Category Archives: APT

Chinese state-sponsored hackers breached TeamViewer in 2016

The German newspaper Der Spiegel revealed that the software company behind TeamViewer was compromised in 2016 by Chinese hackers.

China-linked hackers breached German software company behind TeamViewer in 2016, this news was reported by the German newspaper Der Spiegel

teamviewer

According to the media outlet, Chinese state-sponsored hackers used the
Winnti trojan malware to infect the systems of the Company.

The Winnti group was first spotted by Kaspersky in 2013, according to the researchers the gang has been active since 2007.

The gang is financially-motivated and was mostly involved in cyber espionage campaigns.  The hackers were known for targeting companies in the online gaming industry, the majority of the victims is located in Southeast Asia.

The Winnti cyberespionage group is known for its ability in targeting supply chains of legitimate software to spread malware.

According to the company, it was targeted by the hackers in autumn 2016, when its experts detected suspicious activities were quickly blocked them to prevent major damages.

TeamViewer spokesperson revealed that the company investigated the attempts of intrusion, but did not find any evidence of exposure for customer data and sensitive data.

Der Spiegel pointed out that TeamViewer did not disclose the security breach to the public.

“In autumn 2016, TeamViewer was target of a cyber-attack. Our systems detected the suspicious activities in time to prevent any major damage. An expert team of internal and external cyber security researchers, working together closely with the responsible authorities, successfully fended off the attack and with all available means of IT forensics found no evidence that customer data or other sensitive information had been stolen, that customer computer systems had been infected or that the TeamViewer source code had been manipulated, stolen or misused in any other way.” said company spokesman.

“Out of an abundance of caution, TeamViewer conducted a comprehensive audit of its security architecture and IT infrastructure subsequently and further strengthened it with appropriate measures.”

At the time the company published a statement to exclude it was breached by hackers:

Göppingen/Germany, May 23, 2016. A recent article warns, “TeamViewer users have had their bank accounts emptied by hackers gaining full-system access”. TeamViewer is appalled by any criminal activity; however, the source of the problem, according to our research, is careless use, not a potential security breach on TeamViewer’s side.” wrote the company.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – TeamViewer, hacking)

The post Chinese state-sponsored hackers breached TeamViewer in 2016 appeared first on Security Affairs.

North Korea-linked ScarCruft APT adds Bluetooth Harvester to its arsenal

The North Korea-linked APT group ScarCruft (aka APT37 and Group123) continues to expand its arsenal by adding a Bluetooth Harvester.

North Korea-linked APT group ScarCruft (aka APT37, Reaper, and Group123) continues to expand its arsenal by adding a Bluetooth Harvester.

ScarCruft has been active since at least 2012, it made the headlines in early February 2018 when researchers revealed that the APT group leveraged a zero-day vulnerability in Adobe Flash Player to deliver malware to South Korean users.

Kaspersky first documented the operations of the group in 2016. Cyber attacks conducted by the APT37 group mainly targeted government, defense, military, and media organizations in South Korea.

FireEye linked the APT37 group to the North Korean government based on the following clues:

  • the use of a North Korean IP;
  • malware compilation timestamps consistent with a developer operating in the North Korea time
    zone (UTC +8:30) and follows what is believed to be a typical North Korean workday;
  • objectives that align with Pyongyang’s interests(i.e. organizations and individuals involved in Korean
    Peninsula reunification efforts);

Researchers from FireEye revealed that the nation-state actor also targeted entities in Japan, Vietnam, and even the Middle East in 2017. The hackers targeted organizations in the chemicals, manufacturing, electronics, aerospace, healthcare, and automotive sectors.

Past attacks associated with the ScarCruft APT group involved zero-day vulnerabilities, anyway Kaspersky researchers pointed out that threat actors also used public exploits in its campaigns.

On April 2018, ScarCruft APT added a more advanced variant of an Android Trojan, dubbed KevDroid, to its arsenal.

Now Kaspersky Lab experts discovered that ScarCruft is using a “rare” Bluetooth device harvester.

Kaspersky found several victims of a recent campaign in investment and trading companies in Vietnam and Russia.

“We believe they may have some links to North Korea, which may explain why ScarCruft decided to closely monitor them. ScarCruft also attacked a diplomatic agency in Hong Kong, and another diplomatic agency in North Korea.” reads the analysis published by Kaspersky Lab. “It appears ScarCruft is primarily targeting intelligence for political and diplomatic purposes.”

scarcruft bluetooth harvester 2

“The ScarCruft group keeps expanding its exfiltration targets to steal further information from infected hosts and continues to create tools for additional data exfiltration.” continues the analysis.

“We also discovered an interesting piece of rare malware created by this threat actor – a Bluetooth device harvester. This malware is responsible for stealing Bluetooth device information.”

The Bluetooth Harvester is delivered by a downloader, it leverages the Windows Bluetooth APIs to collect information on the devices connected via Bluetooth to the compromised system.

The tool gathers several data including device name, address, class, and whether the device is connected, authenticated and remembered.

The dropper used to deliver the Bluetooth Harvester exploits a privilege escalation (CVE-2018-8120) or leverage the UACME method to bypass the Windows User Account Control (UAC) feature. Then the malware executes an installer that creates another downloader that retrieves a final payload hidden inside an image file.

“The downloader malware uses the configuration file and connects to the C2 server to fetch the next payload. In order to evade network level detection, the downloader uses steganography. The downloaded payload is an image file, but it contains an appended malicious payload to be decrypted.” continues Kaspersky.

scarcruft bluetooth harvester

The final payload was a backdoor tracked by Cisco as ROKRAT that is used to download and execute other malware, execute commands, and exfiltrate data.

Kaspersky experts also discovered some overlaps with other APT groups, DarkHotel and KONNI. One of the devices infected with ScarCruft malware was previously compromised by a variant of KONNI and a few days earlier by the GreezeBackdoor, a malware belonging to DarkHotel’s arsenal.

“The ScarCruft has shown itself to be a highly-skilled and active group. It has a keen interest in North Korean affairs, attacking those in the business sector who may have any connection to North Korea, as well as diplomatic agencies around the globe.” concludes Kaspersky. “Based on the ScarCruft’s recent activities, we strongly believe that this group is likely to continue to evolve.”

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – ScarCruft, Bluetooth Harvester)

The post North Korea-linked ScarCruft APT adds Bluetooth Harvester to its arsenal appeared first on Security Affairs.

Forcing the Adversary to Pursue Insider Theft

Jack Crook pointed me toward a story by Christopher Burgess about intellectual property theft by "Hongjin Tan, a 35 year old Chinese national and U.S. legal permanent resident... [who] was arrested on December 20 and charged with theft of trade secrets. Tan is alleged to have stolen the trade secrets from his employer, a U.S. petroleum company," according to the criminal complaint filed by the US DoJ.

Tan's former employer and the FBI allege that Tan "downloaded restricted files to a personal thumb drive." I could not tell from the complaint if Tan downloaded the files at work or at home, but the thumb drive ended up at Tan's home. His employer asked Tan to bring it to their office, which Tan did. However, he had deleted all the files from the drive. Tan's employer recovered the files using commercially available forensic software.

This incident, by definition, involves an "insider threat." Tan was an employee who appears to have copied information that was outside the scope of his work responsibilities, resigned from his employer, and was planning to return to China to work for a competitor, having delivered his former employer's intellectual property.

When I started GE-CIRT in 2008 (officially "initial operating capability" on 1 January 2009), one of the strategies we pursued involved insider threats. I've written about insiders on this blog before but I couldn't find a description of the strategy we implemented via GE-CIRT.

We sought to make digital intrusions more expensive than physical intrusions.

In other words, we wanted to make it easier for the adversary to accomplish his mission using insiders. We wanted to make it more difficult for the adversary to accomplish his mission using our network.

In a cynical sense, this makes security someone else's problem. Suddenly the physical security team is dealing with the worst of the worst!

This is a win for everyone, however. Consider the many advantages the physical security team has over the digital security team.

The physical security team can work with human resources during the hiring process. HR can run background checks and identify suspicious job applicants prior to granting employment and access.

Employees are far more exposed than remote intruders. Employees, even under cover, expose their appearance, likely residence, and personalities to the company and its workers.

Employees can be subject to far more intensive monitoring than remote intruders. Employee endpoints can be instrumented. Employee workspaces are instrumented via access cards, cameras at entry and exit points, and other measures.

Employers can cooperate with law enforcement to investigate and prosecute employees. They can control and deter theft and other activities.

In brief, insider theft, like all "close access" activities, is incredibly risky for the adversary. It is a win for everyone when the adversary must resort to using insiders to accomplish their mission. Digital and physical security must cooperate to leverage these advantages, while collaborating with human resources, legal, information technology, and business lines to wring the maximum results from this advantage.

Bejtlich on the APT1 Report: No Hack Back

Before reading the rest of this post, I suggest reading Mandiant/FireEye's statement Doing Our Part -- Without Hacking Back.

I would like to add my own color to this situation.

First, at no time when I worked for Mandiant or FireEye, or afterwards, was there ever a notion that we would hack into adversary systems. During my six year tenure, we were publicly and privately a "no hack back" company. I never heard anyone talk about hack back operations. No one ever intimated we had imagery of APT1 actors taken with their own laptop cameras. No one even said that would be a good idea.

Second, I would never have testified or written, repeatedly, about our company's stance on not hacking back if I knew we secretly did otherwise. I have quit jobs because I had fundamental disagreements with company policy or practice. I worked for Mandiant from 2011 through the end of 2013, when FireEye acquired Mandiant, and stayed until last year (2017). I never considered quitting Mandiant or FireEye due to a disconnect between public statements and private conduct.

Third, I was personally involved with briefings to the press, in public and in private, concerning the APT1 report. I provided the voiceover for a 5 minute YouTube video called APT1: Exposing One of China's Cyber Espionage Units. That video was one of the most sensitive, if not the most sensitive, aspects of releasing the report. We showed the world how we could intercept adversary communications and reconstruct it. There was internal debate about whether we should do that. We decided to cover the practice in the report, as Christopher Glyer Tweeted:


In none of these briefings to the press did we show pictures or video from adversary laptops. We did show the video that we published to YouTube.

Fourth, I privately contacted former Mandiant personnel with whom I worked during the time of the APT1 report creation and distribution. Their reaction to Mr Sanger's allegations ranged from "I've never heard of that" to "completely false." I asked former Mandiant colleagues, like myself, in the event that current Mandiant or FireEye employees were told not to talk to outsiders about the case.

What do I think happened here? I agree with the theory that Mr Sanger misinterpreted the reconstructed RDP sessions for some sort of "camera access." I have no idea about the "bros" or "leather jackets" comments!

In the spirit of full disclosure, prior to publication, Mr Sanger tried to reach me to discuss his book via email. I was sick and told him I had to pass. Ellen Nakashima also contacted me; I believe she was doing research for the book. She asked a few questions about the origin of the term APT, which I answered. I do not have the book so I do not know if I am cited, or if my message was included.

The bottom line is that Mandiant and FireEye did not conduct any hack back for the APT1 report.

Update: Some of you wondered about Ellen's role. I confirmed last night that she was working on her own project.