On June 18th, malware researcher, Jay Rosenberg released some interesting findings on a binary that was analyzed by the company Intezer. The code was retrieved through VirusTotal hunting. VirusTotal is a tool used by the global cybersecurity community that allows users to upload suspicious executables to an engine to check if antivirus vendors detect anything bad about the file. The Intezer analysis revealed that the binary shared code with a remote access tool (RAT) was very similar to the code that had been mentioned in the 2017 campaign documented by NCC Group where the hacker group APT 15 had hacked entities within the UK Government.
This indicates that the group APT 15 had built a variation of their RoyalAPT malware mentioned by the NCC Group. This malware could’ve then potentially been used to perform a separate attack perhaps on an additional entity. During the article, the author states “Coincidentally, following the recent hack of a US Navy contractor and theft of highly sensitive data on submarine warfare, we have found evidence of very recent activity by a group referred to as APT15, known for committing cyber espionage which is believed to be affiliated with the Chinese government.” This infers that the author believes the MirageFox and US Navy Contractor hack are tied together. As a result, we have seen additional sources claiming that APT 15 was likely behind the US Navy hack of Operation Sea Dragon. We’d like to point out that the findings of the malware author do not prove this and this is only based on speculation at this time.
Some very interesting findings in the report are the command and control used within the binary. The IP address of the call home was 192.168.0.107. This is an internal IP address used within internal networks. This indicates that the command and control server was on the inside of the network, possibly on a VPN. This is a very abnormal configuration from the attacker and will throw off several types of perimeter security controls without special configuration.
The Proficio Threat Intelligence Recommendations:
- Block hashes of IOCs on the corporate endpoint solution if possible. The researcher stated the binaries at the time of research had a low antivirus detection rate.
- Note the internal command and control server and think about this type of attack when configuring perimeter IDPS technologies that look for outbound traffic as a means of command and control.
- Potentially treat your internal VPN network ranges as an external network when configuring your IDPS controls. The organization will have to validate this will not result in false positive IDPS triggers.
Source of analysis – Click Here