Duqu 2.0 found to target security company

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Jun 10, 2015

Advanced malware also targeted venues linked to Iranian nuclear negotiations.

There are some security stories you couldn't make up. The authors of an advanced malware tool have used a new version of that same tool to target a security company that played a prominent role in the discovery and analysis of the original version of said tool.

An employee at Kaspersky Lab was targeted with a piece of malware which researchers at the company believe to be a new variant of Duqu, the first variant of which was discovered in 2011 and was then found to have links (and possibly shared authors) with Stuxnet.

Like the original variant, Duqu 2.0, as it has been called, made use of a zero-day vulnerability: CVE-2015-2360, which allowed for privileges to be escalated in the Windows kernel, and which was patched yesterday. It may also have used two other vulnerabilities (CVE-2014-4148 and CVE-2014-6324) that have also since been patched but which were zero-days during the original infection.

And just like the original Duqu, the 2.0 variant is very sophisticated: from the use of various zero-days, to the fact that the malware ran inside memory and combined encryption and compression algorithms to avoid detection.

The Duqu 2.0 infection incident at Kaspersky Lab involved a cat-and-mouse game between researchers and the attackers. When Kaspersky disconnected critical systems following the discovery of the attack, the attackers realised they were being found out and quickly wiped the mailbox and browsing history of the targeted machine, thus preventing full analysis but at least suggesting that spear-phishing might have been used for the original infection.

Kaspersky wasn't the only target of Duqu 2.0 though. Other targets included a number of hotels where negotiations had been taking place on Iran's nuclear programme, suggesting the actor could well be a nation state with a keen interest in learning about the developments of these negotiations.

  Duqu 2.0 contains the magic string 'romanian.antihacker'. It has been suggested that this could be a reference to Kaspersky researcher Costin Raiu. Source: Kaspersky Lab.

Full details on Duqu 2.0 can be found in a paper (pdf) published by Kaspersky, with good summaries written by Dan Goodin at Ars Technica and Kim Zetter at Wired. The latter's book on Stuxnet, Countdown to Zero Day, which I reviewed last year, also covers the original Duqu attack.

Symantec has also published a blog on Duqu, in which it mentions a few other targets in Europe, North Africa and Asia. Another report (pdf) was written by CrySyS, the Hungarian research lab which discovered the original Duqu infection in 2011.

Later this year, Kaspersky researcher Costin Raiu will deliver the closing keynote at VB2015, while researchers from CrySyS will give a presentation on a repository of signed software, which was inspired by attacks like Duqu.

VB2015 takes place 30 September to 2 October in Prague, Czech Republic. Registration for the conference is now open. A 10% early bird discount applies until 30 June 2015.

VB2015 Prague, 30 Sept - 2 Oct 2015


Posted on 10 June 2015 by Martijn Grooten
twitter.png
fb.png
linkedin.png
hackernews.png
reddit.png

 

Latest posts:

VB2018 paper: From Hacking Team to hacked team to…?

Today we publish the VB2018 paper and video by ESET researcher Filip Kafka, who looked at the new malware by Hacking Team, after the company had recovered from the 2015 breach.

The spam that is hardest to block is often the most damaging

We see a lot of spam in the VBSpam test lab, and we also see how well such emails are being blocked by email security products. Worryingly, it is often the emails with a malicious attachment or a phishing link that are most likely to be missed.

Throwback Thursday: We're all doomed

Mydoom turns 15 this month, and is still being seen in email attachments. This Throwback Thursday we look back to March 2004, when Gabor Szappanos tracked the rise of W32/Mydoom.

VB2019 call for papers - now open!

Have you analysed a new online threat? Do you know a new way to defend against such threats? Are you tasked with securing systems and fending off attacks? The call for papers for VB2019 is now open and we want to hear from you!

VB2018 paper: Unpacking the packed unpacker: reversing an Android anti-analysis library

Today, we publish a VB2018 paper by Google researcher Maddie Stone in which she looks at one of the most interesting anti-analysis native libraries in the Android ecosystem. We also release the recording of Maddie's presentation.

We have placed cookies on your device in order to improve the functionality of this site, as outlined in our cookies policy. However, you may delete and block all cookies from this site and your use of the site will be unaffected. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to Virus Bulletin's use of data as outlined in our privacy policy.