The Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) disclosed that an Iranian hacking group called Lyceum is targeting telecoms, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and Foreign Affairs Ministries in Nigeria and other African nations. This was disclosed in a statement by the commission on Monday, adding that the hacking group is also known as Hexane, Siamesekitten, or Spirlin.
The statement reads in part, “Information about this cyber-attack is contained in the latest advisory issued by the Nigerian Computer Emergency Response Team. The ngCERT rated the probability and damage level of the new malware as high.
“According to the advisory, the hacking group is known to be focused on infiltrating the networks of telecoms companies and ISPs. Between July and October 2021, Lyceum was implicated in attacks against ISPs and telecoms organizations in Israel, Morocco, Tunisia, and Saudi Arabia.
“The advanced persistent threat group has been linked to campaigns that hit Middle Eastern Oil and gas companies in the past, Now, the group appears to have expanded its focus to the technology sector. In addition, the APT is responsible for a campaign against an unnamed African government’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”
The hacking group uses upgraded malware to commit cyber espionage on foreign countries and companies.
The commission said, “According to reports, individual accounts at companies of interest are usually targeted, and then once these accounts are breached, they are used as a springboard to launch spear-phishing attacks against high-profile executives in an organization.
“The report suggests that not only do these attackers seek out data on subscribers and connected third-party companies’ but once compromised, threat actors or their sponsors can also use these industries to surveil individuals of interest.”
NCC advised consumers to constantly use firewalls (software, hardware, and cloud firewalls) to checkmate the activities of hackers; also, users are encouraged to enable a Web Application Firewall to detect and prevent attacks from web applications.
“Install up-to-date antivirus programs to help detect and prevent a wide range of malware, trojans, and viruses, which APT hackers will use to exploit your system; Implement the use of Intrusion Prevention Systems that monitor your network; Create a secure sandboxing environment that allows you open and run untrusted programs or codes without risking harm to your operating system.
“Ensure the use of Virtual Private Network (VPN) to prevent an easy opportunity for APT hackers to gain initial access to your company’s network; Enable spam and malware protection for your email applications, and educate your employees on how to identify potentially malicious emails,” NCC said.
Multiple levels of security can greatly limit a users’ exposure to threats from hackers.