Social media giant Facebook this week revealed that it has disrupted the activity of two groups of hackers — one operating from Vietnam and the other from Bangladesh.
The groups, Facebook says, were engaging in cyber-espionage activities, attempting to compromise accounts to gain access to information of interest. Not connected to one another, the groups targeted individuals on Facebook and other online platforms, employing a variety of tactics.
The Vietnamese group mainly attempted to infect victims with malware, while the Bangladeshi adversary focused on compromising accounts and engaged in coordinated reporting to have certain accounts and pages removed from Facebook.
“The people behind these operations are persistent adversaries, and we expect them to evolve their tactics,” the social platform notes.
Operating out of Bangladesh, the first group targeted activists and journalists, along with religious minorities, both in the country and abroad. The activity was focused on disabling accounts and pages through compromising them and then using them to engage in actions in violation of the social platform’s community standards.
“Our investigation linked this activity to two non-profit organizations in Bangladesh: Don’s Team (also known as Defense of Nation) and the Crime Research and Analysis Foundation (CRAF). They appeared to be operating across a number of internet services,” Facebook reveals.
These two organizations work together to report accounts for fictitious impersonation, alleged infringement of intellectual property, purported nudity, and terrorism. They also conducted hacking attempts, likely using off-platform tactics, such as email and device compromise, but also through abusing Facebook’s account recovery process.
Tracked as APT32, APT-C-00, and OceanLotus, the second group is a Vietnamese adversary known for the targeting of human rights activists, foreign governments (in Cambodia and Laos), news agencies, non-governmental organizations, and businesses in verticals such as agriculture, automotive, commodities, hospitals, hospitality, information technology, mobile services, and retail.
Facebook said it was able to link the activity to Vietnamese IT company CyberOne Group, which is also known as CyberOne Security, CyberOne Technologies, Hành Tinh Company Limited, Planet, and Diacauso.
Tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) employed by APT32 include social engineering, surveillance Android applications distributed through Google Play, and compromised and attacker-created websites for malware distribution.
“The latest activity we investigated and disrupted has the hallmarks of a well-resourced and persistent operation focusing on many targets at once, while obfuscating their origin,” Facebook explains.