A new malware campaign has been found using coronavirus-themed lures to strike government and energy sectors in Azerbaijan with remote access trojans (RAT) capable of exfiltrating sensitive documents, keystrokes, passwords, and even images from the webcam.
The targeted attacks employ Microsoft Word documents as droppers to deploy a previously unknown Python-based RAT dubbed “PoetRAT” due to various references to sonnets by English playwright William Shakespeare. The RAT has all the standard features of this kind of malware, providing full control of the compromised system to the operation. The malware specifically targets supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems in the energy industry, such as wind turbine systems, whose identities are currently not known.
The exact distribution mechanism of the Word document remains unclear, but given that the documents are available for download from a simple URL, the researchers suspect that victims are being tricked into downloading the RAT via malicious URLs or phishing emails, The campaign works by appending PoetRAT to a Word document, which, when opened, executes a macro that extracts the malware and runs it.