The nature of enterprise security is such that it continuously keeps evolving. Trends change, threats vary and morph into different entities, approaches that seem relevant get outdated in six months or sometimes even lesser. For enterprises looking to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to cybersecurity, staying stagnant is not an option. The need of the hour is to keep abreast of the latest new trends and technologies to stay safe.
Thanks to the speed of transformation, enterprise security has seen multifold changes in the last two years, some due to need and some due to necessity. These changes can be summed up through the following pointers:
A move towards a zero-trust network
More and more organizations are moving towards a zero-trust model where no one and nothing is trusted. Introduced by American market research giant, Forrester Research, the zero-trust network model eliminates the concept of a perimeter and calls for enterprises to inspect all network traffic without any classification of ‘internal’ and ‘external.’. Basically, no user or traffic is considered ‘authorized’ and all access to a specific network is governed by the same set of rules.
The evolution from 4G to 5G
In 2017, enterprise security needed to understand 4G – now, network technology has evolved to such an extent that the world is embracing 5G. It is a trend which enterprises must also embrace but at the same time, be aware of the security tradeoffs. As with the advent of any new technology, cybercriminals will also join the bandwagon to ensure they create chaos and profit. 5G will likely have different types of phones, different networks and a completely different kind of technology which will open up new vulnerabilities – early adopters should be extremely careful.
The rise of cryptojacking
An important trend which has caught the industry’s attention is the dangerous threat of cryptojacking. This is a threat which will only become more widespread as the usage of cryptocurrency increases. It works by hackers sending unsuspecting targeted emails with malicious code in them -or they embed this code into sketchy websites. The attack succeeds if malicious code is accessed by unsuspecting users – this malicious code works in the background, silently mining cryptocurrency. This takes up a lot of computer resources and can often lead to slow system performance.
While phishing is a tactic that continues to be used, it has an upgraded, even more dangerous avatar, popularly known as spear phishing. In spear phishing, users get meticulously personalized emails from a trusted source or a company you’re familiar with and interact quite often. This could be as scrupulous as an email from a friend, colleague or your boss asking you for access to classified information. Attackers are now closely examining their targets and gathering as much information about them to ensure their email is as believable as possible. This is done by employing Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) to entire systems, gathering humongous amounts of data about enterprise and customer habits, and then using this data to launch a spear-phishing campaign.
Certainly, enterprise security has seen a lot of changes in the last two years which is a natural state of affairs in this sector. It is important for enterprises to invest in solutions which continue to evolve and stay attuned to the latest cybersecurity trends to ensure they are not lagging behind. Seqrite’s range of enterprise security solutions is continuously updated to enable enterprises to remain safe from the ever-evolving threats in today’s digital age.
From the last one year, Quick Heal Security Labs has been observing a boost in the number of mining malware. One of the ways to earn cryptocurrencies is to mine them. Nowadays cryptocurrency miner malware have become hot attack vectors for cybercriminals due to its ease of deployment and instant return on investments. We usually observe that such miners come with different techniques to deliver it to a victim. Attacker can download original open source software and slightly modify them rather than completely writing their own module.
In this blog post, we would talk about couple of cases where attack scenario is built on top of these open source tools. We would also talk about how the trend of abusing open source tools for building new malware is helping malware authors.
The trend is observed especially in cryptojacking cases. Though cryptojacking is a direct source of income for cybercriminals, stolen information from the victim’s systems can yield additional money for cybercriminals. So, these open source tools are used for various purposes like downloading frameworks, information stealing, crypto-mining, DNS Changer, Mirai bot and many more. This helped a lot to form a botnet of similar hosts to produce more hashes per second. Often such open source tools are easily available on Github and similar platforms. We can classify them as exploit frameworks, vulnerability scanners, password stealer, privilege elevators, evaders, etc.
We received a miner downloader which downloads multiple components of the attack. This script may come to your system through spam mails, malicious URLs, free software bundler or any conventional method that is being used by all the malware variants. Also, we suspect that a powershell script seems to be the initial culprit. The behavior of the miner is a bit recursive in nature so we could not confirm its initial trace in the system.
The miner downloader creates a file named as ‘xpdown.dat’ which contains some IP addresses of C2 servers from where it downloads further components.
Looking at the links in the file we observed following things.
Downs.exe is a modified version of Microsoft “CACLS” (Which displays and modifies the access control list). Ups.rar is downloaded as cab.exe. This component is a downloader for windows variant of Mirai botnet. This also acts as a DNS Changer and opens a backdoor in the system. On execution, it performs multiple operations like modifying the DNS entry in the host with IP “220.127.116.11” which has the Geo location in China and ISP of DNS is “Hangzhou Alibaba Advertising Co.,Ltd.”
Then it checks whether the compromised machine is a window server or not by calling GetVersionExA. It downloads update.txt from C2 server, if the machine is server, and drops at “C:\windows\system\uplist.txt”. The uplist.txt contains the following payload to be downloaded and executed.
It also downloads npptools.dll, 64npf.sys, npf.sys, nsoak.dat, packet.dll and wpcap.dll. These are files used for network packets processing loaded by msinfo.exe during its execution.
Let’s look into these components one by one.
It contains the code which is very stealthy and evasive as it uses several techniques such as “Squiblydoo”, “download cradle” and WMI Event Subscription persistence exploit to run malicious content on infected machines.
The WMI script contains multiple PowerShell scripts.
“Up.txt” contains the code which collects information regarding System OS, Physical Memory, List of running processes using WMI classes and then downloads Powershell format of Mimikatz from Github.
Further it steals the credentials from the compromised machine and uploads it to the FTP server IP:18.104.22.168 with hard coded credential of FTP.
It is basically a windows version of Mirai botnet. As more of its code matches with Mirai source code which was leaked previously. Upon execution with command line parameters “-create” “-run”, it checks the architecture of the current system whether it is x86, MIPS, ARM etc. Based on the identification, it will check for its latest update and download if available.
It performs the following task as per an encrypted file downloaded from C2 server.
Implements spreader mechanism by performing in the form of blind SQLi (sql injection), brute force techniques by using crack library and hydra tool. [Cracker:Telnet][Cracker:MSSQL] [Cracker:CCTV][Cracker:MS17010], CrackerWMI, CrackerSSH
It scans various ports such as 80,8000,445 using masscan (a very fastport scanner an open source project) which operates similar to nmap , the popular port scanning tool. https://github.com/robertdavidgraham/masscan
Disable specific services by invoking the following command: C:\Windows\system32\cmd.exe /c taskkill /f /im csrs.exe&sc stop netprofm&sc config netprofm start= disabled&sc stop NlaSvc&sc config NlaSvc start=disabled
It also performs network scan for which it collects the Public/Private IP of the system and all the associated information such as Geo Location etc. Then attacker spoofs his own IP against the current system IP and using masscan it performs scanning of other devices.
By these steps it converts this system into a bot and adds to their bot network. Its code has been developed in C++ and distributed across many sources like-
It basically targets IoT devices which contain embedded Linux. So it has used BusyBox (a software suite that provides UNIX utilities also called as Swiss Army Knife of embedded Linux) for executing remote commands after compromising/cracking those devices through various ways mentioned above.
VBS/BAT Agent For Download Miner:
First the payload will be dropped and executed on the below location in the victim machine.
hxxp://22.214.171.124/b.exe ( downloaded at C:\windows\inf\msief.exe)
On execution, it will drop the VBS and batch file in the below mentioned location and execute the vbs file by invoking wscript.exe which eventually execute the bat file.
The bat file contains a lot of code, which will modify attributes of some folder/files, kill some specific processes, delete some files, modifies the access control of some folder/files, make persistent for multiple payload in the system via registry, task scheduler, WMI Event subscription and also modifies the firewall policy by blocking 445,139 ports.
There are also two more additional payloads which are downloaded from one of C2 server present in xpdown.dat; one is a diskwritter, a DLL file , dropped at “C:\Windows\debug” location. It will execute on system start as it has an entry in task scheduler added by the above bat file.
And the second one is the final payload i.e. XMRig Monero Miner, a 64 bit executable downloaded from hxxp://126.96.36.199/64.rar at “C:\windows\debug\lsmos.exe”
On execution, it unpacks itself and drops 3 files on the current execution folder, one is an executable (lsmose.exe -64 bit packed with VM Protect) file and two DLLs (xmrstak_cuda_backend.dll and xmrstak_opencl_backend.dll), which helps miner for successful execution.
One more similar case we have observed, a base64 encoded PowerShell script which is basically a cryptomining malware hiding in WMI class to evade AV and most of the security product due to its stealthy and unique feature.
After decoding we get the following code:
Following is basic workflow of the malware.
On execution, it checks whether IP/Domain is alive or not mentioned in the code. If it is available, it requests for banner and receive a response as ‘SCM Event1 Log’
After that malware queries for ‘FilterToConsumerBinding’ WMI Class by executing the below command
and then checks whether it contains ‘SCM Event1 Log’. If not present, then it downloads and executes in6.ps1 (64 bit) or in3.ps1 (32 bit) by Invoking Expression(IEX).
These scripts consist of two parts, first part is a base64 encoded Gzip data stream and second part contains obfuscated code. After de-obfuscation, the code reassembles similar to initial base64 encoded script with additional features.
The encoded gzip contains four files as mentioned below:
‘mini’ – Mimikatz, a credential stealer
‘mon’ – Monero CPU Miner
‘funs’ – Collection of functions having function to execute remote DLL via WMI and eternal blue vulnerable scanning.
‘sc’ – Shellcode to execute on another systems and to download same payload, if it is vulnerable to eternal blue.
It creates a WMI Class “systemcore_Updater0” under the Namespace “root\default” and adds properties like mimi, mon, funs, sc, ipsu and i17.
Then it sets the filtername=”SCM Event1 Log Filter” and consumername=”SCM Event1 Log Consumer”
When attacker uses WMI as a persistence mechanism, instances of __EventFilter,_EventConsumer and __FilterToConsumerBinding have to be created and an _InstanceCreationEvent event is fired.
In this case, attacker uses following query as the EventFilter and binds it with the initial base64 encoded script, which will eventually get executed approximately in every 3 hrs.
SELECT * FROM __InsanceModificationEvent WITHIN 10600 WHERE TargetInstance ISA Win32_PerfFormattedData_PerfOS_System
It has tried to delete the task scheduler entry “sysupdater0” also checks “sysupdater0.bat” in %systemroot% , if exists remove that as well.
Modifies Windows sleep, hibernate and power plan setting by invoking the following command: powercfg /CHANGE -standby-timeout-ac 0 powercfg /CHANGE -hibernate-timeout-ac 0 powercfg -SetAcValueIndex 381b4222-f694-41f0-9685-ff5bb260df2e4f971e89-eebd-4455-a8de-9e59040e7347 5ca83367-6e45-459f-a27b-476b1d01c936 000
It removes all WMI Object in __FilterToConsumerBinding class under Namespace “root\subscription” if filter name has not matched with “SCM Event0 Log”
Then it kills the process if it has an “ESTABLISHED” connection with port number 3333, 5555 or 7777.
It makes a list of PIDs of running “Powershell” processes and the network connections of the system. It then checks for the process with “ESTABLISHED” connection and associated port number 80 or 14444 or 14433 or 443. If no such processes exist and the count of running PowerShell processes are less than 8 then it executes the Monero Miner using “funs” module. After that it executes the mimikatz and dumps the credential irrespective of execution of Monero Miner.
It also enumerates the network addresses and checks for the IPs that are active and adds them to the property named, ‘ipsu’. It then scans those IPs to identify the systems which are vulnerable to MS17-010 (with Eternal Blue Scanner Script), stores them to the property ‘i17’ and finally executes shell code which will download the ze3.ps1 or ze6.ps1 exactly similar to in3.ps1 or in6.ps1 based on OS architecture.
Shell code downloads and executes the PS Script to infect other vulnerable systems. This way it spreads and mines the other systems on the networks.
So in both the cases, the open source tools are abused heavily to perform the attack. Mimikatz, masscan, eternal blue vulnerability scanner seems to be popular tools among the malware authors. Similar techniques are being used for spreading the ransomware too. Seqrite successfully detects such attacks at various detection levels.
Cybercriminals are deviating towards a more focused approach against targets by using better obfuscation techniques and improved social engineering skills as organizations improve in areas such as time to detection and response to threats, according to Trustwave. The 2019 Trustwave Global Security Report is based on the analysis of billions of logged security and compromise events worldwide, hundreds of hands-on data breach and forensic investigations, manual penetration tests, network vulnerability scans and internal research. Asia … More →
Meanwhile, Microsoft Store also deleted eight cryptojacking apps, which included Fast-search Lite, FastTube, and Clean Master, among others. When downloaded and installed, the apps activated the Google Tag Manager in their domain servers, which then triggered the cryptomining scripts. Cryptojacking is a type of malicious activity that uses someone else’s device for illegally mining cryptocurrency—in this case, your device, if you installed one or more of these apps.
With reports like these of malicious and fraudulent apps being posted on different online stores, users need to make sure their Android and Windows devices are secured from such threats. While Google and Microsoft do their best to guard against such apps, users shouldn’t take for granted that even official stores are completely clean of them.
The solution is to install app protection on your devices. Trend Micro Mobile Security for Android is a leading security product that protects your mobile device against loss, data theft, and viruses. It proactively scans apps you wish to install from the Google Play Store and tells you if they’re safe. You can also manually scan apps already installed and delete them if they’re found to be malicious.
Similarly, Trend Micro Security (TMS) will protect you from malicious or infected apps on Windows machines. Apps downloaded from Microsoft Store are scanned by TMS on disk for malicious code or infections, during the installation process, and upon execution. Any malicious files in such apps are deleted from your device.
Go to Trend Micro Security for Home for more information on our endpoint security solutions, or to buy Trend Micro Security products for your desktop and mobile devices.
In wake of the growing incidences of targeted cyber-attacks on enterprises using Cryptojacking, due to its ease of deployment and instant return on investments; it rather comes as a surprise that malware authors are still counting on Ransomware for targeting consumers and home users. Yes, you heard it right! According…
Which is why it’s possible that hackers may be using malware or script to siphon power from your computer — power they desperately need to fuel their cryptocurrency mining business.
Whoa, let’s back up. What’s cryptocurrency and why would people rip off other people’s computer power to get it? Cryptocurrencies are virtual coins that have a real monetary value attached to them. Each crypto transaction is verified and added to the public ledger (also called a blockchain). The single public ledger can’t be changed without fulfilling certain conditions. These transactions are compiled by cryptocurrency miners who compete with one another by solving the complex mathematical equations attached to the exchange. Their reward for solving the equation is bitcoin, which in the crypto world can equal thousands of dollars.
Here’s the catch: To solve these complex equations and get to crypto gold, crypto miners need a lot more hardware power than the average user possesses. So, inserting malicious code into websites, apps, and ads — and hoping you click — allows malicious crypto miners to siphon power from other people’s computers without their consent.
While mining cryptocurrency can often be a harmless hobby when malware or site code is attached to drain unsuspecting users CPU power, it’s considered cryptojacking, and it’s becoming more common.
Are you feeling a bit vulnerable? You aren’t alone. According to the most recent McAfee Labs Threats Report, cryptojacking has grown more than 4,000% in the past year.
Have you been hit?
One sign that you’ve been affected is that your computer or smartphone may slow down or have more glitches than normal. Crypto mining code runs quietly in the background while you go about your everyday work or browsing and it can go undetected for a long time.
How to prevent cryptojacking
Be proactive. Your first line of defense against a malware attack is to use a comprehensive security solution on your family computers and to keep that software updated.
Cryptojacking Blocker. This new McAfee product zeroes in on the cryptojacking threat and helps prevent websites from mining for cryptocurrency (see graphic below). Cryptojacking Blocker is included in all McAfee suites that include McAfee WebAdvisor. Users can update their existing WebAdvisor software to get Cryptojacking Blocker or download WebAdvisor for free.
Discuss it with your family. Cryptojacking is a wild concept to explain or discuss at the dinner table, but kids need to fully understand the digital landscape and their responsibility in it. Discuss their role in helping to keep the family safe online and the motives of the bad guys who are always lurking in the background.
Smart clicks. One way illicit crypto miners get to your PC is through malicious links sent in legitimate-looking emails. Be aware of this scam (and many others) and think before you click on any links sent via email.
Install updates immediately. Be sure to keep all your system software up-to-date when alerted to do so. This will help close any security gaps that hackers can exploit.
Strong passwords. These little combinations are critical to your family’s digital safety and can’t be ignored. Create unique passwords for different accounts and be sure to change out those passwords periodically.
To stay on top of the latest consumer and security threats that could impact your family, be sure to listen to our podcast Hackable? And, like us on Facebook.