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Cybercrime, Silence has targeted major banks in the sub-Saharan Africa

Kaspersky: Silent is targeting major banks in the sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) region. The APT is about to begin the final stage of it’s operation and cash out the funds

Cybercrime is attacking major banks in the sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) region. It has been discovered by Kaspersky cyber security experts. The malware used in the attacks indicates that the threat actors are most likely to be the Silence group, previously known to be responsible for the theft of millions of dollars from banks across the world. The malicious hackers are one of the most active Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) actors, which has carried out a number of successful campaigns targeting banks and financial organisations around the Globe. The attacks detected began in the first week of January 2020 and indicated that the threat actors are about to begin the final stage of their operation and cash out the funds. To the date, the aggressions are ongoing and persist in targeting large banks in several SSA countries.

How the cybercrime hackers work, according to the cyber security experts

According to the cyber security experts, the scenario of the attack begins with a social engineering scheme: Silence sends a phishing e-mail that contains malware to a bank employee. Then the code gets inside the banks’ security perimeter and lays low for a while, gathering information on victim’s organisation by capturing screenshots and making video recordings of the day to day activity on the infected device, learning how things work. Once attackers are ready to take action, they activate all capabilities of the malware and cash out using, for example, ATMs. The score sometimes reaches millions of dollars. Kaspersky researchers attribute the attacks to the Russian speaking Silence group based on the malware used in the attacks, which was previously exploited solely in the group’s operations. In addition, it’s language is Russian, and hackers attempted to cover it by typing Russian words using the English keyboard layout.

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