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Watering Hole Attacks an Attractive Alternative to Spear Phishing

“Watering Hole” attacks, as evidenced by the recent attack involving the U.S. Department of Labor, are becoming increasingly popular as alternatives to attacks such as Spear Phishing. In a “Watering Hole” attack, the attacker compromises a site likely to be visited by a particular target group, rather than attacking the target group directly. Eventually, someone from the targeted group visits the “trusted” site (A.K.A. the “Watering Hole”) and becomes compromised.

Cisco identified suspicious GET requests made to the www.sellagreement.com, a malicious site which was recently linked with the Department of Labor attack. According to the evidence we have, the sites www.kforce.com and www.sbc.net were among those compromised during this attack. The webpages that were serving malicious content from these sites were mostly job-search related, but several requests to www.sellagreement.com lacked a “Referrer:” HTTP header entirely. Read More »

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Department of Labor Watering Hole Attack Confirmed to be 0-Day with Possible Advanced Reconnaissance Capabilities

May 4, 2013 at 2:56 pm PST

Update 2 5/9/2013:

Microsoft has released a “Microsoft fix it” as a temporary mitigation for this issue on systems which require IE8. At this time, multiple sites have been observed hosting pages which exploit this vulnerability. Users of IE8 who cannot update to IE9+ are urged to apply the Fix It immediately.

Update 5/6/2013:

An exploit for this bug is now publicly available within the metasploit framework. Users of the affected browser should consider updating to IE9+ or using a different browser until a patch is released. Given the nature of this vulnerability additional exploitation is likely.

At the end of April a Watering Hole–style attack was launched from a United States Department of Labor website. Many are theorizing that this attack may have been an attempt to use one compromised organization to target another. Visitors to specific pages hosting nuclear-related content at the Department of Labor website were also receiving malicious content loaded from the domain dol.ns01.us. Initially it appeared that this attack used CVE-2012-4792 to compromise vulnerable machines; however, Microsoft is now confirming that this is indeed a new issue. This issue is being designated CVE-2013-1347 and is reported to affect all versions of Internet Explorer 8.

Read More »

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STOPhausDDoS: Suspect in Custody

Back in March, Seth Hanford wrote about a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack aimed at the SpamHaus organization. Since then, there have been some new developments in the aftermath of the DDoS attack, most notably the arrest of the attackers’ spokesperson, Sven Olaf Kamphuis.

Update

On April 26, Kamphuis, STOPhaus activist and possibly the person behind the large-scale SpamHaus DDoS attacks, was arrested in Spain. He had allegedly been operating out of his van, which he had transformed into a mobile computing office. Read More »

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Coordinated Attacks Against the U.S. Government and Banking Infrastructure

Prologue

On April 10, 2013, a collective of politically motivated hacktivists announced a round of planned attacks called #OPUSA. These attacks, slated to begin May 7, 2013, are to be launched against U.S.-based targets. #OPUSA is a follow-up to #OPISRAEL, which were a series of attacks carried out on April 7 against Israeli-based targets. Our goal here is to summarize and inform readers of resources, recommendations, network mitigations, and best practices that are available to prevent, mitigate, respond to, or dilute the effectiveness of these attacks. This blog was a collaborative effort between myself, Kevin TimmJoseph KarpenkoPanos Kampanakis, and the Cisco TRAC team.

Analysis

If the attackers follow the same patterns as previously witnessed during the #OPISRAEL attacks, then targets can expect a mixture of attacks. Major components of previous attacks consisted of denial of service attacks and web application exploits, ranging from advanced ad-hoc attempts to simple website defacements. In the past, attackers used such tools as LOICHOIC, and Slowloris.

Publicly announced attacks of this nature can have highly volatile credibility. In some cases, the announcements exist only for the purpose of gaining notoriety. In other cases, they are enhanced by increased publicity. Given the lack of specific details about participation or capabilities, the exact severity of the attack can’t be known until it (possibly) happens. Read More »

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Linux/CDorked FAQs

Last Friday (April 26), ESET and Sucuri simultaneously blogged about the discovery of Linux/CDorked, a backdoor impacting Apache servers running cPanel. Since that announcement, there has been some confusion surrounding the exact nature of these attacks. Rather than reinvent the analysis that has already been done, this blog post is intended to clear up some of the confusion.

When did Linux/CDorked first appear?
According to Cisco TRAC analysis, the first encounter was on March 4, 2013.

How is Linux/CDorked related to DarkLeech?
The appearance of Linux/CDorked coincided with a drop in the number of DarkLeech infections, an indication the attacker(s) may be one and the same.

Unlike DarkLeech, the Linux/CDorked infections appear to be only targeting Apache servers with cPanel installed. Conversely, DarkLeech was found on servers running a variety of control panels (or not).  Read More »

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