Attacks/Breaches
12/11/2012
11:05 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

New Cyberespionage Attack Targets Russia

'Sanny' attacks feature Korea as possible home to command-and-control

China is often considered synonymous with cyberespionage, but what about Korea? A new targeted attack campaign with apparent Korean ties has been stealing email and Facebook credentials and other user-profile information from Russian telecommunications, IT, and space research organizations.

FireEye says the so-called "Sanny" attacks appear to indicate that Korea may be home to the command-and-control (C&C) and other communications for the malware. Researchers didn't specify whether it's either North or South Korea, but say that around 80 percent of the victims in the attacks are Russian organizations.

Ali Islam, security researcher for FireEye, says it's possible that Korea is being used as a proxy for the attack. But there are a few clues of a Korean connection: The SMTP email server and C&C servers are based in Korea; the "Batang" and KP CheongPong" fonts used in the lure documents are Korean; a Korean message board is used for the C&C; and the Yahoo email account used in the attacks, "jbaksanny," is connected to an empty Korean Wikipedia page created by a user named Jbaksan.

"We believe both countries [North and South Korea] have cyberattack capabilities. The attacker has done a great job of hiding his/herself by choosing a public forum as normally with APTs -- in contrast to normal malware [where] you don't need a long-lasting C&C," Islam says.

Specifically, the attackers are grabbing email user accounts and passwords from Outlook, as well as information about the victims' email server (POP3/IMAP). "Once you have that information, you have access to employees' emails even from outside, and that means a lot of official information," Islam says. "It also steals other accounts credentials, [such as] all user passwords stored by Firefox for auto login."

Victims are infected after opening infected documents purportedly about a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. FireEye has spotted nearly 90 infected machines or IP addresses thus far.

"The malware exploits a Microsoft Word vulnerability, steals sensitive data, employs different kinds of obfuscation and encryption at different levels, and sends the data back to a public message board using HTTP POST, and SMTP as fallback," Islam says.

But what's most unique about this particular cyberespionage campaign is that it uses a public forum to collect the pilfered information, he says.

FireEye has posted a blog with screenshots on Sanny here.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Add Your Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is Executive Editor at DarkReading.com. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading Tech Digest, Dec. 19, 2014
Software-defined networking can be a net plus for security. The key: Work with the network team to implement gradually, test as you go, and take the opportunity to overhaul your security strategy.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-8142
Published: 2014-12-20
Use-after-free vulnerability in the process_nested_data function in ext/standard/var_unserializer.re in PHP before 5.4.36, 5.5.x before 5.5.20, and 5.6.x before 5.6.4 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via a crafted unserialize call that leverages improper handling of duplicate keys w...

CVE-2013-4440
Published: 2014-12-19
Password Generator (aka Pwgen) before 2.07 generates weak non-tty passwords, which makes it easier for context-dependent attackers to guess the password via a brute-force attack.

CVE-2013-4442
Published: 2014-12-19
Password Generator (aka Pwgen) before 2.07 uses weak pseudo generated numbers when /dev/urandom is unavailable, which makes it easier for context-dependent attackers to guess the numbers.

CVE-2013-7401
Published: 2014-12-19
The parse_request function in request.c in c-icap 0.2.x allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (crash) via a URI without a " " or "?" character in an ICAP request, as demonstrated by use of the OPTIONS method.

CVE-2014-2026
Published: 2014-12-19
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the search functionality in United Planet Intrexx Professional before 5.2 Online Update 0905 and 6.x before 6.0 Online Update 10 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the request parameter.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Join us Wednesday, Dec. 17 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time to hear what employers are really looking for in a chief information security officer -- it may not be what you think.