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In the first week of April 2014 we were at “The Symposium on Security for Asia Network" (SyScan), a “geeky” single-track conference located in Singapore.



I liked the friendly atmosphere from the very first slides of the event (as is seen above).

The program covered hardware and software attacks like “Car Hacking”, “Defeating SecureBoot”, “Point-of-Sale”-hacks (“Flappy Bird” injected on a mobile POS device was my favorite), “RFID”-hacks, “Anti-Virus Software” flaws, “Phone hacks”, “OS-Hacks” and a “Linux Memory Forensic” case study amongst others.

All of the presentations were of quite high quality in content and most of the speakers did a nice job presenting their content.

Much beer did flow at the “BarCon” at the end of day one ...

0.4
 


What exactly is Careto / "The Mask"?

The Mask is an advanced threat actor that has been involved in cyber-espionage operations since at least 2007.

What makes The Mask special is the complexity of the toolset used by the attackers. This includes an extremely sophisticated piece of malware, a rootkit, a bootkit, Mac OS X and Linux versions and possibly versions for Android and iPad/iPhone (iOS).

The Mask also uses a customized attack against older Kaspersky Lab products in order to hide in the system. This puts it above Duqu in terms of sophistication, making The Mask one of the most advanced threats at the current time. This and several other factors make us believe this could be a state-sponsored operation.

0.7
 

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:

11.3.372.94
11.3.375.10
11.3.376.12
11.3.377.15
11.3.378.5
11.3.379.14
11.6.602.167
11.6.602.180
11.7.700.169
11.7.700.202
11.7.700.224

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

0.2
 

Eight Microsoft Security Bulletins are being pushed out this month, MS13-096 through MS13-106. Five of them are rated "Critical" and another six are rated "Important". The top priorities to roll out this month are the critical GDI+ (MS13-096), Internet Explorer (MS13-097), and Scripting Runtime (MS13-099) updates.

Several of the vulnerabilities have been actively exploited as a part of targeted attacks around the world, and one of them is known to be ItW for at least six months or so.

The GDI+ update patches memory corruption vulnerability CVE-2013-3906, which we have been detecting as Exploit.Win32.CVE-2013-3906.a. We have seen a low number of ITW variations on exploitation of this vulnerability as a malformed TIFF file, all dropping backdoors like Citadel, the BlackEnergy bot, PlugX, Taidoor, Janicab, Solar, and Hannover. The target profile and toolset distribution related to these exploit attempts suggest a broad array of likely threat actors that got their hands on it since this July, and a wide reaching distribution chain that provided the exploit around the world. Considering the variety of uses and sources, this one may replace cve-2012-0158 as a part of targeted attacks in terms of overall volume.

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The Internet Explorer Bulletin fixes seven different elevation of privilege and memory corruption vulnerabilities, any one of which effects Internet Explorer 6 on Windows XP SP 3 through Internet Explorer 11 on Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows RT 8.1. We expect to see exploits for some of these vulnerabilities included in commodity exploit packs.

Finally, another critical vulnerability exists in the Windows Scripting Engine as yet another "use after free", which unfortunately enables remote code execution across every version of Windows out there and can be attacked via any of the common web browsers. Patch!

This post will likely be updated later today, but in the meantime, more about this month's patches can be found at the Microsoft site.

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0.6
 

The emergence of small groups of cyber-mercenaries available for hire to perform surgical hit and run operations.

The world of Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) is well known. Skilled adversaries compromising high-profile victims and stealthily exfiltrating valuable data over the course of many years. Such teams sometimes count tens or even hundreds of people, going through terabytes or even petabytes of exfiltrated data.

Although there has been an increasing focus on attribution and pinpointing the sources of these attacks, not much is known about a new emerging trend: the smaller hit-and-run gangs that are going after the supply chain and compromising targets with surgical precision.

Since 2011 we have been tracking a series of attacks that we link to a threat actor called ‘Icefog’. We believe this is a relatively small group of attackers that are going after the supply chain -- targeting government institutions, military contractors, maritime and ship-building groups, telecom operators, satellite operators, industrial and high technology companies and mass media, mainly in South Korea and Japan.

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Together with our partner CrySyS Lab, we've discovered two new, previously-unknown infection mechanisms for Miniduke. These new infection vectors rely on Java and IE vulnerabilities to infect the victim's PC.

While inspecting one of the C&C servers of Miniduke, we have found files that were not related to the C&C code, but seemed to be prepared for infecting visitors using web-based vulnerabilities.

The page hxxp://[c2_hostname]/groups/business-principles.html is used as an starting point for the attack. It consists of two frames, one for loading the decoy web page from a legitimate website (copied from http://www.albannagroup.com/business-principles.html), and another for performing malicious activities (hxxp://[c2_hostname]/groups/sidebar.html)


Source code of business-principles.html


Decoy webpage loaded

The second webpage, "sidebar.html" contains 88 lines, mostly JavaScript code, and works as a primitive exploit pack. Its code identifies the victim's browser and then serves one of two exploits. It also sends collected browser data to another script by sending a POST request to "hxxp://[c2_hostname]/groups/count/write.php".

1.1
 

Last week, Adobe released a patch for a vulnerability in Flash Player that was being exploited in targeted attacks.

Before reading any further, we recommend you to take a moment make sure you apply this patch. Adobe offers this nifty tool to check that you have the latest version of Flash Player.

If you are running Google Chrome, make sure you have version -24.0.1312.57 m- or later.

Now back to CVE-2013-0633, the critical vulnerability that was discovered and reported to Adobe by Kaspersky Lab researchers Sergey Golovanov and Alexander Polyakov. The exploits for CVE-2013-0633 have been observed while monitoring the so-called -legal- surveillance malware created by the Italian company HackingTeam. In this blog, we will describe some of the attacks and the usage of this 0-day to deploy malware from -HackingTeam- marketed as Remote Control System.

0.1
 

Greetings from Dallas, Texas, where the anti-malware industry is meeting for the 22nd edition of Virus Bulletin.

Events|The Current Web-Delivered Java 0day

Kurt Baumgartner
Kaspersky Lab Expert
Posted August 28, 19:09  GMT
Tags: Sun Java, Zero-day vulnerabilities, Oracle
0.3
 

The Java 0day activity that we have been monitoring and preventing for almost the past week has been irresponsibly reported on other blogs, with early posts publicly linking to known sites serving the 0day. In itself, the race to publish on this 0day that will be assigned CVE-2012-4681 (a problem with processing access control within "protection domains"), has been irresponsible. Would you encourage folks to walk down a mugger's dark alley with no protection or would you work to communicate the muggers' whereabouts to the right folks and work on lighting the alley or giving better directions? Would you provide muggers with some new weapons that they haven't considered? The efforts this time around seem misplaced.

Anyway, initial sites hosting the exploit were unique and spreading known APT related toolset components, including a Poison Ivy variant. Here is a somewhat unexpected heat map of early, related PIvy detections.

And here is a heat map of early detections for related web pages and javascript delivering the Java exploit:

All the related malware that I have seen to this point targeted Windows systems. The exploits are effective against Java 7 and since the initial targeted attacks, news and the samples spread throughout the broader security community and the exploits made their way to metasploit developers, who added PoC to the open source framework. In turn, the Blackhole authors added the exploit to their COTS. So the attacks are widespread at this point. The first victim regions to be hit with the Blackhole stuff were the US, the Russian Federation, Belarus, Germany, the Ukraine and Moldova. But, in relation to the other exploits included in the pack, victims are getting hit only a fair number of times with the 0day. Internet Explorer users are being hit the most, followed by Firefox, Chrome, and Opera, and then a variety of other applications that handle URLs within their documents and eventually pass the malicious .jar on to a Java client, like Adobe Reader.

We are using a variety of detections and techniques to identify the malicious sites, the web pages involved, the exploit code, and the backdoor payloads delivered by these sites. Even though this particular Java 0day is getting hyped, other older exploits in the Blackhole exploit pack continue to get hit on victim systems with higher volume. So our community is protected from the Blackhole sites themselves, the Blackhole webpages serving the Blackhole Java 0day, compromised sites redirecting to the Blackhole sites, the more prevalent older Blackhole exploits and their delivery pages, and the trojans being delivered by these Blackhole sites. In addition to all that, Kaspersky "Advanced Exploit Prevention" adds another runtime/behavioral layer of protection against the 0day itself with with "Exploit.Java.Generic". This addition is the most interesting to myself - exploit pack authors have been focused on improving their Java exploit server-side polymorphism, and this AEP feature defeats those efforts. So, our user community will see access denied altogether for current Blackhole sites, individual Blackhole web pages detected with variations on "Trojan-Downloader.JS.Agent", the backdoors detected with "Trojan.Win32.Generic" and others (i.e., 61A3CE517FD8736AA32CAF9081F808B4, DEC9676E97AE998C75A58A02F33A66EA, 175EFFD7546CBC156E59DC42B7B9F969, 0C72DF76E96FA3C2A227F3FE4A9579F3), and the 0day Java exploit code detected with "HEUR:Exploit.Java.Agent.gen" (i.e. E441CF993D0242187898C192B207DC25, 70C555D2C6A09D208F52ACCC4787A4E2, E646B73C29310C01A097AA0330E24E7B, 353FD052F2211168DDC4586CB3A93D9F, 32A80AAE1E134AFB3D5C651948DCCC7D) among others, along with the runtime AEP prevention. So while you may see a few links to Virustotal with the inevitable complaining that a scanner is missing a specific chunk of altered code along with innaccurate claims that "AV is dead!" or "AV can't detect it", you should take them for the grain of salt that they are. The real story about client side mass exploitation is more complex than those claims. Some researchers call the various points in a delivery vector a kill chain, and Kaspersky products are killing it.

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At the same time, Oracle needs to step it up and deliver an OOB patch, which historically they have failed to do. Maybe this event will provide even more pressure to step up their security update delivery process. They have been snapping up some good security research talent and beginning to reach out, which is a start. A very late start.

UPDATE (2012.08.30): Oracle patches CVE-2012-4681 and two other client side RCE vulnerabilities. It is probably a better idea for Windows users to go to their control panel, find the Java applet, and use the Java update software to manually get the latest JRE 7 and 6 releases - the default delay for the Java Update package to check is currently one week for the Java 7 installer.

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0.6
 

The Flame malware uses several methods to replicate itself. The most interesting one is the use of the Microsoft Windows Update service. This is implemented in Flame’s “SNACK”, “MUNCH” and “GADGET” modules. Being parts of Flame, these modules are easily reconfigurable. The behavior of these modules is controlled by Flame’s global registry, the database that contains thousands of configuration options.

SNACK: NBNS spoofing

The SNACK module creates a RAW network socket for either all or pre-set network interfaces and begins receiving all network packets. It looks for NBNS packets of other machines looking for local network names. When such a packet is received, it is written to an encrypted log file (“%windir%\temp\~DEB93D.tmp”) and passed on for further processing.

When a name in the NBNS request matches the expression “wpad*” or “MSHOME-F3BE293C”, it responds with its own IP address. If “SNACK.USE_ATTACK_LIST” variable is set to “True”, it also checks whether packets originate from IP addresses specified in its “SNACK.ATTACK_LIST” and responds to machines with these addresses.

“Wpad” is a name used for automatic proxy detection. By responding to “wpad” name requests with its own IP address, the SNACK module announces the infected machine as a proxy server for its local network.

SNACK and MUNCH also communicate with the GADGET unit that provides facilities for handling different events that come from other modules. The Flame’s registry contains LUA modules for processing events like “MUNCH_ATTACKED”, “SNACK_ENTITY.ATTACK_NOW”.

MUNCH: Spoofing proxy detection and Windows Update request

“MUNCH” is the name of the HTTP server module in Flame. It is started only if “MUNCH.SHOULD_RUN” variable is set to “True” and there are no running programs that can alert the victim. These programs (anti-virus, firewalls, network sniffers etc.) are defined in the Flame’s registry in a list called “SECURITY.BAD_PROGRAMS”

When MUNCH is started, it reads a buffer from the “MUNCH.WPAD_DATA” variable, replaces the pattern “%%DEFAULT%%” with the IP address of its best suitable network interface and waits for HTTP requests.

Contents of the “MUNCH.WPAD_DATA” variable

The “MUNCH.WPAD_DATA” buffer is actually a WPAD file that is requested by network clients that implement automatic proxy server detection. The code in the WPAD file matches the MD5 hash of the hostname that the client is connecting to against its own list, and if found, offers itself as a HTTP proxy. We were able to identify the hashes:

download.windowsupdate.com
download.microsoft.com
update.microsoft.com
www.update.microsoft.com
v5.windowsupdate.microsoft.com
windowsupdate.microsoft.com
www.download.windowsupdate.com
v5stats.windowsupdate.microsoft.com
v4stats.windowsupdate.microsoft.com
v9stats.windowsupdate.microsoft.com
v5.windowsupdate.com
v7stats.windowsupdate.microsoft.com
v6stats.windowsupdate.microsoft.com
v8stats.windowsupdate.microsoft.com
v5.download.windowsupdate.com

So, when a machine configured with automatic proxy detection tries to access one of the Windows Update hosts, it receives an IP address of the infected machine from SNACK, and then receives the IP address of the same machine as a proxy server from “wpad.dat” provided by MUNCH. From then, requests to the Windows Update service are passed through the MUNCH server.

When a network client connects to the MUNCH server and requests an URI other than “/wpad.dat” and “/ view.php”, the server :

1) Runs “MUNCH.SHOULD_ATTACK_SCRIPT” – Lua script that checks if the User-Agent header matches at least one of the patterns specified in “MUNCH.USER_AGENTS.CAB_PATTERN_*”. The Flame registry files that we have contained the following patterns:

MUNCH.USER_AGENTS.CAB_PATTERN_4 : WinHttp%-Autoproxy%-Service.*
MUNCH.USER_AGENTS.CAB_PATTERN_3 : Windows%-Update%-Agent.*
MUNCH.USER_AGENTS.CAB_PATTERN_2 : Industry Update.*
MUNCH.USER_AGENTS.CAB_PATTERN_1 : Microsoft SUS.*

2) Checks if the requested URI matches any pattern specified in the list of strings called “MUNCH.GENERIC_BUFFERS.*.data.PATTERN”. If one of the expressions match, it then gets the buffer specified in the corresponding “MUNCH.GENERIC_BUFFERS.*.data.FILE_DATA” value, reads the payload value called “MUNCH.GENERIC_BUFFERS_CONTENT.value_of_FILE_DATA” and sends it to the client.

All the payloads are listed in the Flame’s registry with names starting with “MUNCH.GENERIC_BUFFERS_CONTENT.payload_name”, and are encoded with a fixed 104-byte RC4 key.