04:52 PM

Who Is Hacking U.S. Banks? 8 Facts

Hackers have labeled the bank website disruptions as grassroots-level reprisal for an anti-Islamic film. But is the Iranian government really backing the attacks?
7 of 8

Each of the recent DDoS attacks against U.S. financial institutions have this in common: The Izz ad-din Al qassam cyber fighters have claimed credit, and the same PHP-based toolkit, "itsoknoproblembro," has been used to launch at least some of the DDoS attacks involved.

First, the attackers must install the toolkit on targeted servers. "The malicious actors make use of Web application vulnerabilities on thousands of different Web servers in order to drop various flavors of the itsoknoproblembro PHP scripts into available directories," according to the Prolexic report. "Once the files are written to the server, attackers are able to access them to perform unauthorized system functions, check on the bot's status, or launch DDoS attacks."

DDoS attacks today focus both on infrastructure (layers 3 and 4) as well as applications (layer 7), according to Prolexic.

Unlike botnets, Prolexic said that itsoknoproblembro infections aren't managed using a command-and-control (C&C) server, in which infected endpoints retrieve commands from a botmaster. Instead, the itsoknoproblembro infections are controlled by pushing commands to them.

The versatile toolkit can be used to infect a number of different systems. "Itsoknoproblembro scripts have been discovered on servers hosting a variety of platforms, including Awstats, WordPress, Joomla, Plesk, and many others. For example, one of the more popular recent infection vectors is the exploitation of vulnerability within the Joomla Bluestork theme," according to the report.

Unfortunately for U.S. banks, or anyone else targeted via itsoknoproblembro, the vulnerabilities exploited by the toolkit remain hard to fix. "Cleanup efforts for itsoknoproblembro have been extremely difficult and taxing on security experts," according to Prolexic. "Coupled with outdated Web applications and inexperienced administrators, it will be extremely difficult to effectively remediate this infection." While further efforts are underway to find new ways to spot and block related attacks, so far there's been no quick-fix defensive measure discovered.


Iran Denies Hacking American Banks, Censors Google

PNC Bank Hit By Crowdsourced Hacktivist Attacks

Bank Site Attacks Trigger Ongoing Outages, Customer Anger

Bank Hacks: 7 Misunderstood Facts

Hackers Launch New Wave Of U.S. Bank Attacks

U.S. Bank Hacks Expand; Regions Financial Hit

Bank Hacks: Iran Blame Game Intensifies

DOD: Hackers Breached U.S. Critical Infrastructure Control Systems

7 of 8
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
Leo Regulus
Leo Regulus,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/24/2012 | 4:52:32 PM
re: Who Is Hacking U.S. Banks? 8 Facts
Very disappointed in Editor's choice of article format. This has been extensively discussed in the past.
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Dark Reading Tech Digest September 7, 2015
Some security flaws go beyond simple app vulnerabilities. Have you checked for these?
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
Published: 2015-10-09
Simple Streams (simplestreams) does not properly verify the GPG signatures of disk image files, which allows remote mirror servers to spoof disk images and have unspecified other impact via a 403 (aka Forbidden) response.

Published: 2015-10-09
The Telephony component in Apple OS X before 10.11, when the Continuity feature is enabled, allows local users to bypass intended telephone-call restrictions via unspecified vectors.

Published: 2015-10-09
IcedTea-Web before 1.5.3 and 1.6.x before 1.6.1 does not properly sanitize applet URLs, which allows remote attackers to inject applets into the .appletTrustSettings configuration file and bypass user approval to execute the applet via a crafted web page, possibly related to line breaks.

Published: 2015-10-09
IcedTea-Web before 1.5.3 and 1.6.x before 1.6.1 does not properly determine the origin of unsigned applets, which allows remote attackers to bypass the approval process or trick users into approving applet execution via a crafted web page.

Published: 2015-10-09
The Safari Extensions implementation in Apple Safari before 9 does not require user confirmation before replacing an installed extension, which has unspecified impact and attack vectors.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
What can the information security industry do to solve the IoT security problem? Learn more and join the conversation on the next episode of Dark Reading Radio.