Craig Williams and Jaeson Schultz have contributed to this post.
We blogged in September of 2013 about variants of Havex. A month ago on June 2, 2014, I had the chance to give a presentation at AREA41. In my presentation “The Art of Escape,” I talked about targeted attacks involving watering holes.
If we look at the timeline of the attacks we see two clear impacting factors:
- CVE release time
- Timeframe of new PluginDetect
This explains why we saw an increase in watering hole attacks peaking in August
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Tags: Advanced Malware Protection, malware, Malware Analysis, TRAC, Watering Hole, watering hole attack
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.
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