Experts Find Kurdish Espionage Campaign Active on Facebook

 

Experts at ESET have probed a targeted espionage mobile campaign towards the Kurdish ethnic group, the campaign is in action since March 2020, disseminating (through dedicated FB accounts) two android backdoors named as SpyNote and 888 RAT, appearing to be genuine apps. The profiles were found presenting android news in Kurdish and news for pro Kurds. Few profiles intentionally sent additional monitoring apps to FB groups (public) with content in Kurd's support. Data downloaded from a website hints that around 1,481 URL downloads were promoted through FB posts.

Live Security said "we identified 28 unique posts as part of this BladeHawk campaign. Each of these posts contained fake app descriptions and links to download an app, and we were able to download 17 unique APKs from these links."The latest Android 888 Rat was used by the BladeHawk and Kasablanka groups. Both the groups used false names to call out the same Android Rat- Gaza007 and LodaRat respectively. 

The espionage campaign in this article is directly linked to two cases (publicly disclosed) that surfaced in 2020. QiAnXin Threat Intelligence center identified the hacking group behind the BladeHawk campaign, which it has adopted. 

The 2 campaigns were spread through FB, via malware with built-in commercials, samples using the same C&C servers, and automated tools (SpyNote and 888 Rat). Experts found six FB profiles linked to the BladeHawk attack, distributing Android espionage. These were reported to FB and eventually taken down. 

Two FB profiles targeted tech users and the other four disguised as Pro Kurds. The profiles were made in 2020 and soon after, started distributing the fake apps. Except for one account, none of the other profiles have posted any content except Android Rat posing to be genuine applications.

"These profiles are also responsible for sharing espionage apps to Facebook public groups, most of which were supporters of Masoud Barzani, former President of the Kurdistan Region; an example can be seen in Figure 1. Altogether, the targeted groups have over 11,000 followers," reports Live Security.