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.

Attacks/Breaches

New EternalBlue Family Member Takes Aim at Asian Web Servers

Beapy is a new malware variant that's storming across China, leaving cryptominers in its wake.

A new variant of the EternalBlue exploit is hitting hundreds of businesses in China. The cyptojacking campaign, dubbed "Beapy" for one of the principal files used in the attack, uses email for its initial infection vector and then spreads laterally through a network, leaving a cryptominer wherever it goes.

In a blog post by the Security Response Attack Investigation Team at Symantec, researchers note that Beapy is continuing a tactic previously seen in the Bluwimps worm: focusing cyptominer activity at enterprise networks.

The infection chain begins with a weaponized Excel file attached to a phishing email. Once opened by the recipient, the file downloads a DoublePulsar backdoor to the computer. DoublePulsar was one of the exploits leaked in the Shadow Brokers file dump, just like EternalBlue. And this isn't the first time criminals have turned to this state-developed exploit: It was also used in 2017's WannaCry ransomware campaign.

Alan Neville, threat intelligence analyst at Symantec, says that once the bogus spreadsheet is launched, "it would then download Beapy onto their machines, and then it would try to spread across the networks, either using EternalBlue or dumping network credentials." The credential dump is especially dangerous because "... essentially, once you have network credentials, you become a legitimate user," he says. "That makes it very easy for the likes of Beapy to spread across networks very, very quickly, then download and install this coin-mining software."

While the Beapy campaign is not currently focused on data exfiltration, Jonathan Bensen, CISO and senior director of product management at Balbix, says it's still a serious problem. "Cryptojacking should not be viewed as a victimless crime," he says. "Besides drastically slowing down computers and causing device degradation, Beapy, in particular, leverages open source credential stealing capabilities to aid in its spread throughout an enterprise's network."

And even though Beapy isn't currently exfiltrating data, once the data is captured there's nothing to prevent the current Beapy controllers from eventually adding stolen credentials to the cryptocurrency they're taking from the victim's network.

And there is evidence that Beapy will not be limited to cryptocurrency mining. According to the Symantec report, Beapy has targeted Web servers as one of its hosts, and early versions of the software contained Mimikatz modules for credential theft. These versions targeted Apache Tomcat and Oracle WebLogic servers beginning in early February, with activity continuing to the present time.

Neville says the Beapy attack is very profitable because "the file basically allows cybercriminals to be able to mine cryptocurrencies a lot faster than some of the traditional methods that we've seen in the past. It's just a coin hive, where it was embedded within browsers to be able to generate some revenue by mining cryptocurrencies within a browser just by visiting websites."

This, Neville says, lets the malware leverage the CPU itself and allows cybercriminals to mine coins much faster. The fast mining is aided by the lack of any "throttle" that the team has seen — Beapy and its miner will take every CPU cycle the system can make available, bringing legitimate enterprise software to a halt.

Protection from Beapy begins behind the keyboard, says Stuart Reed, vice president at Nominet. "The best defense against these attacks combines education — empowering and even rewarding employees for spotting problem emails, then alerting others — with technologies to monitor the network and identify malicious activity before the damage can be done."

In addition to training, there's another critical step that organizations should take, Neville says. "It's very important to have your systems patched. Any systems that aren't patched against EternalBlue are vulnerable to this attack," he says.

Organizations beyond China should keep this in mind, as well. "There's nothing specific that we came across as part of our analysis that would suggest that [Beapy is] targeting specific software or systems within China, and it could definitely be utilized to spread farther," Neville says.

Related Content:

 

 

 

Join Dark Reading LIVE for two cybersecurity summits at Interop 2019. Learn from the industry's most knowledgeable IT security experts. Check out the Interop agenda here.

Curtis Franklin Jr. is Senior Editor at Dark Reading. In this role he focuses on product and technology coverage for the publication. In addition he works on audio and video programming for Dark Reading and contributes to activities at Interop ITX, Black Hat, INsecurity, and ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
DevSecOps: The Answer to the Cloud Security Skills Gap
Lamont Orange, Chief Information Security Officer at Netskope,  11/15/2019
Attackers' Costs Increasing as Businesses Focus on Security
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  11/15/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Navigating the Deluge of Security Data
In this Tech Digest, Dark Reading shares the experiences of some top security practitioners as they navigate volumes of security data. We examine some examples of how enterprises can cull this data to find the clues they need.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-6852
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-20
A CWE-200: Information Exposure vulnerability exists in Modicon Controllers (M340 CPUs, M340 communication modules, Premium CPUs, Premium communication modules, Quantum CPUs, Quantum communication modules - see security notification for specific versions), which could cause the disclosure of FTP har...
CVE-2019-6853
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-20
A CWE-79: Failure to Preserve Web Page Structure vulnerability exists in Andover Continuum (models 9680, 5740 and 5720, bCX4040, bCX9640, 9900, 9940, 9924 and 9702) , which could enable a successful Cross-site Scripting (XSS attack) when using the products web server.
CVE-2013-2092
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-20
Cross-site Scripting (XSS) in Dolibarr ERP/CRM 3.3.1 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML in functions.lib.php.
CVE-2013-2093
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-20
Dolibarr ERP/CRM 3.3.1 does not properly validate user input in viewimage.php and barcode.lib.php which allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary commands.
CVE-2015-3166
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-20
The snprintf implementation in PostgreSQL before 9.0.20, 9.1.x before 9.1.16, 9.2.x before 9.2.11, 9.3.x before 9.3.7, and 9.4.x before 9.4.2 does not properly handle system-call errors, which allows attackers to obtain sensitive information or have other unspecified impact via unknown vectors, as d...