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Malicious email that recipient is on 'Prism watchlist' linked to espionage campaign

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The group behind the 'NetTraveler' espionage malware campaign is now sending emails claiming the recipient is on the 'Prism' watch list, according to researchers.

On Tuesday, the 9b+ blog, run by security engineer Brandon Dixon, reported that a malicious email was recently added to VirusTotal and was sent with the subject ‘CIA's prism Watchlist' and contained a malicious Microsoft Word document titled 'Monitored List 1.doc'.

This takes advantage of a Windows Common Controls vulnerability that was patched in April 2012.

According to 9b+, the email targeted a member of the Tibetan Youth Congress in India. Earlier this month, security firm Kaspersky Lab lifted the mask off the NetTraveler espionage campaign, which is targeting hundreds of organisations around the globe.

Kaspersky researchers released analysis about NetTraveler's toolkit that is capable of exfiltrating data – such as file system listings, PDFs and Excel and Word documents – from infected machines.

“It's funny to note that these actors are keeping up with their same techniques and infrastructure (not all of it) despite being 100 per cent outed,” the 9b+ post said.

“Again, this sort of behaviour shows poor operational security or a complete lack of care...Whatever the domain or IP address used in the attack is, you can be sure that there will be other emails and malicious documents like it.”

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