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A threat actor with a suspected China nexus has been linked to a set of espionage attacks in the Philippines that primarily relies on USB devices as an initial infection vector.

Mandiant, which is part of Google Cloud, is tracking the cluster under its uncategorized moniker UNC4191. An analysis of the artefacts used in the intrusions indicates that the campaign dates as far back as September 2021.

“UNC4191 operations have affected a range of public and private sector entities primarily in Southeast Asia and extending to the U.S., Europe, and APJ,” researchers Ryan Tomcik, John Wolfram, Tommy Dacanay, and Geoff Ackerman said.

“However, even when targeted organizations were based in other locations, the specific systems targeted by UNC4191 were also found to be physically located in the Philippines.”

The reliance on infected USB drives to propagate the malware is unusual if not new. The Raspberry Robin worm, which has evolved into an initial access service for follow-on attacks, is known to use USB drives as an entry point.

images from Hacker News