Posts tagged CVE-2012-4792

Department of Labor Watering Hole Campaign Review

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On April 30th, the watering hole campaign was published on a private mailing list and the May 1st, Invicia and AlienVault publicly reported, with technical details, that United States Department of Labor (DOL) Site Exposure Matrices (SEM) website had been compromised and was hosting malicious code. This malicious code was used in watering hole attack targeting at first employees of US Dept of Energy that work in nuclear weapons programs. This malicious code was also used to gather information’s on the visitors of the compromised website.

The exploit used in this campaign was firstly reported as CVE-2012-4792, an Internet Explorer 0day used in December 2012 in CFR.org watering hole campaign and patched by Microsoft in January 2013. Despite the patch release some forks of this exploit were still used in targeted attacks against political parties, political dissidents, online medias and human right activists.

Two days later, FireEyeInvicia and AlienVault concluded that the vulnerability targeted during this attack campaign was not CVE-2012-4792 as they originally reported but a new Internet Explorer 8 vulnerability identified as CVE-2013-1347. This turnaround had unfortunately occur to late. Casual attacker, chaotic actors, organized crime and potentially other states involved in sponsored espionage had the opportunity to study the attack and recover the evidences.

Microsoft has acknowledge the vulnerability in a Microsoft Security Advisory published on May 3rd and identified as MSA-2847140 and has provide a “Fix it” solution to mitigate Internet Explorer 8 vulnerability.

Also, Adobe has announce through APSA13-03 that a critical vulnerability (CVE-2013-3336) is actually exploited against ColdFusion. This vulnerability could permit an unauthorized user to remotely retrieve files stored on the server, through “CFIDE/administrator“, “CFIDE/adminapi” and “CFIDE/gettingstarted*” directories. Adobe ColdFusion is used by DOL and this vulnerability has surely be used in order to compromise the server.

Possible Causes of Confusion between CVE-2012-4792 and CVE-2013-1347

Confusions with CVE-2012-4792 was possible due to similarities in used code and technics:

Usage of widely used JavaScript functions and variables

function getCookieVal(offset)“, widely used, is also present in original CVE-2012-4792 exploit and other forks.
function GetCookie(name)“, widely used,  is also present in original CVE-2012-4792 exploit and other forks.
function SetCookie(name,value)“, widely used, is also present in original CVE-2012-4792 exploit and other forks.
var ua = window.navigator.userAgent.toLowerCase()“, widely used, is also present in original CVE-2012-4792 exploit and other forks.

Usage of particular JavaScript functions also present in previous watering hole campaigns

function DisplayInfo()” also seen in CVE-2012-4792 & CVE-2011-0611 exploits.
function download()” & “function callback()” also seen in CVE-2012-4792 exploit.

Usage of Ajax XMLHttpRequest

This JavaScript object is used to download “bookmark.png” file and was also used to download  “xsainfo.jpg” file in CVE-2012-4792.

Similarities in the JavaScript code structure

If you compare the original CVE-2012-4792 JavaScript code and Exodus Intel fork, with this new exploit, the code structure is very similar in many aspects.

Usage of HTML+TIME technic

HTML+TIME, which is based on the Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL), was also used in certain CVE-2012-4792. This technic was explained by Exodus Intel beginning January 2013.

Target selection

Parts of the code targets only Windows XP, Internet Explorer 8 and certain languages, like CVE-2012-4792.

Differences between CVE-2012-4792 and CVE-2013-1347, and Particularities

Some new particularities were present in the exploit and associated watering hole campaign:

Usage of PHP files

All previous watering hole attacks have use HTML or JavaScript files. PHP usage naturally limit the number of potential servers who could be used to start the exploitation and spread the malware. This approach increasingly the technic used by Exploit Kits, maybe a source of inspiration and effectiveness for states involved in sponsored espionage.

Usage of Base64 obfuscation

Obfuscation with base64 encoding (“base64.js” file) was used to hide parts of the exploit. CVE-2012-4792 was using “robots.txt” obfuscated with substitutions and HEX encoding.

Use-After-Free type

As mentioned by sinn3r of Metasploit team, CVE-2012-4792 was a CButton object use-after-free and CVE-2013-1347 is a CGenericElement object use-after-free.

dol[.]ns01[.]us Exploit Hosting Domain Evolutions

Invicia and AlienVault have report that the browser was redirected to the content hosted at dol[.]ns01[.]us which lead to the infection. A urlQuery, of 2013-05-01, is mentioned and refer to dol[.]ns01[.]us on port 8081/TCP. One hit related to the information gathering script is mentioning a last modified date of Thu, 14 Mar 2013 20:06:36 GMT. You can also observe in the executed JavaScript that the hxxp://dol[.]ns01[.]us:8081/web/js.php and hxxp://dol[.]ns01[.]us:8081/web/css.js URL’s are present in the code.

96.44.136.115-3

But if you take a look to a previous urlQuery report of 2013-04-29, hxxp://96[.]44[.]136[.]115/web/js.php, hxxp://96[.]44[.]136[.]115/web/css.js and hxxp:///web/xss.php are mentioned and coded in the executed JavaScript. 96[.]44[.]136[.]115 IP address is mentioned by AlienVault as the IP address behind dol[.]ns01[.]us. As you can see no specific destination port is present and the last modified date is the same. So we can conclude that the guys behind this campaign have change the malicious code during this interval.

urlquery-dol-1

You can observe this evolution with the urlQuery submission of 2013-04-30.

urlquery-2

All these urlQuery submission’s were done with a non Internet Explorer 8 user agent, and as the exploit malicious code was designed to only target Windows XP and Internet Explorer 8, part of the redirection were not present as evidences.

If you observe “/scripts/textsize.js” JavaScript code hosted on DOL website, you can see a first JavaScript inclusion to “hxxp://dol[.]ns01[.]us:8081/web/xss.php” and a second one to “hxxp://dol[.]ns01[.]us:8081/update/index.php“.

The first inclusion “/web/xss.php” was used in order to gather information’s on the DOL website visitors and the second inclusion “/update/index.php” was used to start the exploitation of CVE-2013-1347.

Information Gathering Scripts

As described by AlienVault, the information gathering code “/web/xss.php” on dol[.]ns01[.]us use different JavaScript functions to collect information’s from the system and upload the result to the malicious server.

I found that the information’s gathering script was different depending on the used browser. Here under a description of the JavaScript functions involved in information’s gathering depending on used browsers.

[table "22" not found /]

Also a specific information gathering technic was triggered when Internet Explorer was used. This technic is related to a non patched vulnerability in Internet Explorer 8, discovered by NSFOCUS and reported to Microsoft in 2011. The vulnerability could allow user information and even local file content leakage if a user views a specially crafted webpage using Internet Explorer.

SA2012-02

Once all information’s gathered, the script send all data’s on a specific URL “hxxp://dol[.]ns01[.]us:8081/web/js.php” and also call “hxxp://dol[.]ns01[.]us:8081/web/css.js” when the information’s are collected.

infogath-inclusions

infogath-js

An interesting information regarding “/web/css.js“, is that the “Last Modified” date reported by “dol[.]ns01[.]us” server is Thu, 14 Mar 2013 20:06:36 GMT. This is reporting that the information gathering infrastructure was in place since mid-March minimum.

dol.ns01.us-8081-1

Interesting facts regarding these information gathering scripts are:

  • Scripts “xss.php“, “js.php” & “css.js” have move from IP 96[.]44[.]136[.]115 on port 80/TCP to domain dol[.]ns01[.]us port 8081/TCP. Move from port 80/TCP to 8081/TCP doesn’t seem to be logic, most of time outgoing connexion’s authorized on Firewalls, for corporate Web surfing, are 80/TCP and 443/TCP.
  • Different types of information gathering scripts were in place, and all users who have visit DOL website were affected by this information gathering campaign.
  • Usage of a specific information leakage vulnerability present in Internet Explorer 8 and not fixed by Microsoft.
  • BitDefender 2012 deactivation attempt is confusing. Why trying to deactivate an anti-virus, this will surely generate an alert.
Information Gathered on dol[.]ns01[.]us

As described in the previous chapter, the information gathering code send a lot of information’s to the backend. Hopefully for security researchers, the backend wasn’t very well protected and all collected information’s were accessible without any restrictions in different web folders. You can find here under some statistics related to the gathered information’s.

TOP-10-TARGETED-COUNTRIES

Complete geolocation of the targeted source IPs

GEO-LOCALISATION

By analyzing the information’s sent to the backend, we can also see that DOL (www.sem.dol.gov) wasn’t the only compromised website:

  • From 2013-03-15 to 2013-04-29 : University Research Co. Cambodia website (www.urccambodia.org) was the first target .This explain the high number of distinct IP addresses from Cambodia.
  • From 2013-04-08 to 2013-04-24 : Awards for Excellence in Education website (www.forexcellenceineducation.org), a program of Fraser Institute, was the second target.
  • From 2013-04-08 to 2013-04-24 : ElectionGuide website (www.electionguide.org), provided by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), was the third target.
  • From 2013-04-09 to 2013-04-30 : French Institute of International Relations website (www.ifri.org), was the fourth target.
  • From 2013-04-09 to 2013-04-24 : The Working for America Institute website (www.workingforamerica.org), was the fifth target.
  • From 2013-04-09 to 2013-04-10 : The Project 2049 Institute website (www.project2049.net), was the sixth target.
  • From 2013-04-10 to 2013-04-10 : The Union Label and Service Trades Department website (www.unionlabel.org), was the seventh target.
  • From 2013-04-11 to 2013-04-30 : Thales Catalogue website (components-subsystems.thales-catalogue.com), was the eighth target.
  • From 2013-04-23 to 2013-05-01 : United States Department of Labor (DOL) Site Exposure Matrices (SEM) website (www.sem.dol.gov), was the ninth target.

Here under the hits by browsers and Internet Explorer 8 hits by OS.

Hits-by-Browsers

IE8-Hits-os2

Others Information’s Gathered

As you have read in the previous chapter, ElectionGuide website (www.electionguide.org) was also targeted during this watering hole campaign. As you can see in the following urlQuery submission, dating from 2013-05-01, 96[.]44[.]136[.]115 is also present but don’t respond any more. Also if you observe the urlQuery submission of 2013-05-0396[.]44[.]136[.]115 is still present, but a new backend server has been setup in order replace the once deactivated.

electionguide-both

electionguide-info-gath-inclusions

If you observe the “Last Modified” date of “css.js” file, the installation date of these files is at least the 2013-05-03.

electionguide-css

Also, by researching some patterns matching the information’s gathering script on Google you can find some previous unknown campaigns, that were using the same code.

56go-google

56go-google-cache

Gong Da Exploit Kit Add Java CVE-2013-1493 & IE CVE-2012-4792 & IE CVE-2012-4969 Support

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Like other Exploit Kits, Gong Da has add support for Oracle Java CVE-2013-1493 vulnerability, fixed in Oracle Java 6 Update 17, has also add support for Microsoft Internet Explorer CVE-2012-4969 and CVE-2012-4792 vulnerabilities, fixed in an emergency patch in September 2012 and January 2013.

Here is the new code for CVE-2013-1493.

Capture d’écran 2013-04-14 à 23.39.38

And here the new code for CVE-2012-4792 (aka 4792.html) and CVE-2012-4969 (aka payload.html).

Capture d’écran 2013-04-14 à 23.39.48

Also a new variant of CVE-2012-1889 (xml.html) has been introduced, reducing the detection rate by anti-viruses.

Capture d’écran 2013-04-14 à 23.40.15

As always this new version of Gong Da Exploit Kit has been discovered on a Korean web site.

Gong Da Pack has involve to the following diagram.

Gong Da EK 1.5

Here under some information s regarding the different files:

Normally Gong Da was used against gamers, but this time the loaded malware seem to be different (analysis on ThreatExpert)

A Deeper Look In CVE-2012-4792 Watering Hole Campaigns – Alljap Chapter

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This post is a small part of an in-depth analysis of the watering hole campaign of December involving an Internet Explorer 0day.  Jindrich Kubec and my self are working hard in order to synthesize all these information’s in order to provide you a high level overview.

As I mentioned to threatpost.com, the 14th January, additional web sites were discovered hosting Internet Explorer CVE-2012-4792 exploit. One of the additional web site was “All Jap auto parts” (www.alljap.net), an importer of second-hand japanese engines and car parts located in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

StopMalvertising published an analysis I recommend to you for additional information’s.

When I discovered this infected web, I noticed initially that the files were time stamped (HTTP Last-Modified entity-header) at the following dates:

  • deployJava.js : Fri, 14 Dec 2012 15:47:42 GMT
  • index.html : Fri, 14 Dec 2012 15:49:58 GMT
  • news.html : Fri, 14 Dec 2012 15:50:42 GMT
  • robots.txt : Fri, 14 Dec 2012 15:50:57 GMT
  • today.swf : Fri, 14 Dec 2012 15:51:08 GMT
  • xsainfo.jpg : Fri, 14 Dec 2012 15:56:44 GMT

index.html” file was supporting chinese simplified (zh-cn), taiwanese mandarin (zh-tw), japanese (ja), american english (en-us) and russian (ru). “girl” and “boy” patterns were present. And “hello” text was hidden.

CFR.org version of “index.html”, I discovered in Google cache and dating from the 7 December, was only supporting chinese simplified (zh-cn), taiwanese mandarin (zh-tw) and american english (en-us). “girl” and “boy” patterns were also present and “hello” text was not hidden.

CFR.org version, reported by FireEye, of around the 20 December, was supporting chinese simplified (zh-cn), taiwanese mandarin (zh-tw), japanese (ja), american english (en-us), russian (ru) and korean (ko). “girl” and “boy” patterns were no more present and replace by “ms-help:” technique to bypass ASLR on Windows 7. Also “hello” text was hidden.

By only analyzing these samples, from CFR.org and All jap auto part, we can observe that the attackers have changed tactics multiple times during this campaign.

By analyzing all the samples of other infected web sites (around 40 infected web sites samples), I observed that the All jap auto part was not used in the watering hole campaign. No high value legit websites where including, by iframe or by JavaScript inclusion, this website.

By doing some further analysis, regarding All jap auto part, I observed initially that hosted phpmyfaq and wwwboard tools were not updated since a long time. And after some Google dorks, I found two PHP backdoors and the Apache logs (from 13 November to beginning February) who were freely accessible from Internet. We will name the first backdoor BK1 and the second BK2 for further references in this blog post.

Having free access to the logs, was an unique opportunity to find additional evidences, regarding the attackers and the differences in the samples and patterns.

I first researched, in the logs, accesses to the backdoors. BK1 was not present in the logs, but BK2 was accessed the 7 December by IP 112.175.234.199. The IP is located in South Korea and is associated to FlyVPN.com VPN mirror. User agent associated to this IP is Internet Explorer 8 under Windows XP.

112.175.234.199 – - [07/Dec/2012 00:31:22 +0000] “GET /BK2.php HTTP/1.1″ 200 371 “-” “Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 5.1; Trident/4.0; .NET CLR 2.0.50727)”

By searching additional references to this IP, we can observe a first access to CVE-2012-4792 exploit the 7 December with a different user agent, Firefox 12 under Windows XP.

112.175.234.199 – - [07/Dec/2012 01:18:59 +0000] “GET /wwwboard/news/index.html HTTP/1.1″ 200 5776 “http://www.gbn.com/” “Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 5.1; rv:12.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/12.0″

We can directly observe that the HTTP referer was Global Business Network (www.gbn.com) and that All jap auto part was also involved in a watering hole campaign. Description of GBN:

GBN helps organizations adapt and grow in an increasingly uncertain and volatile world. Using our leading-edge tools and expertise—scenario planning, experiential learning, networks of experts and visionaries—we enable our clients to address their most critical challenges and gain the insight, confidence, and capabilities they need to shape the future.

We can also confirm, like CFR.org, that the exploit was present on All jap auto part since minimum the 7 December.

By doing a complete log analysis we can observe the following time line and information’s.

[table "3" not found /]

This IP has directly access to BK2, no other web pages visits. You can observe that some PHP mail code (mail.php) was put in place in order to send spear phishing email targeted to Taiwanese people’s (tw.htm). Bunch of operations have been done through BK2. Also you can observe that they test the exploit with Firefox 12.

[table "5" not found /]

This IP has directly access to BK2, no other web pages visits, and manipulate the content of CVE-2012-4792 0day. The IP is located in South Korea with only a pptp VPN open port. You can also observe usage of a file named “demo.txt”.

[table "4" not found /]

This IP has directly access to the BK2, no other web pages visits, manipulate the content of CVE-2012-4792 0day and do some test from GBN.com. The IP is located in Taiwan with only a pptp VPN open port.

[table "6" not found /]

This IP has directly access to the BK2, no other web pages visits, manipulate the content of CVE-2012-4792 0day. The IP is located in Hong-Kong with only a pptp VPN open port.

[table "7" not found /]

This IP has directly access to the BK2, no other web pages visits, manipulate the content of CVE-2012-4792 0day. The IP is located in South Korea with only a pptp VPN open port.

[table "8" not found /]

This IP has directly access to the BK2, no other web pages visits, manipulate the content of CVE-2012-4792 0day and do some test from GBN.com. The IP is located in South Korea.

As you can see the attackers have use massively VPN connexions in order to connect themselves to BK2. If you compare the “Last-Modified” HTTP headers of the samples, you can see that they are corresponding to the last three different IPs manipulations.

As we have the complete Apache logs, I was also able to analyze the attack surface of the watering hole campaign through GBN.

My first analysis was to see all successful hits to “index.html” file from 7 December to 17 December, without any segregation. By clicking on the following link you will access to a Google Fusion Table providing all associated information’s.

alljap-all-hits

You can find also the TOP 10 of countries how have hit the exploit.

[table "9" not found /]

My second analysis was to see all potential successful exploitation targeting “MSIE 8.0“, from 7 December to 17 December. By clicking on the following link you will access to a Google Fusion Table providing all associated information’s.

alljap-msie8-hits

You can find also the TOP 10 of countries how have hit the exploit.

[table "10" not found /]

You can see that the potential success rate, compared to the visitors of GBN is very low. The fact to use a 0day only capable to target MSIE 8.0 was clearly a limiting point.

As explained at the beginning of the blog post, the post is only a small part of that has been analyzed. Jindrich Kubec and me will provide you additional information’s soon.

Reporters Without Borders Victim of Watering Hole Campaign

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As mentioned by Jindrich on Twitter, it seems that the entity or entities behind the watering hole attacks don’t care to be caught or detected and it also seems that they don’t care if the Internet Explorer and Java vulnerability are patched. They act as the opportunists and try to take advantage from the timeframe between the patch release and the patch application of some users, companies and non-governmental organizations.

Last week me and Jindrich Kubec reported on watering hole attacks against multiple high value web sites, including as example major Hong Kong political parties. These websites used the latest Internet Explorer (CVE-2012-4792) vulnerability, patched in MS13-008, but also the latest Java (CVE-2013-0422) vulnerability, patched in Oracle Java 7 Update 11.

It seems that one week later, Reporters Without Borders, a French-based international non-governmental organization that advocates freedom of the press and freedom of information, is the new web site used for the watering hole campaign. Such an organization is an ideal target for watering hole campaign, as it seems right now the miscreants concentrate only on human rights/political sites – many Tibetian, some Uygur, and some political parties in Hong Kong and Taiwan which are the latest hits in this operation. In our opinion the finger could be safely pointed to China (again).

Like for the Hong Kong political party, the english version of RWB was doing a javascript inclusion to “hxxp://en.rsf.org/local/cache-js/m.js“.

rsf-en-m.js-file

rsf-en-traffic

The “m.js” file creates a cookie “Somethingbbbbb” with one day expiration date. The cookie name could be linked to the Hong Kong political party “m.js” cookie name which was “Somethingeeee“. This kind of cookies was already used two years ago in similar attacks with different exploits.

If Internet Explorer 8 is used an iframe is loaded from”hxxp://newsite.acmetoy.com/m/d/pdf.html” file. Otherwise two iframes will load “hxxp://98.129.194.210/CFIDE/debug/includes/java.html“ and “hxxp://newsite.acmetoy.com/m/d/javapdf.html“.

newsite.acmetoy.com analysis

newsite.acmetoy.com” web site is hosting the following CVE-2012-4792 related files:

  • pdf.html” (ffe715a312a488daf3310712366a5024) : Traditional “DOITYOUR” obfuscated Javascript file which attempts to exploit the latest Internet Explorer vulnerability, CVE-2012-4792.
  • logo1229.swf” (da0287b9ebe79bee42685510ac94dc4f) : Traditional “DOITYOUR” variant of “today.swf“.
  • DOITYOUR02.html” (cf394f4619db14d335dde12ca9657656) : Traditional “DOITYOUR” variant of “news.html“.
  • DOITYOUR01.txt” (a1f6e988cfaa4d7a910183570cde0dc0) : Traditional “DOITYOUR” variant of “robots.txt“.

newsite.acmetoy.com” web site is also hosting the following Java vulnerabilities related files:

  • javapdf.html” (b32bf36160c7a3cc5bc765672f7d6f2c) : Javascript file for CVE-2013-0422 or CVE-2011-3544 exploitation.
  • AppletHigh.jar” (f02ffa2b293ff370d0ea3499d0ade9bd) : CVE-2013-0422 exploit.
  • AppletLow.jar” (1da8f77dde43f55585896eddaff43896) : CVE-2011-3544 exploit.

98.129.194.210 analysis

98.129.194.210” web site is hosting the following Java vulnerabilities related files, as you can see, they’re completely same as the above and most probably serve only as a backup server in case of takedown.

  • java.html” (b32bf36160c7a3cc5bc765672f7d6f2c) : Javascript file for CVE-2013-0422 or CVE-2011-3544 exploitation.
  • AppletHigh.jar” (f02ffa2b293ff370d0ea3499d0ade9bd) : CVE-2013-0422 exploit.
  • AppletLow.jar” (1da8f77dde43f55585896eddaff43896) : CVE-2011-3544 exploit.

These binaries were dropped by the exploits :

  • 686D0E4FAEE4B0EF93A8B9550BD544BF334A6D9B495EC7BE9E28A0F681F5495C, which is remote access tool (RAT) programmed to contact “luckmevnc.myvnc.com” (112.140.186.252, Singapore) or “luckmegame.servegame.com” (currently parked).
  • A14CCC5922EFC6C7CEC1BB58C607381C99967ED4B7602B7427B081209AAF1656 is an interesting injector which downloads something which pretends to be an error webpage, decodes its content which is in fact position independent code which is later injected to another process. This is also RAT, contacting “d.wt.ikwb.com” (58.64.179.139, Hong Kong).

We’ve contacted RSF webmaster and the code should be already removed. Avast and other anti-virus product users are protected on multiple levels against this threat, also updating to latest versions of the vulnerable software packages is a must. Or getting rid of them, as most users can safely replace MSIE with another browser and completely uninstalling Java, reducing the attack surface.

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