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A short while ago, we came across a set of similar SWF exploits and were unable to determine which vulnerability they exploited.

We reported this to Adobe and it turned out that these ITW exploits targeted a 0-day vulnerability. Today, Adobe released a patch for the vulnerability.

This post provides a technical analysis of the exploits and payload that we discovered.

All in all, we discovered a total of 11 exploits, which work on the following versions of Adobe Flash Player:


All of the exploits exploit the same vulnerability and all are unpacked SWF files. All have identical actionscript code, which performs an operating system version check. The exploits only work under the following Windows versions: XP, Vista, 2003 R2, 2003, 7, 7x64, 2008 R2, 2008, 8, 8x64. Some of the samples also have a check in place which makes the exploits terminate under Windows 8.1 and 8.1 x64.

Operating system version check algorithm

Incidents|Loophole in Safari

Vyacheslav Zakorzhevsky
Kaspersky Lab Expert
Posted December 13, 09:30  GMT
Tags: Apple MacOS, Safari, Vulnerabilities

In our search for various types of malicious code for Mac we recently came across a rather interesting peculiarity in Safari. It turns out that Safari for Mac OS, like many other contemporary browsers, can restore the previous browsing session. In other words, all the sites that were open in the previous session – even those that required authorization – can be restored in a few simple steps when the browser is launched. Convenient? Of course. Safe? No, unfortunately.   

So that the browser knows what was open at the end of the previous session, the relevant information needs to be stored somewhere. Obviously, that needs to be somewhere that isn’t easily accessible to just anybody, and the information definitely needs to be encrypted.

Safari, however, doesn’t encrypt previous sessions and stores them in a standard plist file that is freely accessible. As a result, it’s easy to find a user’s login credentials: 

Screenshot of a plist file following an attempt to log in to Gmail

It’s pretty clear that the login and password are not encrypted (see the red oval in the screenshot).

The complete authorized session on the site is saved in the plist file in full view despite the use of https. The file itself is located in a hidden folder, but is available for anyone to read.

The system can easily open a plist file. It stores information about the saved session – including http requests encrypted using a simple Base64 encoding algorithm – in a structured format.  

An open plist file

There is a function in Safari – ‘Reopen All Windows from Last Session’ – that allows sites to be opened exactly as they were at the end of the previous session. This is the function that uses LastSession.plist.

The ‘Reopen All Windows from Last Session’ function in Safari

The function is available in the following versions of Mac OS X and Safari:

  • OSX10.8.5, Safari 6.0.5 (8536.30.1)
  • OSX10.7.5, Safari 6.0.5 (7536.30.1)

You can just imagine what would happen if cybercriminals or a malicious program got access to the LastSession.plist file on a system where the user logs in to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or their online bank account.  

As far as we are concerned, storing unencrypted confidential information with unrestricted access is a major security flaw that gives malicious users the opportunity to steal user data with a minimum of effort.   

We have informed Apple about the problem.

At the current time we can’t confirm whether or not there is malicious code out there that targets this file, but we’re ready to bet that it won’t be long before it appears.

This vulnerability has been fixed in Safari 6.1

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On November 5, Microsoft announced the discovery of a new vulnerability CVE-2013-3906 which can be exploited when TIFF images are processed. By exploiting this vulnerability it is possible to attack software – including Microsoft Office and Lync – that uses a vulnerable DLL for processing TIFF images. On the same day, there were reports that Microsoft had recorded attacks that exploit CVE-2013-3906.

Several malware samples became available to us that exploit CVE-2013-3906. We analyzed them in detail. All of them make use of heap spraying, recording their code to the address 0x08080808, and execute the code from that location. Exception generation and memory rewrite is performed in the vulnerable ogl.dll.

Fragment of WinDbg shellcode execution

The exploits that we had access to can be divided into two groups according to the shellcodes used in them.


On 20 March, Russian law enforcement agencies announced the arrest of a cybercriminal gang involved in stealing money using the Carberp Trojan. This is very good news, but unfortunately does not mark the end of the Carberp story.

Evidently, those arrested were just one of the criminal gangs using the Trojan. At the same time, those who actually developed Carberp are still at large, openly selling the Trojan on cybercriminal forums.

Here is a recent offer for the ‘multifunctional bankbot’, which appeared on 21 March:


Post was updated 19.03.2012 (see below)

In the last few days a malicious program has been discovered with a valid signature. The malware is a 32- or 64-bit dropper that is detected by Kaspersky Lab as Trojan-Dropper.Win32.Mediyes or Trojan-Dropper.Win64.Mediyes respectively.

Numerous dropper files have been identified that were signed on various dates between December 2011 and 7 March 2012. In all those cases a certificate was used that was issued for the Swiss company Conpavi AG. The company is known to work with Swiss government agencies such as municipalities and cantons.

Information about the Trojan-Dropper.Win32.Mediyes digital signature


On 3 December, we noted a rapid growth in the number of detections for exploits targeting the vulnerability CVE-2011-3544 in Java virtual machine. The vulnerability was published on 18 October, but malicious users have only recently begun to make active use of it. It can be used by exploits in drive-by attacks to download and launch malicious programs.

Number of unique detections of Exploit.Java.CVE-2011-3544

According to KSN data, most of the exploits targeting CVE-2011-3544 are used in the BlackHole Exploit Kit, which is currently the most popular exploit pack.

We analyzed the latest BlackHole kits. The sites that carry out drive-by attacks with the help of BlackHole turned up quite an old exploit – a PDF file that targets the vulnerability CVE-2010-0188, and a new Java exploit targeting the vulnerability CVE-2011-3544. The corresponding files are circled in red in the screenshot below.

A screenshot of the list of files intercepted when visiting websites where BlackHole is installed

Brian Krebs reports that the creators of BlackHole have successfully integrated the new exploit into their kit. According to KSN statistics, the new exploits attack users in Russia, the US, the UK and Germany. This appears to be related to the fact that new exploits that are integrated in BlackHole and target the vulnerability CVE-2011-3544, install the Trojan Carberp that steals banking data, as well as SMS blockers. SMS blockers are mostly used in Russia, while Trojan bankers attack users in developed countries.

Once again we see that malware writers are forging ahead and are continually improving their creations. It is, therefore, critical that all users install Java updates from Oracle in a timely manner. The patch for (among other things) the CVE-2011-3544 vulnerability can be downloaded here.

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Incidents|Money from the cloud

Vyacheslav Zakorzhevsky
Kaspersky Lab Expert
Posted November 17, 12:49  GMT
Tags: Vulnerabilities and exploits, Cloud Computing

Not so long ago we wrote about cybercriminals using infected computers to generate virtual money via Bitcoin. A couple of days ago we discovered a malicious program called Trojan-Downloader.Win32.MQL5Miner.a which also uses the resources of infected computers, but this time to make money in MQL5 Cloud Network, a distributed computing network.

The MQL5 Cloud Network site

MetaQuotes is a developer of software for financial markets. Several weeks ago, information appeared on the net that the company was offering to pay users to participate in distributed computing. Apparently, this is what attracted malicious users to the new cloud service.

Google search results for the phrase: “MQL5 Cloud Network money”

There are grounds to believe that the malicious program spreads via email. Having infected a computer, the malicious program first determines if the operating system is 32-bit or 64-bit. It then downloads the appropriate version of the official software from MetaQuotes SoftWare. MQL5Miner then launches the service to participate in the cloud computing network. But the cybercriminals specify their own account data and receive the payments for any distributed computing operations that are performed on an infected machine.

A window from the legitimate MetaQuotes software

When it comes to making money, cybercriminals don’t miss a trick. That includes exploiting the resources of infected computers without their owners’ knowledge or consent.

We have notified MetaQuotes about the account being used by cybercriminals.

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Virus Watch|Fake AV business alive and kicking

Vyacheslav Zakorzhevsky
Kaspersky Lab Expert
Posted October 27, 15:03  GMT

Since June 2011 we have seen a substantial decrease in the number of fake antivirus programs. Right now we are observing 10 000 daily attempts to infect users with Trojan-FakeAV; back in June the figures were 50-60,000.

The daily number of attempted infections using Trojan-FakeAV in the past 5 months


Modification of the hard drive areas responsible for the initial loading of the system has become increasing popular with cybercriminals. Moreover, cybercriminals have now moved on from just modifying the MBR (master boot record) to infecting the code of the NTFS loader.

We recently discovered an interesting piece of malware — Cidox. It is peculiar in that it infects the load area code of the boot partition on the hard drive.

The master file Trojan-Dropper.Win32.Cidox “carries on board” two driver rootkits (Rootkit.Win32/Win64.Cidox). One is compiled for 32-bit platforms, the other for 64-bit platforms.

The source component of Cidox makes the following modifications to the beginning of the hard drive:

  • Saves the relevant driver to free sectors at the beginning of the hard drive;
  • It chooses the section marked as the boot partition in the MBR partition table for infection. It is important to note that it only infects partitions with the NTFS file system.
  • Writes part of its code over Extended NTFS IPL (Initial Program Loader), which is responsible for parsing the MFT table (Master File Table), searching for the file with the loader in the root directory of the section (ntldr — pre-Vista, bootmgr — Vista+), reading this file form the disk and transferring control to it. At the same time the original contents of Extended NTFS IPL are encrypted, saved and added to the end of the malicious code.

The Virus Lab recently came across a very interesting sample – a downloader containing two drivers and which downloads fake antivirus programs developed for both PC and Mac platforms. The malicious program is downloaded and installed using the BlackHole Exploit Kit. The latter contains exploits targeting vulnerabilities in JRE (CVE-2010-0886, CVE-2010-4452, CVE-2010-3552) and PDF.

Both drivers are standard rootkits with rich functionality. One of them is a 32-bit and the other a 64-bit driver. The 64-bit driver is signed with a so-called testing digital signature. If Windows – Vista and higher – was booted in ‘TESTSIGNING’ mode, the applications can launch the drivers signed with a testing signature. This is a special trap-door which Microsoft has left for driver developers so they can test their creations. Cybercriminals have also made use of this loophole: they execute the command ‘bcdedit.exe –set TESTSIGNING ON’ which allows them to launch their driver without a legitimate signature.

The following description refers to both rootkits because, apart from the platforms, their functionality is identical. Once the driver is successfully loaded and running on the system, it’s difficult to get rid of it. The rootkit blocks the launch of drivers belonging to anti-rootkit and antivirus products. This is done by using lists of file names for specific drivers and strings for which the rootkit searches the Security section of the DataDirectory array of the image being loaded. If the rootkit detects an “untrusted” driver being loaded, the bytes at the entry point of the image are changed, preventing it from loading correctly.

Fragment of the rootkit containing search strings used to block antivirus drivers

The rootkit protects the “main” application by hooking ZwOpenProcess / ZwOpenThread in SDT (only on 32-bit versions of Windows) and using object manager callbacks to access “trusted” applications. The file system is also monitored by connecting to file system stacks and the registry – by using registry callbacks.

This rootkit is yet more proof (after TDSS) that it’s unnecessary to bypass Patch Guard-а in order to implement rootkit functionality on 64-bit platforms.

The downloader is written in C++ and is itself not protected. Its main task is to install and launch the relevant driver (32- or 64-bit), then download and launch a list of files from URLs. Interestingly, one link leads to Hoax.OSX.Defma.f which we recently wrote about. Most importantly, the rootkit tries to run it…under Windows! It appears that the developers of the latest rogue AV program for MacOS are actively distributing it via intermediaries, who don’t really understand what it is they are supposed to install on users’ computers.

Fragment of the malicious code that downloads and launches the file

Kaspersky Lab products successfully detect and neutralize both Trojan-Downloader.Win32.Necurs.a and Rootkit.Win32.Necurs.a / Rootkit.Win64.Necurs.a.

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