Welcome!

Adobe Flex Authors: Matthew Lobas, PR.com Newswire, Shelly Palmer, Kevin Benedict

News Feed Item

Kaspersky Lab Identifies 'MiniDuke', a New Malicious Program Designed for Spying on Multiple Government Entities and Institutions Across The World

ABINGDON, England, February 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

New threat actors combine sophisticated "Old School" malware writing skills with newly advanced exploits in Adobe Reader to collect geopolitical intelligence from high profile targets

Today Kaspersky Lab's team of experts published a new research report that analysed a series of security incidents involving the use of the recently discovered PDF exploit in Adobe Reader (CVE-2013-6040) and a new, highly customised malicious program known as MiniDuke. The MiniDuke backdoor was used to attack multiple government entities and institutions worldwide during the past week. Kaspersky Lab's experts, in partnership with CrySys Lab, analysed the attacks in detail and published their findings.

According to Kaspersky Lab's analysis, a number of high profile targets have already been compromised by the MiniDuke attacks, including government entities in Ukraine, Belgium, Portugal, Romania, the Czech Republic and Ireland. In addition, a research institute, two think tanks, and healthcare provider in the United States were also compromised, as was a prominent research foundation in Hungary.

"This is a very unusual cyberattack," said Eugene Kaspersky, Founder and CEO of Kaspersky Lab. "I remember this style of malicious programming from the end of the 1990s and the beginning of the 2000s. I wonder if these types of malware writers, who have been in hibernation for more than a decade, have suddenly awoken and joined the sophisticated group of threat actors active in the cyberworld. These elite, "old school" malware writers were extremely effective in the past at creating highly complex viruses, and are now combining these skills with the newly advanced sandbox-evading exploits to target government entities or research institutions in several countries."

"MiniDuke's highly customised backdoor was written in Assembler and is very small in size, being only 20kb," added Kaspersky. The combination of experienced old school malware writers using newly discovered exploits and clever social engineering to compromise high profile targets is extremely dangerous."

Kaspersky Lab's Primary Research Findings:

  • The MiniDuke attackers are still active at this time and have created malware as recently as February 20, 2013. To compromise victims, the attackers used extremely effective social engineering techniques, which involved sending malicious PDF documents to their targets. The PDFs were highly relevant - with well-crafted content that fabricated human rights seminar information (ASEM) and Ukraine's foreign policy and NATO membership plans. These malicious PDF files were rigged with exploits attacking Adobe Reader versions 9, 10, and 11, bypassing its sandbox. A toolkit was used to create these exploits and it appears to be the same toolkit that was used in the recent attack reported by FireEye. However, the exploits used in the MiniDuke attacks were for different purposes and had their own customised malware.

  • Once the system is exploited, a very small downloader is dropped onto the victim's disc that's only 20kb in size. This downloader is unique per system and contains a customised backdoor written in Assembler. When loaded at system boot, the downloader uses a set of mathematical calculations to determine the computer's unique fingerprint, and in turn uses this data to uniquely encrypt its communications later. It is also programmed to avoid analysis by a hardcoded set of tools in certain environments like VMware. If it finds any of these indicators it will run idle in the environment instead of moving to another stage and exposing more of its functionality by decrypting itself further; this indicates the malware writers know exactly what antivirus and IT security professionals are doing in order to analyse and identify malware.

  • If the target's system meets the pre-defined requirements, the malware will use Twitter (unbeknownst to the user) and start looking for specific tweets from pre-made accounts. These accounts were created by MiniDuke's Command and Control (C2) operators, and the tweets maintain specific tags labeling encrypted URLs for the backdoors. These URLs provide access to the C2s, which then provide potential commands and encrypted transfers of additional backdoors onto the system via GIF files.

  • Based on the analysis, it appears that MiniDuke's creators provide a dynamic backup system that also can fly under the radar. If Twitter isn't working or the accounts are down the malware can use Google Search to find the encrypted strings to the next C2. This model is flexible and enables the operators to constantly change how their backdoors retrieve further commands or malcode as needed.  

  • Once the infected system locates the C2, it receives encrypted backdoors that are obfuscated within GIF files and disguised as pictures that appear on a victim's machine. Once they are downloaded to the machine they can download a larger backdoor that carries out several basic actions, such as copy file, move file, remove file, make directory, kill process, and, of course, download and execute new malware.

  • The malware backdoor connects to two servers, one in Panama and one in Turkey, to receive instructions from the attackers.

Kaspersky Lab's system detects and neutralizes the MiniDuke malware, classified as HEUR:Backdoor.Win32.MiniDuke.gen and Backdoor.Win32.Miniduke. Kaspersky Lab also detects the exploits used in the PDF documents, classified as Exploit.JS.Pdfka.giy.

About Kaspersky Lab

Kaspersky Lab is the world's largest privately held vendor of endpoint protection solutions. The company is ranked among the world's top four vendors of security solutions for endpoint users*. Throughout its 15-year history Kaspersky Lab has remained an innovator in IT security and provides effective digital security solutions for consumers, SMBs and enterprises. The company currently operates in almost 200 countries and territories across the globe, providing protection for over 300 million users worldwide. Learn more at http://www.kaspersky.co.uk.

* The company was rated fourth in the IDC rating Worldwide Endpoint Security Revenue by Vendor, 2011. The rating was published in the IDC report "Worldwide Endpoint Security 2012-2016 Forecast and 2011 Vendor Shares (IDC #235930, July 2012). The report ranked software vendors according to earnings from sales of endpoint security solutions in 2011.

© 2013 Kaspersky Lab. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. The only warranties for Kaspersky Lab products and services are set forth in the express warranty statements accompanying such products and services. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an additional warranty. Kaspersky Lab shall not be liable for technical or editorial errors or omissions contained herein.


Follow us on Twitter

http://www.twitter.com/kasperskyuk

Like us on Facebook

http://www.facebook.com/Kaspersky

Editorial contact:

Berkeley PR    
Louise Mapp    
[email protected]    
Telephone: +44(0)118-909-0909    
   
1650 Arlington Business Park    
RG7 4SA, Reading    

Kaspersky Lab UK
Ruth Knowles
[email protected]
Telephone: +44(0)871-789-1633

Milton Business Park
OX14 4RY, Oxford

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound e...
In today's enterprise, digital transformation represents organizational change even more so than technology change, as customer preferences and behavior drive end-to-end transformation across lines of business as well as IT. To capitalize on the ubiquitous disruption driving this transformation, companies must be able to innovate at an increasingly rapid pace.
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Ca...
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists examined how DevOps helps to meet the de...
According to Forrester Research, every business will become either a digital predator or digital prey by 2020. To avoid demise, organizations must rapidly create new sources of value in their end-to-end customer experiences. True digital predators also must break down information and process silos and extend digital transformation initiatives to empower employees with the digital resources needed to win, serve, and retain customers.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, will provide an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life ...
While the focus and objectives of IoT initiatives are many and diverse, they all share a few common attributes, and one of those is the network. Commonly, that network includes the Internet, over which there isn't any real control for performance and availability. Or is there? The current state of the art for Big Data analytics, as applied to network telemetry, offers new opportunities for improving and assuring operational integrity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Frey, Vice President of S...
Rodrigo Coutinho is part of OutSystems' founders' team and currently the Head of Product Design. He provides a cross-functional role where he supports Product Management in defining the positioning and direction of the Agile Platform, while at the same time promoting model-based development and new techniques to deliver applications in the cloud.
@CloudEXPO and @ExpoDX, two of the most influential technology events in the world, have hosted hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors since our launch 10 years ago. @CloudEXPO and @ExpoDX New York and Silicon Valley provide a full year of face-to-face marketing opportunities for your company. Each sponsorship and exhibit package comes with pre and post-show marketing programs. By sponsoring and exhibiting in New York and Silicon Valley, you reach a full complement of decision makers and buyers in ...
There are many examples of disruption in consumer space – Uber disrupting the cab industry, Airbnb disrupting the hospitality industry and so on; but have you wondered who is disrupting support and operations? AISERA helps make businesses and customers successful by offering consumer-like user experience for support and operations. We have built the world’s first AI-driven IT / HR / Cloud / Customer Support and Operations solution.