TinyNuke Banking Malware Targets French Entities

Proofpoint observed dozens of TinyNuke campaigns targeting French entities in 2018.
After only observing a handful of TinyNuke campaigns in 2019 and 2020, Proofpoint observed TinyNuke reappear in January 2021 in one campaign distributing around 2,000 emails.
Subsequent campaigns appeared in low volumes in May, June, and September.
In November, Proofpoint identified multiple TinyNuke campaigns distributing around 2,500 messages and impacting hundreds of customers.

In the most recent campaigns, the threat actor uses invoice-themed lures purporting to be logistics, transportation, or business services entities.

These messages contain URLs that lead to the download of a compressed executable responsible for installing TinyNuke.

Proofpoint first observed TinyNuke in 2017 used as a second-stage payload in a Zeus banking trojan campaign targeting French entities.
Its use peaked in 2018 before all but disappearing in Proofpoint data in 2019 and 2020.

Proofpoint has observed three times as many TinyNuke campaigns in 2021 as the two previous years combined.
But while threat actors have conducted more campaigns this year, they are distributing fewer messages compared to previous years.

Though the number of 2021 campaigns is less than 2018, TinyNuke’s reappearance and consistent targeting of French organizations is striking, suggesting it is a re-emerging threat in the French cybercrime threat landscape.

Proofpoint assesses there are at least two distinct activity sets using TinyNuke based on different lure themes, payload deployment, and command and control (C2) infrastructure.
Specifically, one intrusion set associated with the initial TinyNuke actors uses Tor for C2 since 2018, while commodity actors typically leverage clear web C2.
Open source reporting suggests the malware version using Tor which Proofpoint has observed with continued regularity is not publicly available, and likely used only by the original TinyNuke threat actors.

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