As part of its ongoing Vault 7 leaks, the whistleblower organisation WikiLeaks today revealed about a CIA contractor responsible for analysing advanced malware and hacking techniques being used in the wild by cyber criminals.
According to the documents leaked by WikiLeaks, Raytheon Blackbird Technologies, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) contractor, submitted nearly five such reports to CIA as part of UMBRAGE Component Library (UCL) project between November 2014 and September 2015.
These reports contain brief analysis about proof-of-concept ideas and malware attack vectors — publically presented by security researchers and secretly developed by cyber espionage hacking groups.
Reports submitted by Raytheon were allegedly helping CIA’s Remote Development Branch (RDB) to collect ideas for developing their own advanced malware projects.
It was also revealed in previous Vault 7 leaks that CIA’s UMBRAGE malware development teams also borrow codes from publicly available malware samples to built its own spyware tools.
Here’s the list and brief information of each report:
Report 1 — Raytheon analysts detailed a variant of the HTTPBrowser Remote Access Tool (RAT), which was probably developed in 2015.
The RAT, which is designed to capture keystrokes from the targeted systems, was being used by a Chinese cyber espionage APT group called ‘Emissary Panda.’
Report 2 — This document details a variant of the NfLog Remote Access Tool (RAT), also known as IsSpace, which was being used by Samurai Panda, Identified as another Chinese hacking group.
Equipped with Adobe Flash zero-day exploit CVE-2015-5122 (leaked in Hacking Team dump) and UAC bypass technique, this malware was also able to sniff or enumerate proxy credentials to bypass Windows Firewall.
Report 3 — This report contains details about “Regin” — a very sophisticated malware sample that has been spotted in operation since 2013 and majorly designed for surveillance and data collection.
Regin is a cyber espionage tool, which is said to be more sophisticated than both Stuxnet and Duqu and is believed to be developed by the US intelligence agency NSA.
The malware uses a modular approach that allowed an operator to enable a customised spying. Regin’s design makes the malware highly suited for persistent, long-term mass surveillance operations against targets.
— It details a suspected Russian State-sponsored malware sample called “HammerToss
,” which was discovered in early 2015 and suspected of being operational since late 2014.
What makes HammerToss interesting is its architecture, which leverages Twitter accounts, GitHub accounts, compromised websites, and Cloud-storage to orchestrate command-and-control functions to execute the commands on the targeted systems.
Report 5 — This document details the self-code injection and API hooking methods of information stealing Trojan called “Gamker.”
Gamker uses simple decryption, then drops a copy of itself using a random filename and injects itself into a different process. The trojan also exhibits other typical trojan behaviours.
Previous Vault 7 CIA Leaks
Last week, WikiLeaks revealed CIAs Highrise Project that allowed the spying agency to stealthy collect and forwards stolen data from compromised smartphones to its server through SMS messages.
Since March, the whistle-blowing group has published 17 batches of “Vault 7” series, which includes the latest and last week leaks, along with the following batches:
- BothanSpy and Gyrfalcon — two alleged CIA implants that allowed the spying agency to intercept and exfiltrate SSH credentials from targeted Windows and Linux operating systems using different attack vectors.
- OutlawCountry – An alleged CIA project that allowed it to hack and remotely spy on computers running the Linux operating systems.
- ELSA – the alleged CIA malware that tracks geo-location of targeted PCs and laptops running the Microsoft Windows operating system.
- Brutal Kangaroo – A tool suite for Microsoft Windows used by the agency to targets closed networks or air-gapped computers within an organisation or enterprise without requiring any direct access.
- Cherry Blossom – An agency’s framework, basically a remotely controllable firmware-based implant, used for monitoring the Internet activity of the targeted systems by exploiting vulnerabilities in Wi-Fi devices.
- Pandemic – A CIA’s project that allowed the agency to turn Windows file servers into covert attack machines that can silently infect other computers of interest inside a targeted network.
- Athena – A CIA’s spyware framework that has been designed to take full control over the infected Windows PCs remotely, and works against every version of Microsoft’s Windows operating systems, from Windows XP to Windows 10.
- AfterMidnight and Assassin – Two alleged CIA malware frameworks for the Microsoft Windows platform that has been designed to monitor and report back actions on the infected remote host computer and execute malicious actions.
- Archimedes – Man-in-the-middle (MitM) attack tool allegedly created by the CIA to target computers inside a Local Area Network (LAN).
- Scribbles – A piece of software allegedly designed to embed ‘web beacons’ into confidential documents, allowing the spying agency to track insiders and whistleblowers.
- Grasshopper – Framework that allowed the spying agency to easily create custom malware for breaking into Microsoft’s Windows and bypassing antivirus protection.
- Marble – Source code of a secret anti-forensic framework, basically an obfuscator or a packer used by the CIA to hide the actual source of its malware.
- Dark Matter – Hacking exploits the agency designed to target iPhones and Macs.
- Weeping Angel – Spying tool used by the agency to infiltrate smart TV’s, transforming them into covert microphones.
- Year Zero – Alleged CIA hacking exploits for popular hardware and software.