Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

ABTV //

Malware

12/15/2017
01:00 PM
Scott Ferguson
Scott Ferguson
News Analysis-Security Now
50%
50%

FireEye Researchers Identify Triton Malware in Industrial Systems

Researchers with FireEye have found traces of a malware called Triton that has targeted industrial systems and other critical infrastructure in much the same way as Stuxnet was.

Researchers at FireEye have identified a new piece of malware that they are calling Triton, which seems to have been designed to target industrial systems, as well as other critical infrastructure, and may have its origins with a nation state.

On December 14, FireEye Inc. researchers published a detailed account of Triton in a blog post. The malware in this case targeted the Triconex Safety Instrumented System (SIS) controllers, which provide for emergency shutdown capabilities in large industrial complexes.

By targeting the SIS controllers, the malware can cause physical damage to the facility.

"During the incident, some SIS controllers entered a failed safe state, which automatically shut down the industrial process and prompted the asset owner to initiate an investigation," according to Thursday's report from FireEye. "The investigation found that the SIS controllers initiated a safe shutdown when an application code between redundant processing units failed a validation check -- resulting in an MP diagnostic failure message."

This type of industrial sabotage is typically associated with a nation state that may be preparing for attack. In a way, Triconex follows a similar pattern used by Stuxnet against Iran in 2010 and Industroyer, which was deployed against Ukraine last year.

"FireEye has not connected this activity to any actor we currently track; however, we assess with moderate confidence that the actor is sponsored by a nation state," according to the post. "The targeting of critical infrastructure, as well as the attacker’s persistence, lack of any clear monetary goal and the technical resources necessary to create the attack framework suggest a well-resourced nation state actor."

In this case, the researchers find that this type of malware is not used to steal data, but to interrupt the operational process. In addition, it's believed that whoever created Triconex has knowledge about specific engineering and the industrial process in order to manipulate the operations once inside.

While not much is known about the Triton, a Symantec report found that the malware has been active since at least August and it has targeted at least one facility in the Middle East since that time.

Triton attacks SIS workstation systems running Microsoft Windows and the name is used to confuse the system with a legitimate app called Triconex Trilog, which is used to review logs and is part of an application suite called TriStation, according to FireEye.

Once inside, the malware injects code into the system that then modifies the behavior of the SIS device, according to reports. This can then shut down a plant, or the SIS system won't respond to a legitimate accident at a plant.

The FireEye report noted that whoever created the Triton malware and focused it on the one plant, their efforts were consistent and they made several attempts to make sure the attack worked.

"The attacker made several attempts over a period of time to develop and deliver functioning control logic for the SIS controllers in this target environment," according to FireEye. "While these attempts appear to have failed due to one of the attack scripts' conditional checks, the attacker persisted with their efforts. This suggests the attacker was intent on causing a specific outcome beyond a process shutdown."

Related posts:

— Scott Ferguson, Editor, Enterprise Cloud News. Follow him on Twitter @sferguson_LR.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
News
US Formally Attributes SolarWinds Attack to Russian Intelligence Agency
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  4/15/2021
News
Dependency Problems Increase for Open Source Components
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  4/14/2021
News
FBI Operation Remotely Removes Web Shells From Exchange Servers
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  4/14/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-29458
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-19
Exiv2 is a command-line utility and C++ library for reading, writing, deleting, and modifying the metadata of image files. An out-of-bounds read was found in Exiv2 versions v0.27.3 and earlier. The out-of-bounds read is triggered when Exiv2 is used to write metadata into a crafted image file. An att...
CVE-2021-31254
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-19
Buffer overflow in the tenc_box_read function in MP4Box in GPAC 1.0.1 allows attackers to cause a denial of service or execute arbitrary code via a crafted file, related invalid IV sizes.
CVE-2021-31255
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-19
Buffer overflow in the abst_box_read function in MP4Box in GPAC 1.0.1 allows attackers to cause a denial of service or execute arbitrary code via a crafted file.
CVE-2021-31256
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-19
Memory leak in the stbl_GetSampleInfos function in MP4Box in GPAC 1.0.1 allows attackers to read memory via a crafted file.
CVE-2021-31257
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-19
The HintFile function in GPAC 1.0.1 allows attackers to cause a denial of service (NULL pointer dereference) via a crafted file in the MP4Box command.