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
Google+
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
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 8/14/2020
Researcher Finds New Office Macro Attacks for MacOS
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  8/7/2020
Lock-Pickers Face an Uncertain Future Online
Seth Rosenblatt, Contributing Writer,  8/10/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
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-2020-4662
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-14
IBM Event Streams 10.0.0 could allow an authenticated user to perform tasks to a schema due to improper authentication validation. IBM X-Force ID: 186233.
CVE-2019-20383
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-13
ABBYY network license server in ABBYY FineReader 15 before Release 4 (aka 15.0.112.2130) allows escalation of privileges by local users via manipulations involving files and using symbolic links.
CVE-2020-24348
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-13
njs through 0.4.3, used in NGINX, has an out-of-bounds read in njs_json_stringify_iterator in njs_json.c.
CVE-2020-24349
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-13
njs through 0.4.3, used in NGINX, allows control-flow hijack in njs_value_property in njs_value.c. NOTE: the vendor considers the issue to be "fluff" in the NGINX use case because there is no remote attack surface.
CVE-2020-7360
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-13
An Uncontrolled Search Path Element (CWE-427) vulnerability in SmartControl version 4.3.15 and versions released before April 15, 2020 may allow an authenticated user to escalate privileges by placing a specially crafted DLL file in the search path. This issue was fixed in version 1.0.7, which was r...