250+ U.S. news sites spotted spreading FakeUpdates malware in a supply-chain attack

Pierluigi Paganini November 03, 2022

Threat actors compromised a media company to deliver FakeUpdates malware through the websites of hundreds of newspapers in the US.

Researchers at Proofpoint Threat Research observed threat actor TA569 intermittently injecting malicious code on a media company that serves many major news outlets. The media company serves The media company provides video content and advertising via Javascript to its partners. The attackers modified the JS to deploy the FakeUpdates malware, aka SocGholish, through the websites of hundreds of newspapers in the US.

Visitors of compromised websites were infected with malware payloads masqueraded as fake browser updates (i.e. Chromе.Uрdatе.zip, Chrome.Updater.zip, Firefoх.Uрdatе.zip, Operа.Updаte.zip, Oper.Updte.zip). The users are tricked into downloading ZIP archives containing the malware via fake update alerts.

“We track this actor as #TA569. TA569 historically removed and reinstated these malicious JS injects on a rotating basis. Therefore the presence of the payload and malicious content can vary from hour to hour and shouldn’t be considered a false positive.” reads a tweet published by the company.

The security firm revealed that more than 250 U.S. news outlets were impacted by this supply chain attack, including the websites of major news organizations.

Impacted media organizations serve major news outlets from New York, Boston, Chicago, Miami, Washington, D.C., and more.

In July, Microsoft researchers discovered a malware campaign that the FakeUpdates malware was being distributed via Raspberry Robin malware. Recently Microsoft discovered a malicious activity that links the Raspberry Robin worm to human-operated ransomware attacks. 

Microsoft experts observed the threat actor DEV-0206 using the worm to deploy a downloader on networks that were also compromised by threat actors using Evil Corp TTPs.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, malware)

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