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

7/10/2009
05:50 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Cyber Attack Code Starts Killing Infected PCs

Infected computers participating in the distributed denial of service attack on U.S. government and South Korean Web sites are set to destroy their own data.

The botnet-driven cyber attack on government, financial, and media sites in the U.S and South Korea includes a newly discovered danger: The malicious code responsible for driving the distributed denial of service attack, known as W32.Dozer, is designed to delete data on infected computers and to prevent the computers from being rebooted.

"Your machine is completely hosed at this stage," said Vincent Weafer, VP at Symantec Security Response.

The malicious code includes instructions to start deleting files when the infected computer's internal clock reaches July 10, 2009. That's today.

According to Weafer, the malicious code will attempt to locate files with any of more than 30 different extensions, such as .doc, .pdf, and .xls, copy the data to an encrypted file that's inaccessible to the user, and then overwrite the data in the original files. It targets files associated with office, business, and development applications.

The malicious code is also programmed to modify infected computers' Master Boot Records. The change renders computers inoperable following any attempt to reboot.

The impact of this self-destruct sequence should be minimal, however. Weafer said that he expects only a few thousand machines will be damaged. "I don't expect this to be a major issue, except perhaps in South Korea," he said.

The cyber attack against sites in the U.S. and South Korea began on July 4 and temporarily interfered with access to the Web sites of the Treasury Department, the Transportation Department and the Federal Trade Commission.

The South Korean Intelligence Service estimated that about 20,000 compromised computers -- mostly in South Korea -- had been ordered to conduct a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack on U.S. and South Korean sites.

Given the timing, which coincided with a North Korean missile test, suspicions have been raised about the involvement of hackers in North Korea or possibly China.

In a press briefing yesterday, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said, "[The attacks] are continuing, and we are taking measures to deal with this and any potential new attacks." He said he had no information about whether North Korea was involved.

It is possible to direct an attack of this sort from anywhere. According to Alan Paller, research director at The SANS Institute, the compromised computers participating in this attack are located all over the world, including the U.S. The bots that participate also vary over time, so that the source of the attack is constantly changing.

"The attacks have become increasingly sophisticated since the end of last week -- it started as a flood that was easy for network service providers to filter and then went through at least two increases in sophistication so that the flood looks more and more like legitimate traffic," said Paller in an e-mail. "Network providers have to work much harder to filter out malicious traffic that resembles legitimate traffic."

But with W32.Dozer already deleting files and crippling its hosts, the attacks should soon subside.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
HackerOne Drops Mobile Voting App Vendor Voatz
Dark Reading Staff 3/30/2020
Limited-Time Free Offers to Secure the Enterprise Amid COVID-19
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  3/31/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
6 Emerging Cyber Threats That Enterprises Face in 2020
This Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at six emerging cyber threats that enterprises could face in 2020. Download your copy today!
Flash Poll
State of Cybersecurity Incident Response
State of Cybersecurity Incident Response
Data breaches and regulations have forced organizations to pay closer attention to the security incident response function. However, security leaders may be overestimating their ability to detect and respond to security incidents. Read this report to find out more.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-5347
PUBLISHED: 2020-04-04
Dell EMC Isilon OneFS versions 8.2.2 and earlier contain a denial of service vulnerability. SmartConnect had an error condition that may be triggered to loop, using CPU and potentially preventing other SmartConnect DNS responses.
CVE-2020-5348
PUBLISHED: 2020-04-04
Dell Latitude 7202 Rugged Tablet BIOS versions prior to A28 contain a UAF vulnerability in EFI_BOOT_SERVICES in system management mode. A local unauthenticated attacker may exploit this vulnerability by overwriting the EFI_BOOT_SERVICES structure to execute arbitrary code in system management mode.
CVE-2020-8142
PUBLISHED: 2020-04-03
A security restriction bypass vulnerability has been discovered in Revive Adserver version < 5.0.5 by HackerOne user hoangn144. Revive Adserver, like many other applications, requires the logged in user to type the current password in order to change the e-mail address or the password. It was how...
CVE-2020-8143
PUBLISHED: 2020-04-03
An Open Redirect vulnerability was discovered in Revive Adserver version < 5.0.5 and reported by HackerOne user hoangn144. A remote attacker could trick logged-in users to open a specifically crafted link and have them redirected to any destination.The CSRF protection of the “/...
CVE-2020-8147
PUBLISHED: 2020-04-03
Flaw in input validation in npm package utils-extend version 1.0.8 and earlier may allow prototype pollution attack that may result in remote code execution or denial of service of applications using utils-extend.