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
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
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
2020: The Year in Security
Download this Tech Digest for a look at the biggest security stories that - so far - have shaped a very strange and stressful year.
Flash Poll
Assessing Cybersecurity Risk in Today's Enterprises
Assessing Cybersecurity Risk in Today's Enterprises
COVID-19 has created a new IT paradigm in the enterprise -- and a new level of cybersecurity risk. This report offers a look at how enterprises are assessing and managing cyber-risk under the new normal.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-12512
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-22
Pepperl+Fuchs Comtrol IO-Link Master in Version 1.5.48 and below is prone to an authenticated reflected POST Cross-Site Scripting
CVE-2020-12513
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-22
Pepperl+Fuchs Comtrol IO-Link Master in Version 1.5.48 and below is prone to an authenticated blind OS Command Injection.
CVE-2020-12514
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-22
Pepperl+Fuchs Comtrol IO-Link Master in Version 1.5.48 and below is prone to a NULL Pointer Dereference that leads to a DoS in discoveryd
CVE-2020-12525
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-22
M&M Software fdtCONTAINER Component in versions below 3.5.20304.x and between 3.6 and 3.6.20304.x is vulnerable to deserialization of untrusted data in its project storage.
CVE-2020-12511
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-22
Pepperl+Fuchs Comtrol IO-Link Master in Version 1.5.48 and below is prone to a Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) in the web interface.