New “ABCsoup” Adware Campaign Targeting Russian Users with Malicious Browser Extensions

A new adware campaign targeting Russian users with malicious browser extensions shows technical sophistication and significant preparation.
New “ABCsoup” Adware Campaign Targeting Russian Users with Malicious Browser Extensions
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Context

On June 7, 2022, researchers at Zimperium reported technical details of an adware campaign targeting Russian gaming, social media, and ecommerce site users. The campaign uses more than 350 variations of malicious browser extensions using the Google Translate extension ID to trick victims into downloading the malicious files. Researchers named the extension group “ABCsoup.” The current campaign targets Google Chrome, Opera and Firefox browsers. In addition to pushing ads, the extensions also steal credentials and cookies from infected users.

Technical Details

Zimperium researchers noted several defining tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) associated with the campaign:

  • Installing the extension in three major browsers on a victim’s machine.
  • Using Google Translate Extension ID to hide itself from endpoint security solutions, scanners, and the victims.
  • Use of heavy obfuscation.
  • Personalized ads based on user information.

Threat actors are using the key variable in the manifest to forge fake browser extensions with the same extension ID as the Google Translate extension. The extensions must be delivered to targets via sideloading because security controls in browser stores prevent them from being loaded.

Upon loading, the extension is dropped in the appropriate location in the targeted browser and modifies the registry file. The extension becomes active once the infected browser is closed and reopened by the victim. Once executed, the extension sends a log request to a command and control (C2) domain that contains logs for all three browses and some stolen credentials from the infected browser.

Impact Analysis

Given that the overwhelming majority of the campaign’s C2 domains are Russian, and the “VK” social media site targeted in the campaign are Russian, it is likely that the campaign is currently targeting Russian users and that the threat actors are based in Russia or Eastern Europe. However, it is possible that the campaign could expand to other regions, and Zimperium researchers note that when user data is collected on Russian sites, global users will see less personalization in targeted online ads.

IOCs

Researchers from Zimperium provided the following indicators of compromise (IOCs):

Indicator Type Notes
dxrvcwmlzk[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
vxnsxcwtky[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
qxkyvdxfst[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
ebisgjvjce[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
kviiqfesoa[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
hxtqvgexlf[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
xxozqcyglz[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
kdhxxdbmmj[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
nykbneelqp[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
fojqexnqwn[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
zmhikmcqka[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
mysqkptdzp[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
wajxzdmbek[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
wbfcyoqqgy[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
jskwpehjbn[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
fpeplvrlgt[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
qeyapfqhwl[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
bjdibiyyei[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
evwoqwrdzv[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
nvwtztiwrp[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
hzszqoimbc[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
rptcavxndj[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
njbkjqsrmb[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
iyscytsgkb[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
ypsmoeqpql[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
aoxpvplfox[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
ajsbvlpser[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
wozjivizyw[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
laavnjznqf[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
iyzqporrgn[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
ldicmowfak[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
hlflheyikb[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
jsv14tlnaii[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
nliqmvcqib[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
gszosmbblv[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
exooseszox[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
rcqfjymyqq[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
vqhqadnrqm[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
vxlmidapfc[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
lqmxvqqzpz[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
ohedoyijef[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
hdjyrczkbn[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
dqlvaltxzw[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
ylxdxfqvda[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
qewiatlyzd[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
lrajephkmd[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
qvknfkhqfg[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
txnfrnrkir[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
qjqosngccj[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
deczqsqqfg[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
yznvtjxwfw[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
bxpfkabcmi[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
systemupdates1[.]top Domain C2 Domain
haibphnqqm[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
okavmpdagc[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
suppasml[.]ru Domain C2 Domain
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