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

7/12/2018
10:00 AM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Ukraine Security Service Stops VPNFilter Attack at Chlorine Station

The facility's process control system and emergency-detection system were infected, Interfax Ukraine reports.

Ukraine's SBU Security Service reportedly detected and shut down a cyberattack that used VPNFilter malware on network equipment in a chlorine station that supplies water treatment and sewage plants.

Interfax-Ukraine reported that the LLC Aulska station in Auly was hit with a VPNFilter infection intended to disrupt operations at the chlorine station.  

"Specialists of the cyber security service established minutes after [the incident] that the enterprise's process control system and system for detecting signs of emergencies had deliberately been infected by the VPNFilter computer virus originating from Russia. The continuation of the cyber attack could have led to a breakdown in technological processes and a possible accident," the SBU wrote on its Facebook page, according to the report.

VPNFilter is a stealthy and modular attack platform that includes three stages of malware. The first establishes a foothold in the device and can't be killed with a reboot; the second conducts cyber espionage, stealing files, data, as well as a self-destruction feature; and the third stage includes multiple modules including a packer sniffer for nabbing website credentials and Modbus SCADA protocols.

Ukraine was one of the first targets initially found with infected IoT devices in May, when VPNFilter was first discovered by researchers at Cisco Talos. The attackers behind VPNFilter - thought to be the Russian military hacker team Fancy Bear aka APT28 - also built a subnetwork aimed at Ukraine, complete with its own command and control server.

ICS/SCADA expert Robert Lee says the initial reports out of Ukraine don't provide sufficient details to confirm the attack could have caused a physical attack. "What we know right now about VPNFilter indicates that there was nothing in the malware to support the scenario of physical damage and operational impact that was described," says Lee, CEO and founder of Dragos.

He says there are other possible scenarios for a physical attack, such as the attackers "directly using that access," but the SBU's report doesn't specifically indicate that.

"In this case we need more details," he says. "Obviously the SBU is doing good work, but the rest of the community would benefit from more insight, as the scenario presented leaves many questions."

In its initial research on the malware in May, Cisco Talos found that VPNFilter includes "an exact copy" of Black Energy, the malware used in attacks that ultimately shut out the lights in western Ukraine in 2015.

Read more here

 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

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Data Privacy Protections for the Most Vulnerable -- Children
Dimitri Sirota, Founder & CEO of BigID,  10/17/2019
Sodinokibi Ransomware: Where Attackers' Money Goes
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  10/15/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
7 Threats & Disruptive Forces Changing the Face of Cybersecurity
This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at the biggest emerging threats and disruptive forces that are changing the face of cybersecurity today.
Flash Poll
2019 Online Malware and Threats
2019 Online Malware and Threats
As cyberattacks become more frequent and more sophisticated, enterprise security teams are under unprecedented pressure to respond. Is your organization ready?
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-18214
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-19
The Video_Converter app 0.1.0 for Nextcloud allows denial of service (CPU and memory consumption) via multiple concurrent conversions because many FFmpeg processes may be running at once. (The workload is not queued for serial execution.)
CVE-2019-18202
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-19
Information Disclosure is possible on WAGO Series PFC100 and PFC200 devices before FW12 due to improper access control. A remote attacker can check for the existence of paths and file names via crafted HTTP requests.
CVE-2019-18209
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-19
templates/pad.html in Etherpad-Lite 1.7.5 has XSS when the browser does not encode the path of the URL, as demonstrated by Internet Explorer.
CVE-2019-18198
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-18
In the Linux kernel before 5.3.4, a reference count usage error in the fib6_rule_suppress() function in the fib6 suppression feature of net/ipv6/fib6_rules.c, when handling the FIB_LOOKUP_NOREF flag, can be exploited by a local attacker to corrupt memory, aka CID-ca7a03c41753.
CVE-2019-18197
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-18
In xsltCopyText in transform.c in libxslt 1.1.33, a pointer variable isn't reset under certain circumstances. If the relevant memory area happened to be freed and reused in a certain way, a bounds check could fail and memory outside a buffer could be written to, or uninitialized data could be disclo...