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Car makers, space craft manufacturers infected with targeted recon tool

Watering hole attacks set the stage for nastier breaches

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Researcher James Blasco is warning the auto and aerospace industries against engineering software that's been compromised by keystroke-logging and reconnaissance malware.

Blasco says an un-named provider of such software was compromised after a staffer visited a watering hole website that was established specifically to lure employees at the firm.

Once the staffer visited the site, his or her computer was compromised through a drive-by download that foisted the ScanBox malware to capture keystrokes and detect and steal form entries. The data this attack captured was duly encrypted and shipped off to a command and control (C&C) server.

The malware also sought out information on the security tools in use by victims including the version of Microsoft's Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit. It also determined the version of Adobe Flash, Reader, Microsoft Office and Java.

"While the user is browsing the compromised web site, all keystrokes are being recorded and sent to the C&C periodically," AlienVault's Blasco wrote.

"It will also send keystrokes when the user submits web forms that can potentially include passwords and other sensitive data .... this is a very powerful framework that gives attackers a lot of insight into the potential targets that will help them launching future attacks against them."

Watering hole attacks were named by RSA in 2012 after it discovered the gh0st remote access trojan was being foisted on users from sites popular with employees in the financial and technology sectors around Washington DC.

"... the methodology relies on 'trojanising' legitimate websites specific to a geographic area which the attacker believes will be visited by end users who belong to the organisation they wish to penetrate," RSA researcher Will Gragido blogged at the time.

"This results in a wholesale compromise of multiple hosts inside a corporate network as the end-users go about their daily business, much like a lion will lie in wait to ambush prey at a watering hole."

Blasco recommended system administrators of targeted companies search for attacks against:

  • mail[.]webmailgoogle.com
  • js[.]webmailgoogle.com
  • 122[.]10.9.109

®

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