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

7/18/2019
03:50 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Open Source Hacking Tool Grows Up

Koadic toolkit gets upgrades - and a little love from nation-state hackers.

An open source white-hat hacking tool that nation-state hacking teams out of China, Iran, and Russia have at times employed to avoid detection has been updated with new features that allow attacks to persist and spread more efficiently.

Sean Dillon, creator of the so-called Koadic tool that works like a remote access Trojan (RAT), says the software he first released two years ago at DEF CON can now extract information and intelligence about a targeted Windows environment, more efficiently scrape user credentials, and more easily spread around a network. "It's much more efficient now. It can be used to compromise entire networks in a matter of minutes," says Dillon, who plans to show off Koadic's new features next month at the Black Hat USA Arsenal in Las Vegas.

Koadic is basically a RAT based on VBScript and JScript that uses Windows executables such a PowerShell rather than malware, so it mimics a growing trend of sophisticated attackers employing legitimate tools instead of writing or burning their own exploits. The trend, known as "living off the land," also allows attackers to remain under the radar as they run internal Windows tools like PowerShell to hack their way through networks.

Koadic uses built-in Windows executables and most recently added a Windows Management Interface and SysAdmin to its quiver. "These are binaries that are shipped by default with all versions of Windows," Dillon notes, and they are signed by Microsoft so they can slip past most whitelisting applications. The original version of Koadic targeted a single machine and had little ability to move laterally to other machines.

"We now have several different ways to poke into the system, and when a computer is back up from a restart" the attack will continue, he notes.

Among some of the newer features: UAC (user account control) bypasses, automated file-discovery, and credential storage that converts Mimikatz outputs into a searchable form.

Nation-state groups, such as China's Stone Panda, Iran's MuddyWater, and Russia's Fancy Bear, all have been spotted using Koadic in their hacking campaigns. "In the past year or two, APT groups have been using open source tools in order to hide out," Dillon says. "If they write custom malware, the attack could be attributed to them. ... If they use something open source, it's hard to see who is attacking an organization."

But Dillon's intent for the tool is to help professional penetration testers find holes before the bad guys do. Still, Koadic today continues to easily bypass most endpoint security tools: "Every time [the vendors] come up with a detection for it, we come up with another evasion," he says. Sometimes it's only a matter of changing a comma or a word in the string, and it breaks the anti-malware vendor's detection signature, he notes.

That underscores the need for better behavioral detection methods for defenses, he adds.

Related Content:

 

Black Hat USA returns to Las Vegas with hands-on technical Trainings, cutting-edge Briefings, Arsenal open-source tool demonstrations, top-tier security solutions, and service providers in the Business Hall. Click for information on the conference and to register.

 

 

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. 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
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
News
A Startup With NSA Roots Wants Silently Disarming Cyberattacks on the Wire to Become the Norm
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  5/11/2021
Edge-DRsplash-10-edge-articles
Cybersecurity: What Is Truly Essential?
Joshua Goldfarb, Director of Product Management at F5,  5/12/2021
Commentary
3 Cybersecurity Myths to Bust
Etay Maor, Sr. Director Security Strategy at Cato Networks,  5/11/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win an Amazon Gift Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: Google Maps is taking "interactive" to a whole new level!
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
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-15279
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-18
An Improper Access Control vulnerability in the logging component of Bitdefender Endpoint Security Tools for Windows versions prior to 6.6.23.320 allows a regular user to learn the scanning exclusion paths. This issue was discovered during external security research.
CVE-2021-3423
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-18
Uncontrolled Search Path Element vulnerability in the openssl component as used in Bitdefender GravityZone Business Security allows an attacker to load a third party DLL to elevate privileges. This issue affects Bitdefender GravityZone Business S...
CVE-2020-18194
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-17
Cross Site Scripting (XSS) in emlog v6.0.0 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code by adding a crafted script as a link to a new blog post.
CVE-2020-18195
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-17
Cross Site Request Forgery (CSRF) in Pluck CMS v4.7.9 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code and delete a specific article via the component " /admin.php?action=page."
CVE-2020-18198
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-17
Cross Site Request Forgery (CSRF) in Pluck CMS v4.7.9 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code and delete specific images via the component " /admin.php?action=images."