The Rotten Tomato Campaign

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The Rotten
Tomato
Campaign
By Gabor Szappanos, Principal Researcher, SophosLabs Hungary
A SophosLabs technical paper – October 2014
The Rotten Tomato Campaign
Contents
Overview
2
Template 1: CVE-2012-0158 + CVE-2014-1761 Combo
2
First attempt: Plugx
3
Template 2: Goldsun
4
Second attempts
5
Plugx
6
Appat
10
Others
12
Successful intergrations
13
Detour: Plugx
16
Conclusion
20
References
20
A SophosLabs technical paper – October 2014
1
The Rotten Tomato Campaign
Overview
Malware authors are not shy about borrowing ideas. One of the most typical cases is the
Tomato Garden case,1 where several different groups used the same zero-day Microsoft Word
exploit. The term “used” means that they somehow get hold of a document that exploited the
vulnerability, and then left the exploiting document part and the shellcode intact, only changed
the appended encrypted executable at the end, and immediately they had what needed.
Something very similar happened just recently, in August and September of 2014.
I always wanted to know how the malware writing groups worked. I mean the really serious ones,
the ones behind Chinese state-sponsored APT attacks, or the groups behind high profile common
malware, like Zeus.
This case offers another piece of insight. There must have been a staff meeting, where the
manager prompted that, in the next malware distribution campaign they should not only use
the aging CVE-2012-0158 vulnerability, but the newer CVE-2014-1761 as well. The rest of the
document will detail how some of the groups coped with this task.
Clearly, the malware authors took a sample somehow and started the implementation process.
I wasn’t there, of course, so what follows is an educated guess based on the samples.
Template 1: CVE-2012-0158 + CVE-2014-1761 Combo
Recently we saw a lot of samples that exploit both CVE-2012-0158 and CVE-2014-1761, and
usually either download or drop a Zbot variant.
The document starts with the RTF header stuff, followed by the encrypted second stage.
This is followed by the embedded object exploiting the CVE-2012-0158 vulnerability with the
shellcode. Following it is a block exploiting the CVE-2014-1761 with a shellcode of its own,
as illustrated in the image below.
The color scheme I will use in the rest of the document is the following: green represents
the properly used components; yellow the unused components; and red the incorrectly
used components.
Encrypted Zbot
CVE-2012-0158 exploit and Zbot shellcode
CVE-2014-1761 exploit and Zbot shellcode
Regardless of the particular exploit used, both shellcodes performed the memory egg-hunting
for the memory markers of the second stage (as described in2), and decrypted it when found.
The second stage could be either a downloader shellcode or a Win32 executable.
One of these samples was SHA1: c3a7cb43ec13299b758cb8ca25eace71329939f7, which
contained an encrypted Zbot variant3 at the beginning of the RTF. It looks very likely that this
sample was used as a development template for the other malware writing groups.
A SophosLabs technical paper – October 2014
2
The Rotten Tomato Campaign
First attempt: Plugx
The first attempt must have come from the group deploying Plugx. They took the above
mentioned sample, and made some modifications to it.
The result looks like this one:
Encrypted Zbot
CVE-2012-0158 exploit and Plugx shellcode
CVE-2014-1761 exploit and Zbot shellcode
Encrypted Plugx
I can only guess that they didn’t understand the CVE-2014-1761 component, and thought that
there was only one shellcode, in the CVE-2012-0158 segment. So they appended the encrypted
Plugx executable, and replaced the first shellcode with their own. This shellcode contains the
hardcoded offset of the embedded executable, and decrypts from there.
However, they left intact the encrypted Zbot executable at the beginning of the file and
the second vulnerability, making this sample a real dual weapon: not only that it exploits
two vulnerabilities, but contains two totally different payloads. However, Word can only be
exploited once: during the exploitation procedure the current instance of Word exits, and a new
one is started that displays the decoy document. So this creates a race condition: whichever
vulnerability is triggered first (or gets lucky in an environment where the other one is patched)
will have the chance to run its own payload.
13effaca957cc362bdcbfdd05b5763205b53d9ca
Original name: N/A
System activity
Dropped to C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\DRM\AShld\drmupgds.exe (clean loader
digitally signed by Microsoft) and C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\DRM\AShld\BlackBox.
DLL (malware loader) and C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\DRM\AShld\BlackBox.BOX
(payload); registered in HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\BlackBox → ImagePath
The payload is next-generation Plugx,4 plugin function creation dates are 0x20130810.
A SophosLabs technical paper – October 2014
3
The Rotten Tomato Campaign
C&C servers
chromeupdate.authorizeddns.org
Dynamic DNS service
googlesupport.proxydns.com
Dynamic DNS service
Template 2: Goldsun
At some point they must have realized that it was wrong and tried to fix the CVE-2014-1761 part.
For that, they took another recent sample, something similar to those that drop Goldsun Trojans
(like this SHA1: e2474cc0da5a79af876771217eb81974e73c39e5)
In this case, the RTF only contains the CVE-2014-1761 vulnerability, with an appended
executable. The vulnerability expects the second stage shellcode at a fixed file offset, checks a
marker string there (“p!11”), and jumps to the second stage, which then decrypts and executes
the final Win32 payload.
A SophosLabs technical paper – October 2014
4
The Rotten Tomato Campaign
CVE-2014-1761 exploit and Goldsun shellcode
Memory marker and Goldsun second stage shellcode
Start marker and encrypted Goldsun
Second attempts
A large group of samples were created by a sort of a fusion of the Zbot and the Goldsun
samples, resulting in a structure like this one:
Encrypted Zbot
CVE-2012-0158 exploit and Plugx shellcode
CVE-2014-1761 exploit and Goldsun shellcode
Memory marker and Goldsun second stage shellcode
Encrypted Plugx
Blank
So now there are two different shellcodes. The first, from Plugx, reads the length of the
embedded decoy document and Win32 payload from the end of the file, and using this info
locates and decrypts the appended payload. This shellcode identifies the host document by
checking if the last dword is the same as the dword before that rotated by 3. And the same
holds for another two dwords before that. These dwords also store the length of the appended
PE payload and decoy document lengths. This structure makes it possible to swap the payload
without changing the exploit and shellcode part.
The shellcode from Goldsun executes the second stage code from a fixed offset.
A SophosLabs technical paper – October 2014
5
The Rotten Tomato Campaign
There are a couple of problems with this implementation. First, the defunctional encrypted
Zbot remains in these files, with no purpose at all. But the real problem is with the Goldsun
style CVE-2014-1761 block. It was snatched from the CVE-2014-1761 exploiting document,
and pasted after the existing Zbot+CVE-2012-0158 combo. Clearly, the offset where the
second stage code would be shifted with the different prepended content, but it never
happened. As a result, the CVE-2014-1761 exploitation doesn’t work, despite all the efforts
of the malware authors.
A couple of distinct malware groups were identified that use these schematics.
Plugx
All of these samples are Plugx v2 samples.4 Most of the time they use Russian related themes in
the decoy document.
21b3e540746816c85e5270a1b8bb58bf713ff5f5
Original name: N/A
The dropped decoy document doesn’t contain anything, it is only blank page.
System activity
Dropped to C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\DRM\usta\usha.exe (clean loader, digitally
signed by Kaspersky) and C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\DRM\usta\ushata.dll (malware
loader) and C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\DRM\usta\ushata.dll.avp (payload); registered
for startup as a service in HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\usta → ImagePath
The payload is next generation Plugx,4 plugin function creation dates are 0x20130810
C&C servers
www.notebookhk.net
Registry Registrant ID:
Registrant Name: lee stan
Registrant Organization: lee stan
Registrant Street: xianggangdiqu
Registrant City: xianggangdiqu
Registrant State: xianggang
Registrant Postal Code: 796373
Registrant Country: HK
Registrant Phone: +0.04375094543
Registrant Fax: +0.04375094543
Registrant Email: [email protected]
80f965432ce872fc3592d9f907d5a4f66ab07f9c
Original name: Справка от 16.09.2014.doc
A SophosLabs technical paper – October 2014
6
The Rotten Tomato Campaign
System activity
Dropped to C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\DRM\AShld\AShld.exe (clean loader, digitally
signed by McAfee) and C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\DRM\AShld\AShldRes.DLL
(malware loader) and C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\DRM\AShld\AShldRes.DLL.asr
(payload); registered for startup as a service in HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\
AShld → ImagePath
The payload is next generation Plugx,4 plugin function creation dates are 0x20130810.
C&C servers
dwm.dnsedc.com
Registry Registrant ID:
Registrant Name: qiuping liu
Registrant Organization: huajiyoutian
Registrant Street: beijing
Registrant City: Beijing
Registrant State/Province: BJ
Registrant Postal Code: 100191
Registrant Country: CN
Registrant Phone: +86.1052810955
Registrant Phone Ext:
Registrant Fax: +89.1052810955
Registrant Fax Ext:
Registrant Email: [email protected]
Two of the Plugx samples turned out to be very new developments. Similar samples were just
recently encountered from the list generated by a researcher.5
176273806e6fe338123ff660e70145935bac77c3
Original name: РЕЗЮМЕ.doc
A SophosLabs technical paper – October 2014
7
The Rotten Tomato Campaign
System activity
Dropped to C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\DRM\KavSky\msinfo.exe (clean loader by
Kaspersky) and C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\DRM\KavSky\msi.dll (malware loader)
and C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\DRM\KavSky\msi.dll.eng (payload); registered in for
startup as a service in HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\KavSky → ImagePath
The payload is next generation Plugx [4], plugin function creation dates are 20140719 (and
interestingly, decimal and not hexadecimal, as generally seen in Plugx). Additionally, it has some
internal function names not seen in earlier Plugx versions: ZX, ZXWT, JP1, JP2, JP3, JP4, JP5,
JAP0, JAP1
C&C servers
futuresgolda.com
Registry Registrant ID:
Registrant Name: qiuping liu
Registrant Organization: huajiyoutian
Registrant Street: beijing
Registrant City: Beijing
Registrant State/Province: BJ
Registrant Postal Code: 100191
Registrant Country: CN
Registrant Phone: +86.1052810955
Registrant Phone Ext:
Registrant Fax: +89.1052810955
Registrant Fax Ext:
Registrant Email: [email protected]
adobeflashupdate.dynu.comsystemupdate5.dtdns.com
Dynamic DNS service
Dynamic DNS service
4ad76ce333b38c5bdd558e3d76640fa322e3cca6
Original name: 2014 Chairmanship_end.doc
A SophosLabs technical paper – October 2014
8
The Rotten Tomato Campaign
System activity
Dropped to C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\DRM\KavSky\m.exe (clean loader, digitally
signed by Kaspersky) and C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\DRM\KavSky\msi.dll (malware
loader) and C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\DRM\KavSky\msi.dll.eng (payload); registered
in for startup as a service in HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\KavSky → ImagePath
The payload is next generation Plugx,4 plugin function creation dates are 20140719 decimal.
Additionally, it has some internal function names not seen in earlier Plugx versions: ZX, ZXWT,
JP1, JP2, JP3, JP4, JP5, JAP0, JAP1
This sample used a Myanmar related decoy theme, likely part of a separate distribution campaign.
C&C servers
indiasceus.jetos.comindiasceus.justdied.com
Dynamic DNS service
Dynamic DNS service
A SophosLabs technical paper – October 2014
9
The Rotten Tomato Campaign
Appat
These are new Trojans. Not connected to Plugx at code level, but the overlap between the C&C
servers, the same domain registration contact ([email protected]), and the similar Russian
theme indicates that the same group deployed them.
0dfd883c1f205f0740d50688683f1869bcc0e9d7
Original name: План космической деятельности на 2021-2025 год.doc
System activity
Dropped to %WINDOWS%\AppPatch\AcProtect.dll (SHA1:
994be9c340f57ba8cbb20b7ceedad49b00294f3e) and %WINDOWS%\AppPatch\msimain.mui
(separate payload file).
Registered for startup with unusual autostart method, briefly touched in.7
A Microsoft patch file is dropped to %WINDOWS%\AppPatch\Custom\{099BF1AE-6A93493D-0C48-2453E7FBC801}.sdband registered to load in HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\
Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AppCompatFlags\InstalledSDB. That file loads AcProtect.dll
as a library component.
The dumped payload shows similar functionality to what Plugx (or any other general purpose
backdoor) has, but on a code level it is very different.
A SophosLabs technical paper – October 2014
10
The Rotten Tomato Campaign
C&C servers
adobeflashupdate.dynu.com
Dynamic DNS service
transactiona.com
Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited
Registry Registrant ID:
Registrant Name: qiuping liu
Registrant Organization: huajiyoutian
Registrant Street: beijing
Registrant City: Beijing
Registrant State/Province: BJ
Registrant Postal Code: 100191
Registrant Country: CN
Registrant Phone: +86.1052810955
Registrant Phone Ext:
Registrant Fax: +89.1052810955
Registrant Fax Ext:
Registrant Email: [email protected]
systemupdate5.dtdns.com
Dynamic DNS service
9bc128f120996677d3c4f7c1d7506315b232e49e
Original name: План космической деятельности на 2015-2020 год.doc
System activity
Dropped to %PROFILE%\Local Settings\Temp\3.tmp; 64 bit malware components, refer to the
same files names that are used by 0dfd883c1f205f0740d50688683f1869bcc0e9d7
C&C servers: N/A
A SophosLabs technical paper – October 2014
11
The Rotten Tomato Campaign
Others
There were a few other samples, but all single.
Kamics :712df1f1f11f63e2154eb9023d584be62ef100b8
Original name: N/A
The dropped decoy document is a password protected Word file, content is not visible in the lack
of the correct password.
System activity
Dropped to %PROFILE%\Local Settings\Temp\msvcpdl100.dll (SHA1:
51346d70ea97a7aaef80f98c4891526443b2696c) and C:\MsBuild\Microsoft\Windows\System32\
svchost.exe (SHA1: 2196770391bdbdd15bce5895427ec99b1bef0868); registered for startup in
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run → Kaspersky Internet Security
C&C servers
buglaa.sportnewsa.net
Farfli: 960ac7329a6e80682959d6da0469921f8167e79a
Original name: MoFA Note- Verbale on 19.8.14.doc
System activity
Dropped to %PROFILE%\Application Data\winlog.exe (SHA1:
511f2055a56c0f458b1b14cc207730d0fe639df4) and %PROFILE%\Application Data\winlog.dll
(SHA1: bb185efd35f7b4892a32e7853e044e94502a36af)
A SophosLabs technical paper – October 2014
12
The Rotten Tomato Campaign
C&C servers
unisers.com
Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited
Registry Registrant ID: Registrant Name: wang cheng
Registrant Organization: wang cheng
Registrant Street: BeijingDaguoROAD136
Registrant City: Beijing
Registrant State: Beijing
Registrant Postal Code: 100001
Registrant Country: CN
Registrant Phone: +86.01085452454
Registrant Fax: +86.01085452454
Registrant Email: bitumberls.@163.com
Successful integrations
But not all were failures. There were two samples that followed the above structure, and the
Goldsun shellcode offset was fixed.
However, both samples were only dropping and executing a Chinese nationalized version of calc.
exe – these are clearly test samples from China.
Furthermore, a couple of common malware samples were found with fixed second stage offsets,
showing that at least these guys know what they are doing. Still, they kept the inactive encrypted
Zbot at the beginning of the document.
Encrypted Zbot
CVE-2012-0158 exploit and Plugx shellcode
CVE-2014-1761 exploit and Goldsun shellcode
Memory marker and Goldsun second stage shellcode
Encrypted Zbot
Zbot
Among the samples conventional Zbots variants were also found. These showed up in Middle
Eastern countries, and have Arabic themes as a decoy.
a44308788bbd189e532745a79d126feaf708c3cd
Original name: ‫ةغللا يف ةعونمو ةماه تاحلطصم‬.doc
A SophosLabs technical paper – October 2014
13
The Rotten Tomato Campaign
System activity
Dropped to %PROFILE%\Application Data\Yhyq\sied.exe (random directory and filename);
registered for startup in HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run → Opagw
C&C servers
www.starorder.ezua.com
Dynamic DNS service
pop3.sec-homeland.com
Domain Status: OK
Registry Registrant ID:
Registrant Name: dfhgewy
Registrant Organization: dfhgewy
Registrant Street: dfhgewy
Registrant City: Unknown City
Registrant State/Province: Unknown Province
Registrant Postal Code: 000000
Registrant Country: China
Registrant Phone: +086.0000 00000000
Registrant Phone Ext:
Registrant Fax: +086.0000 00000000
Registrant Fax Ext:
Registrant Email: [email protected]
d05e586251b3a965b9c9af76568eff912e16432f
Original name: ‫كرابملا ىحضالا ديعب ةئنهت‬.doc
A SophosLabs technical paper – October 2014
14
The Rotten Tomato Campaign
System activity
Dropped to %PROFILE%\Application Data\Hysyt\ydbi.exe (random directory and filename);
registered for startup in HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run → Pecyiqu
C&C servers
www.starorder.ezua.com
Dynamic DNS service
pop3.sec-homeland.com
Domain Status: OK
Registry Registrant ID:
Registrant Name: dfhgewy
Registrant Organization: dfhgewy
Registrant Street: dfhgewy
Registrant City: Unknown City
Registrant State/Province: Unknown Province
Registrant Postal Code: 000000
Registrant Country: China
Registrant Phone: +086.0000 00000000
Registrant Phone Ext:
Registrant Fax: +086.0000 00000000
Registrant Fax Ext:
Registrant Email: [email protected]
Swrort: fa616b8e2f91810a8d036ba0adca6df50da2ad22
Original name: test.doc
A SophosLabs technical paper – October 2014
15
The Rotten Tomato Campaign
System activity
Dropped to %PROFILE%\Local Settings\Temp\3.tmp
C&C servers
Detour: Plugx
During the analysis of this campaign we ran into a handful of samples that have nothing to do with
CVE-2014-1761, but they contained some of the encrypted Zbot at the beginning of the file. The end
of encrypted PE is truncated, and the CVE-2012-0158 code is replaced with the Plugx shellcode.
Interestingly, there is another shellcode, which is starts with the same marker (“p!11”) as the
Goldsun second stage code, but the execution logic is the same as the Plugx shellcode. However,
this shellcode just hangs in the air, no execution path leads to it. It is not clear, where these
samples fit in the development path, could be that after the failure to integrate CVE-2014-1761,
the corresponding part was simply ditched from the samples.
Encrypted Zbot
CVE-2012-0158 exploit and Plugx shellcode
Memory marker and Plugx second stage shellcode
Encrypted Plugx
6f845ef154a0b456afcf8b562a0387dabf4f5f85
Original name: Indian Cooking Recipe.doc
A SophosLabs technical paper – October 2014
16
The Rotten Tomato Campaign
System activity
Dropped to C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\RasTls\RasTls.exe (clean loader digitally
signed by Symantec), C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\RasTls\RasTls.dll (loader) and
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\RasTls\RasTls.dll.msc (payload); registered in HKLM\
SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\RasTls → ImagePath
The payload is next generation Plugx,4 plugin function creation dates are 0x20130524
C&C servers
supercat.strangled.net
Free domain sharing
a97827aef54e7969b9cbbec64d9ee81a835f2240
Original name: Calling Off India-Pak Talks.doc
A SophosLabs technical paper – October 2014
17
The Rotten Tomato Campaign
System activity
Dropped to C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\RasTls\RasTls.exe (clean loader digitally
signed by Symantec), C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\RasTls\RasTls.dll (loader) and
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\RasTls\RasTls.dll.msc (payload); registered in HKLM\
SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\RasTls → ImagePath
The payload is next generation Plugx,4 plugin function creation dates are 0x20130524
C&C servers
nusteachers.no-ip.org
Dynamic DNS service
e8a29bb90422fa6116563073725fa54169998325
Original name: Human Rights Violations of Tibet.doc
A SophosLabs technical paper – October 2014
18
The Rotten Tomato Campaign
System activity
Dropped to C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\RasTls\RasTls.exe (clean loader digitally
signed by Symantec), C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\RasTls\RasTls.dll (loader) and
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\RasTls\RasTls.dll.msc (payload); registered in HKLM\
SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\RasTls → ImagePath
The payload is next generation Plugx,4 plugin function creation dates are 0x20130524.
C&C servers
ruchi.mysq1.net
Dynamic DNS service
19e9dfabdb9b10a90b62c12f205ff0d1eeef3f14
This is not a Plugx sample, but a Nineblog variant.8
Original name: ghozaresh amniyati.doc
System activity
Dropped to %PROFILE%\Application Data\Erease.vbe, that connects to the C&C server. The
dropped decoy document is bogus, a truncated copy of the exploited document.
C&C servers:
www.freetimes.dns05.com
Dynamic DNS service
A SophosLabs technical paper – October 2014
19
The Rotten Tomato Campaign
Conclusion
Apart from the lesson learned about malware development, what can we learn from this process?
The partially successful Plugx attempt raises a few questions. Should it be considered as a
common cybercrime sample (as the dropped Zbot suggests) or as an APT (as Plugx does)?
Actually, it depends on the patch level of the targeted computer.
The narrow line between APT and common malware shrank to zero with that sample. We have seen
earlier6 that authors of common malware are getting the idea of document-based exploitation
from the APT players. Now it is swinging back – targeted attack players are snatching ideas from
the other group. The fact that the attempt was less successful does not deny the fact that a
symbiosis exists between the two distinct criminal groups, and ideas are floating in both directions.
References:
1. http://blog.malwaretracker.com/2013/06/tomato-garden-campaign-part-2-old-new.html
2. http://www.securelist.com/en/analysis/204792298/The_
curious_case_of_a_CVE_2012_0158_exploit
3. https://www.virustotal.com/en-gb/file/3ba00f684daf0f9f2c1bef093
4f1af73c7dabd44a13070b64de34c0754110aa3/analysis/
4. https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2014/06/30/from-the-labs-plugx-the-next-generation/
5. http://blog.9bplus.com/watching-attackers-through-virustotal/
6. https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2014/03/11/on-the-trail-of-advanced-persistent-threats/
7. http://www.arcticadv.com/free/ebook/pdf/sdb-explorer-exe-black-hat.html
8. http://www.fireeye.com/blog/technical/malware-research/2013/08/
the-curious-case-of-encoded-vb-scripts-apt-nineblog.html
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