A Pakistani threat actor successfully socially engineered a number of ministries in Afghanistan and shared government computer in India to steal sensitive Google, Twitter, and Facebook credentials from its targets and stealthily obtained access to government portals, The Hacker News reported.
Malwarebytes’ latest findings go into detail about the new tactics and tools adopted by the APT group known as SideCopy, which is so-called because of its attempts to mimic the infection chains associated with another group tracked as SideWinder and mislead attribution.
“The lures used by SideCopy APT are usually archive files that have embedded one of these files: LNK, Microsoft Publisher or Trojanized Applications,” Malwarebytes researcher Hossein Jazi said, adding the embedded files are tailored to target government and military officials based in Afghanistan and India, the report said.
The revelation comes close on the heels of disclosures that Meta took steps to block malicious activities carried out by the group on its platform by using romantic lures to compromise individuals with ties to the Afghan government, military, and law enforcement in Kabul.
Some of the prominent attacks were waged against personnel associated with the Administration Office of the President (AOP) of Afghanistan as well as the Ministry of Foreign affairs, Ministry of Finance, and the National Procurement Authority, resulting in the theft of social media passwords and password-protected documents. SideCopy also broke into a shared computer in India and harvested credentials from government and education services.
In addition, the actor is said to have siphoned several Microsoft Office documents, including names, numbers, and email addresses of officials and databases containing information related to identity cards, diplomatic visas, and asset registrations from the Afghan government websites, all of which are expected to be used as future decoys or to fuel further attacks against the individuals themselves, the report added.