79 Netgear router models are vulnerable to a severe unpatched security vulnerability that can be exploited by remote attackers to take over devices.
Security experts Adam Nichols from GRIMM and d4rkn3ss from the Vietnamese internet service provider VNPT have independently reported a severe unpatched security vulnerability that affects 79 Netgear router models.
The flaw could allow remote attackers to execute arbitrary code as “root” on the vulnerable devices and potentially take over them. The security experts reported the vulnerability to the vendor early this year.
A whopping 79 Netgear router models are vulnerable to a severe security flaw that can let hackers take over devices remotely.
Nichols discovered that the vulnerability affects 758 different firmware versions that run on 79 Netgear routers. Oldest firmware versions have been released as far back as 2007.
The researcher was analyzing Small Office/Home Office (SOHO) devices and focused its auditing session on the Netgear R7000 router.
The expert discovered the vulnerability in the web server component that is implemented in vulnerable Netgear router firmware.
“In SOHO devices like the R7000, the web server must parse user input from the network and run complex CGI functions that use that input. Furthermore, the web server is written in C and has had very little testing, and thus it is often vulnerable to trivial memory corruption bugs. As such, I decided to start by analyzing the web server, httpd.” reads the analysis published by GRIMM. “However, poor code quality and a lack of adequate testing has resulted in thousands of vulnerable SOHO devices being exposed to the internet for over a decade.”
GRIMM also discovered that the web server used in the router fails in validating the input provided by the user, lack of stack cookies, and the server’s binary is not compiled as a Position-independent Executable (PIE) failing to implement the ASLR (address space layout randomization) security technique.
Hackers could exploit the above issues by sending specially crafted malicious HTTP requests. Nichols also published a proof-of-concept exploit that automatically determines the SOHO device model/version and then exploit it to start telnet on TCP Port 8888.
Both Nichols and d4rkn3ss have now shared details about the flaw via the Zero-Day Initiative after having agreed with Netgear to give it the time to understand the impact of the issue on all its models.
It seems that the vendor requested a second extension until the end of June, but ZDI declined the request and notified the vendor the case would be published as 0-day on 06/15/20.
The bad news is that the vendor also will address the flaw for some of the affected routers because some families of devices have already reached the end-of-life.
Below is the list of all the affected models.
ZDI provided the following mitigation for the issue:
“Given the nature of the vulnerability, the only salient mitigation strategy is to restrict interaction with the service to trusted machines. Only the clients and servers that have a legitimate procedural relationship with the service should be permitted to communicate with it.” reads the ZDI’s advisory. “This could be accomplished in a number of ways, most notably with firewall rules/whitelisting.”
(SecurityAffairs – routers, SOHO)
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The popular zero-day broker Zerodium announced new limitations it the submission of certain types of iOS exploits due to surplus.
The exploit broker Zerodium announced that it’s no longer accepting certain types of iOS exploits due to surplus, this implies that prices for them will drop in the near future.
The company announced via Twitter that it would no longer accept submissions for iOS local privilege escalation, Safari remote code execution, and sandbox escape exploits, at least for the next months.
Zerodium argued that it has taken this decision due to the high number of submissions, an information that could give us an idea of how is prolific the hacking community.
Company experts believe that the prices for iOS one-click chains (e.g. via Safari) without persistence will likely drop in the next months.
Zerodium CEO Chaouki Bekrar criticized the current level of iOS security that is evidently going to zero.
“Let’s hope iOS 14 will be better,” said Chaouki Bekrar.
The decision of the company is coherent with the announcement made in September 2019 when Zerodium updated the price list for both Android and iOS exploits, with Android ones having surpassed the iOS ones for the first time.
For the first time, the price for Android exploits is higher than the iOS ones, this is what has emerged from the updated price list published by the zero-day broker Zerodium.
Currently a zero-click exploit chain for Android would be rewarded with up to $2.5 million, while an exploit chain for iOS only $2 million.
The tech giant is running a public bug bounty program through which it’s prepared to pay out up to $1 million for exploits that achieve persistence, bypass PAC and require no user interaction.
(SecurityAffairs – zero-day vulnerability, hacking)
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One of the critical strategic and tactical roles that cyber threat intelligence (CTI) plays is in the tracking, analysis, and prioritization of software vulnerabilities that could potentially put an organization’s data, employees and customers at risk. In this four-part blog series, FireEye Mandiant Threat Intelligence highlights the value of CTI in enabling vulnerability management, and unveils new research into the latest threats, trends and recommendations.
FireEye Mandiant Threat Intelligence documented more zero-days exploited in 2019 than any of the previous three years. While not every instance of zero-day exploitation can be attributed to a tracked group, we noted that a wider range of tracked actors appear to have gained access to these capabilities. Furthermore, we noted a significant increase over time in the number of zero-days leveraged by groups suspected to be customers of companies that supply offensive cyber capabilities, as well as an increase in zero-days used against targets in the Middle East, and/or by groups with suspected ties to this region. Going forward, we are likely to see a greater variety of actors using zero-days, especially as private vendors continue feeding the demand for offensive cyber weapons.
Zero-Day Usage by Country and Group
Since late 2017, FireEye Mandiant Threat Intelligence noted a significant increase in the number of zero-days leveraged by groups that are known or suspected to be customers of private companies that supply offensive cyber tools and services. Additionally, we observed an increase in zero-days leveraged against targets in the Middle East, and/or by groups with suspected ties to this region.
- A group described by researchers as Stealth Falcon and FruityArmor is an espionage group that has reportedly targeted journalists and activists in the Middle East. In 2016, this group used malware sold by NSO group, which leveraged three iOS zero-days. From 2016 to 2019, this group used more zero-days than any other group.
- The activity dubbed SandCat in open sources, suspected to be linked to Uzbekistan state intelligence, has been observed using zero-days in operations against targets in the Middle East. This group may have acquired their zero-days by purchasing malware from private companies such as NSO group, as the zero-days used in SandCat operations were also used in Stealth Falcon operations, and it is unlikely that these distinct activity sets independently discovered the same three zero-days.
- Throughout 2016 and 2017, activity referred to in open sources as BlackOasis, which also primarily targets entities in the Middle East and likely acquired at least one zero-day in the past from private company Gamma Group, demonstrated similarly frequent access to zero-day vulnerabilities.
We also noted examples of zero-day exploitation that have not been attributed to tracked groups but that appear to have been leveraged in tools provided by private offensive security companies, for instance:
- In 2019, a zero-day exploit in WhatsApp (CVE-2019-3568) was reportedly used to distribute spyware developed by NSO group, an Israeli software company.
- FireEye analyzed activity targeting a Russian healthcare organization that leveraged a 2018 Adobe Flash zero-day (CVE-2018-15982) that may be linked to leaked source code of Hacking Team.
- Android zero-day vulnerability CVE-2019-2215 was reportedly being exploited in the wild in October 2019 by NSO Group tools.
Zero-Day Exploitation by Major Cyber Powers
We have continued to see exploitation of zero days by espionage groups of major cyber powers.
- According to researchers, the Chinese espionage group APT3 exploited CVE-2019-0703 in targeted attacks in 2016.
- FireEye observed North Korean group APT37 conduct a 2017 campaign that leveraged Adobe Flash vulnerability CVE-2018-4878. This group has also demonstrated an increased capacity to quickly exploit vulnerabilities shortly after they have been disclosed.
- From December 2017 to January 2018, we observed multiple Chinese groups leveraging CVE-2018-0802 in a campaign targeting multiple industries throughout Europe, Russia, Southeast Asia, and Taiwan. At least three out of six samples were used before the patch for this vulnerability was issued.
- In 2017, Russian groups APT28 and Turla leveraged multiple zero-days in Microsoft Office products.
In addition, we believe that some of the most dangerous state sponsored intrusion sets are increasingly demonstrating the ability to quickly exploit vulnerabilities that have been made public. In multiple cases, groups linked to these countries have been able to weaponize vulnerabilities and incorporate them into their operations, aiming to take advantage of the window between disclosure and patch application.
Zero-Day Use by Financially Motivated Actors
Financially motivated groups have and continue to leverage zero-days in their operations, though with less frequency than espionage groups.
In May 2019, we reported that FIN6 used a Windows server 2019 use-after-free zero-day (CVE-2019-0859) in a targeted intrusion in February 2019. Some evidence suggests that the group may have used the exploit since August 2018. While open sources have suggested that the group potentially acquired the zero-day from criminal underground actor "BuggiCorp," we have not identified direct evidence linking this actor to this exploit's development or sale.
We surmise that access to zero-day capabilities is becoming increasingly commodified based on the proportion of zero-days exploited in the wild by suspected customers of private companies. Possible reasons for this include:
- Private companies are likely creating and supplying a larger proportion of zero-days than they have in the past, resulting in a concentration of zero-day capabilities among highly resourced groups.
- Private companies may be increasingly providing offensive capabilities to groups with lower overall capability and/or groups with less concern for operational security, which makes it more likely that usage of zero-days will be observed.
It is likely that state groups will continue to support internal exploit discovery and development; however, the availability of zero-days through private companies may offer a more attractive option than relying on domestic solutions or underground markets. As a result, we expect that the number of adversaries demonstrating access to these kinds of vulnerabilities will almost certainly increase and will do so at a faster rate than the growth of their overall offensive cyber capabilities—provided they have the ability and will to spend the necessary funds.
Register today to hear FireEye Mandiant Threat Intelligence experts discuss the latest in vulnerability threats, trends and recommendations in our upcoming April 30 webinar.
Sourcing Note: Some vulnerabilities and zero-days were identified based on FireEye research, Mandiant breach investigation findings, and other technical collections. This paper also references vulnerabilities and zero-days discussed in open sources including Google Project Zero's zero-day "In the Wild" Spreadsheet . While we believe these sources are reliable as used in this paper, we do not vouch for the complete findings of those sources. Due to the ongoing discovery of past incidents, we expect that this research will remain dynamic.
Less than a week after uncovering Operation SnowMan, the FireEye Dynamic Threat Intelligence cloud has identified another targeted attack campaign — this one exploiting a zero-day vulnerability in Flash. We are collaborating with Adobe security on this issue. Adobe has assigned the CVE identifier CVE-2014-0502 to this vulnerability and released a security bulletin.
As of this blog post, visitors to at least three nonprofit institutions — two of which focus on matters of national security and public policy — were redirected to an exploit server hosting the zero-day exploit. We’re dubbing this attack “Operation GreedyWonk.”
We believe GreedyWonk may be related to a May 2012 campaign outlined by ShadowServer, based on consistencies in tradecraft (particularly with the websites chosen for this strategic Web compromise), attack infrastructure, and malware configuration properties.
The group behind this campaign appears to have sufficient resources (such as access to zero-day exploits) and a determination to infect visitors to foreign and public policy websites. The threat actors likely sought to infect users to these sites for follow-on data theft, including information related to defense and public policy matters.
On Feb. 13, FireEye identified a zero-day Adobe Flash exploit that affects the latest version of the Flash Player (188.8.131.52 and 11.7.700.261). Visitors to the Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics (www.piie[.]com) were redirected to an exploit server hosting this Flash zero-day through a hidden iframe.
We subsequently found that the American Research Center in Egypt (www.arce[.]org) and the Smith Richardson Foundation (www.srf[.]org) also redirected visitors the exploit server. All three organizations are nonprofit institutions; the Peterson Institute and Smith Richardson Foundation engage in national security and public policy issues.
To bypass Windows’ Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR) protections, this exploit targets computers with any of the following configurations:
- Windows XP
- Windows 7 and Java 1.6
- Windows 7 and an out-of-date version of Microsoft Office 2007 or 2010
Users can mitigate the threat by upgrading from Windows XP and updating Java and Office. If you have Java 1.6, update Java to the latest 1.7 version. If you are using an out-of-date Microsoft Office 2007 or 2010, update Microsoft Office to the latest version.
These mitigations do not patch the underlying vulnerability. But by breaking the exploit’s ASLR-bypass measures, they do prevent the current in-the-wild exploit from functioning.
GreedyWonk targets a previously unknown vulnerability in Adobe Flash. The vulnerability permits an attacker to overwrite the vftable pointer of a Flash object to redirect code execution.
The attack uses only known ASLR bypasses. Details of these techniques are available from our previous blog post on the subject (in the “Non-ASLR modules” section).
For Windows XP, the attackers build a return-oriented programming (ROP) chain of MSVCRT (Visual C runtime) gadgets with hard-coded base addresses for English (“en”) and Chinese (“zh-cn” and “zh-tw”).
On Windows 7, the attackers use a hard-coded ROP chain for MSVCR71.dll (Visual C++ runtime) if the user has Java 1.6, and a hard-coded ROP chain for HXDS.dll (Help Data Services Module) if the user has Microsoft Office 2007 or 2010.
Java 1.6 is no longer supported and does not receive security updates. In addition to the MSVCR71.dll ASLR bypass, a variety of widely exploited code-execution vulnerabilities exist in Java 1.6. That’s why FireEye strongly recommends upgrading to Java 1.7.
The Microsoft Office HXDS.dll ASLR bypass was patched at the end of 2013. More details about this bypass are addressed by Microsoft’s Security Bulletin MS13-106 and an accompanying blog entry. FireEye strongly recommends updating Microsoft Office 2007 and 2010 with the latest patches.
The shellcode is downloaded in ActionScript as a GIF image. Once ROP marks the shellcode as executable using Windows’ VirtualProtect function, it downloads an executable via the InternetOpenURLA and InternetReadFile functions. Then it writes the file to disk with CreateFileA and WriteFile functions. Finally, it runs the file using the WinExec function.
PlugX/Kaba payload analysis
Once the exploit succeeds, a PlugX/Kaba remote access tool (RAT) payload with the MD5 hash 507aed81e3106da8c50efb3a045c5e2b is installed on the compromised endpoint. This PlugX sample was compiled on Feb. 12, one day before we first observed it, indicating that it was deployed specifically for this campaign.
This PlugX payload was configured with the following command-and-control (CnC) domains:
Sample callback traffic was as follows:
POST /D28419029043311C6F8BF9F5 HTTP/1.1
User-Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; InfoPath.2; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; SV1)
Both java.ns1[.]name and adservice.no-ip[.]org resolved to 184.108.40.206 on Feb. 18, 2014. Passive DNS analysis reveals that the domain wmi.ns01.us previously resolved to 220.127.116.11 between July 4, 2013 and July 15, 2013 and 18.104.22.168 on Feb. 17, 2014. java.ns1[.]name also resolved to 22.214.171.124 on February 18.
|Domain||First Seen||Last Seen||IP Address|
|adservice.no-ip[.]org adservice.no-ip[.]org||2014-02-18 2014-02-18||2014-02-19 2014-02-19||126.96.36.199 188.8.131.52|
|java.ns1[.]name java.ns1[.]name||2014-02-18 2014-02-18||2014-02-19 2014-02-19||184.108.40.206 220.127.116.11|
|java.ns1[.]name java.ns1[.]name||2014-02-18 2014-02-18||2014-02-18 2014-02-18||18.104.22.168 22.214.171.124|
|wmi.ns01[.]us wmi.ns01[.]us||2014-02-17 2014-02-17||2014-02-17 2014-02-17||126.96.36.199 188.8.131.52|
|proxy.ddns[.]info proxy.ddns[.]info||2013-05-02 2013-05-02||2014-02-18 2014-02-18||184.108.40.206 220.127.116.11|
|updatedns.ns02[.]us updatedns.ns02[.]us||2013-09-06 2013-09-06||2013-09-06 2013-09-06||18.104.22.168 22.214.171.124|
|updatedns.ns01[.]us updatedns.ns01[.]us||2013-09-06 2013-09-06||2013-09-06 2013-09-06||126.96.36.199 188.8.131.52|
|wmi.ns01[.]us wmi.ns01[.]us||2013-07-04 2013-07-04||2013-07-15 2013-07-15||184.108.40.206 220.127.116.11|
|MD5||Family||Compile Time||Alternate C2s|
|7995a9a6a889b914e208eb924e459ebc 7995a9a6a889b914e208eb924e459ebc||PlugX PlugX||2012-06-09 2012-06-09||fuckchina.govnb[.]com fuckchina.govnb[.]com|
|bf60b8d26bc0c94dda2e3471de6ec977 bf60b8d26bc0c94dda2e3471de6ec977||PlugX PlugX||2010-03-15 2010-03-15||microsafes.no-ip[.]org microsafes.no-ip[.]org|
|fd69793bd63c44bbb22f9c4d46873252 fd69793bd63c44bbb22f9c4d46873252||Poison Ivy Poison Ivy||2013-03-07 2013-03-07||N/A N/A|
|88b375e3b5c50a3e6c881bc96c926928 88b375e3b5c50a3e6c881bc96c926928||Poison Ivy Poison Ivy||2012-06-11 2012-06-11||N/A N/A|
|cd07a9e49b1f909e1bd9e39a7a6e56b4 cd07a9e49b1f909e1bd9e39a7a6e56b4||Poison Ivy Poison Ivy||2012-06-11 2012-06-11||N/A N/A|
The Poison Ivy variants that connected to the domain wmi.ns01[.]us had the following unique configuration properties:
|Domain||First Seen||Last Seen||IP Address|
|fuckchina.govnb[.]com fuckchina.govnb[.]com||2013-12-11 2013-12-11||2013-12-11 2013-12-11||18.104.22.168 22.214.171.124|
|microsafes.no-ip[.]org microsafes.no-ip[.]org||2014-02-12 2014-02-12||2014-02-12 2014-02-12||126.96.36.199 188.8.131.52|
|microsafes.no-ip[.]org microsafes.no-ip[.]org||2013-12-04 2013-12-04||2013-12-04 2013-12-04||184.108.40.206 220.127.116.11|
We found a related Poison Ivy sample (MD5 8936c87a08ffa56d19fdb87588e35952) with the same “java7” password, which was dropped by an Adobe Flash exploit (CVE-2012-0779). In this previous incident, visitors to the Center for Defense Information website (www.cdi[.]org — also an organization involved in defense matters — were redirected to an exploit server at 18.104.22.168.
This exploit server hosted a Flash exploit file named BrightBalls.swf (MD5 1ec5141051776ec9092db92050192758). This exploit, in turn, dropped the Poison Ivy variant. In addition to using the same password “java7,” this variant was configured with the mutex with the similar pattern of “YFds*&^ff” and connected to a CnC server at windows.ddns[.]us.
Using passive DNS analysis, we see the domains windows.ddns[.]us and wmi.ns01[.]us both resolved to 22.214.171.124 in mid-2012.
|Domain||First Seen||Last Seen||IP Address|
|wmi.ns01.us wmi.ns01.us||2012-07-07 2012-07-07||2012-09-19 2012-09-19||126.96.36.199 188.8.131.52|
|windows.ddns.us windows.ddns.us||2012-05-23 2012-05-23||2012-06-10 2012-06-10||184.108.40.206 220.127.116.11|
During another earlier compromise of the same www.cdi.org website, visitors were redirected to a Java exploit test.jar (MD5 7d810e3564c4eb95bcb3d11ce191208e). This jar file exploited CVE-2012-0507 and dropped a Poison Ivy payload with the hash (MD5 52aa791a524b61b129344f10b4712f52). This Poison Ivy variant connected to a CnC server at ids.ns01[.]us. The domain ids.ns01[.]us also overlaps with the domain wmi.ns01[.]us on the IP 18.104.22.168.
|Domain||First Seen||Last Seen||IP Address|
|wmi.ns01[.]us wmi.ns01[.]us||2012-07-03 2012-07-03||2012-07-04 2012-07-04||22.214.171.124 126.96.36.199|
|ids.ns01[.]us ids.ns01[.]us||2012-04-23 2012-04-23||2012-05-18 2012-05-18||188.8.131.52 184.108.40.206|
The Poison Ivy sample referenced above (MD5 fd69793bd63c44bbb22f9c4d46873252) was delivered via an exploit chain that began with a redirect from the Center for European Policy Studies (www.ceps[.]be). In this case, visitors were redirected from www.ceps[.]be to a Java exploit hosted on shop.fujifilm[.]be.
In what is certainly not a coincidence, we also observed www.arce[.]org (one of the sites redirecting to the current Flash exploit) also redirect visitors to the Java exploit on shop.fujifilm[.]be in 2013.
This threat actor clearly seeks out and compromises websites of organizations related to international security policy, defense topics, and other non-profit sociocultural issues. The actor either maintains persistence on these sites for extended periods of time or is able to re-compromise them periodically.
This actor also has early access to a number of zero-day exploits, including Flash and Java, and deploys a variety of malware families on compromised systems. Based on these and other observations, we conclude that this actor has the tradecraft abilities and resources to remain a credible threat in at least the mid-term.