Many PHP-based web shells are still making the rounds, and while many of them are based on old code, mutations, customizations and updates abound. They are so common, that new variants and modified versions are often seen at the rate of about 10 a day in our TigerTrax Threat Intelligence systems and honeypots.
Variants exist for a wide variety of platforms and human languages, many with some very nasty features and even some cool ASCII art. There are many variants for attackers to choose from for just about any of the popular PHP-based content management platforms. From WordPress to Joomla and beyond to the far less common apps, there are easily used exploits and shell kits widely available.
If you run a PHP-based site or server, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the file system changes and watch closely for new files being uploaded or added. Pay particular attention to those using the “base64_decode” function, since it is so common among these tools.
Thanks for reading, and until next time, stay safe out there!
This article about research showing how malware could be hidden in Blu-Ray disks should serve as a reminder to us all that a lot of those “smart” and “Internet-enabled” devices we are buying can also be a risk to our information. In the past, malware has used digital picture frames, vendor disks & CD’s, USB keys, smart “dongles” and a wide variety of other things that can plug into a computer or network as a transmission medium.
As the so called, Internet of Things (IoT), continues to grow in both substance and hype, more and more of these devices will be prevalent across homes and businesses everywhere. In a recent neighbor visit, I enumerated (with permission), more than 30 different computers, phones, tablets, smart TV’s and other miscellaneous devices on their home network. This family of 5 has smart radios, smart TVs and even a Wifi-connected set of toys that their kids play with. That’s a LOT of places for malware to hide…
I hope all of us can take a few minutes and just give that some thought. I am sure few of us really have a plan that includes such objects. Most families are lucky if they have a firewall and AV on all of their systems. Let alone a plan for “smart devices” and other network gook.
How will you handle this? What plans are you making? Ping us on Twitter (@lbhuston or @microsolved) and let us know your thoughts.
Unfortunately, the destructive nature of Ransomware has taken a new turn for the worse. A new technique called RansomWeb is affecting production web-based applications. I recently analyzed data from the HITME project and observed several RansomWeb attacks against PHP applications. I can only assume the frequency of these attacks will increase throughout the year. As a former Systems Administrator, I can definitively say that it would be a nightmare to bring an application back online that was affected by this variant of Ransomware. Due to RansomWeb’s destructive nature, it is important to ensure that your organization is actively working to prevent RansomWeb from destroying any critical systems.
The attackers begin the RansomWeb process by exploiting a vulnerability within a web server or web-based application. Once the server or application have been exploited, the attackers slowly begin encrypting key databases and files. Once the encryption is complete, the hackers shut down the website/application and begin to demand ransom in exchange for the decryption of the corporation’s files. Unfortunately, the attackers have even perfected using this process to encrypt system-level backups.
To prevent RansomWeb from affecting your organization, please be sure to complete the following steps on a regular basis:
- Perform regular vulnerability assessments and penetration testing against your critical applications and servers.
- Audit your application and system logs for any irregular entries.
- Verify that you are performing regular application and system backups.
- Be sure to test the backup/ restore process for your applications and systems on a regular basis. After all, your backup/ DR process is only as effective as your last successful restore.
If you would like to discuss how we can help you prevent RansomWeb from affecting your production applications, do not hesitate to contact us by emailing info <at> microsolved.com
This article brings to mind an interesting trend we see going on among our financial and highly regulated clients – using a virtual machine for all Internet browsing. Several of our clients have begun using this technique in testing and small production groups. Often they are using ChromeOS images with VirtualBox or some other dedicated browser appliance and a light VM manager.
So, the US govt and law enforcement claim to have managed the disruption of crypto locker. And officials are either touting it as a total victory or a more realistic slowdown of the criminals leveraging the malware and bot-nets.
Even as the govt was touting their takedown, threat intelligence companies around the world (including MSI), were already noticing that the attackers were mutating, adapting and re-building a new platform to continue their attacks. The attackers involved aren’t likely to stay down for long, especially given how lucrative the crypto locker malware has been. Many estimates exist for the number of infections, and the amount of payments received, but most of them are, in a word, staggering. With that much money on the line, you can expect a return of the nastiness and you can expect it rather quickly.
Takedowns are effective for short term management of specific threats, and they make great PR, but they do little, in most cases, to actually turn the tide. The criminals, who often escape prosecution or real penalties, usually just re-focus and rebuild.
This is just another reminder that even older malware remains a profit center. Mutations, variants and enhancements can turn old problems like Zeus, back into new problems. Expect that with crypto locker and its ilk. This is not a problem that is likely to go away soon and not a problem that a simple takedown can solve.
Recently, I have been spending a lot of my time working with TigerTrax, our intelligence platform, and using it to further my research into emerging threats. One of the most interesting areas has been using to track and trace the fits and starts of malware evolution using social media data and the web.
TigerTrax is really good at finding and analyzing the data for trends. The visualizations make spotting emerging patterns and even outliers very easy. For example, we noticed a trend around side loading of malware payloads recently. Not an overwhelming trend across all of malware, but associated with a specific group of verticals being targeted. This emerged easily from the graph data and analytics engines. We were able to use that information to inform our customers in that space and increase their capabilities in detection and incident response.
We have only just begun to find the deeper use cases for TigerTrax, but it is already changing the way MSI does work, even the core work of assessments. For example, with a small window of lead time, we can generate specific pattern analysis and cases to support findings in risk assessments, vulnerability and pen-testing work. The engines can keep our scenarios refreshed, keep us up to date with the latest attack vectors and exploits being used in the wild.
All in all, TigerTrax has given us a larger view of infosec, and watching malware evolve through its lens has become an interesting part of what we do at MSI. We look forward to the day when we can discuss more publicly what we are doing with TigerTrax and some of the findings we are generating, but for now, just know that the platform is being used in a myriad of ways, and that new developments are occurring on a daily basis. If you’d like to discuss what TigerTrax can do for your organization, give us a call. We’d be happy to sit down for a briefing with your team.
Here’s another use case scenario for HoneyPoint Security Server. This time, we show the methodology we use to scope a HoneyPoint implementation around protecting a specific set of Intellectual Property (IP).
If you would like an in-depth discussion of our process or our capability, please feel free to reach out to us and schedule a call with our team. No commitment and no hard sale, guaranteed.
We have been getting a LOT of questions lately about how HoneyPoint Security Server (HPSS) fits into a Point of Sale (POS) network.
To make it pretty easy and as a high level overview, below is a use case diagram we use to discuss the solution. If you would like a walkthrough of our technology, or to discuss how it might fit into your specific use cases, please let us know.
As always, thanks for reading and for partnering with MicroSolved, Inc.
We got a few scans for an old D-Link router vulnerability that dates back to 2009. It’s interesting to me how long scanning signatures live in online malware and scanning tools. This has lived for quite a while.
Here are the catches from a HoneyPoint Personal Edition I have deployed at home and exposed to the Internet. Mostly, this is just to give folks looking at the scans in their logs an idea of what is going on. (xxx) replaces the IP address…
2013-10-02 02:46:13 – HoneyPoint received a probe from 184.108.40.206 on port 80 Input: GET /HNAP1/ HTTP/1.1 Host: xxxx User-Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Win32) WebWasher 3.0 Accept: text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,*/*;q=0.8 Accept-Language: en-US,en;q=0.5 Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate Referer: http://xxxx/ Authorization: Basic YWRtaW46dWA+NXhZQlU1d2VR Connection: keep-alive
2013-10-02 03:22:13 – HoneyPoint received a probe from 220.127.116.11 on port 80 Input: GET /HNAP1/ HTTP/1.1 Host: xxxx User-Agent: Opera/6.x (Linux 2.4.8-26mdk i686; U) [en] Accept: text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,*/*;q=0.8 Accept-Language: en-US,en;q=0.5 Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate Referer: http://xxxx/ Authorization: Basic YWRtaW46InkwYi4qMF5wL05G Connection: keep-alive
This probe is often associated with vulnerable D-Link routers, usually older ones, those made between 2006 and mid-2010. The original release and proof of concept exploit tool is here. The scan has also been embedded into several scanning tools and a couple of pieces of malware, so it continues to thrive.
Obviously, if you are using these older D-Link routers at home or in a business, make sure they are updated to the latest firmware, and they may still be vulnerable, depending on their age. You should replace older routers with this vulnerability if they can not be upgraded.
The proof of concept exploit also contains an excellent doc that explains the HNAP protocol in detail. Give it a read. It’s dated, but remains very interesting.
PS – As an aside, I also ran the exploit through VirusTotal to see what kind of detection rate it gets. 0% was the answer, at least for that basic exploit PoC.