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Malware programs with remote access targeted Indian govt, defence personnel: Report

Operation Armor Piercer marks another instance of highly motivated threat actors targetting India’s government agencies.

Malicious documents containing remote access trojans (RAT) were allegedly distributed to several Indian government and defence agency personnel to access confidential information, claimed Cisco Talos in a report. The hacking operation termed "Armor Piercer" uses two RATs — Netwire RAT and WarzoneRAT (alias Ave Maria), and it was first observed in December 2020. The Cisco Talos report said that the RATs masqueraded as documents related to the Indian government's Kavach Application. What is Kavach? Kavach is a two-factor authentication application used by government employees to access their emails. There are multiple how-to-use Kavach documents available on the internet, issued by the Indian government. The malicious documents were modelled after these documents. Operation Armor Piercer is a grim reminder of the vulnerabilities still existing in our cybersecurity posture. To ensure end-to-end security of India’s assets and information, government and defence agencies must implement a layered defence strategy that enables visibility and coverage across all endpoints. — Vishak Raman, Director, Security Business, Cisco India MediaNama has reached out to the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team with queries pertaining to the alleged attack. The post will be updated when we receive a response. Operation Armor Piercer is another instance of highly motivated threat actors using a set of RAT families to infect their victims. These RATs are packed with many out-of-the-box features to gain complete control over the infected systems. The use of RATs makes it challenging to track down the threat actors behind them. What do these malware documents contain? The maldocs…

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Among other subjects, I cover the increasing usage of emerging technologies, especially for surveillance in India

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