search.noResults

search.searching

dataCollection.invalidEmail
note.createNoteMessage

search.noResults

search.searching

orderForm.title

orderForm.productCode
orderForm.description
orderForm.quantity
orderForm.itemPrice
orderForm.price
orderForm.totalPrice
orderForm.deliveryDetails.billingAddress
orderForm.deliveryDetails.deliveryAddress
orderForm.noItems
Editor’s choice


INDUSTRIAL ESPIONAGE


UNCOVERED K


aspersky researchers have uncovered a series of highly targeted attacks against industrial holdings dating back to 2018—


far more rare in the world of advanced persistent threat (APT) actors than campaigns against diplomats and other high-profile political actors. The toolset used - originally named MT3 by the malware authors - has been dubbed by Kaspersky as “MontysThree”. It uses a variety of techniques to evade detection, including hosting its communications with the control server on public cloud services and hiding the main malicious module using steganography. Government entities, diplomats, and telecom operators tend to be the preferred target for APTs, since these individuals and institutions naturally possess a wealth of highly confidential and politically sensitive information. Far more rare are targeted espionage campaigns against industrial entities - but, like any other attacks against industries, they can have devastating consequences for the business. That is why, upon noticing the activity of MontysThree, Kaspersky researchers were quick to take note. To carry out its espionage, MontysThree


deploys a malware program consisting of four modules. The first - the loader - is initially spread using RAR SFX files (self-extracted archives) containing names related to employees’ contact lists, technical documentation, and medical analysis results to trick employees into downloading the files - a common spear phishing technique. The loader is primarily in charge of ensuring the malware is not detected on the system; to do this, it deploys a technique known as steganography. Steganography is used by actors to hide the fact that data is being exchanged. In the case of MontysThree, the main malicious payload is disguised as a bitmap (a format for storing digital images) file. If the right command is


12


inputted, the loader will use a custom-made algorithm to decrypt the content from the pixel array and run the malicious payload. The main malicious payload uses several


encryption techniques of its own to evade detection, namely the use of an RSA algorithm to encrypt communications with the control server and to decrypt the main “tasks” assigned from the malware. This includes searching for documents with specific extensions and in specific company directories. MontysThree is designed to specifically target Microsoft and Adobe Acrobat documents; it can also capture screenshots and “fingerprint” (i.e. gather information about their network settings, host name, etc.) the target to see if it is of interest to the attackers. The information collected and other


communications with the control server are then hosted on public cloud services like Google, Microsoft, and Dropbox. This makes the communication traffic difficult to detect as malicious, and because no antivirus blocks these services, it ensures the control server can execute commands uninterrupted. MontysThree also uses a simple method for gaining persistence on the infected system - a modifier for Windows Quick Launch. Users inadvertently run the initial module of the malware by themselves every time they run legitimate applications, such as browsers, when using the Quick Launch toolbar. Kaspersky has not been able to find any similarities in the malicious code or the infrastructure with any known APTs. “MontysThree is interesting not just because of the fact that it’s targeting industrial holdings, but because of the combination of sophisticated and somewhat “amateurish” TTPs. In general, the sophistication varies from module to module, but it can’t compare to the


level used by the most advanced APTs. However, they use strong cryptographic standards and there are indeed some tech- savvy decisions made, including the custom steganography. Perhaps most importantly, it’s clear that the attackers have put significant effort into developing the MontysThree toolset, suggesting they are determined in their aims—and that this is not meant to be a short- lived campaign,” comments Denis Legezo, senior security researcher with Kaspersky’s Global Research and Analysis Team. To protect your organisations from attacks like MontysThree, Kaspersky recommends:


Provide your staff with basic cybersecurity hygiene training, as many targeted attacks start with phishing or other social engineering techniques. Conduct a simulated phishing attack to ensure that they know how to distinguish phishing emails.


Provide your SOC team with access to the latest threat intelligence.


For endpoint level detection, investigation and timely remediation of incidents, implement EDR solutions.


In addition to adopting essential endpoint protection, implement a corporate-grade security solution that detects advanced threats at the network level at an early stage.


Make sure you protect industrial endpoints as well as corporate ones.


Kaspersky www.kaspersky.com October 2020 Instrumentation Monthly


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74