Reporters Without Borders Victim of Watering Hole Campaign

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://“.



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://” file. Otherwise two iframes will load “hxxp://“ and “hxxp://“. analysis” 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“.” 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. analysis” 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 “” (, Singapore) or “” (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 “” (, 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.

Watering Hole Campaign Use Latest Java and IE Vulnerabilities

Through a collaboration with (Jindrich Kubec (@Jindroush), Director of Threat Intelligence at avast! / Eric Romang (@eromang), independent security researcher), we can confirm that the watering hole campaigns are still ongoing, targeting multiple web high value web sites, including as example a major Hong Kong political party. We can also confirm that a second major Hong Kong political party is victim of this watering hole campaign.

This website is actually using the new version of the original Internet Explorer (CVE-2012-4792) vulnerability attack, patched in MS13-008, but right now it’s also using the latest Java (CVE-2013-0422) vulnerability, patched in Oracle Java 7 Update 11.

We will provide you further details on the affected web sites after their cleaning.

Chinese language version of the targeted web site is doing a remote javascript inclusion to “hxxp://www.[REDACTED].org/board/data/m/m.js“.


This website is a legitimate compromised website used for hosting the exploit files, hosted in South Korea.

This include file uses the well-known “deployJava” function, aka “deployJava.js“, and creates a cookie “Somethingeeee” with one day expiration date. This cookie is quite strange and it’s also possible to find it in years old exploits, which suggests this is only a part of greater, long-going operation.


If Internet Explorer 8 is used , an iframe is load from”hxxp://www.[REDACTED].org/board/data/m/mt.html” file. Otherwise and if Oracle Java is detected, an iframe will load “hxxp://www.[REDACTED].org/board/data/m/javamt.html“.

Analysis of “mt.html

mt.html” (d85e34827980b13c9244cbcab13b35ea) file is an obfuscated Javascript file which attempts to exploit the latest Internet Explorer vulnerability, CVE-2012-4792, fixed in MS13-008 and provided by Microsoft Monday morning. (avast detects this code as JS:Bogidow-A [Expl] through Script Shield component).

Comparing to the original CFR and Capstone Turbine versions, this code is not targeting certain browser supported language, but the code is based on the version used on CFR with “boy” and “girl” patterns.

Traditional “today.swf” has been replaced with “logo1229.swf” (da0287b9ebe79bee42685510ac94dc4f), “news.html” has been replaced with “DOITYOUR02.html” (cf394f4619db14d335dde12ca9657656) and “robots.txt” has been replaced with “DOITYOUR01.txt” (a1f6e988cfaa4d7a910183570cde0dc0). The traditional dropper “xsainfo.jpg” is now embedded in the “mt.html” file and obfuscated in the Javascript.

The executable file can be extracted from the string by cutting of first 13 characters, converting hex chars to binary and xoring the whole binary blob with 0xBF. Resulting file with SHA256 CE6C5D2DCF5E9BDECBF15E95943F4FFA845F8F07ED2D10FD6E544F30A9353AD2 is RAT which is communicating with a domain hosted in Hong Kong by New World Telecom.

Analysis of “javamt.html

javamt.html” (b32bf36160c7a3cc5bc765672f7d6f2c) is checking if Oracle Java 7 is present, if yes latest Java vulnerability, CVE-2013-0422, will be executed through “AppletHigh.jar” (521eab796271254793280746dbfd9951). If Oracle Java 6 is present, “AppletLow.jar” (2062203f0ecdaf60df34b5bdfd8eacdc) will exploit CVE-2011-3544. Both these applets contain the very same binary mentioned above (unencrypted).



As you see, the watering hole campaign still continues, but has evolved in form but also by using the latest Oracle Java vulnerability. There is just one advise: patch, patch, patch… and see you soon.

Java Version 7 Update 11 Patch Oracle CVE-2013-0422 0day

Oracle has release an out-of-band patch, Java SE 7 Update 11, in order to patch the latest 0day, aka CVE-2013-0422, found massively exploited in the wild by kafeine. This update is done through an Oracle Security Alert regarding CVE-2013-0422. Oracle confirm that Java version 6, 5 and 4 are not vulnerables.


As always Oracle mention that the vulnerabilities are not applicable to Java running on servers, standalone Java desktop applications or embedded Java applications. But Oracle seem to forget that servers could crawl Internet, and that Java could be used to fetch web pages…

One interesting point is that Oracle push the default security level, introduced in version 7 Update 10, from “Medium” to “High“. With the “High” setting, the user is always prompted before any unsigned Java applet or Java Web Start application is run. This setting is looking like the default “Click-to-play” functionality introduced into Firefox and into Chrome.

Another interesting point, is that this update is fixing two vulnerabilities, CVE-2013-0422 known through the Java 0day discovery, but also CVE-2012-3174 who has a base CVSS score of 10.0. Ben Murphy, via TippingPoint (ZDI…), is credited for the vulnerabilities. CVE-2012-3174 is assigned since 6 Jun 2012 !!!

So hopefully, Oracle has release a patch, I strongly advise you to patch asap !

Gong Da / Gondad Exploit Pack Add Java CVE-2013-0422 support

If you are working in computer security and still don’t have hear about the latest Oracle Java 0day, aka CVE-2013-0422, then you should change you job ! This last Oracle Java 0day was discovered massively exploited in exploit kits by @kafeine the 10th January. Other exploit kits have quickly add support of this new vulnerability, like Gong Da exploit kit.


This new version was discovered on “hxxp://” a web site how is actually still online.

gond-da-exploit-kit-CVE-2013-0422-1” is hosted on, in KR and this domain name seem to be associated with a legit compromised web site.

The “m.html” file containing JavaScript code obfuscated by “JSXX VIP JS Obfuscator“, but traditional traces if this obfuscator are no more available.

After de-obfuscation of the “m.html” file you can see that Gong Da Pack has involve to the following diagram.

Gong Da EK - 1.3

Here under some information s regarding the different files:

  • EnKi2.jpg (aka CVE-2011-3544) : 8/46 on
  • cLxmGk3.jpg (aka CVE-2012-0507) : 11/46 on
  • OLluRM4.jpg (aka CVE-2012-1723) : 20/46 on
  • GPUrKz2.jpg (aka CVE-2012-4681) : 29/45 on
  • PBLO5.jpg (aka CVE-2012-5076) : 12/46 on
  • Nuwm7.jpg (aka CVE-2013-0422): 6/46 on