Tag Archives: CFR

Chinese Uygur Minority Also Targeted in the CFR Watering Hole Attack And More

In my last blog post I reported you that the watering hole attack, involving an Internet Explorer 0day, was not limited to CFR.org, but also to energy manufacturer Capstone Turbine Corp. I also confirmed you that the attack has start minimum beginning December, and that some of these infected web sites were also previously infected with another Internet Explorer 0day discovered in September 2012.

After some additional researches I found two new web sites involved in the watering hole attack.

PHIL-AM Tour (http://www.philam.com.tw)

This web site, a Taiwanese travel agency,  has been found infected through a Google dork and the “Helps.html” page is still in Google cache, but the web site has been cleaned. You can find the source code of the infected page on Pastebin. This web page was also analyzed trough jsunpack the 31 December.

Uygur Haber Ajansi (www.uygurunsesi.com)

This web site, a dissident Uygur web site, has been found infected through a Google dork and the “Helps.html” page is live. So take care if you visite this web site, you could be infected. Uygur are a Turkic ethnic group living in Eastern and Central Asia. Today, Uyghurs live primarily in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the People’s Republic of China.


Same as for Capstone Turbine Corp. web site, this web site was also previously infected by CVE-2012-4969 I discovered in September. “Grumgog.swf” is in the house.

Samples collected on this web site:

  • robots.txt (96b01d14892435ae031290cd58d85c2e)
  • today.swf (4df26a39734992ff7a8d95cc44542b2b)
  • xsainfo.jpg (7c713c44e34fa8e63745744e3b7221db)
  • news.html (76d14311bae24a40816e3832b1421dee)
  • Helps.html (a25c13d4edb207e6ce153469c1104223)

Capstone Turbine Corporation Also Targeted in the CFR Watering Hole Attack And More

Since the release of MSA-2794220 by Microsoft, regarding the CVE-2012-4792 vulnerability, a Fix-it solution has been provided KB2794220. I urgently advise you to apply this Fix-it solution, or to use another browser, until the release of the final patch surely planned for the 8 January Microsoft Patch Tuesday.

I have some interesting and funny additional information’s regarding the CFR watering hole attack, and I would like to share them with you. But previously I recommend you to read the following analysis done by security companies or independent security researchers:

Let’s start with the analysis of only two samples, “news_14242aa.html” and “Helps.html“. These two samples are quiet interesting, and a complete blog post is enough for them. I will analyze the other samples in dedicated further blog posts.

news_14242aa.html (545cb268267609910e1312399406cdbc)

This sample was extracted from Google cache with a cache date of 7 Dec 2012 14:12:28 GMT. This sample clearly demonstrate that the compromise of CFR.org wasn’t the 20, or 21 December as mentioned by security companies or medias, but really sooner. The proof is still indexed and in cache of Google.

Capture d’écran 2012-12-28 à 22.25.31


Helps.html (a25c13d4edb207e6ce153469c1104223)

I received this sample, around the 29 December.  This file is the equivalent of the first sample but with some modifications, you can see the differences in the following online diff. Additional languages have been added (jp – ru – ko),  all the stuffs regarding Microsoft Office documents have been removed (boy or girl), some additional “blank” locations have been added and the body text has been hide.

Now, if you do research on VirusTotal with this MD5, you can find a relate sample, but with another filename “config.html” who was submitted the 2012-12-31 18:29:47 UTC. Looks like interesting, but has to be confirmed.

If you execute a request on urlQuery in order to search all “config.html” file for the last past month, you will discover a submission, dating from 2012-12-29 22:58:29, for URL “http://www.capstoneturbine.com/_include/config.html” on server If you take a look at the urlQuery report you can see some “deployJavaPlugin” strings.

The Capstone Turbine Corporation company description, make me believe that this company profile could be a choice of quality for targeted attack:

Capstone Turbine Corporation ® is the world’s leading producer of low-emission microturbine systems, and was first to market with commercially viable microturbine energy products. Capstone Turbine has shipped thousands of Capstone MicroTurbine systems to customers worldwide.

By doing a Google dork research “site:capstoneturbine.com “_include”” you can see something strangely similar to CFR.org “news_14242aa.html file.


This page is also cached in google cache, and guess what ? Ho, Ho Ho, CVE-2012-4792 is in the house since the 18 December 16:10:40 GMT. So CFR.org was and is not the only target of this attack !

Now we will try to define the date of compromise of Capstone Turbine Corporation through research on Google by another google dork “capstoneturbine.com” “_include”“. And we can find some interesting informations 😉


On support.clean-mx.de we can discover that the same “/_include/config.html” URL was indexed since 2012-09-19 04:31:01. But what is awesome is the evidence attached to this submission hoho it is CVE-2012-4969 I discovered in September 🙂 “Grumgog.swf” is in the house.


My conclusions are:

  • CFR.org was comprised since minimum beginning December.
  • CVE-2012-4792 was present on CFR.org since minimum beginning December.
  • CVE-2012-4792 was also used to target visitors of another company named Capstone Turbine Corporation.
  • CVE-2012-4792 was present on Capstone Turbine Corporation since minimum 18 December.
  • Capstone Turbine Corporation was also used to spread CVE-2012-4969 and this since mid-September.
  • Potentially Capstone Turbine Corporation is compromised since minimum beginning September
  • Potentially the guys behind CVE-2012-4969 and CVE-2012-4792 are the same.

But, there is always a but in a story, take a look at the first submission for Capstone Turbine Corporation in August, “http://www.capstoneturbine.com/_flash/videos_native/exploit.html “. Imagine 🙂

Update 1 – 2013-01-02 1:30 am:

Jindrich Kubec director of Threat Intelligence at avast! confirm presence of CVE-2012-4969 in September on Capstone Turbine Corporation.

Microsoft Internet Explorer CButton Vulnerability Metasploit Demo

Timeline :

CVE reference assigned the 2012-09-06
First samples of the attack discovered in Google cache the 2012-12-07
Vulnerability discovered exploited in the wild on CFE.org around the 2012-12-26
Vulnerability details provided by binjo, Eric Romang and FireEye the 2012-12-29
Microsoft Security Advisory published the 2012-12-30
Metasploit PoC provided the 2012-12-30
Metasploit module name changed the 2012-12-31

PoC provided by :

mahmud ab rahman
juan vazquez

Reference(s) :

new IE 0day coming-mshtml!CDwnBindInfo object use after free vulnerability
Attack and IE 0day Informations Used Against Council on Foreign Relations

Affected version(s) :

nternet Explorer 6
Internet Explorer 7
Internet Explorer 8

Tested on Windows XP Pro SP3 with :

Internet Explorer 8

Description :

Note: The module name has change from ie_cdwnbindinfo_uaf to ie_cbutton_uaf

This module exploits a vulnerability found in Microsoft Internet Explorer. A use-after-free condition occurs when a CButton object is freed, but a reference is kept and used again during a page reload, an invalid memory that’s controllable is used, and allows arbitrary code execution under the context of the user. Please note: This vulnerability has been exploited in the wild targeting mainly China/Taiwan/and US-based computers.

Commands :

use exploit/windows/browser/ie_cbutton_uaf
set TARGET 1
set PAYLOAD windows/meterpreter/reverse_tcp


Microsoft Release Security Advisory MSA-2794220 for CFE Internet Explorer 0day

Microsoft has release a security advisory MSA-2794220 for the Internet Explorer 0day used against Council on Foreign Relations (CFR.org) “drive-by” attack. This attack was reported the 28 December by “The Washington Free Beacon” but it seem that only 48 hours after the publication of this news an exploitable Metasploit module will be available during this long week-end end of the year.


Microsoft confirm, in the security advisory, that the vulnerability is only affecting Internet Explorer 6, Internet Explorer 7, and Internet Explorer 8. Internet Explorer 9 and Internet Explorer 10 are not affected by the vulnerability. Also this Internet Explorer vulnerability has been identified as CVE-2012-4792.

Microsoft is not providing any date for a patch release, but will the appropriate actions, which may include providing a solution through the monthly security update release process, or an out-of-cycle security update. The next “Patch Tuesday” cycle is planned for the 8 January, but depending on how fast the exploit kits will include this new vulnerability, it will be maybe possible that Microsoft will release an out-of-band patch.

As always Microsoft is recommending the usage of Enhanced Mitigation Experience (EMET) in order to mitigate the attack.