Cisco Blogs

Threat Research

  • Attack on Critical Infrastructure Leverages Template Injection

    - July 7, 2017 - 0 Comments

    Contributors:  Sean Baird, Earl Carter, Erick Galinkin, Christopher Marczewski & Joe Marshall 

    Executive Summary

    Attackers are continually trying to find new ways to target users with malware sent via email. Talos has identified an email-based attack targeting the energy sector, including nuclear power, that puts a new spin on the classic word document attachment phish. Typically, malicious Word documents that are sent as attachments to phishing emails will themselves contain a script or macro that executes malicious code. In this case, there is no malicious code in the attachment itself. The attachment instead tries to download a template file over an SMB connection so that the user’s credentials can be silently harvested. In addition, this template file could also potentially be used to download other malicious payloads to the victim’s computer.


  • Threat Round-up for June 30 – July 7

    - July 7, 2017 - 0 Comments

    Today, Talos is publishing a glimpse into the most prevalent threats we’ve observed between June 30 and July 07. As with previous round-ups, this post isn’t meant to be an in-depth analysis. Instead, this post will summarize the threats we’ve observed by highlighting key behavior characteristics, indicators of compromise, and how our customers are automatically protected from these threats.

    As a reminder, the information provided for the following threats in this post is non-exhaustive and current as of date of publication. Detection and coverage for the following threats is subject to updates pending additional threat or vulnerability analysis. For the most current information, please refer to your FireSIGHT Management Center,, or


  • Vulnerability Spotlight: TALOS-2017-0311,0319,0321 – Multiple Remote Code Execution Vulnerability in Poppler PDF library

    - July 7, 2017 - 0 Comments

    Vulnerability discovered by Marcin Noga, Lilith Wyatt and Aleksandar Nikolic of Cisco Talos.


    Talos has discovered multiple vulnerabilities in the Poppler PDF library. Exploiting these vulnerabilities can allow an attacker to gain full control over the victim’s machine. If an attacker builds a specially crafted PDF document and the victim opens it, the attackers code will be executed with the privileges of the local user.


  • New KONNI Campaign References North Korean Missile Capabilities

    - July 6, 2017 - 0 Comments

    This blog was authored by Paul Rascagneres

    Executive Summary

    We recently wrote about the KONNI Remote Access Trojan (RAT) which has been distributed by a small number of campaigns over the past 3 years. We have identified a new distribution campaign which took place on 4th July. The malware used in this campaign has similar features to that distributed earlier in 2017 with the following changes:

    • A new decoy document copy/pasted from an article published on the 3rd of July by Yonhap News Agency in Korea;
    • The dropper includes a 64 bit version of KONNI;
    • A new CC infrastructure consisting of a climbing club website.

    North Korea conducted a test missile launch on 3rd July. This campaign appears to be directly related to the launch and the ensuing discussion of North Korean missile technology. This is consistent with previous KONNI distribution campaigns which have also frequently mentioned North Korea.

    Read More >>>

  • The MeDoc Connection

    - July 5, 2017 - 0 Comments


    The Nyetya attack was a destructive ransomware variant that affected many organizations inside of Ukraine and multinational corporations with operations in Ukraine. In cooperation with Cisco Advanced Services Incident Response, Talos identified several key aspects of the attack. The investigation found a supply chain-focused attack at M.E.Doc software that delivered a destructive payload disguised as ransomware. By utilizing stolen credentials, the actor was able to manipulate the update server for M.E.Doc to proxy connections to an actor-controlled server. Based on the findings, Talos remains confident that the attack was destructive in nature. The effects were broad reaching, with Ukraine Cyber police confirming over 2000 affected companies in Ukraine alone.


  • Vulnerability Spotlight: Dell Precision Optimizer and Invincea Vulnerabilities

    - June 30, 2017 - 0 Comments
    Talos are releasing advisories for vulnerabilities in the Dell Precision Optimizer application service software, Invincea-X and Invincea Dell Protected Workspace. These packages are pre-installed on certain Dell systems. Vulnerabilities present in these applications could allow attackers to disable security mechanisms, escalate privileges and execute arbitrary code within the context of the application user.