Poison Ivy, used in RSA SecurID attack, still popular

Security vendor FireEye has released a set of tools to analyze Poison Ivy infections

A malicious software tool perhaps most famously used to hack RSA's SecurID infrastructure is still being used in targeted attacks, according to security vendor FireEye.

Poison Ivy is a remote access trojan (RAT) that was released eight years ago but is still favored by some hackers, FireEye wrote in a new report released Wednesday. It has a familiar Windows interface, is easy to use and can log keystrokes, steal files and passwords.

Since Poison Ivy is still so widely used, FireEye said it is harder for security analysts to link its use to a specific hacking group.

For its analysis, the company collected 194 samples of Poison Ivy used in attacks dating to 2008, looking at the passwords used by the attackers to access the RATs and the command-and-control servers used.

Three groups, one of which appears to be based in China, have been using Poison Ivy in targeted attacks going back at least four years. FireEye identified the groups by the passwords they use to access the Poison Ivy RAT they've placed on a target's computer: admin338, th3bug and menuPass.

The group admin388 is believed to have been active as early as January 2008, targeting ISPs, telecoms companies, government organizations and the defense sector, FireEye wrote.

Victims are usually targeted by that group with spear-phishing emails, which contain a malicious Microsoft Word or PDF attachment with the Poison Ivy code. The emails are in English but use a Chinese character set in the email message body.

Poison Ivy's presence may indicate a more discerning interest by an attacker, since it must be controlled manually in real-time.

"RATs are much more personal and may indicate that you are dealing with a dedicated threat actor that is interested in your organization specifically," FireEye wrote.

To help organizations detect Poison Ivy, FireEye released "Calamine," a set of two tools designed to decode its encryption and figure out what it is stealing.

Stolen information is encrypted by Poison Ivy using the Camellia cipher with a 256-bit key before it is sent to a remote server, FireEye wrote. The encryption key is derived from the password the attacker uses to unlock Poison Ivy.

Many of the attackers simply use the default password, "admin." But if the password has changed, one of Calamine's tools, the PyCommand script, can be used to intercept it. A second Calamine tool can then decrypt Poison Ivy's network traffic, which can give an indication of what the attacker has been doing.

"Calamine may not stop determined attackers that use Poison Ivy," FireEye warned. "But it can make their criminal endeavors that much more difficult."

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags malwareFireEye

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

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?