Emergency Incident ResponseReport a Confirmed or Potential Breach? Call +1 770-870-6343
0 Results Found
              Back To Results
                Threats & Defenses

                Iranian PupyRAT Bites Middle Eastern Organizations

                Customized phishing lures distribute PupyRAT malware By: Counter Threat Unit Research Team

                SecureWorks® Counter Threat Unit™ (CTU) researchers analyzed a phishing campaign that targeted a Middle Eastern organization in early January 2017. Some of messages were sent from legitimate email addresses belonging to several Middle Eastern organizations.

                Campaign details

                The threat actor used shortened URLs in the body of the phishing emails that redirected to several spoofed domains (See Table 1).

                Spoofed domain Legitimate domain Associated organization
                ntg-sa . com ntg . com . sa National Technology Group, a Saudi Arabian telecommunications company
                itworx . com-ho . me itworx . com ITWorx, an Egyptian information technology services firm
                mci . com-ho . me mci . gov . sa Saudi Ministry of Commerce
                moh . com-ho . me moh . gov . sa Saudi Ministry of Health
                mol . com-ho . me mol . gov . sa Saudi Ministry of Labor

                Table 1. Spoofed domains hosted on 45 . 32 . 186 . 33. (Source: SecureWorks)

                Recipients who clicked the URL were presented a Microsoft Office document related to the phishing theme (see Figures 1 and 2).

                Job offer lure
                Figure 1. Job offer lure (MD5: 43fad2d62bc23ffdc6d301571135222c). (Source: SecureWorks)

                Ministry of Health lure
                Figure 2. Ministry of Health lure (MD5: 1b5e33e5a244d2d67d7a09c4ccf16e56). (Source: SecureWorks)

                The downloaded document attempts to run a macro that then runs a PowerShell command. This command downloads two additional PowerShell scripts that install PupyRAT, an open-source remote access trojan (RAT). According to the developer, PupyRAT is a “multi-platform (Windows, Linux, OSX, Android), multi-function RAT and post-exploitation tool mainly written in Python.” CTU™ analysis confirms that PupyRAT can give the threat actor full access to the victim's system.

                Conclusion

                CTU analysis suggests this activity is related to Iranian threat actors closely aligned with or acting on behalf of the COBALT GYPSY threat group (formerly labeled Threat Group-2889). CTU researchers assess with high confidence that COBALT GYPSY is associated with Iranian government-directed cyber operations, and it has used tactics similar to this campaign:

                • targeting Saudi financial, oil, and technology organizations
                • using job-themed lures to infect systems
                • registering spoofed domains
                • spearphishing new victims using legitimate email addresses

                This campaign highlights the need for organizations to educate users about the risks of spearphishing and shortened links. CTU researchers recommend that organizations disable macros in Microsoft Office products to prevent attacks that leverage this functionality. Organizations should also incorporate advanced malware prevention technology and endpoint threat detection tools as part of their mitigation strategies.

                Threat indicators

                The indicators in Table 2 are associated with the PupyRAT campaign. The IP addresses and domains may contain malicious content, so consider the risks before opening them in a browser.

                Indicator Type Context
                ntg-sa . com Domain name Attacker-controlled spoofed website
                itworx . com-ho . me Domain name Attacker-controlled spoofed website
                mci . com-ho . me Domain name Attacker-controlled spoofed website
                moh . com-ho . me Domain name Attacker-controlled spoofed website
                mol . com-ho . me Domain name Attacker-controlled spoofed website
                45 . 32 . 186 . 33 IP address Hosting spoofed domains used in PupyRAT phishing campaign
                139 . 59 . 46 . 154 IP Address Hosting PowerShell stages of PupyRAT download
                89 . 107 . 62 . 39 IP Address PupyRAT command and control server
                43fad2d62bc23ffdc6d30157113
                5222c
                MD5 hash Job-themed Word document lure (qhtma) delivering PupyRAT
                735f5d7ef0c5129f0574bec3cf3
                d6b06b052744a
                SHA1 hash Job-themed Word document lure (qhtma) delivering PupyRAT
                e5b643cb6ec30d0d0b458e3f280
                0609f260a5f15c4ac66faf4ebf384f7976df6
                SHA256 hash Job-themed Word document lure (qhtma) delivering PupyRAT
                1b5e33e5a244d2d67d7a09c4ccf
                16e56
                MD5 hash Ministry of Health lure (Health_insurance_registration.doc) delivering PupyRAT
                934c51ff1ea00af2cb3b8465f0a
                3effcf759d866
                SHA1 hash Ministry of Health lure (Health_insurance_registration.doc) delivering PupyRAT
                66d24a529308d8ab7b27ddd43a6
                c2db84107b831257efb664044ec4437f9487b
                SHA256 hash Ministry of Health lure (Health_insurance_registration.doc) delivering PupyRAT
                03ea9457bf71d51d8109e737158
                be888
                MD5 hash Password-themed lure (Password_Policy.xlsm) delivering PupyRAT
                d20168c523058c7a82f6d79ef63
                ea546c794e57b
                SHA1 hash Password-themed lure (Password_Policy.xlsm) delivering PupyRAT
                6c195ea18c05bbf091f09873ed9
                cd533ec7c8de7a831b85690e48290b579634b
                SHA256 hash Password-themed lure (Password_Policy.xlsm) delivering PupyRAT
                97cb7dc1395918c2f3018c109ab
                4ea5b
                MD5 hash PupyRAT (pupyx86.dll)
                3215021976b933ff76ce3436e82
                8286e124e2527
                SHA1 hash PupyRAT (pupyx86.dll)
                8d89f53b0a6558d6bb9cdbc9f21
                8ef699f3c87dd06bc03dd042290dedc18cb71
                SHA256 hash PupyRAT (pupyx86.dll)

                Table 2. Threat indicators for the Iranian PupyRAT campaign.

                Gauging confidence level

                CTU researchers have adopted the grading system published by the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence to indicate confidence in their assessments:

                • High confidence generally indicates that judgments are based on high-quality information, and/or that the nature of the issue makes it possible to render a solid judgment. A "high confidence" judgment is not a fact or a certainty, however, and such judgments still carry a risk of being wrong.
                • Moderate confidence generally means that the information is credibly sourced and plausible but not of sufficient quality or corroborated sufficiently to warrant a higher level of confidence.
                • Low confidence generally means that the information's credibility and/or plausibility is questionable, or that the information is too fragmented or poorly corroborated to make solid analytic inferences, or that [there are] significant concerns or problems with the sources.

                Related Content