Feeds

Analysts: Shamoon oil biz malware flingers were 'amateurs'

Programming errors ahoy....

High performance access to file storage

Fresh analysis of the Shamoon malware has concluded that its authors are more likely to be "skilled amateurs" rather than elite cyber-spies.

Shamoon has been linked to recent high-profile malware outbreaks at Saudi Aramco and RasGas, Gulf-based oil and gas firms. Saudi Aramco lost its network for 10 days as a result of the attack, which affected 30,000 workstations. The outbreak was particularly nasty because Shamoon contains file-wiping functionality that can make infected machines inoperable as well as destroying data.

A previously unknown group called Cutting Sword of Justice claimed responsibility for the attack. Reports by Reuters suggest an internal mole may have played a hand in spreading the malware, but this remains unconfirmed.

Security researchers at Kaspersky Labs have taken apart the malware, revealing the details of how Shamoon worked in the process. Dmitry Tarakanov concludes that controversial features, such as planting the image of a burning US flag and compromised PCs and (more damningly) coding errors mean that its more likely to be the work of amateurs than elite coders, such as the developers of either ZeuS or Stuxnet, for example.

Programming errors in the Shamoon communication module mean that the malware is incapable of downloading and running other strains of malware.

"We’ve got other clues that people behind creating the Shamoon malware are not high-profile programmers and the nature of their mistakes suggests that they are amateurs albeit skillful amateurs as they did create a quite practicable piece of self-replicating destructive malware," Tarakanov concludes at the end of his technically detailed analysis. "The fact that they used a picture of a fragment of a burning US flag possibly shows that the motive of Shamoon’s authors is to create and use malware in a politically driven way. Moreover, they wished that their protest which was embedded into the malware would not go unnoticed." ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.