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Threat Research

  • Booters with Chinese Characteristics: The Rise of Chinese Online DDoS Platforms

    - August 15, 2017 - 0 Comments

    This post was authored by Dave Liebenberg

    In the past few months, Talos has observed an uptick in the number of Chinese websites offering online DDoS services. Many of these websites have a nearly identical layout and design, offering a simple interface in which the user selects a target’s host, port, attack method, and duration of attack. In addition, the majority of these sites have been registered within the past six months. However, the websites operate under different group names and have different registrants. In addition, Talos has observed administrators of these websites launching attacks on one another. Talos sought to research the actors responsible for creating these platforms and analyze why they have become more prevalent lately.

    In this blog post, we will begin by looking at the DDoS industry in China and charting the shift toward online DDoS platforms. Then we will examine the types of DDoS platforms created recently, noting their similarities and differences. Finally, we will look into the source code likely responsible for the recent increase in these nearly identical DDoS websites.

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  • When combining exploits for added effect goes wrong

    - August 14, 2017 - 1 Comment

    Since public disclosure in April 2017, CVE-2017-0199 has been frequently used within malicious Office documents. The vulnerability allows attackers to include Ole2Link objects within RTF documents to launch remote code when HTA applications are opened and parsed by Microsoft Word.

    In this recent campaign, attackers combined CVE-2017-0199 exploitation with an earlier exploit, CVE-2012-0158, possibly in an attempt to evade user prompts by Word, or to arrive at code execution via a different mechanism. Potentially, this was just a test run in order to test a new concept. In any case, the attackers made mistakes which caused the attack to be a lot less effective than it could have been.

    Analysis of the payload highlights the potential for the Ole2Link exploit to launch other document types, and also demonstrates a lack of rigorous testing procedures by at least one threat actor.

    Attackers are obviously trying to find a way around known warning mechanisms alerting users about potential security issues with opened documents. In this blog post we analyse what happens when an attack attempts to combine these two exploits in a single infection chain and fails.

    Although this attack was unsuccessful it has shown a level of experimentation by attackers seeking to use CVE-2017-0199 as a means to launch additional weaponized file types and avoid user prompts. It may have been an experiment that didn’t quite work out, or it may be indication of future attacks yet to materialise.


  • WinDBG and JavaScript Analysis

    - August 9, 2017 - 0 Comments

    This blog was authored by Paul Rascagneres.


    JavaScript is frequently used by malware authors to execute malicious code on Windows systems because it is powerful, natively available and rarely disabled. Our previous article on .NET analysis generated much interest relating to how to use WinDBG to analyse .js files. In this post we extend our description of using WinDBG to describe the analysis of JavaScript using the 64 bit version of wscript.exe. It is strongly recommended to read our previous article first.

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  • Microsoft Patch Tuesday – August 2017

    - August 8, 2017 - 1 Comment

    Microsoft has released its monthly set of security advisories for vulnerabilities that have been identified and addressed in various products. This month’s advisory release addresses 48 new vulnerabilities with 25 of them rated critical, 21 rated important, and 2 rated moderate. These vulnerabilities impact Edge, Hyper-V, Internet Explorer, Remote Desktop Protocol, Sharepoint, SQL Server, the Windows Subsystem for Linux, and more. In addition, Microsoft is also releasing an update for Adobe Flash Player embedded in Edge and Internet Explorer.

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  • Vulnerability Spotlight: Adobe Reader DC Parser Confusion

    - August 8, 2017 - 1 Comment

    Parser vulnerabilities in common software packages such as Adobe Acrobat Reader pose a significant security risk to large portions of the internet. The fact that these software packages typically have a large footprints often gives attackers a broad attack surface they can potentially leverage for malicious purposes. Thus, identifying vulnerabilities and responsibly disclosing them is critical to eliminating attack vectors that may otherwise be exploited.

    Today, Talos is disclosing a vulnerability that has been identified in Adobe Acrobat Reader DC. The vulnerability, if exploited, could lead to arbitrary code execution on affected devices. As part of the coordinated effort to responsibly disclose the vulnerability, Adobe has released a software update that addresses the vulnerability. Additionally, Talos has developed Snort rules that detect attempts to exploit the flaw.


  • On Conveying Doubt

    - August 7, 2017 - 0 Comments

    Typically, Talos has the luxury of time when conducting research. We can carefully draft a report that clearly lays out the evidence and leads the reader to a clear understanding of our well supported findings. A great deal of time is spent ensuring that the correct words and logical paths are used so that we are both absolutely clear and absolutely correct. Frequently, the goal is to inform and educate readers about specific threats or techniques.

    There are times, however, when we are documenting our research in something very close to real-time. The recent WannaCry and Nyetya events are excellent examples of this. Our goal changes here, as does our process. Here we are racing the clock to get accurate, impactful, and actionable information to help customers react even while new information is coming in.

    In these situations, and in certain other kinds of investigations, it is necessary for us to talk about something when we aren’t 100% certain we are correct.

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  • Threat Round-up for July 28 – August 4

    - August 4, 2017 - 1 Comment

    Today, Talos is publishing a glimpse into the most prevalent threats we’ve observed between July 28 and August 04. 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

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  • Vulnerability Spotlight: Kakadu SDK Vulnerabilities

    - August 4, 2017 - 1 Comment

    Vulnerabilities discovered by Aleksandar Nikolic and Tyler Bohan of Cisco Talos.

    Today, Talos is disclosing multiple vulnerabilities that have been identified in the Kakadu JPEG 2000 SDK. The vulnerabilities manifest in a way that could be exploited if a user opens a specifically crafted JPEG 2000 file. Talos has coordinated with Kakadu to ensure relevant details regarding the vulnerabilities have been shared. In addition, Talos has developed Snort Rules that can detect attempts to exploit these flaws.

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  • Taking the FIRST look at Crypt0l0cker

    - August 3, 2017 - 0 Comments

    This post is authored by Matthew Molyett.

    Executive Summary

    In March, Talos reported on the details of Crypt0l0cker based on an extensive analysis I carried out on the sample binaries. Binaries — plural — because, as noted in the original blog, the Crypt0l0cker payload leveraged numerous executable files which shared the same codebase. Those executables had nearly identical functions in each, but identifying all of those functions repeatedly is tedious and draws time away from improving the analysis. Enter FIRST, the Function Identification and Recovery Signature Tool released by Talos in December 2016.

    FIRST allowed me to port my analysis from the unpacking dll to the payload file instantly. Once I was satisfied my analysis across both files, I was then handed a suspected previous version of the sample. FIRST was able to identify similar code across the versions and partially port the analysis back to the older file. When the next version of Crypt0l0cker comes out, I will be able to get a jump on my analysis by using FIRST to port that work forward to the similar code. You can use it to port my work to your sample as well. I will demonstrate doing just that with a Crypt0l0cker sample which appeared on VirusTotal in April 2017, more than a month after the Talos blog about it. There has been no targeted analysis of this file to provide background for this post.

    Locating the Sample

    Procuring a malware sample of a known family without analyzing it can feel like a heavy challenge to overcome. Thankfully, Talos can leverage Threat Grid sandbox reports of suspected malware samples that we receive. Such reports can be scanned for family IOCs. Per our previous analysis into Crypt0l0cker, the infection status of that version is stored in a file named ewiwobiz. By searching Cisco Threat Grid telemetry for files which created ewiwobiz, I identified a file which was probably a Crypt0l0cker executable.

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  • Vulnerability Spotlight: EZB Systems UltraISO ISO Parsing Code Execution Vulnerability

    - August 2, 2017 - 2 Comments

    Discovered by Piotr Bania of Cisco Talos

    Today, Talos is releasing details of a new vulnerability discovered within the EZB Systems UltraISO ISO disk image creator software. TALOS-2017-0342 (CVE-2017-2840) may allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code remotely on the vulnerable system when a specially crafted ISO image is opened and parsed by the UltraISO software.