Microsoft has seized a number of malicious sites which were targeting organisations based in 29 countries worldwide. The sites were used by the Nickle hacking group. Nickle is a China-based group also tracked as Playful Dragon, Royal APT, APT15, KE3CHANG and Vixen Panda.
The group compromised serves belonging to diplomatic entities, government organisations and NGOs based in 29 countries, but mainly organizations from Latin America and Europe. Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit (DCU) spotted the group in 2016, and their activity has been seen targeting government bodies since 2019. In the campaign, Nickle was using spearphishing attacks to access credentials stolen from compromsed third-party VPNs and exploiting unpatched SharePoint and Exchange Server to hack into networks.
Following the takedown Tom Burt, Corporate Vice President for Customer Security & Trust at Microsoft said that “no individual action from Microsoft or anyone else in the industry will stem the tide of attacks we’ve seen from nation-states and cybercriminals working within their borders. We need industry, governments, civil society and others to come together and establish a new consensus for what is and isn’t appropriate behaviour in cyberspace. “