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Unidentified Cyber Threat Actor Behind Series of Telecommunication Attacks

One sentence summary – An unidentified cyber threat actor known as Sandman has been discovered to be behind a series of cyber attacks on telecommunication providers in the Middle East, Western Europe, and the South Asian subcontinent, using advanced malware called LuaDream to bypass detection and steal information, with the attacks aligning with reports of sustained strategic intrusions by Chinese threat actors in Africa and the Middle East.

At a glance

  • Sandman is an unidentified cyber threat actor responsible for a series of cyber attacks on telecommunication providers.
  • The attacks have targeted organizations in the Middle East, Western Europe, and the South Asian subcontinent.
  • The advanced malware used in these attacks is deployed through a just-in-time (JIT) compiler for the Lua programming language known as LuaJIT.
  • A newly discovered implant called LuaDream is used in these attacks, designed to bypass detection and analysis by injecting malware directly into memory.
  • The Sandman attacks align with reports of sustained strategic intrusions by Chinese threat actors in Africa, targeting telecommunication, finance, and government sectors.

The details

Sandman, an unidentified cyber threat actor, has been discovered to be behind a series of cyber attacks on telecommunication providers.

The attacks have been targeted at organizations in the Middle East, Western Europe, and the South Asian subcontinent.

This previously unknown threat actor, Sandman, is responsible for these attacks.

The advanced malware used in these attacks is deployed through a just-in-time (JIT) compiler for the Lua programming language known as LuaJIT.

A newly discovered implant called LuaDream is used in these attacks.

LuaDream is designed to bypass detection and analysis by injecting malware directly into memory.

The LuaDream malware appears to be a variant of a new strain called DreamLand.

DreamLand employs the Lua scripting language and JIT compiler to execute complex and stealthy malicious code.

Lua-based malware, such as LuaDream, has been relatively rare, with only a few instances observed since 2012.

The exact method of initial access for these attacks remains unknown.

Once infiltrated, the malware steals administrative credentials and performs reconnaissance to compromise targeted workstations.

LuaDream is a sophisticated modular backdoor containing multiple components.

These components exfiltrate system and user information and enable the execution of attacker-provided plugins.

The malware communicates with a command-and-control server via the WebSocket protocol.

It can also listen for incoming connections over TCP, HTTPS, and QUIC protocols.

The disclosure of Sandman and LuaDream aligns with reports of sustained strategic intrusions by Chinese threat actors in Africa.

The targeted sectors include telecommunication, finance, and government, aimed at extending Chinese influence and supporting China’s geostrategic ambitions.

The Sandman attacks come shortly after the discovery of ShroudedSnooper, another intrusion set targeting telecommunication service providers in the Middle East.

ShroudedSnooper employs stealthy backdoors known as HTTPSnoop and PipeSnoop.

The Sandman cyber attacks have exposed a previously undocumented threat actor targeting telecommunication providers across multiple regions.

The deployment of the LuaDream implant, utilizing the Lua scripting language, and JIT compiler, has allowed for advanced techniques to evade detection and execute malicious code.

The geopolitical context, including Chinese threat actors in Africa and the discovery of ShroudedSnooper in the Middle East, further highlights the significance of these attacks.

As the cyber landscape evolves, the industry must remain vigilant to counter emerging threats like Sandman and its associated malware.

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thehackernews.com
– Sandman is a previously undocumented threat actor responsible for cyber attacks on telecommunication providers in the Middle East, Western Europe, and the South Asian subcontinent.
The attacks utilize a just-in-time (JIT) compiler for the Lua programming language called LuaJIT to deploy a new implant called LuaDream.
The LuaDream implant is designed to evade detection and analysis by deploying malware directly into memory.
The LuaDream malware appears to be a variant of a new strain called DreamLand, which uses the Lua scripting language and JIT compiler to execute difficult-to-detect malicious code.
– Lua-based malware is rare and has only been observed in a few instances since 2012.
The exact method of initial access is unknown, but the malware has been observed stealing administrative credentials and conducting reconnaissance to breach targeted workstations.
– LuaDream is a modular backdoor with multiple components that exfiltrate system and user information and allow for the execution of attacker-provided plugins.
The malware communicates with a command-and-control server using the WebSocket protocol and can also listen for incoming connections over TCP, HTTPS, and QUIC protocols.
The disclosure of Sandman and LuaDream coincides with reports of sustained strategic intrusions by Chinese threat actors in Africa, targeting telecommunication, finance, and government sectors.
– The goal of these intrusions is to extend Chinese influence in Africa and support China’s geostrategic ambitions.
The Sandman attacks also come shortly after the discovery of a new intrusion set called ShroudedSnooper, which targets telecommunication service providers in the Middle East using stealthy backdoors called HTTPSnoop and PipeSnoop.

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