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SideWinder Uses Server-side Polymorphism to Attack Pakistan Government Officials — and Is Now Targeting Turkey

Recently, security researchers have uncovered a sophisticated malware campaign targeting government officials in Turkey, Pakistan, and other countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Dubbed “SideWinder,” this highly advanced attack uses a technique called “server-side polymorphism” to keep its malicious payloads hidden from security tools.

SideWinder is a modular, multi-stage attack that starts with a malicious document sent to unsuspecting victims. This document is crafted to exploit a vulnerability in a popular document-editing application, allowing the attackers to execute their malicious code. Once executed, the malicious code downloads additional payloads from a malicious server, which is constantly changing its appearance and structure. This “server-side polymorphism” technique allows the attackers to bypass traditional security measures and remain undetected.

Once the malicious code is executed, it begins to target government officials in Turkey and Pakistan. It is believed that the attackers are using SideWinder to access sensitive information and documents, with the ultimate goal of disrupting government operations.

The use of server-side polymorphism is a relatively new technique and one that is becoming increasingly popular among malicious actors. It is especially dangerous because it can bypass traditional security tools, making it difficult for organizations to detect and respond to attacks.

Organizations should take steps to ensure that their systems are properly secured and patched to prevent attacks like SideWinder. Additionally, security teams should remain vigilant for signs of suspicious activity and be prepared to respond quickly to any incidents that are detected.

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