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Category Archives: CTU Research

Exploiting Threat Intelligence

Prioritizing resources and effort to improve the overall security posture and incident readiness of any organization is an arduous but necessary task. No organization has unlimited funds and resources; in fact, the truth is quite the opposite. Fully exploiting threat intelligence can help IT professionals make decisions about best utilizing available resources. With respect to […]

ZeroAccess botnet resumes click-fraud activity after six-month break

ZeroAccess (also known as Sirefef) is a peer-to-peer (P2P) botnet for perpetrating advertising click-fraud. It was disrupted by law enforcement in December 2013. The Dell SecureWorks Counter Threat Unit™ (CTU) research team observed the botnet reactivate from March 21, 2014 until July 2, 2014. On January 15, 2015 at 7:58 pm EST, the botnet again […]

Sleeper Agents

During an incident response engagement, Dell SecureWorks Counter Threat Unit™ (CTU) analysts observed lateral movement activities conducted by the adversary to establish a solid foothold within the compromised infrastructure. A remote access trojan (RAT) was copied to and installed on multiple systems as a Windows service, and was then executed via a scheduled task. Each […]

Keeping Cyber Criminals from Breaking into Your Network via Your Vendors

The media has reported that several companies in the past year have suffered significant security breaches, as a result of hackers compromising companies’ third party vendors. Instead of going after large organizations directly, some threat actors are opting to target smaller, third party vendors who do business with the larger companies. The criminals are hoping these third party vendors will have fewer security protections in place. If the hackers are able to break into one of these vendors, get their hands on the credentials the vendor uses to access the larger company’s network and successfully use those credentials, then the criminals have just gained their initial foothold into the target company— all under the guise of a trusted partner. From there, the hackers might go after valuable trade secrets and Intellectual Property, customer credit and debit card data, or Personal Identifiable Information for Employees and Customers (names, addresses, social security numbers, email addresses and phone numbers).

Shellshock Bash attacks on the rise

On September 24, 2014, the Bash command injection vulnerability described by CVE-2014-6271 was publicly disclosed. The Dell SecureWorks Counter Threat Unit™ (CTU) research team released a set of countermeasures to its iSensor devices (Dell SecureWorks’ proprietary Intrusion Protection/Detection systems) to address this vulnerability, as well as related vulnerabilities that were identified in the following days. As of Monday, September 29, 2014, Dell SecureWorks iSensor devices repelled more than 140,000 scanning and exploit attempts.

Where you AT?: Indicators of lateral movement using at.exe on Windows 7 systems

Dell SecureWorks Counter Threat Unit™ (CTU) analysts were recently engaged with a client thought to have been compromised by a threat group CTU researchers have named Threat Group-0416 (TG-0416) . Various artifacts from the initial phases of the incident provided strong indications of the existence of this particular threat group within the client’s infrastructure. TG-0416 is a stealthy and extremely successful Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) group known to target a broad range of verticals since at least 2009, including technology, industrial, manufacturing, human rights groups, government, pharmaceutical, and medical technology.

Threat Group-0110 targets manufacturing and financial organizations via phishing

Since the evening of July 21, 2014, Dell SecureWorks Counter Threat Unit™ (CTU) researchers have observed a threat group the CTU research team refers to as Threat Group-0110 (TG-0110)[i] phishing many organizations in the manufacturing and financial verticals. TG-0110 is known for using the Pirpi backdoor to access endpoints. Pirpi can search for and exfiltrate files, run other executable files, and execute commands. It also has reverse shell capabilities.

Gameover Zeus re-emerges without peer-to-peer capability

Dell SecureWorks CTU(TM) researchers have observed the distribution of a modified version of the Gameover Zeus malware. The global Gameover Zeus infrastructure was disrupted in late May 2014 by law enforcement and private industry partners during Operation Tovar. The infrastructure, including its peer-to-peer (P2P) network, remains under the control of those organizations and is not available to the threat actors who originally operated it. The new version observed in distribution on July 10, 2014 has jettisoned the P2P component in favor of a centralized command and control (C2) infrastructure that is based on a domain generation algorithm (DGA).

Hacker Hijacks Synology NAS Boxes for Dogecoin Mining Operation, Reaping Half Million Dollars in Two Months

As early as February 8th of this year, computer users began to notice their Synology Network Attached Storage (NAS) boxes were performing sluggishly and had a very high CPU usage. As a result, investigations ensued and eventually a Facebook post, directed at Synology, was made. Ultimately, it was discovered that the cause of the excessive resource consumption was due to illegitimate software that had infected the systems, which ironically, was stored in a folder labeled “PWNED.”

Operation Tovar: Dell SecureWorks Contributes to Efforts Targeting Gameover Zeus and CryptoLocker

Dell SecureWorks partnered with international law enforcement and industry to take proactive action against the infrastructure of the Gameover Zeus botnet and the CryptoLocker ransomware, as well as the operators responsible for these threats. This action has been named Operation Tovar. Law enforcement organizations including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the UK’s National Crime Agency, and Europol’s European Cybercrime Center (EC3) seized infrastructure assets relating to these threats, while technical measures were enacted to neutralize the command and control (C2) infrastructure.

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