Cyberattacks: NITDA cautions against hacking group masquerading as USAID




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By Ijeoma Olorunfemi

Abuja The Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has urged to beware of a widespread malicious email undertaken by a hacking group, Nobelium.

NITDA warned that the group is masquerading as the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

Mrs Hadiza Umar, NITDA Cooperate Affairs and External ’ Head, gave the warning in a statement she issued late on Sunday in Abuja.

Umar said the malicious group, uncovered by Microsoft company, had been discovered to leverage the legitimate mass-mailing , to masquerade as USAID and distribute malicious Uniform Resource Locator (URLs) to a wide variety of organisations.

According to her, the group targets government organisations, Non-Government Organisations, think-tanks, the military, IT providers, , technology and telecommunications providers.

antics involve the use of emails claiming to be an alert from USAID about documents published by former President about election fraud.

“Once users click the link in the email, the URL would direct them to the legitimate Constant Contact and then redirect to Nobelium-controlled infrastructure through a URL that delivers a malicious International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) file.

“This in turn enables the criminals to execute further malicious objectives, such as lateral , data exfiltration and delivery of additional malware,” she said.

The official further advised to be wary of such criminals masquerading as USAID and turn on cloud-delivered protection in Microsoft Defender Antivirus or the equivalent to cover rapidly evolving attacker tools and techniques for mitigation.

She further said people run Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) in block mode to enable antivirus to block malicious artifacts because the EDR in block mode works behind the scenes to remediate malicious artifacts that were detected post-breach.

“Enable network protection to prevent applications or users from accessing malicious domains and other malicious content on the Internet.

“Enable and remediation in full automated mode to allow antivirus immediate action on alerts to resolve breaches.

“Use device discovery to increase your visibility into your network by finding unmanaged devices on your network and onboarding them

“Enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to mitigate compromised credentials and block all office applications from creating child processes,” she advised.

Umar said the mitigations be applied by users and administrators.

She also said could report an incident by contacting NITDA’S Computer Emergency Readiness and Response via email support@cerrt.ng or telephone +2348178774580. (NAN)