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 Senior 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 Magazine, ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Flash Poll
Current Issue
Cartoon
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-7392
Published: 2014-07-22
Gitlist allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary commands via shell metacharacters in a file name to Source/.

CVE-2014-2385
Published: 2014-07-22
Multiple cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in the web UI in Sophos Anti-Virus for Linux before 9.6.1 allow local users to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the (1) newListList:ExcludeFileOnExpression, (2) newListList:ExcludeFilesystems, or (3) newListList:ExcludeMountPaths parameter t...

CVE-2014-4326
Published: 2014-07-22
Elasticsearch Logstash 1.0.14 through 1.4.x before 1.4.2 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary commands via a crafted event in (1) zabbix.rb or (2) nagios_nsca.rb in outputs/.

CVE-2014-4511
Published: 2014-07-22
Gitlist before 0.5.0 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary commands via shell metacharacters in the file name in the URI of a request for a (1) blame, (2) file, or (3) stats page, as demonstrated by requests to blame/master/, master/, and stats/master/.

CVE-2014-4911
Published: 2014-07-22
The ssl_decrypt_buf function in library/ssl_tls.c in PolarSSL before 1.2.11 and 1.3.x before 1.3.8 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (crash) via vectors related to the GCM ciphersuites, as demonstrated using the Codenomicon Defensics toolkit.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Where do information security startups come from? More important, how can I tell a good one from a flash in the pan? Learn how to separate ITSec wheat from chaff in this episode.