Press Release Details

Symantec Discovers New Cyber Espionage Campaign Targeting Middle Eastern Government and Business Organizations

08/14/2018

Leafminer Attack Group Attempts to Infiltrate Targets Through Various Means of Intrusion

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Symantec Corp. (NASDAQ: SYMC), the world’s leading cyber security company, announced the new discovery of a cyber espionage campaign from a group called Leafminer, which has been targeting government organizations and business verticals across the Middle East since at least early 2017.

Leafminer attempts to infiltrate target networks using three main techniques for intrusion: watering hole websites, vulnerability scans of network services on the internet, and brute-force/dictionary login attempts. The group’s post-compromise toolkit suggests that it is looking for email data, files and database servers on compromised target systems.

“Leafminer’s interest in email data indicates that espionage is the primary motivation,” said Einar Oftedal, vice president, Detection Research at Symantec. “The group is highly active and uses publicly available tools that don’t generally set off alerts, along with its own custom malware. They have bold ambitions and are eager to learn from more advanced threat actors, as seen by their mimicking of Dragonfly’s watering hole technique.”

During the investigation of Leafminer, Symantec discovered a list of 809 targets used by the attackers for vulnerability scans. Target regions included in the list were Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Egypt, Israel and Afghanistan. The primary industries under attack include governments, the financial sector and the energy sector.

Given Leafminer’s list of targeted organizations was written in the Iranian language Farsi and the web shell used to set up its arsenal server was authored by MagicCoder, a notorious hacker handle linked to Iranian hacking forums and the Sun Army hacker group, Leafminer appears to be based in Iran.

Symantec has been protecting our customers against Leafminer, and includes the following protections against these attacks:

For more information, visit https://www.symantec.com/blogs/threat-intelligence/leafminer-espionage-middle-east.

About Symantec

Symantec Corporation (NASDAQ: SYMC), the world's leading cyber security company, helps organizations, governments and people secure their most important data wherever it lives. Organizations across the world look to Symantec for strategic, integrated solutions to defend against sophisticated attacks across endpoints, cloud and infrastructure. Likewise, a global community of more than 50 million people and families rely on Symantec's Norton and LifeLock product suites to protect their digital lives at home and across their devices. Symantec operates one of the world's largest civilian cyber intelligence networks, allowing it to see and protect against the most advanced threats. For additional information, please visit www.symantec.com or connect with us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

Symantec
Jennifer Duffourg, +33 6 73 06 50 43
uspress@symantec.com

Source: Symantec Corp.