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.'"

 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 8/3/2020
Pen Testers Who Got Arrested Doing Their Jobs Tell All
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  8/5/2020
New 'Nanodegree' Program Provides Hands-On Cybersecurity Training
Nicole Ferraro, Contributing Writer,  8/3/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal, a Dark Reading Perspective
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
This special report takes a look at how enterprises are using threat intelligence, as well as emerging best practices for integrating threat intel into security operations and incident response. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-11937
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-06
In whoopsie, parse_report() from whoopsie.c allows a local attacker to cause a denial of service via a crafted file. The DoS is caused by resource exhaustion due to a memory leak. Fixed in 0.2.52.5ubuntu0.5, 0.2.62ubuntu0.5 and 0.2.69ubuntu0.1.
CVE-2020-15114
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-06
In etcd before versions 3.3.23 and 3.4.10, the etcd gateway is a simple TCP proxy to allow for basic service discovery and access. However, it is possible to include the gateway address as an endpoint. This results in a denial of service, since the endpoint can become stuck in a loop of requesting i...
CVE-2020-15136
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-06
In ectd before versions 3.4.10 and 3.3.23, gateway TLS authentication is only applied to endpoints detected in DNS SRV records. When starting a gateway, TLS authentication will only be attempted on endpoints identified in DNS SRV records for a given domain, which occurs in the discoverEndpoints func...
CVE-2020-15701
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-06
An unhandled exception in check_ignored() in apport/report.py can be exploited by a local attacker to cause a denial of service. If the mtime attribute is a string value in apport-ignore.xml, it will trigger an unhandled exception, resulting in a crash. Fixed in 2.20.1-0ubuntu2.24, 2.20.9-0ubuntu7.1...
CVE-2020-15702
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-06
TOCTOU Race Condition vulnerability in apport allows a local attacker to escalate privileges and execute arbitrary code. An attacker may exit the crashed process and exploit PID recycling to spawn a root process with the same PID as the crashed process, which can then be used to escalate privileges....