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  • (01. January 2010., 10:27:49)












Author Topic: Kaspersky Labs warns: "Red October" malware (cyber-espionage scheme)  (Read 914 times)

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Samker

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Unpatched Java installations may have helped spread the malware responsible for the recently uncovered "Red October" cyber-spying campaign, researchers at Seculert have revealed.

Kaspersky Labs first disclosed the existence of Red October on Monday, claiming that the program had been responsible for attacks on systems in Eastern European countries, former Soviet republics, and Central Asian nations over the last five years: http://www.securelist.com/en/analysis/204792262/Red_October_Diplomatic_Cyber_Attacks_Investigation

The primary vectors used to install the malware were emails containing attached documents that exploited vulnerabilities in Microsoft Word and Excel. Recipients who opened the documents became unwitting participants in the cyber-espionage scheme.

But further investigation by Seculert has revealed that Red October's masterminds had a backup plan – namely, installing the malware by directing users to a web page that exploited a known vulnerability in the Java browser plugin.

In a blog post on Tuesday, Seculert researchers explained that a special folder on the Red October command-and-control servers contained a PHP page that could exploit the Java flaw, causing the hapless victim's browser to download and execute Red October's "Rocra" malware automatically: http://blog.seculert.com/2013/01/operation-red-october-java-angle.html

Similar exploits have made headlines in recent months, with hackers and security researchers exposing a seemingly endless series of Java vulnerabilities that could allow attackers to compromise client machines. Occasionally, researchers have discovered sites that actively exploit these flaws in the wild.

In the case of Red October, the specific vulnerability targeted was an old one, CVE-2011-3544, which Oracle fixed with a Critical Patch Update in October 2011.: http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/topics/security/javacpuoct2011-443431.html

It may seem strange that Red October's authors would go after such an ancient flaw, given that their exploit code was compiled in February 2012, well after a fix had already been issued. But these Java vulns have a way of lingering around on unpatched machines.

In fact, CVE-2011-3544 was one of the Java vulnerabilities used to spread the Mac-specific Flashback Trojan in early 2012. One of the reasons that attack was so successful was because at the time, security fixes for Apple's Mac OS X–specific version of Java tended to lag behind fixes for the mainline version.

Even Oracle has been known to take its sweet time patching potentially risky Java bugs. In August 2012, Adam Gowdiak of Polish firm Security Explorations revealed that although he had promptly informed Oracle of several serious vulnerabilities he had discovered, the database giant dragged its feet for more than four months before issuing patches, a delay that gave cyber-crooks time to discover and exploit the flaws. And even then, Oracle's fix didn't fully address the problem.

Metasploit founder HD Moore claims it will likely take Oracle two years to get its Java security house in order, given its past track record. Little wonder, then, that no less than the US Department of Homeland Security has cautioned users to disable Java in their browsers "unless it is absolutely necessary."

According to Seculert, Java flaws probably weren't involved in most Red October infections, but only because a misconfigured server disabled the PHP code that would have delivered the exploit.

If hackers were looking for a new way to keep Red October going, however, it wouldn't be hard to find one. On Sunday, security researchers announced that a new, unpatched Java security hole had already been discovered following Oracle's most recent patch, and that one enterprising hacker was offering to sell an exploit kit at a price of $5,000 a throw.

(ElReg)

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Samker

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"Red October" Response Shows Importance Of Threat Indicators

Research into Red October quickly produces a list of indicators of compromise using an open format, allowing potentially affected companies to check their systems for infection.

When Kaspersky Lab published the initial report identifying the Red October cyber espionage campaign early last week, many companies likely searched the publication for ways to detect the malware in their own systems.

Yet, while firms could attempt to tease out attributes that would help them identify signs of the attack, the report was not meant to offer actionable intelligence. To fill that need, Kaspersky Lab and security-management firm AlienVault followed up this week, releasing a compilation of the indicators of compromise (IOCs) to help companies hunt down any potential infections: http://labs.alienvault.com/labs/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/RedOctober-Indicatorsofcompromise-2.pdf

Indicators of compromise--the telltale signs that can be used by correlation programs and monitoring software to detect malicious software--aid companies in responding to potential threats. Sharing such threat information is important, says Jaime Blasco, director of AlienVault research labs.

"The ideal scenario is that everyone and every vendor uses the same format for indicators of compromise," he says. "You can use it to share threat data, so all of us can benefit."

In creating the report, AlienVault used an open format designed to help companies exchange threat information known as OpenIOC: http://www.openioc.org
Created and used internally by Mandiant since 2007, the format for describing indicators of compromise was released in 2011 as OpenIOC. While reports can relay the narrative details of an attack, OpenIOC describes detailed information in a machine readable format, says Douglas Wilson, principal consultant and threat indicators team lead for Mandiant.

"We are specifically describing artifacts, something where you could do a logical test to find out if there is an intruder on your system," Wilson says. "We are not describing threat actor groups; we are not describing campaigns; we are specifically using it to find evil on the systems that have intruders on them or previously had intruders on them."

The Red October cyber espionage network stealthily invaded the computers of governments and industry in a number of countries, mainly Eastern Europe, former states of the Soviet Union and Asian countries. Discovered by Kaspersky Lab in October 2012, Red October had been operating for about five years. While the espionage software appeared to be programmed by Russian developers, it used exploits common to Chinese targeted attacks to compromise systems, the firm said.

The report released by Kaspersky Lab and AlienVault includes filenames and paths commonly used by Red October, as well as the domain names and IP addresses of the command-and-control and proxy servers used to manage the espionage network. The main backdoor was stored on infected systems using a wide variety of names and extensions and in an encrypted format.

While antivirus and intrusion detection products will include ways of recognizing threats based on similar data, an open format for indicators of compromise allow companies to tailor the information to their own environment and systems, Wilson says.

"You can't open up an antivirus product to customize the signature," he says. "You can do that with an OpenIOC."

Giving companies a better way to share threat data is a laudable goal, says Gary Sockrider, solutions architect for the Americas for Arbor Networks. Information sharing between companies in the same industry and between government agencies and the private sector has been difficult.

"Different entities and organizations, they have different visibility into what is out there," he says. "The more that we can share this information, the more useful it can be for everyone."

(DR)

devnullius

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... it lingered on for five (!) years before detection....? :|

That's SCARY :s

Karma!

Devvie

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