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[FireEye]Darwin’s Favorite APT Group
« le: février 09, 2018, 23:00:37 »
Darwin’s Favorite APT Group


  Introduction


 

The attackers referred to as APT12 (also known as IXESHE, DynCalc,
  and DNSCALC) recently started a new campaign targeting organizations
  in Japan and Taiwan. APT12 is believed to be a cyber espionage group
  thought to have links to the Chinese People's Liberation Army. APT12's
  targets are consistent with larger People's Republic of China (PRC)
  goals. Intrusions and campaigns conducted by this group are in-line
  with PRC goals and self-interest in Taiwan. Additionally, the new
  campaigns we uncovered further highlight the correlation between APT
  groups ceasing and retooling operations after media exposure, as APT12
  used the same strategy after compromising the New York Times in Oct
  2012. Much like Darwin’s theory of biological evolution, APT12 been
  forced to evolve and adapt in order to maintain its mission.


 

The new campaign marks the first APT12 activity publicly reported
  since Arbor Networks released their blog “    href="http://www.arbornetworks.com/asert/2014/06/illuminating-the-etumbot-apt-backdoor/">Illuminating
    The Etumbot APT Backdoor.” FireEye refers to the Etumbot
  backdoor as RIPTIDE. Since the release of the Arbor blog post, FireEye
  has observed APT12 use a modified RIPTIDE backdoor that we call
  HIGHTIDE.     href="/content/fireeye-www/en_US/blog/threat-research/2013/08/survival-of-the-fittest-new-york-times-attackers-evolve-quickly.html">This
    is the second time FireEye has discovered APT12 retooling after a
    public disclosure. As such, FireEye believes this to be a common
  theme for this APT group, as APT12 will continue to evolve in an
  effort to avoid detection and continue its cyber operations.


 

FireEye researchers also discovered two possibly related campaigns
  utilizing two other backdoors known as THREEBYTE and WATERSPOUT. Both
  backdoors were dropped from malicious documents built utilizing the
  “Tran Duy Linh” exploit kit, which exploited CVE-2012-0158. These
  documents were also emailed to organizations in Japan and Taiwan.
  While APT12 has previously used THREEBYTE, it is unclear if APT12 was
  responsible for the recently discovered campaign utilizing THREEBYTE.
  Similarly, WATERSPOUT is a newly discovered backdoor and the threat
  actors behind the campaign have not been positively identified.
  However, the WATERSPOUT campaign shared several traits with the
  RIPTIDE and HIGHTIDE campaign that we have attributed to APT12.


 


  Background


 

From October 2012 to May 2014, FireEye
  observed APT12 utilizing RIPTIDE, a proxy-aware backdoor that
  communicates via HTTP to a hard-coded command and control (C2) server.
  RIPTIDE’s first communication with its C2 server fetches an encryption
  key, and the RC4 encryption key is used to encrypt all further communication.


 


        width="434" height="100"
      src="https://www.fireeye.com/content/dam/legacy/blog/2014/09/riptide-wireshark.png"
      alt="riptide-wireshark" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-6355 landscape-sm" />


 


  Figure 1: RIPTIDE HTTP GET Request Example


 

In June 2014,     href="http://www.arbornetworks.com/asert/2014/06/illuminating-the-etumbot-apt-backdoor/">Arbor
    Networks published an article describing the RIPTIDE backdoor
  and its C2 infrastructure in great depth. The blog highlighted that
  the backdoor was utilized in campaigns from March 2011 till May 2014.


 

Following the release of the article, FireEye observed a distinct
  change in RIPTIDE’s protocols and strings. We suspect this change was
  a direct result of the Arbor blog post in order to decrease detection
  of RIPTIDE by security vendors. The changes to RIPTIDE were
  significant enough to circumvent existing RIPTIDE detection rules.
  FireEye dubbed this new malware family HIGHTIDE.


 


  HIGHTIDE Malware Family


 

On Sunday August 24, 2014 we observed a
  spear phish email sent to a Taiwanese government ministry. Attached to
  this email was a malicious Microsoft Word document (MD5:
  f6fafb7c30b1114befc93f39d0698560) that exploited CVE-2012-0158. It
    is worth noting that this email appeared to have been sent from
    another Taiwanese Government employee, implying that the email was
    sent from a valid but compromised account.


 


   


 


        width="434" height="113"
      src="https://www.fireeye.com/content/dam/legacy/blog/2014/09/riptide-spear.jpg"
      alt="riptide-spear" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-6356 landscape-sm" />


 


  Figure 2:  APT12 Spearphishing Email


 

The exploit document dropped the HIGHTIDE backdoor with the
  following properties:


 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

    border="1">
     
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
 
MD5         valign="top">6e59861931fa2796ee107dc27bfdd480
Size           valign="top">75264 bytes
Complie Time           valign="top">2014-08-23 08:22:49
Import Hash         valign="top">ead55ef2b18a80c00786c25211981570

 

 


 

The HIGHTIDE backdoor connected directly to 141.108.2.157. If you
  compare the HTTP GET request from the RIPTIDE samples (Figure 1) to
  the HTTP GET request from the HIGHTIDE samples (Figure 3) you can see
  the malware author changed the following items:


 
  • User Agent
  • Format and structure
        of the HTTP Uniform Resource Identifier (URI)

 


        width="434" height="90"
      src="https://www.fireeye.com/content/dam/legacy/blog/2014/09/riptide2-wireshark.jpg"
      alt="riptide2-wireshark" class="size-full wp-image-6359 alignnone landscape-sm" />


 


  Figure 3: HIGHTIDE GET Request Example


 

Similar to RIPTIDE campaigns, APT12 infects target systems with
  HIGHTIDE using a Microsoft Word (.doc) document that exploits
  CVE-2012-0158. FireEye observed APT12 deliver these exploit documents
  via phishing emails in multiple cases. Based on past APT12 activity,
  we expect the threat group to continue to utilize phishing as a
  malware delivery method.


 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 


     
       
     
                  width="250" valign="top">議程最新修正及注意事項.doc
     
                  width="250" valign="top">0824.1.doc
     
                  width="250" valign="top">簡易名冊0全國各警察機關主官至分局長.doc           width="100" valign="top">CVE-2012-0158
     
                  width="250" valign="top">附檔.doc
     
                  width="250" valign="top">103年第3屆通訊錄.doc
     
                  width="250" valign="top">2014 09 17 Welcome Reception for Bob
          and Jason_invitation.doc

     
                  width="250"
        valign="top">產諮會_Y103(2)委員會_從東協新興國家崛起(0825).doc           width="100" valign="top">CVE-2012-0158
 
MD5           valign="top">File Name         valign="top">Exploit
        valign="top">73f493f6a2b0da23a79b50765c164e88         valign="top">CVE-2012-0158
        valign="top">f6fafb7c30b1114befc93f39d0698560         valign="top">CVE-2012-0158
        valign="top">eaa6e03d9dae356481215e3a9d2914dc
        valign="top">06da4eb2ab6412c0dc7f295920eb61c4         valign="top">CVE-2012-0158
        valign="top">53baedf3765e27fb465057c48387c9b6         valign="top">CVE-2012-0158
        valign="top">00a95fb30be2d6271c491545f6c6a707         valign="top">CVE-2012-0158
        valign="top">4ab6bf7e6796bb930be2dd0141128d06

 

 


 


  Figure 4: Identified exploit documents for HIGHTIDE 


 

When the file is opened, it drops HIGHTIDE in the form of an
  executable file onto the infected system.


 

RIPTIDE and HIGHTIDE differ on several points: executable file
  location, image base address, the User-Agent within the GET requests,
  and the format of the URI. The RIPTIDE exploit document drops its
  executable file into the C:\Documents and Settings\{user}\Application
  Data\Location folder while the HIGHTIDE exploit document drops its
  executable file into the C:\DOCUMENTS and SETTINGS\{user}\LOCAL
  SETTINGS\Temp\ folder. All but one sample that we identified were
  written to this folder as word.exe. The one outlier was written as winword.exe.


 

Research into this HIGHTIDE campaign revealed APT12 targeted
  multiple Taiwanese Government organizations between August 22 and 28.


 


  THREEBYTE Malware Family


 

On Monday August 25, 2014 we observed a different spear phish email
  sent from lilywang823@gmail.com to a technology company located in
  Taiwan. This spear phish contained a malicious Word document that
  exploited CVE-2012-0158. The MD5 of the exploit document was e009b95ff7b69cbbebc538b2c5728b11.


 

Similar to the newly discovered HIGHTIDE samples documented above,
  this malicious document dropped a backdoor to C:\DOCUMENTS and
  SETTINGS\{user}\LOCAL SETTINGS\Temp\word.exe. This backdoor had the
  following properties:


 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

    border="1">
     
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
 
MD5         valign="top">16e627dbe730488b1c3d448bfc9096e2
Size           valign="top">75776 bytes
Complie Time           valign="top">2014-08-25 01:22:20
Import Hash         valign="top">dcfaa2650d29ec1bd88e262d11d3236f

 

 


 

This backdoor sent the following callback
  traffic to video[.]csmcpr[.]com:


 


        href="/content/dam/legacy/blog/2014/09/threebyte-wireshark.jpg">      width="434" height="36"
      src="https://www.fireeye.com/content/dam/legacy/blog/2014/09/threebyte-wireshark.jpg"
      alt="threebyte-wireshark" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-6360 landscape-sm" />


 


  Figure 5:  THREEBYTE GET Request Beacon


 

The THREEBYTE spear phishing incident (while not yet attributed)
  shared the following characteristics with the above HIGHTIDE campaign
  attributed to APT12:


 
  • The THREEBYTE backdoor was compiled two
        days after the HIGHTIDE backdoors.
  • Both the THREEBYTE and
        HIGHTIDE backdoors were used in attacks targeting organizations in
      Taiwan.
  • Both the THREEBYTE and HIGHTIDE backdoors were
        written to the same filepath of C:\DOCUMENTS and
        SETTINGS\{user}\LOCAL SETTINGS\Temp\word.exe.
  • APT12 has
        previously used the THREEBYTE backdoor.

 


  WATERSPOUT Malware Family


 

On August 25, 2014, we observed another round of spear phishing
  emails targeting a high-technology company in Japan. Attached to this
  email was another malicious document that was designed to exploit
  CVE-2012-0158. This malicious Word document had an MD5 of
  499bec15ac83f2c8998f03917b63652e and dropped a backdoor to
  C:\DOCUMENTS and SETTINGS\{user}\LOCAL SETTINGS\Temp\word.exe. The
  backdoor had the following properties:


 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

    border="1">
     
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
 
MD5         valign="top">f9cfda6062a8ac9e332186a7ec0e706a
Size           valign="top">49152 bytes
Complie Time           valign="top">2014-08-25 02:10:11
Import Hash         valign="top">864cd776c24a3c653fd89899ca32fe0b

 

 


 

The backdoor connects to a command and control server at icc[.]ignorelist[.]com.


 

Similar to RIPTIDE and HIGHTIDE, the WATERSPOUT backdoor is an
  HTTP-based backdoor that communicates with its C2 server.


 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

    cellpadding="0" border="1">
     
       
GET
          /<string>/<5 digit number>/<4 character
          string>.php?<first 3 characters of last
          string>_id=<43 character string>= HTTP/1.1

 


           

Accept: image/jpeg, application/x-ms-application,
            image/gif, application/xaml+xml, image/pjpeg,
            application/x-ms-xbap, */*

User-Agent: Mozilla/4.0
            (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 6.1; Trident/4.0; SLCC2;
            .NET CLR 2.0.50727; .NET CLR 3.5.30729; .NET CLR 3.0.30729;
            .NET4.0C; .NET4.0E)

Host: <C2 Location>


           

Cache-Control: no-cache


 

 


 


  Figure 6: Sample GET request for WATERSPOUT backdoor


 

Although there are no current infrastructure ties to link this
  backdoor to APT12, there are several data points that show a possible
  tie to the same actors:


 
  • Same initial delivery method (spear
        phishing email) with a Microsoft Word Document exploiting
        CVE-2012-0158.

     

    • The same “Tran Duy Linh” Microsoft
              Word Exploit Kit was used in delivery of this backdoor.          class="list-bullet">

       

    • Similar Targets were
                  observed where the threat actors utilized this
                  backdoor.

       

      • Japanese Tech Company

      •                
      • Taiwanese Government Organizations

      •                
      • Organizations in the Asia-Pacific Region that are of
                        Interest to China

       

    • The
                  WATERSPOUT backdoor was written to the same file path as the
                  HIGHTIDE backdoors:

       

      • C:\DOCUMENTS and
                        SETTINGS\{user}\LOCAL SETTINGS\Temp\word.exe

      •                
      • C:\DOCUMENTS and SETTINGS\{user}\LOCAL
                      SETTINGS\Temp\winword.exe

       


    •            
    • WATERSPOUT was compiled within two days of the last
                  HIGHTIDE backdoor and on the same day as the THREEBYTE
                backdoor.
    • APT12
                  closely monitors online media related to its tools and
                  operations and reacts when its tools are publicly
                disclosed.
    • APT12 has the ability to adapt quickly to
                  public exposures with new tools, tactics, and procedures
                (TTPs).
    • Public disclosures may result in an immediate
                  change in APT12’s tools. These changes may be temporary and
                  FireEye believes they are aimed at decreasing detection of
                  their tools until a more permanent and effective TTP change
                  can be implemented (e.g., WATERSPOUT).
  •         style="text-align: left;">Although these points do not
            definitively tie WATERSPOUT to APT12, they do indicate a
            possible connection between the WATERSPOUT campaign, the
            THREEBYTE campaign, and the HIGHTIDE campaign attributed to
          APT12.


            Conclusion

    FireEye believes the change from
            RIPTIDE to HIGHTIDE represents a temporary tool shift to
            decrease malware detection while APT12 developed a completely
            new malware toolset. These development efforts may have resulted
            in the emergence of the WATERSPOUT backdoor.


                        width="434" height="174"
                src="https://www.fireeye.com/content/dam/legacy/blog/2014/09/12-timeline.jpg"
                alt="12-timeline"
          class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-6363 landscape-sm" />


           


            Figure 7: Compile dates for all three malware
          families 

    APT12’s adaptations to public disclosures
            lead FireEye to make several conclusions about this threat
          group:

    Though public disclosures resulted in APT12
            adaptations, FireEye observed only a brief pause in APT12
            activity before the threat actors returned to normal activity
            levels. Similarly, the public disclosure of APT12’s intrusion at
            the New York Times also led to only a brief pause in the threat
            group’s activity and immediate changes in TTPs. The pause and
            retooling by APT12 was covered in the           href="https://dl.mandiant.com/EE/library/WP_M-Trends2014_140409.pdf">Mandiant
              2014 M-Trends report. Currently, APT12 continues to target
            organizations and conduct cyber operations using its new tools.
            Most recently, FireEye observed HIGHTIDE at multiple
            Taiwan-based organizations and the suspected APT12 WATERSPOUT
            backdoor at a Japan-based electronics company. We expect that
            APT12 will continue their trend and evolve and change its
            tactics to stay ahead of network defenders.

    Note: IOCs
            for this campaign can be found           href="https://github.com/fireeye/iocs/blob/master/APT12/2384c8ce-6eca-4d06-8aa4-151b53d9a6bc.ioc"
          target="_blank">here.


Source: Darwin’s Favorite APT Group

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[FireEye]Darwin’s Favorite APT Group
« le: février 09, 2018, 23:00:37 »

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