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A series of malicious campaigns have been leveraging fake installers of popular apps and games such as Viber, WeChat, NoxPlayer, and Battlefield as a lure to trick users into downloading a new backdoor and an undocumented malicious Google Chrome extension with the goal of stealing credentials and data stored in the compromised systems as well as maintaining persistent remote access.

Cisco Talos attributed the malware payloads to an unknown actor that goes by the alias “magnat,” noting that “these two families have been subject to constant development and improvement by their authors.”

The attacks are believed to have commenced in late 2018, with intermittent activity observed towards the end of 2019 and through early 2020, followed by fresh spikes since April 2021, while mainly singling out users in Canada, followed by the U.S., Australia, Italy, Spain, and Norway.

A noteworthy aspect of the intrusions is the use of malvertising as a means to strike individuals who are looking for popular software on search engines to present them links to download fake installers that drop a password stealer called RedLine Stealer, a Chrome extension dubbed “MagnatExtension” that’s programmed to record keystrokes and capture screenshots, and an AutoIt-based backdoor that establishes remote access to the machine.

images from Hacker News