Attacks/Breaches
3/6/2014
06:03 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Oil & Gas Firms Targeted In Web Server Hacks

'STTEAM' group also attacking Middle East state government sites, General Dynamics Fidelis says

A group of hackers who goes by the handle "STTEAM" has hit about a half-dozen oil and gas and government agencies in the Middle East using a mix of hacktivist, nation-state, and pure cybercrime techniques.

Researchers at General Dynamics Fidelis discovered the attacks, where the attackers ultimately wrest control of the organizations' website servers and use Trojan backdoors to hack into other systems within the victim organization.

Jim Jaeger, chief cyber services strategist for General Dynamics Fidelis Cybersecurity Solutions, says the latest twist to the attacks is that there are more victims, including Middle Eastern government agencies. "It appears to target those organizations and to gain access to their Web servers, and then move laterally with backdoors," he says.

The attackers leave a calling card on the sites, with an Anonymous icon and the message "Hacked by STTEAM," as well as Arabic language text and a note threatening oil and gas ministries. Jaeger says it appears the hacktivist defacement is more of a false flag to hide the attackers' infiltration of the victims' network via the Web servers using two different Trojan backdoors.

It doesn't appear to be a nation-state group, he says, because he malware doesn't indicate that. "It's probably criminals trying to get information that they could sell," he says. "We don't see nation-state footprints."

One backdoor contains Turkish words and is able to grab system information, connect to SQL databases, list tables and execute commands, browse directories, and move and copy files and folders or delete them, although there has been no proof thus far of data destruction by the attacks.

A second backdoor is able to do the same as the first, but also can add users to the system, add a user to the administrator group, disable a Windows firewall, enable RDP, delete IIS logs, and run Netcat as a reverse backdoor shell.

Just where the attackers come from is difficult to discern because they use an anonymous tunnel, Jaeger says. Fidelis has contacted the victim organizations, one of which the company has been working with. "We're seeing this pick-up of activity in the Middle East," he says.

The full report on the STTEAM attacks is available here for download.

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
Partner Perspectives
What's This?
In a digital world inundated with advanced security threats, Intel Security seeks to transform how we live and work to keep our information secure. Through hardware and software development, Intel Security delivers robust solutions that integrate security into every layer of every digital device. In combining the security expertise of McAfee with the innovation, performance, and trust of Intel, this vision becomes a reality.

As we rely on technology to enhance our everyday and business life, we must too consider the security of the intellectual property and confidential data that is housed on these devices. As we increase the number of devices we use, we increase the number of gateways and opportunity for security threats. Intel Security takes the “security connected” approach to ensure that every device is secure, and that all security solutions are seamlessly integrated.
Featured Writers
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading's October Tech Digest
Fast data analysis can stymie attacks and strengthen enterprise security. Does your team have the data smarts?
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-3304
Published: 2014-10-30
Directory traversal vulnerability in Dell EqualLogic PS4000 with firmware 6.0 allows remote attackers to read arbitrary files via a .. (dot dot) in the default URI.

CVE-2013-7409
Published: 2014-10-30
Buffer overflow in ALLPlayer 5.6.2 through 5.8.1 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (crash) and possibly execute arbitrary code via a long string in a .m3u (playlist) file.

CVE-2014-3446
Published: 2014-10-30
SQL injection vulnerability in wcm/system/pages/admin/getnode.aspx in BSS Continuity CMS 4.2.22640.0 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary SQL commands via the nodeid parameter.

CVE-2014-3584
Published: 2014-10-30
The SamlHeaderInHandler in Apache CXF before 2.6.11, 2.7.x before 2.7.8, and 3.0.x before 3.0.1 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (infinite loop) via a crafted SAML token in the authorization header of a request to a JAX-RS service.

CVE-2014-3623
Published: 2014-10-30
Apache WSS4J before 1.6.17 and 2.x before 2.0.2, as used in Apache CXF 2.7.x before 2.7.13 and 3.0.x before 3.0.2, when using TransportBinding, does properly enforce the SAML SubjectConfirmation method security semantics, which allows remote attackers to conduct spoofing attacks via unspecified vect...

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Follow Dark Reading editors into the field as they talk with noted experts from the security world.