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.

IoT/Embedded Security //

Command and Control

1/17/2019
08:15 AM
Scott Ferguson
Scott Ferguson
News Analysis-Security Now
50%
50%

Fancy Bear's LoJax C&C Servers Still Functioning in the Wild

A new report from NetScout's ASERT Team found that two command-and-control servers associated with Fancy Bear's LoJax malware are still active.

Last year, security researchers found a new type of malware dubbed LoJax, which could take over the entire firmware of an infected system, making it one of the first known hardware attacks ever spotted in the wild.

It also appears that Fancy Bear, the Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) associated with Russia, which also goes by the name AT28 or Sofacy, is the author of this particular rootkit. (See APTs in 2018: A Mix of Old & New.)

Now, NetScout's ASERT Team has a fresh look at Fancy Bear and LoJax, finding that at least two of the command-and-control (C&C) servers were still functioning in the wild when researchers conducted a survey in the early part of this year, and these systems still have the ability to phone home.

In addition, the NetScout research, which the company released January 16, found that several LoJax C&C domains that have not been seen in any malware samples are active and could have been set aside for future use. The researcher found these additional servers by looking at passive DNS research of various IP addresses.

Finally, the research note finds that Fancy Bear appears to have started using the rootkit sometime in late 2016.

What makes LoJax particularly troubling is that the malware targets a computer's Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI), which essentially gives the attacker the "key" to the whole system and the rootkit can remain within a PC even after re-installing the Windows operating system or removing the hard disk drive.

While this type of attack had been talked about in more academic or theoretical discussions, finding it in the wild and being used to target systems, especially in Eastern Europe, served as a wakeup call for security researchers.

In most cases, once this type of malicious infrastructure has been identified by researchers, the threat actor behind the attack takes down the servers associated with it, including the C&C systems. Richard Hummel, ASERT Threat Research Manager, told Security Now that finding two C&C servers still functioning is unusual, especially when law enforcements knows about the attack.

"In general, actors often take down any infrastructure after public disclosure, however, for reasons we don't know, these servers remained live," Hummel wrote in an email. "If there were victim machines out there infected, it would mean that they could still communicate with the C2 [command-and-control] server and enable the actors in their operations."

Originally, the ASERT team found seven different IP addresses associated with LoJax last year. A fresh search this year found that two of the seven were still functioning.

While looking at these IP addresses, researchers also found that some of the IP addresses associated with LoJax date to 2004 and 2006, although these servers might not have been under Fancy Bear's control at that time. However, an uptick in activity with those IP addresses started in late 2016, when it appears this attack was being tested.

Now, three years later, the fact that the two C&C servers are still live and functioning, means threat actors could still initiate an attack.

"Two C2 servers we indicated were alive and responding to connection requests... if there were malware samples installed on victim machines, they would be able to successfully beacon to and receive possible commands from the rogue LoJax C2 servers," Hummel wrote.

Related posts:

— Scott Ferguson is the managing editor of Light Reading and the editor of Security Now. Follow him on Twitter @sferguson_LR.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 9/25/2020
Hacking Yourself: Marie Moe and Pacemaker Security
Gary McGraw Ph.D., Co-founder Berryville Institute of Machine Learning,  9/21/2020
Startup Aims to Map and Track All the IT and Security Things
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  9/22/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal
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
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world -- and enterprise computing -- on end. Here's a look at how cybersecurity teams are retrenching their defense strategies, rebuilding their teams, and selecting new technologies to stop the oncoming rise of online attacks.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-15208
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In tensorflow-lite before versions 1.15.4, 2.0.3, 2.1.2, 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, when determining the common dimension size of two tensors, TFLite uses a `DCHECK` which is no-op outside of debug compilation modes. Since the function always returns the dimension of the first tensor, malicious attackers can ...
CVE-2020-15209
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In tensorflow-lite before versions 1.15.4, 2.0.3, 2.1.2, 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, a crafted TFLite model can force a node to have as input a tensor backed by a `nullptr` buffer. This can be achieved by changing a buffer index in the flatbuffer serialization to convert a read-only tensor to a read-write one....
CVE-2020-15210
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In tensorflow-lite before versions 1.15.4, 2.0.3, 2.1.2, 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, if a TFLite saved model uses the same tensor as both input and output of an operator, then, depending on the operator, we can observe a segmentation fault or just memory corruption. We have patched the issue in d58c96946b and ...
CVE-2020-15211
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In TensorFlow Lite before versions 1.15.4, 2.0.3, 2.1.2, 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, saved models in the flatbuffer format use a double indexing scheme: a model has a set of subgraphs, each subgraph has a set of operators and each operator has a set of input/output tensors. The flatbuffer format uses indices f...
CVE-2020-15212
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In TensorFlow Lite before versions 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, models using segment sum can trigger writes outside of bounds of heap allocated buffers by inserting negative elements in the segment ids tensor. Users having access to `segment_ids_data` can alter `output_index` and then write to outside of `outpu...