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.

Risk

Cisco Pinpoints 'Here You Have' Worm's Virulence

E-jihadist group claims responsibility for attack, which spread rapidly through poor enterprise webmail filters, open network shares.




Strategic Security Survey: Global Threat, Local Pain
(click for larger image and for full photo gallery)
Why was the "Here you have" -- aka "Just for you" -- mass-mailing worm able to move so quickly, and infect so many Windows PCs, and just what was its purpose?

To briefly recap: On Thursday, the now defunct malware moved at lightning speed through corporate e-mail systems and via network shares, e-mailing itself to everyone in a compromised PC's Outlook address book with a message that asked the receiver to open a malicious file disguised as a PDF. Numerous organizations were reportedly affected, including ABC, Comcast, Google, and NASA.

Without a doubt, the worm spread rapidly and in great volume. Cisco says that at the worm's peak -- at 6:30 p.m. UTC on September 9 -- it accounted for 14.2% of all global spam.

One culprit for the worm's rapid spread may have been Web-based e-mail accounts. "Even in some protected networks, which may have been filtering their own corporate e-mail traffic, employees checking personal inboxes like Gmail were going outside of the corporate e-mail filters and onto the web, where in too many instances there isn't sufficient web filtering," said Nilesh Bhandari, a product manager at Cisco.

Another likely culprit was the worm's ability to propagate via open network shares, which isn't typical, meaning that many network defenses didn't see it moving, and thus didn't quarantine it in spam traps.

Likewise, by e-mailing everyone in a person's address book, the malware escaped spam detectors, since the e-mails went from legitimate senders to legitimate recipients. "So e-mails appeared to be coming from someone known," said Bhandari. "This caused rapid and broad, unfiltered penetration."

Besides moving quickly and infecting many different computers, what was the worm for?

On Sunday, the hacker "iraq_resistance," founder of a cyber-jihad organization called "Brigades of Tariq ibn Ziyad," took credit for the attack in a YouTube video. "United States doesn't have the right to invade our people and steal the oil under the name of nuclear weapons," said a computerized voice in the video.

According to Joe Stewart, director of malware at SecureWorks, the hacker's claim appears to be legitimate. For starters, the "Here you have" attack resembled one seen in August 2010 that had [email protected] in the sender field. Various other clues in the second attack also point to its originating from the Brigades of Tariq ibn Ziyad.

Interestingly, iraq_resistance, who Stewart suspects is Libyan, has a history of seeking similarly minded recruits online, querying message boards for programming tips which later turn up in attacks, and bragging about exploits. For example, in a 2008 forum posting, said Stewart, the hacker "tries to get joiners to his Brigades of Tariq ibn Ziyad, whose goal is 'to penetrate U.S. agencies belonging to the U.S. Army.'"

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Navigating Security in the Cloud
Diya Jolly, Chief Product Officer, Okta,  12/4/2019
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-2019-19642
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-08
On SuperMicro X8STi-F motherboards with IPMI firmware 2.06 and BIOS 02.68, the Virtual Media feature allows OS Command Injection by authenticated attackers who can send HTTP requests to the IPMI IP address. This requires a POST to /rpc/setvmdrive.asp with shell metacharacters in ShareHost or ShareNa...
CVE-2019-19637
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-08
An issue was discovered in libsixel 1.8.2. There is an integer overflow in the function sixel_decode_raw_impl at fromsixel.c.
CVE-2019-19638
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-08
An issue was discovered in libsixel 1.8.2. There is a heap-based buffer overflow in the function load_pnm at frompnm.c, due to an integer overflow.
CVE-2019-19635
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-08
An issue was discovered in libsixel 1.8.2. There is a heap-based buffer overflow in the function sixel_decode_raw_impl at fromsixel.c.
CVE-2019-19636
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-08
An issue was discovered in libsixel 1.8.2. There is an integer overflow in the function sixel_encode_body at tosixel.c.