Israeli Entities Targeted by Cyberattack Using Donut and Sliver Frameworks

Cybersecurity researchers have discovered an attack campaign that targets various Israeli entities with publicly-available frameworks like Donut and Sliver. The campaign, believed to be highly targeted in nature, “leverage target-specific infrastructure and custom WordPress websites as a payload delivery mechanism, but affect a variety of entities across unrelated verticals, and rely on well-known open-source malware,” HarfangLab said in a report last week.

The French company is tracking the activity under the name Supposed Grasshopper. It’s a reference to an attacker-controlled server , to which a first-stage downloader connects to.This downloader, written in Nim, is rudimentary and is tasked with downloading the second-stage malware from the staging server. It’s delivered by means of a virtual hard disk (VHD) file that’s suspected to be propagated via custom WordPress sites as part of a drive-by download scheme.

The second-stage payload retrieved from the server is Donut, a shellcode generation framework, which serves as a conduit for deploying an open-source Cobalt strike alternative called Sliver. “The operators also put some notable efforts in acquiring dedicated infrastructure and deploying a realistic WordPress website to deliver payloads,” the researchers said. “Overall, this campaign feels like it could realistically be the work of a small team.”

The end goal of the campaign is currently unknown, although HarfangLab theorized that it could also be associated with a legitimate penetration testing operation, a possibility that raises its own set of questions surrounding transparency and impersonating Israeli government agencies. The disclosure comes as the SonicWall Capture Labs threat research team detailed an infection chain that employs booby-trapped Excel spreadsheets as a starting point to drop a trojan known as Orcinius.

This is a multi-stage trojan that is using Dropbox and Google Docs to download second-stage payloads and stay updated,” the company said. “It contains an obfuscated VBA macro that hooks into Windows to monitor running windows and keystrokes and creates persistence using registry keys

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