New Konni Campaign Targeting Russian Ministry Of Foreign Affairs

On December 20, 2021, Black Lotus Labs detected malicious emails being sent from a compromised MID account, [email protected][.]ru.
When they examined the email headers, they identified they were originating from the same IP address from the October phishing activity, 152.89.247[.]26.

Black Lotus Labs have identified two recipients of the emails, although they suspect there are more.
The first was sent to the Russian Embassy in Indonesia: [email protected][.]ru.
The second email was sent to Sergey Alexeyevich Ryabkov who was, according to a cached version of the MID website at the end of December 2021, responsible for “bilateral relations with North and South America, non-proliferation and arms control, Iran’s nuclear program and Russia’s participation in the BRICS association,” an international alliance comprised of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

If the malicious email was opened, it prompted the user to download and click the attached .zip file titled “поздравление”, which means “Congratulations.” Upon decompression, it revealed a screensaver file by the same name that, when clicked, displayed a festive holiday screensaver wishing the recipient a Happy New Year while also surreptitiously running a light-weight loader to retrieve a file from the C2 node at hxxp://i758769.atwebpages[.]com.

When they analyzed the network communications generated by the screensaver file, we noticed an interesting evasion technique.
When the loader file reached out to the threat actor command and control node to obtain the first stage payload, the actor configured the server to respond with a code of “401 unauthorized.” Typically, a 401 error means the user making the request was not authorized to view the webpage and, in many cases, it results in the session being terminated.
However, in this case, the website returned a malicious payload in the second part of the response.
This was likely a tactic to avoid detection.

The C2 node served the requesting machine a Microsoft Cabinet File (.cab). Once the .cab file was decompressed, it contained three more files: install.bat, scrnsvc.dll and scrnsvc.ini.

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