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The secretive Platinum group — hackers known for advanced tools and thought to be state sponsored — has resurfaced, according to Kaspersky.

Why it matters: Platinum is a formidable group. When Microsoft first profiled them in 2016, it was for malware that the group had used undetected for at least seven years — an eternity in hacker time and evidence of how talented the group is.

  • The Kaspersky discovery, too, has been used for at least seven years.

Background: Little is known about Platinum. What is known is pretty formidable.

  • Platinum burst on to the scene with malware taking advantage of Windows "hotfixing," a feature that allowed computers to be updated without rebooting. That malware used four previously unseen security bugs. Most malware don't use any due to the extremely high cost for each one.
  • In 2017, Platinum hackers took advantage of Intel's management engine, a second processor in Intel CPUs intended to be used by network administrators.

Details: The new Platinum discovery also has some unique features, especially in how the command-and-control server sent commands to the malware hidden in the HTML code of a website that appeared to be a domain for sale.

  • HTML ignores tabs and spaces in the code. It also ignores the order of certain formatting commands. For example, if you say text should be at the center of a page and colored white, it is the same as saying text should be white and at the center of a page.
  • Commands were encoded into the webpage in the form of ordered commands, spaces and tabs.
  • Kaspersky notes in a press release that would make commands "almost impossible" to detect in network traffic.

Victims: Kaspersky caught the new malware targeting south and southeast Asian "diplomatic, government and military entities." That's in line with what Microsoft reported in 2016.

Go deeper

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As America emerges from the pandemic, here's a special Axios AM Deep Dive on the Biden administration's health care agenda.

33 mins ago - World

Palestinian Authority announces new COVID restrictions as cases surge

A nurse administers the COVID-19 vaccine to a Palestinian in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron. Photo: Hazem Bader/AFP via Getty Images

The Palestinian Authority on Saturday announced fresh coronavirus restrictions, including a partial lockdown, for the occupied West Bank as COVID-19 cases surge.

The big picture: The new measures come as Israel, which leads the world in vaccinations, faces increased pressure to ensure Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip have equal access to vaccines.

Myanmar military fires UN ambassador after anti-coup speech

Photo: Peerapon Boonyakiat/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Myanmar's military regime on Saturday fired the country's Ambassador to the United Nations, Kyaw Moe Tun, a day after he gave a pro-democracy speech asking UN member nations to publicly condemn the Feb. 1 coup, The New York Times reports.

Details: State television said the ambassador had "betrayed the country and spoken for an unofficial organization which doesn’t represent the country and had abused the power and responsibilities of an ambassador."