Palo Alto IDs another C&C-over-DNS attack

'Pisloader' hides instructions in plain sight

Palo Alto Networks researchers say the Webky group is using DNS (domain name system) requests as their command and control channel.

The reason that's important is that DNS is one of those ports that's less heavily policed than (for example) Port 80.

The Palo Alto post (by Josh Grunzweig, Mike Scott and Bryan Lee) says the activity was spotted during an attack on an unnamed US organisation.

The attack was based on the HTTPBrowser malware family, which was seen in attacks such as this from 2015 in China.

The researchers dubbed this attack 'pisloader'. It pointed victims at http://globalprint-us[.]com/proxy_plugin.exe to download malware, which loads the well-known Poison Ivy RAT.

The other domains used in the attack, all newly-registered, were logitech-us[.]com (not the real Logitech), and intranetwebcam[.]com.

It's mostly the DNS C&C that makes this different, Palo Alto Networks writes. Here's an example of the request:

Webkey DNS request

Like FrameworkPOS, putting C&C instructions in the protocol is designed to skip past security products.

Hence a response from the C&C will be in the form of a DNS response, with instructions to the malware in the text of the response:

  • sifo – collect victim system information;
  • drive – List drives on victim machine;
  • list – List file information for provided directory;
  • upload – Upload a file to the victim machine; and
  • open – Spawn a command shell.

As the post notes, the code to generate the commands is at GitHub. ®

Similar topics

Other stories you might like

  • Inside the RSAC expo: Buzzword bingo and the bear in the room
    We mingle with the vendors so you don't have to

    RSA Conference Your humble vulture never liked conference expos – even before finding myself on the show floor during a global pandemic. Expo halls are a necessary evil that are predominatly visited to find gifts to bring home to the kids. 

    Do organizations really choose security vendors based on a booth? The whole expo hall idea seems like an outdated business model – for the vendors, anyway. Although the same argument could be made for conferences in general.

    For the most part, all of the executives and security researchers set up shop offsite – either in swanky hotels and shared office space (for the big-wigs) or at charming outdoor chess tables in Yerba Buena Gardens. Many of them said they avoided the expo altogether.

    Continue reading
  • CISA and friends raise alarm on critical flaws in industrial equipment, infrastructure
    Nearly 60 holes found affecting 'more than 30,000' machines worldwide

    Updated Fifty-six vulnerabilities – some deemed critical – have been found in industrial operational technology (OT) systems from ten global manufacturers including Honeywell, Ericsson, Motorola, and Siemens, putting more than 30,000 devices worldwide at risk, according to private security researchers. 

    Some of these vulnerabilities received CVSS severity scores as high as 9.8 out of 10. That is particularly bad, considering these devices are used in critical infrastructure across the oil and gas, chemical, nuclear, power generation and distribution, manufacturing, water treatment and distribution, mining and building and automation industries. 

    The most serious security flaws include remote code execution (RCE) and firmware vulnerabilities. If exploited, these holes could potentially allow miscreants to shut down electrical and water systems, disrupt the food supply, change the ratio of ingredients to result in toxic mixtures, and … OK, you get the idea.

    Continue reading
  • 1Password's Insights tool to help admins monitor users' security practices
    Find the clown who chose 'password' as a password and make things right

    1Password, the Toronto-based maker of the identically named password manager, is adding a security analysis and advice tool called Insights from 1Password to its business-oriented product.

    Available to 1Password Business customers, Insights takes the form of a menu addition to the right-hand column of the application window. Clicking on the "Insights" option presents a dashboard for checking on data breaches, password health, and team usage of 1Password throughout an organization.

    "We designed Insights from 1Password to give IT and security admins broader visibility into potential security risks so businesses improve their understanding of the threats posed by employee behavior, and have clear steps to mitigate those issues," said Jeff Shiner, CEO of 1Password, in a statement.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022