Talos has identified a new threat actor, internally tracked as “Vivin,” conducting a long-term cryptomining campaign. We first began linking different samples of malware dropping illicit coin miners to the same actor in November of 2019. However, upon further investigation, Talos established a much longer timeline of activity. Observable evidence shows that Vivin has been active since at least November 2017 and is responsible for mining thousands of U.S. dollars in Monero cryptocurrency off of their infected hosts.
Vivin has shown to rotate the use of multiple cryptocurrency wallet addresses, in addition to altering the delivery chain of their payloads, over different time periods of activity. An interesting aspect of the actor’s delivery method is their use of modified pirated software as their initial attack vector before the samples move on to common “living-off-the-land” methods at later stages of the attack. Vivin makes a minimal effort to hide their actions, making poor operational security decisions such as posting the same Monero wallet address found in our observable samples on online forms and social media. Nor do they discriminate in their targeting, attempting to capitalize on general user behavior, rather than targeting, to generate as large a victim pool as possible.
Despite the market downturn for cryptocurrency values in 2018, cryptomining remained a popular attack method for malicious actors throughout 2019 and heading into 2020. Over the course of last year, Talos Incident Response observed a number of cryptomining attacks, some of which potentially involved higher coordinated cybercrime groups and collaboration between multiple different threat actors. While more sophisticated actors certainly pose a significant threat, organizations should remain cognizant of the additional threat posed by less advanced actors employing wide or unrestricted targeting. Talos has previously documented one such actor, “Panda,” illustrating their potential for long-term exploitation of their victims’ resources and their resilience from being deterred from future action. These attributes make Vivin, and other actors like them, legitimate risks to organizational resource abuse and potential data theft.
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