LuminousMoth APT campaign in SEA

Kaspersky uncovered a rare, wide-scale advanced persistent threat (APT) campaign against users in Southeast Asia, most notably Myanmar and the Philippines— dubbed LuminousMoth.

Kaspersky identified about 100 victims in Myanmar and 1,400 in the Philippines, some of which were government entities. 

The first infection happened through spear-phishing emails containing malicious Word document. This document can spread quickly to other hosts to removable USB drivers once downloaded. Once it found a drive, the malware creates hidden directories on the drive. It then moves all of the victim’s files, along with the malicious executables.  

That’s not all. Luminous Moth also has two post-exploitation tools that can, in turn, be used for lateral movement. These consist of a signed, fake version of Zoom and another steals cookies from the Chrome browser. 

This group of activities, called LuminousMoth, has been conducting cyberespionage attacks against government entities since at least October 2020. 

Kaspersky finds similarity from LuminousMoth to the HoneyMyte threat group. HoneyMyte is a well-known, long-standing, Chinese-speaking threat actor with medium to high confidence. It’s primarily interested in gathering geopolitical and economic intelligence in Asia and Africa. 

“This new cluster of activity might once again point to a trend we’ve been witnessing over the course of this year: Chinese-speaking threat actors retooling and producing new and unknown malware implants,” commented Mark Lechtik, Senior Security Researcher with the Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT).

“The massive scale of the attack is quite rare. It’s also interesting that we’ve seen far more attacks in the Philippines than in Myanmar. This could be due to the use of USB drives as a spreading mechanism or there could be yet another infection vector that we’re not yet aware of being used in the Philippines,” added Aseel Kayal, Security Researcher with GReAT. 

To stay safe from advanced threat campaigns like LuminousMoth, Kaspersky experts recommend:

  • Providing your staff with basic cybersecurity hygiene training, as many targeted attacks start with phishing or other social engineering techniques 
  • Carrying out a cybersecurity audit of your networks and remediate any weaknesses discovered in the perimeter or inside the network.
  • Installing anti-APT and EDR solutions, enabling threat discovery and detection, investigation and timely remediation of incidents capabilities. Provide your SOC team with access to the latest threat intelligence and regularly upskill them with professional training. All of the above is available within Kaspersky Expert Security framework.
  • That along with proper endpoint protection, dedicated services can help against high-profile attacks. The Kaspersky Managed Detection and Response service can help identify and stop attacks in their early stages, before the attackers achieve their goals. 

Learn more about LuminousMoth on Securelist

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