'Panda' Crypto Malware Group Has Nabbed $100K in Monero Since 2018
Cisco Talos has identified a group behind a spate of cryptocurrency-mining malware attacks targeting enterprise networks globally.
A cybersecurity firm has identified a group behind a spate of cryptocurrency-mining malware attacks that have been targeting enterprises across the globe.
Said to have already scooped up almost $100,000 (at current prices) in the monero cryptocurrency via its malicious software packages, the group has been dubbed "Panda," by the team that identified it last summer – the Cisco Talos Intelligence Group.
Talos said in a report on Tuesday that Panda's employs remote access tools (RATs) and crypto-mining malwareto exploit vulnerable web applications, and manages to access networks of companies internationally. Its use of RATs puts organizations at risk of the hacking group using their networks for crypto mining purposes or theft of information, according to Talos.
"This is far from the most sophisticated actor we've ever seen, but it still has been one of the most active attackers we've seen in Cisco Talos threat trap data," the team said.
The group has proven adept at updating its tools as they are discovered, in something of an arms race with security researchers.
Talos indicates that Panda harnesses exploits previously employed by Shadow Brokers – a group notorious for publishing hacking tools stolen from the U.S. National Security Agency – and Mimikatz, open-source software that is able to steal passwords from computer memory.
Talos said it has identified "successful" and "widespread" malware campaigns associated with Panda after identifying the group in 2018. Since then Panda has upgraded its infrastructure, exploits and payloads.
The researchers said:
While the group may not be the most sophisticated, alos warned that "system administrators and researchers should never underestimate the damage an actor can do with widely available tools such as Mimikatz."
It calculated that Panda has mined around 1,215 monero (XMR) – worth $91,000 at press time – since it started operations.
Panda graffiti image via Shutterstock
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.
Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.