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DeputyDog attack targets latest IE zero day

Bit9 attackers aim malware at Japanese 'entities'

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Security researchers have spotted two new targeted attack campaigns aimed at organisations in Japan, China and elsewhere in Asia, one of which exploits a zero day exploit in Internet Explorer revealed only last week.

Operation DeputyDog is targeted at “entities in Japan”, using the IE vulnerability CVE-2013-3893 which Microsoft released an emergency patch for last Tuesday, according to security firm FireEye.

The payload for the attack, first detected by FireEye at the end of August, was hosted on a server in Hong Kong disguised as a .jpg file. The malware was then observed connecting to a host in South Korea.

FireEye also claimed the group responsible for DeputyDog is the same one that compromised security firm Bit9 back in February 2013, thanks to a connection with the IP address 180.150.228.102.

It explained in more detail as follows:

According to Bit9, the attackers that penetrated their network dropped two variants of the HiKit rootkit. One of these Hitkit samples connected to a command and control server at downloadmp3server[.]servemp3[.]com that resolved to 66.153.86.14. This same IP address also hosted www[.]yahooeast[.]net, a known malicious domain, between March 6, 2012 and April 22, 2012.

The domain yahooeast[.]net was registered to 654@123.com. This email address was also used to register blankchair[.]com – the domain that we see was pointed to the 180.150.228.102 IP, which is the callback associated with sample 58dc05118ef8b11dcb5f5c596ab772fd, and has been already correlated back to the attack leveraging the CVE-2013-3893 zero-day vulnerability.

Researchers at Symantec last week claimed that the Bit9 attacks could have been carried out by a sophisticated Chinese hacking group, Hidden Lynx, which is also implicated in the infamous Operation Aurora raid on Google and over 30 other technology firms back in 2009.

Meanwhile, threat analysts over at Trend Micro highlighted a new malware family being used in targeted attacks against mainly government organisations in Asia.

EvilGrab is so-named because it has been designed to grab audio and video files, take screenshots and log keystrokes from infected machines before uploading them to a remote server.

The malware has been spotted targeting mainly Chinese (36 per cent) and Japanese (16 per cent) organisations, with 89 per cent of victims hailing from the government sector.

Interestingly, EvilGrab has also been specially crafted to steal info from popular Chinese instant messaging app Tencent QQ, according to Trend Micro.

The discovery is part of the security vendor’s first quarterly report on targeted attacks. ®

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