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Telegram zero-day flaw used by suspected Russian hackers to spread backdoor and cryptocurrency miner

Hacking on computer
Researchers consider that the assaults are probably the work of Russian hackers

Hackers have exploited a zero-day flaw in Telegram to infect users with a backdoor that gives cybercriminals with distant management of victims’ programs. Cybercriminals additionally used the vulnerability to instal a malware that allowed them to mine for cryptocurrencies.

The zero-day flaw was primarily based on the right-to-left override (RLO) Unicode technique, which is used for coding languages which might be written from proper to left, similar to Arabic or Hebrew. Nonetheless, RLO may also be utilized by hackers to trick customers into downloading malicious recordsdata disguised as images.

In response to safety researchers at Kaspersky Lab, who found the zero-day flaw and the assaults, the hackers started exploiting the vulnerability, concentrating on Telegram Home windows customers in March 2017. The researchers found that the hackers had been exploiting the vulnerability to mine for varied cryptocurrencies, including Monero, ZCash, Fantomcoin and others.

Hackers additionally contaminated customers’ programs with a backdoor that used the Telegram API, which in flip gave attackers distant management entry to victims’ computer systems. As soon as put in, the backdoor operated in silent mode, permitting the hackers to stay undetected and giving them the chance to put in extra spyware and adware instruments on victims’ programs.

The researchers consider that the assaults are probably the work of Russian hackers.

“It seems that solely Russian cybercriminals had been conscious of this vulnerability, with all of the exploitation instances that we detected occurring in Russia. Additionally, whereas conducting an in depth analysis of those assaults we found quite a lot of artifacts that pointed to involvement by Russian cybercriminals,” Kaspersky Lab malware analyst Alexey Firsh wrote in a weblog.

The researchers had been unable to find out which variations of Telegram had been affected and for a way lengthy. It additionally stays unknown as to what number of Telegram customers had been focused by the hackers. Nonetheless, as soon as the researchers alerted Telegram in regards to the flaw, the vulnerability was mounted.

“The recognition of on the spot messenger companies is extremely excessive, and it is extraordinarily necessary that builders present correct safety for his or her customers in order that they do not turn out to be simple targets for criminals,” Firsh mentioned. “We’ve discovered a number of situations of this zero-day exploitation that, in addition to common malware and spyware and adware, was used to ship mining software program – such infections have turn out to be a worldwide development that we’ve seen all through the final 12 months. Moreover, we consider there have been different methods to abuse this zero-day vulnerability.”

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