Researchers link latest Java zero-day exploit to Bit9 hack

The remote access malware used in both cases connected to the same control server, Symantec researchers said

The attacks discovered last week that exploited a previously unknown Java vulnerability were likely launched by the same attackers that previously targeted security firm Bit9 and its customers, according to researchers from antivirus vendor Symantec.

Security researchers from FireEye, who found the new Java attacks last week, said that the Java exploit installs a remote access piece of malware called McRAT.

The threat, which Symantec products detect as Trojan.Naid, connects back to a command-and-control (C&C) server using the 110.173.55.187 IP (Internet Protocol) address, Symantec researchers said Friday in a blog post.

"Interestingly, a Trojan.Naid sample was also signed by the compromised Bit9 certificate discussed in the Bit9 security incident update and used in an attack on another party," they said. "This sample also used the backchannel communication server IP address 110.173.55.187."

Last month, Bit9, a company that sells security products using whitelisting technology, announced that hackers broke into one of its servers and used one of the company's digital certificates to sign malware. That malware was then used in attacks against a few U.S. organizations, the company said.

"In the subsequent attacks on the three target organizations, the attackers appeared to have already compromised specific Websites (a watering hole style attack, similar to what was recently reported by Facebook, Apple and Microsoft)," Bit9's CTO Harry Sverdlove said in a blog post last Monday. "We believe the attackers inserted a malicious Java applet onto those sites that used a vulnerability in Java to deliver additional malicious files, including files signed by the compromised certificate."

One of those malicious files connected back to IP address "110.173.55.187" over port 80, the Bit9 CTO said. The IP is registered to an address in Hong Kong.

"The Trojan.Naid attackers have been extremely persistent and have shown their sophistication in multiple attacks," the Symantec researchers said. "Their primary motivation has been industrial espionage on a variety of industry sectors."

The attacks they launch usually involve zero-day vulnerabilities. In 2012 they conducted a watering hole attack -- an attack where a website frequently visited by the intended targets is infected -- that exploited a zero-day vulnerability in Internet Explorer, the Symantec researchers said.

Oracle has yet to reveal its patching plans for this latest Java vulnerability. The next Java security update was scheduled for April, but the company might decide to release an emergency update before then.

Security researchers have advised users who don't need access to Web-based Java content to remove the Java plug-in from their browsers. The latest version of Java -- Java 7 Update 15 -- provides an option through its control panel to disable the Java plug-ins or to force a confirmation prompt before Java applets are allowed to run inside the browser.

Tags symanteconline safetysecurityBit9FireEyeExploits / vulnerabilitiesspywareOraclemalwareintrusion

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?