This post was also authored by Andrew Tsonchev and Steven Poulson.
Cisco’s Cloud Web Security (CWS) service provides TRAC researchers with a constant fire hose of malicious insight and now that we are collaborating with Sourcefire’s Vulnerability Research Team (VRT) we have additional capabilities to quickly isolate and prioritize specific web exploit activity for further analysis. Thus when we were recently alerted to an aggressive Fiesta exploit pack (EP) campaign targeting our customers, we quickly compared notes and found that in addition to the typical Java exploits, this EP was also using a Microsoft Silverlight exploit. In the Cisco 2014 Annual Security Report (ASR) we discuss how 2013 was a banner year for Java exploits, and while updating Java should remain a top priority, Silverlight is certainly worth patching as threat actors continue to search for new application exploits to leverage in drive-by attacks.
Over the past 30 days this specific Fiesta campaign was blocked across more than 300 different companies. The attacker(s) used numerous dynamic DNS (DDNS) domains -- that resolved to six different IP addresses -- as exploit landing pages. The chart below depicts the distribution of hosts used in this attack across the most blocked DDNS base domains.
Beginning in early May, Cisco TRAC has observed a number of malicious redirects that appear to be part of a watering-hole style attack targeting the Energy & Oil sector. The structure consists of several compromised domains, of which some play the role of redirector and others the role of malware host.
Observed watering-hole style domains containing the malicious iframe have included:
An oil and gas exploration firm with operations in Africa, Morocco, and Brazil;
A company that owns multiple hydro electric plants throughout the Czech Republic and Bulgaria;
A natural gas power station in the UK;
A gas distributor located in France;
An industrial supplier to the energy, nuclear and aerospace industries;
Various investment and capital firms that specialize in the energy sector.
Encounters with the iframe-injected web pages resulted from either direct browsing to the compromised sites or via seemingly legitimate and innocuous searches. This is consistent with the premise of a watering-hole style attack that deliberately compromises websites likely to draw the intended targets, versus spear phishing or other means to entice the intended targets through illicit means.
In many exploit scenarios, an attacker finds a target and, if possible, establishes remote control over the system through known or unknown exploits. Whether the attacker uses a buffer overflow, insecure configuration, phishing for credentials, or cookie-stealing, the goal is clear: get a remote shell and gain complete control. Then what?
It is this post-exploitation environment that has interested me at this year’s Black Hat 2011. Several talks and trainings discuss post-exploitation techniques, and I’d like to share them in the interest of research – and defense.