queries.

The sources for this piece include an article in BleepingComputer.

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