Attacks/Breaches
5/19/2014
09:30 AM
50%
50%

Researchers: Recent Zero-Day Attacks Linked Via Common Exploit Package

Elderwood Platform, a two-year-old package of exploits, has been used to create multiple zero-day threats, Symantec researchers said

The Elderwood platform, a two-year-old package of exploits that attackers can buy off the shelf, is at the heart of several recent zero-day attacks, researchers said.

In a blog posted Friday by researchers at Symantec, several recent zero-day attacks -- including the exploits against Internet Explorer, CVE-2014-0322 and CVE-2014-0324 -- were linked together. The researchers noted that the exploits have several common features, including common shellcode, which suggests that they may have all been created via the Elderwood Platform.

The Elderwood platform, a set of exploits that have been engineered and packaged in a "consumer-friendly" way, was first discovered in 2012, but appears to have been updated with some of the latest zero-day exploits, the researchers said. This allows even non-technical attackers to use the most current exploits easily against their targets, they said.

"Initially, our research suggested that the Elderwood platform was being used by a single attack group," the blog stated. "Our latest research leads us to believe that several groups could be using this platform. The evidence suggests that either one distributor is responsible for selling the platform, or one major organization developed the exploit set for its in-house attack teams. Either scenario could shed light on how some of the biggest attack groups in action today get such early access to zero-day exploits."

Symantec has developed two theories on who might have developed the Elderwood platform, and who might be distributing it. In the first scenario, "there is a single parent organization broken into a number of subgroups," the blog said. "Each subgroup is tasked with targeting a particular industry. They each use individually developed malware families and operate their own network infrastructure. The parent organization obtains the zero-day exploits and coordinates the distribution and utilization of these exploits amongst the subgroups."

The second theory involves less organization. In this scenario, "the attack groups are separate entities with their own agendas. These groups all have contact with a single zero-day exploit supplier which delivers the exploits to the groups at the same time. The supplier may give certain groups preferential treatment, offering zero-day exploits to some attack groups a few days before others."

The Elderwood platform offers a peek at the evolving development and distribution mechanism for malware, which could be backed by organized, well-funded organizations, Symantec said. "Based on our evidence, it seems likely that someone is supplying various Internet Explorer and Adobe Flash zero-day exploits to an intermediate organization or directly to the various groups," the blog said. "This alone is a sign of the level of resources available to these attackers."

 

Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Five Things Every Business Executive Should Know About Cybersecurity
Don't get lost in security's technical minutiae - a clearer picture of what's at stake can help align business imperatives with technology execution.
Flash Poll
Dark Reading Strategic Security Report: The Impact of Enterprise Data Breaches
Dark Reading Strategic Security Report: The Impact of Enterprise Data Breaches
Social engineering, ransomware, and other sophisticated exploits are leading to new IT security compromises every day. Dark Reading's 2016 Strategic Security Survey polled 300 IT and security professionals to get information on breach incidents, the fallout they caused, and how recent events are shaping preparations for inevitable attacks in the coming year. Download this report to get a look at data from the survey and to find out what a breach might mean for your organization.
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-7445
Published: 2015-10-15
The Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) subsystem in the Linux kernel through 4.x mishandles requests for Graphics Execution Manager (GEM) objects, which allows context-dependent attackers to cause a denial of service (memory consumption) via an application that processes graphics data, as demonstrated b...

CVE-2015-4948
Published: 2015-10-15
netstat in IBM AIX 5.3, 6.1, and 7.1 and VIOS 2.2.x, when a fibre channel adapter is used, allows local users to gain privileges via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2015-5660
Published: 2015-10-15
Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in eXtplorer before 2.1.8 allows remote attackers to hijack the authentication of arbitrary users for requests that execute PHP code.

CVE-2015-6003
Published: 2015-10-15
Directory traversal vulnerability in QNAP QTS before 4.1.4 build 0910 and 4.2.x before 4.2.0 RC2 build 0910, when AFP is enabled, allows remote attackers to read or write to arbitrary files by leveraging access to an OS X (1) user or (2) guest account.

CVE-2015-6333
Published: 2015-10-15
Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) 1.1j allows local users to gain privileges via vectors involving addition of an SSH key, aka Bug ID CSCuw46076.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Security researchers are finding that there's a growing market for the vulnerabilities they discover and persistent conundrum as to the right way to disclose them. Dark Reading editors will speak to experts -- Veracode CTO and co-founder Chris Wysopal and HackerOne co-founder and CTO Alex Rice -- about bug bounties and the expanding market for zero-day security vulnerabilities.