AA22-277A: Impacket and Exfiltration Tool Used to Steal Sensitive Information from Defense Industrial Base Organization

Cybersecurity
Original release date: October 4, 2022 Summary Actions to Help Protect Against
Russian State-Sponsored Malicious Cyber Activity: • Enforce multifactor
authentication (MFA) on all user accounts. • Implement network segmentation to
separate network segments based on role and functionality. • Update software,
including operating systems, applications, and firmware, on network assets. •
Audit account usage. From November 2021 through January 2022, the
Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) responded to advanced
persistent threat (APT) activity on a Defense Industrial Base (DIB) Sector
organization’s enterprise network. During incident response activities, CISA
uncovered that likely multiple APT groups compromised the organization’s
network, and some APT actors had long-term access to the environment. APT
actors used an open-source toolkit called Impacket to gain their foothold
within the environment and further compromise the network, and also used a
custom data exfiltration tool, CovalentStealer, to steal the victim’s
sensitive data. This joint Cybersecurity Advisory (CSA) provides APT actors
tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) and indicators of compromise (IOCs)
identified during the incident response activities by CISA and a third-party
incident response organization. The CSA includes detection and mitigation
actions to help organizations detect and prevent related APT activity. CISA,
the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the National Security Agency
(NSA) recommend DIB sector and other critical infrastructure organizations
implement the mitigations in this CSA to ensure they are managing and reducing
the impact of cyber threats to their networks. Download the PDF version of
this report: pdf, 692 KB For a downloadable copy of IOCs, see the following
files: Malware Analysis Report (MAR)-10365227-1.stix, 966 kb
MAR-10365227-2.stix, 249B MAR-10365227-3.stix, 3.2 MB Technical Details Threat
Actor Activity Note : This advisory uses the MITRE ATT&CK;® for Enterprise
framework, version 11. See the MITRE ATT&CK; Tactics and Techniques section
for a table of the APT cyber activity mapped to MITRE ATT&CK; for Enterprise
framework. From November 2021 through January 2022, CISA conducted an incident
response engagement on a DIB Sector organization’s enterprise network. The
victim organization also engaged a third-party incident response organization
for assistance. During incident response activities, CISA and the trusted
–third-party identified APT activity on the victim’s network. Some APT actors
gained initial access to the organization’s Microsoft Exchange Server as early
as mid-January 2021. The initial access vector is unknown. Based on log
analysis, the actors gathered information about the exchange environment and
performed mailbox searches within a four-hour period after gaining access. In
the same period, these actors used a compromised administrator account (“Admin
1”) to access the EWS Application Programming Interface (API). In early
February 2021, the actors returned to the network and used Admin 1 to access
EWS API again. In both instances, the actors used a virtual private network
(VPN). Four days later, the APT actors used Windows Command Shell over a
three-day period to interact with the victim’s network. The actors used
Command Shell to learn about the organization’s environment and to collect
sensitive data, including sensitive contract-related information from shared
drives, for eventual exfiltration. The actors manually collected files using
the command-line tool, WinRAR. These files were split into approximately 3MB
chunks located on the Microsoft Exchange server within the CU2\he\debug
directory. See Appendix: Windows Command Shell Activity for additional
information, including specific commands used. During the same period, APT
actors implanted Impacket , a Python toolkit for programmatically constructing
and manipulating network protocols, on another system. The actors used
Impacket to attempt to move laterally to another system. In early March 2021,
APT actors exploited CVE-2021-26855, CVE-2021-26857, CVE-2021-26868, and
CVE-2021-27065 to install 17 China Chopper webshells on the Exchange Server.
Later in March, APT actors installed HyperBro on the Exchange Server and two
other systems. For more information on the HyperBro and webshell samples, see
CISA MAR-10365227-2 and -3 . In April 2021, APT actors used Impacket for
network exploitation activities. See the Use of Impacket section for
additional information. From late July through mid-October 2021, APT actors
employed a custom exfiltration tool, CovalentStealer, to exfiltrate the
remaining sensitive files. See the Use of Custom Exfiltration Tool:
CovalentStealer section for additional information. APT actors maintained
access through mid-January 2022, likely by relying on legitimate credentials.
Use of Impacket CISA discovered activity indicating the use of two Impacket
tools: wmiexec.py and smbexec.py . These tools use Windows Management
Instrumentation (WMI) and Server Message Block (SMB) protocol, respectively,
for creating a semi-interactive shell with the target device. Through the
Command Shell, an Impacket user with credentials can run commands on the
remote device using the Windows management protocols required to support an
enterprise network. The APT cyber actors used existing, compromised
credentials with Impacket to access a higher privileged service account used
by the organization’s multifunctional devices. The threat actors first used
the service account to remotely access the organization’s Microsoft Exchange
server via Outlook Web Access (OWA) from multiple external IP addresses;
shortly afterwards, the actors assigned the Application Impersonation role to
the service account by running the following PowerShell command for managing
Exchange: powershell add-pssnapin *exchange*;New-ManagementRoleAssignment –
name:”Journaling-Logs” -Role:ApplicationImpersonation -User: This command gave
the service account the ability to access other users’ mailboxes. The APT
cyber actors used virtual private network (VPN) and virtual private server
(VPS) providers, M247 and SurfShark, as part of their techniques to remotely
access the Microsoft Exchange server. Use of these hosting providers, which
serves to conceal interaction with victim networks, are common for these
threat actors. According to CISA’s analysis of the victim’s Microsoft Exchange
server Internet Information Services (IIS) logs, the actors used the account
of a former employee to access the EWS. EWS enables access to mailbox items
such as email messages, meetings, and contacts. The source IP address for
these connections is mostly from the VPS hosting provider, M247. Use of Custom
Exfiltration Tool: CovalentStealer The threat actors employed a custom
exfiltration tool, CovalentStealer, to exfiltrate sensitive files.
CovalentStealer is designed to identify file shares on a system, categorize
the files, and upload the files to a remote server. CovalentStealer includes
two configurations that specifically target the victim’s documents using
predetermined files paths and user credentials. CovalentStealer stores the
collected files on a Microsoft OneDrive cloud folder, includes a configuration
file to specify the types of files to collect at specified times and uses a
256-bit AES key for encryption. See CISA MAR-10365227-1 for additional
technical details, including IOCs and detection signatures. MITRE ATT&CK;
Tactics and Techniques MITRE ATT&CK; is a globally accessible knowledge base
of adversary tactics and techniques based on real-world observations. CISA
uses the ATT&CK; Framework as a foundation for the development of specific
threat models and methodologies. Table 1 lists the ATT&CK; techniques employed
by the APT actors. Table 1: Identified APT Enterprise ATT&CK; Tactics and
Techniques Initial Access Technique Title ID Use Valid Accounts T1078 Actors
obtained and abused credentials of existing accounts as a means of gaining
Initial Access, Persistence, Privilege Escalation, or Defense Evasion. In this
case, they exploited an organization’s multifunctional device domain account
used to access the organization’s Microsoft Exchange server via OWA. Execution
Technique Title ID Use Windows Management Instrumentation T1047 Actors used
Impacket tools wmiexec.py and smbexec.py to leverage Windows Management
Instrumentation and execute malicious commands. Command and Scripting
Interpreter T1059 Actors abused command and script interpreters to execute
commands. Command and Scripting Interpreter: PowerShell T1059.001 Actors
abused PowerShell commands and scripts to map shared drives by specifying a
path to one location and retrieving the items from another. See Appendix:
Windows Command Shell Activity for additional information. Command and
Scripting Interpreter: Windows Command Shell T1059.003 Actors abused the
Windows Command Shell to learn about the organization’s environment and to
collect sensitive data. See Appendix: Windows Command Shell Activity for
additional information, including specific commands used. The actors used
Impacket tools, which enable a user with credentials to run commands on the
remote device through the Command Shell. Command and Scripting Interpreter:
Python T1059.006 The actors used two Impacket tools: wmiexec.py and smbexec.py
. Shared Modules T1129 Actors executed malicious payloads via loading shared
modules. The Windows module loader can be instructed to load DLLs from
arbitrary local paths and arbitrary Universal Naming Convention (UNC) network
paths. System Services T1569 Actors abused system services to execute commands
or programs on the victim’s network. Persistence Technique Title ID Use Valid
Accounts T1078 Actors obtained and abused credentials of existing accounts as
a means of gaining Initial Access, Persistence, Privilege Escalation, or
Defense Evasion. Create or Modify System Process T1543 Actors were observed
creating or modifying system processes. Privilege Escalation Technique Title
ID Use Valid Accounts T1078 Actors obtained and abused credentials of existing
accounts as a means of gaining Initial Access, Persistence, Privilege
Escalation, or Defense Evasion. In this case, they exploited an organization’s
multifunctional device domain account used to access the organization’s
Microsoft Exchange server via OWA. Defense Evasion Technique Title ID Use
Masquerading: Match Legitimate Name or Location T1036.005 Actors masqueraded
the archive utility WinRAR.exe by renaming it VMware.exe to evade defenses and
observation. Indicator Removal on Host T1070 Actors deleted or modified
artifacts generated on a host system to remove evidence of their presence or
hinder defenses. Indicator Removal on Host: File Deletion T1070.004 Actors
used the del.exe command with the /f parameter to force the deletion of read-
only files with the *.rar and tempg* wildcards. Valid Accounts T1078 Actors
obtained and abused credentials of existing accounts as a means of gaining
Initial Access, Persistence, Privilege Escalation, or Defense Evasion. In this
case, they exploited an organization’s multifunctional device domain account
used to access the organization’s Microsoft Exchange server via OWA.
Virtualization/Sandbox Evasion: System Checks T1497.001 Actors used Windows
command shell commands to detect and avoid virtualization and analysis
environments. See Appendix: Windows Command Shell Activity for additional
information. Impair Defenses: Disable or Modify Tools T1562.001 Actors used
the taskkill command to probably disable security features. CISA was unable to
determine which application was associated with the Process ID. Hijack
Execution Flow T1574 Actors were observed using hijack execution flow.
Discovery Technique Title ID Use System Network Configuration Discovery T1016
Actors used the systeminfo command to look for details about the network
configurations and settings and determine if the system was a VMware virtual
machine. The threat actor used route print to display the entries in the local
IP routing table. System Network Configuration Discovery: Internet Connection
Discovery T1016.001 Actors checked for internet connectivity on compromised
systems. This may be performed during automated discovery and can be
accomplished in numerous ways. System Owner/User Discovery T1033 Actors
attempted to identify the primary user, currently logged in user, set of users
that commonly use a system, or whether a user is actively using the system.
System Network Connections Discovery T1049 Actors used the netstat command to
display TCP connections, prevent hostname determination of foreign IP
addresses, and specify the protocol for TCP. Process Discovery T1057 Actors
used the tasklist command to get information about running processes on a
system and determine if the system was a VMware virtual machine. The actors
used tasklist.exe and find.exe to display a list of applications and services
with their PIDs for all tasks running on the computer matching the string
“powers.” System Information Discovery T1082 Actors used the ipconfig command
to get detailed information about the operating system and hardware and
determine if the system was a VMware virtual machine. File and Directory
Discovery T1083 Actors enumerated files and directories or may search in
specific locations of a host or network share for certain information within a
file system. Virtualization/Sandbox Evasion: System Checks T1497.001 Actors
used Windows command shell commands to detect and avoid virtualization and
analysis environments. Lateral Movement Technique Title ID Use Remote
Services: SMB/Windows Admin Shares T1021.002 Actors used Valid Accounts to
interact with a remote network share using Server Message Block (SMB) and then
perform actions as the logged-on user. Collection Technique Title ID Use
Archive Collected Data: Archive via Utility T1560.001 Actor used PowerShell
commands and WinRAR to compress and/or encrypt collected data prior to
exfiltration. Data from Network Shared Drive T1039 Actors likely used net
share command to display information about shared resources on the local
computer and decide which directories to exploit, the powershell dir command
to map shared drives to a specified path and retrieve items from another, and
the ntfsinfo command to search network shares on computers they have
compromised to find files of interest. The actors used dir.exe to display a
list of a directory’s files and subdirectories matching a certain text string.
Data Staged: Remote Data Staging T1074.002 The actors split collected files
into approximately 3 MB chunks located on the Exchange server within the
CU2\he\debug directory. Command and Control Technique Title ID Use Non-
Application Layer Protocol T1095 Actors used a non-application layer protocol
for communication between host and Command and Control (C2) server or among
infected hosts within a network. Ingress Tool Transfer T1105 Actors used the
certutil command with three switches to test if they could download files from
the internet. The actors employed CovalentStealer to exfiltrate the files.
Proxy T1090 Actors are known to use VPN and VPS providers, namely M247 and
SurfShark, as part of their techniques to access a network remotely.
Exfiltration Technique Title ID Use Schedule Transfer T1029 Actors scheduled
data exfiltration to be performed only at certain times of day or at certain
intervals and blend traffic patterns with normal activity. Exfiltration Over
Web Service: Exfiltration to Cloud Storage T1567.002 The actor’s
CovalentStealer tool stores collected files on a Microsoft OneDrive cloud
folder. DETECTION Given the actors’ demonstrated capability to maintain
persistent, long-term access in compromised enterprise environments, CISA,
FBI, and NSA encourage organizations to: Monitor logs for connections from
unusual VPSs and VPNs. Examine connection logs for access from unexpected
ranges, particularly from machines hosted by SurfShark and M247. Monitor for
suspicious account use (e.g., inappropriate or unauthorized use of
administrator accounts, service accounts, or third-party accounts). To detect
use of compromised credentials in combination with a VPS, follow the steps
below: Review logs for “impossible logins,” such as logins with changing
username, user agent strings, and IP address combinations or logins where IP
addresses do not align to the expected user’s geographic location. Search for
“impossible travel,” which occurs when a user logs in from multiple IP
addresses that are a significant geographic distance apart (i.e., a person
could not realistically travel between the geographic locations of the two IP
addresses in the time between logins). Note: This detection opportunity can
result in false positives if legitimate users apply VPN solutions before
connecting to networks. Search for one IP used across multiple accounts ,
excluding expected logins. Take note of any M247-associated IP addresses used
along with VPN providers (e.g., SurfShark). Look for successful remote logins
(e.g., VPN, OWA) for IPs coming from M247- or using SurfShark-registered IP
addresses. Identify suspicious privileged account use after resetting
passwords or applying user account mitigations. Search for unusual activity in
typically dormant accounts. Search for unusual user agent strings, such as
strings not typically associated with normal user activity, which may indicate
bot activity. Review the YARA rules provided in MAR-10365227-1 to assist in
determining whether malicious activity has been observed. Monitor for the
installation of unauthorized software, including Remote Server Administration
Tools (e.g., psexec, RdClient, VNC, and ScreenConnect). Monitor for anomalous
and known malicious command-line use. See Appendix: Windows Command Shell
Activity for commands used by the actors to interact with the victim’s
environment. Monitor for unauthorized changes to user accounts (e.g.,
creation, permission changes, and enabling a previously disabled account).
CONTAINMENT AND REMEDIATION Organizations affected by active or recently
active threat actors in their environment can take the following initial steps
to aid in eviction efforts and prevent re-entry: Report the incident. Report
the incident to U.S. Government authorities and follow your organization’s
incident response plan. Report incidents to CISA via CISA’s 24/7 Operations
Center (report@cisa.gov or 888-282-0870). Report incidents to your local FBI
field office at fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices or to FBI’s 24/7 Cyber Watch
(CyWatch) via (855) 292-3937 or CyWatch@fbi.gov . For DIB incident reporting,
contact the Defense Cyber Crime Center (DC3) via DIBNET at
dibnet.dod.mil/portal/intranet or (410) 981 0104. Reset all login accounts.
Reset all accounts used for authentication since it is possible that the
threat actors have additional stolen credentials. Password resets should also
include accounts outside of Microsoft Active Directory, such as network
infrastructure devices and other non-domain joined devices (e.g., IoT
devices). Monitor SIEM logs and build detections. Create signatures based on
the threat actor TTPs and use these signatures to monitor security logs for
any signs of threat actor re-entry. Enforce MFA on all user accounts. Enforce
phishing-resistant MFA on all accounts without exception to the greatest
extent possible. Follow Microsoft’s security guidance for Active Directory
—Best Practices for Securing Active Directory . Audit accounts and
permissions. Audit all accounts to ensure all unused accounts are disabled or
removed and active accounts do not have excessive privileges. Monitor SIEM
logs for any changes to accounts, such as permission changes or enabling a
previously disabled account, as this might indicate a threat actor using these
accounts. Harden and monitor PowerShell by reviewing guidance in the joint
Cybersecurity Information Sheet—Keeping PowerShell: Security Measures to Use
and Embrace . Mitigations Mitigation recommendations are usually longer-term
efforts that take place before a compromise as part of risk management
efforts, or after the threat actors have been evicted from the environment and
the immediate response actions are complete. While some may be tailored to the
TTPs used by the threat actor, recovery recommendations are largely general
best practices and industry standards aimed at bolstering overall
cybersecurity posture. Segment Networks Based on Function Implement network
segmentation to separate network segments based on role and functionality .
Proper network segmentation significantly reduces the ability for ransomware
and other threat actor lateral movement by controlling traffic flows
between—and access to—various subnetworks. (See CISA’s Infographic on Layering
Network Security Through Segmentation and NSA’s Segment Networks and Deploy
Application-Aware Defenses .) Isolate similar systems and implement micro-
segmentation with granular access and policy restrictions to modernize
cybersecurity and adopt Zero Trust (ZT) principles for both network perimeter
and internal devices. Logical and physical segmentation are critical to
limiting and preventing lateral movement, privilege escalation, and
exfiltration. Manage Vulnerabilities and Configurations Update software ,
including operating systems , applications , and firmware , on network assets
. Prioritize patching known exploited vulnerabilities and critical and high
vulnerabilities that allow for remote code execution or denial-of-service on
internet-facing equipment. Implement a configuration change control process
that securely creates device configuration backups to detect unauthorized
modifications. When a configuration change is needed, document the change, and
include the authorization, purpose, and mission justification. Periodically
verify that modifications have not been applied by comparing current device
configurations with the most recent backups. If suspicious changes are
observed, verify the change was authorized. Search for Anomalous Behavior Use
cybersecurity visibility and analytics tools to improve detection of anomalous
behavior and enable dynamic changes to policy and other response actions.
Visibility tools include network monitoring tools and host-based logs and
monitoring tools, such as an endpoint detection and response (EDR) tool. EDR
tools are particularly useful for detecting lateral connections as they have
insight into common and uncommon network connections for each host. Monitor
the use of scripting languages (e.g., Python, Powershell) by authorized and
unauthorized users. Anomalous use by either group may be indicative of
malicious activity, intentional or otherwise. Restrict and Secure Use of
Remote Admin Tools Limit the number of remote access tools as well as who and
what can be accessed using them . Reducing the number of remote admin tools
and their allowed access will increase visibility of unauthorized use of these
tools. Use encrypted services to protect network communications and disable
all clear text administration services (e.g., Telnet, HTTP, FTP, SNMP 1/2c).
This ensures that sensitive information cannot be easily obtained by a threat
actor capturing network traffic. Implement a Mandatory Access Control Model
Implement stringent access controls to sensitive data and resources . Access
should be restricted to those users who require access and to the minimal
level of access needed. Audit Account Usage Monitor VPN logins to look for
suspicious access (e.g., logins from unusual geo locations, remote logins from
accounts not normally used for remote access, concurrent logins for the same
account from different locations, unusual times of the day). Closely monitor
the use of administrative accounts . Admin accounts should be used sparingly
and only when necessary, such as installing new software or patches. Any use
of admin accounts should be reviewed to determine if the activity is
legitimate. Ensure standard user accounts do not have elevated privileges Any
attempt to increase permissions on standard user accounts should be
investigated as a potential compromise. VALIDATE SECURITY CONTROLS In addition
to applying mitigations, CISA, FBI, and NSA recommend exercising, testing, and
validating your organization’s security program against threat behaviors
mapped to the MITRE ATT&CK; for Enterprise framework in this advisory. CISA,
FBI, and NSA recommend testing your existing security controls inventory to
assess how they perform against the ATT&CK; techniques described in this
advisory. To get started: Select an ATT&CK; technique described in this
advisory (see Table 1). Align your security technologies against the
technique. Test your technologies against the technique. Analyze the
performance of your detection and prevention technologies. Repeat the process
for all security technologies to obtain a set of comprehensive performance
data. Tune your security program, including people, processes, and
technologies, based on the data generated by this process. CISA, FBI, and NSA
recommend continually testing your security program, at scale, in a production
environment to ensure optimal performance against the MITRE ATT&CK; techniques
identified in this advisory. RESOURCES CISA offers several no-cost scanning
and testing services to help organizations reduce their exposure to threats by
taking a proactive approach to mitigating attack vectors. See cisa.gov/cyber-
hygiene-services . U.S. DIB sector organizations may consider signing up for
the NSA Cybersecurity Collaboration Center’s DIB Cybersecurity Service
Offerings, including Protective Domain Name System (PDNS) services,
vulnerability scanning, and threat intelligence collaboration for eligible
organizations. For more information on how to enroll in these services, email
dib_defense@cyber.nsa.gov . ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS CISA, FBI, and NSA acknowledge
Mandiant for its contributions to this CSA. APPENDIX: WINDOWS COMMAND SHELL
ACTIVITY Over a three-day period in February 2021, APT cyber actors used
Windows Command Shell to interact with the victim’s environment. When
interacting with the victim’s system and executing commands, the threat actors
used /q and /c parameters to turn the echo off, carry out the command
specified by a string, and stop its execution once completed. On the first
day, the threat actors consecutively executed many commands within the Windows
Command Shell to learn about the organization’s environment and to collect
sensitive data for eventual exfiltration (see Table 2). Table 2: Windows
Command Shell Activity (Day 1) Command Description / Use net share Used to
create, configure, and delete network shares from the command-line.[ 1 ] The
threat actor likely used this command to dis play information about shared
resources on the local computer and decide which directories to exploit .
powershell dir An alias (shorthand) for the PowerShell Get-ChildItem cmdlet.
This command maps shared drives by specifying a path to one location and
retrieving the items from another. [2 ] The threat actor added additional
switches (aka options, parameters, or flags) to form a “one liner,” an
expression to describe commonly used commands used in exploitation: powershell
dir -recurse -path e:\|select fullname,length|export-csv
c:\windows\temp\temp.txt . This particular command lists subdirectories of the
target environme nt when. systeminfo Displays detailed configuration
information [3 ], tasklist – lists currently running processes [4 ], and
ipconfig – displays all current Transmission Control Protocol (TCP)/IP network
configuration values and refreshes Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)
and Domain Name System (DNS) settings, respectively [ 5 ]. The threat actor
used these commands with specific switches to determine if the system was a
VMware virtual machine: systeminfo > vmware & date /T , tasklist /v > vmware &
date /T , and ipconfig /all >> vmware & date / . route print Used to d isplay
and modify the entries in the local IP routing table. [ 6 ] The threat actor
used this command to display the entries in the local IP routing table.
netstat Used to display active TCP connections, ports on which the computer is
listening, Ethernet statistics, the IP routing table, IPv4 statistics, and
IPv6 statistics.[ 7 ] The threat actor used this command with three switches
to display TCP connections, prevent hostname determination of foreign IP
addresses, and specify the protocol for TCP: netstat -anp tcp . certutil Used
to dump and display certification authority (CA) configuration information,
configure Certificate Services, backup and restore CA components, and verify
certificates, key pairs, and certificate chains.[ 8 ] The threat actor used
thi s command with three switches to test if they could download files from
the internet: certutil -urlcache -split -f https://microsoft.com temp.html .
ping Sends Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) echoes to verify
connectivity to another TCP/IP computer.[ 9 ] The threat actor used ping -n 2
apple.com to either test their internet connection or to detect and avoid
virtualization and analysis environments or network restrictions. taskkill
Used to end tasks or processes.[ 10 ] The threat actor used taskkill /F /PID
8952 to probably disable security features. CISA was unable to determine what
this process was as the process identifier (PID) numbers are dynamic.
PowerShell Compress-Archive cmdlet Used to create a compressed archive or to
zip files from specified files and directories.[ 11 ] The threat actor used
parameters indicating shared drives as file and folder sources and the
destination archive as zipped files. Specifically, they collected sensitive
contract-related information from the shared drives. On the second day, the
APT cyber actors executed the commands in Table 3 to perform discovery as well
as collect and archive data. Table 3: Windows Command Shell Activity (Day 2)
Command Description / Use ntfsinfo.exe Used to obtain volume information from
the New Technology File System (NTFS) and to print it along with a directory
dump of NTFS meta-data files.[12 ] WinRAR.exe Used to compress files and
subsequently masqueraded WinRAR.exe by renaming it VMware.exe .[13 ] On the
third day, the APT cyber actors returned to the organization’s network and
executed the commands in Table 4. Table 4: Windows Command Shell Activity (Day
3) Command Description / Use powershell -ep bypass import-module
.\vmware.ps1;export-mft -volume e Threat actors ran a PowerShell command with
parameters to change the execution mode and bypass the Execution Policy to run
the script from PowerShell and add a module to the current section: powershell
-ep bypass import-module .\vmware.ps1;export-mft -volume e . This module
appears to acquire and export the Master File Table (MFT) for volume E for
further analysis by the cyber actor.[ 14 ] set.exe Used to display the current
environment variable settings.[ 15 ] (An environment variable is a dynamic
value pointing to system or user environments (folders) of the system. System
environment variables are defined by the system and used globally by all
users, while user environment variables are only used by the user who declared
that variable and they override the system environment variables (even if the
variables are named the same). dir.exe Used to display a list of a directory’s
files and subdirectories matching the eagx* text string, likely to confirm the
existence of such file. tasklist.exe and find.exe Used to display a list of
applications and services with their PIDs for all tasks running on the
computer matching the string “powers”.[ 16 ][ 17 ][ 18 ] ping.exe Used to send
two ICMP echos to amazon.com . This could have been to detect or avoid
virtualization and analysis environments, circumvent network restrictions, or
test their internet connection.[ 19 ] del.exe with the /f parameter Used to
force the deletion of read-only files with the *.rar and tempg* wildcards.[ 20
] References [1] Microsoft Net Share [2] Microsoft Get-ChildItem [3] Microsoft
systeminfo [4] Microsoft tasklist [5] Microsoft ipconfig [6] Microsoft Route
[7] Microsoft netstat [8] Microsoft certutil [9] Microsoft ping [10] Microsoft
taskkill [11] Microsoft Compress-Archive [12] NTFSInfo v1.2 [13] rarlab [14]
Microsoft Import-Module [15] Microsoft set (environment variable) [16]
Microsoft tasklist [17] Mitre ATT&CK; \- Sofware: TaskList [18] Microsoft find
[19] Microsoft ping [20] Microsoft del Revisions October 4, 2022: Initial
version This product is provided subject to this Notification and this Privacy
& Use policy.Original release date: October 4, 2022 Summary Actions to Help Protect Against
Russian State-Sponsored Malicious Cyber Activity: • Enforce multifactor
authentication (MFA) on all user accounts. • Implement network segmentation to
separate network segments based on role and functionality. • Update software,
including operating systems, applications, and firmware, on network assets. •
Audit account usage. From November 2021 through January 2022, the
Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) responded to advanced
persistent threat (APT) activity on a Defense Industrial Base (DIB) Sector
organization’s enterprise network. During incident response activities, CISA
uncovered that likely multiple APT groups compromised the organization’s
network, and some APT actors had long-term access to the environment. APT
actors used an open-source toolkit called Impacket to gain their foothold
within the environment and further compromise the network, and also used a
custom data exfiltration tool, CovalentStealer, to steal the victim’s
sensitive data. This joint Cybersecurity Advisory (CSA) provides APT actors
tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) and indicators of compromise (IOCs)
identified during the incident response activities by CISA and a third-party
incident response organization. The CSA includes detection and mitigation
actions to help organizations detect and prevent related APT activity. CISA,
the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the National Security Agency
(NSA) recommend DIB sector and other critical infrastructure organizations
implement the mitigations in this CSA to ensure they are managing and reducing
the impact of cyber threats to their networks. Download the PDF version of
this report: pdf, 692 KB For a downloadable copy of IOCs, see the following
files: Malware Analysis Report (MAR)-10365227-1.stix, 966 kb
MAR-10365227-2.stix, 249B MAR-10365227-3.stix, 3.2 MB Technical Details Threat
Actor Activity Note : This advisory uses the MITRE ATT&CK;® for Enterprise
framework, version 11. See the MITRE ATT&CK; Tactics and Techniques section
for a table of the APT cyber activity mapped to MITRE ATT&CK; for Enterprise
framework. From November 2021 through January 2022, CISA conducted an incident
response engagement on a DIB Sector organization’s enterprise network. The
victim organization also engaged a third-party incident response organization
for assistance. During incident response activities, CISA and the trusted
–third-party identified APT activity on the victim’s network. Some APT actors
gained initial access to the organization’s Microsoft Exchange Server as early
as mid-January 2021. The initial access vector is unknown. Based on log
analysis, the actors gathered information about the exchange environment and
performed mailbox searches within a four-hour period after gaining access. In
the same period, these actors used a compromised administrator account (“Admin
1”) to access the EWS Application Programming Interface (API). In early
February 2021, the actors returned to the network and used Admin 1 to access
EWS API again. In both instances, the actors used a virtual private network
(VPN). Four days later, the APT actors used Windows Command Shell over a
three-day period to interact with the victim’s network. The actors used
Command Shell to learn about the organization’s environment and to collect
sensitive data, including sensitive contract-related information from shared
drives, for eventual exfiltration. The actors manually collected files using
the command-line tool, WinRAR. These files were split into approximately 3MB
chunks located on the Microsoft Exchange server within the CU2\he\debug
directory. See Appendix: Windows Command Shell Activity for additional
information, including specific commands used. During the same period, APT
actors implanted Impacket , a Python toolkit for programmatically constructing
and manipulating network protocols, on another system. The actors used
Impacket to attempt to move laterally to another system. In early March 2021,
APT actors exploited CVE-2021-26855, CVE-2021-26857, CVE-2021-26868, and
CVE-2021-27065 to install 17 China Chopper webshells on the Exchange Server.
Later in March, APT actors installed HyperBro on the Exchange Server and two
other systems. For more information on the HyperBro and webshell samples, see
CISA MAR-10365227-2 and -3 . In April 2021, APT actors used Impacket for
network exploitation activities. See the Use of Impacket section for
additional information. From late July through mid-October 2021, APT actors
employed a custom exfiltration tool, CovalentStealer, to exfiltrate the
remaining sensitive files. See the Use of Custom Exfiltration Tool:
CovalentStealer section for additional information. APT actors maintained
access through mid-January 2022, likely by relying on legitimate credentials.
Use of Impacket CISA discovered activity indicating the use of two Impacket
tools: wmiexec.py and smbexec.py . These tools use Windows Management
Instrumentation (WMI) and Server Message Block (SMB) protocol, respectively,
for creating a semi-interactive shell with the target device. Through the
Command Shell, an Impacket user with credentials can run commands on the
remote device using the Windows management protocols required to support an
enterprise network. The APT cyber actors used existing, compromised
credentials with Impacket to access a higher privileged service account used
by the organization’s multifunctional devices. The threat actors first used
the service account to remotely access the organization’s Microsoft Exchange
server via Outlook Web Access (OWA) from multiple external IP addresses;
shortly afterwards, the actors assigned the Application Impersonation role to
the service account by running the following PowerShell command for managing
Exchange: powershell add-pssnapin *exchange*;New-ManagementRoleAssignment –
name:”Journaling-Logs” -Role:ApplicationImpersonation -User: This command gave
the service account the ability to access other users’ mailboxes. The APT
cyber actors used virtual private network (VPN) and virtual private server
(VPS) providers, M247 and SurfShark, as part of their techniques to remotely
access the Microsoft Exchange server. Use of these hosting providers, which
serves to conceal interaction with victim networks, are common for these
threat actors. According to CISA’s analysis of the victim’s Microsoft Exchange
server Internet Information Services (IIS) logs, the actors used the account
of a former employee to access the EWS. EWS enables access to mailbox items
such as email messages, meetings, and contacts. The source IP address for
these connections is mostly from the VPS hosting provider, M247. Use of Custom
Exfiltration Tool: CovalentStealer The threat actors employed a custom
exfiltration tool, CovalentStealer, to exfiltrate sensitive files.
CovalentStealer is designed to identify file shares on a system, categorize
the files, and upload the files to a remote server. CovalentStealer includes
two configurations that specifically target the victim’s documents using
predetermined files paths and user credentials. CovalentStealer stores the
collected files on a Microsoft OneDrive cloud folder, includes a configuration
file to specify the types of files to collect at specified times and uses a
256-bit AES key for encryption. See CISA MAR-10365227-1 for additional
technical details, including IOCs and detection signatures. MITRE ATT&CK;
Tactics and Techniques MITRE ATT&CK; is a globally accessible knowledge base
of adversary tactics and techniques based on real-world observations. CISA
uses the ATT&CK; Framework as a foundation for the development of specific
threat models and methodologies. Table 1 lists the ATT&CK; techniques employed
by the APT actors. Table 1: Identified APT Enterprise ATT&CK; Tactics and
Techniques Initial Access Technique Title ID Use Valid Accounts T1078 Actors
obtained and abused credentials of existing accounts as a means of gaining
Initial Access, Persistence, Privilege Escalation, or Defense Evasion. In this
case, they exploited an organization’s multifunctional device domain account
used to access the organization’s Microsoft Exchange server via OWA. Execution
Technique Title ID Use Windows Management Instrumentation T1047 Actors used
Impacket tools wmiexec.py and smbexec.py to leverage Windows Management
Instrumentation and execute malicious commands. Command and Scripting
Interpreter T1059 Actors abused command and script interpreters to execute
commands. Command and Scripting Interpreter: PowerShell T1059.001 Actors
abused PowerShell commands and scripts to map shared drives by specifying a
path to one location and retrieving the items from another. See Appendix:
Windows Command Shell Activity for additional information. Command and
Scripting Interpreter: Windows Command Shell T1059.003 Actors abused the
Windows Command Shell to learn about the organization’s environment and to
collect sensitive data. See Appendix: Windows Command Shell Activity for
additional information, including specific commands used. The actors used
Impacket tools, which enable a user with credentials to run commands on the
remote device through the Command Shell. Command and Scripting Interpreter:
Python T1059.006 The actors used two Impacket tools: wmiexec.py and smbexec.py
. Shared Modules T1129 Actors executed malicious payloads via loading shared
modules. The Windows module loader can be instructed to load DLLs from
arbitrary local paths and arbitrary Universal Naming Convention (UNC) network
paths. System Services T1569 Actors abused system services to execute commands
or programs on the victim’s network. Persistence Technique Title ID Use Valid
Accounts T1078 Actors obtained and abused credentials of existing accounts as
a means of gaining Initial Access, Persistence, Privilege Escalation, or
Defense Evasion. Create or Modify System Process T1543 Actors were observed
creating or modifying system processes. Privilege Escalation Technique Title
ID Use Valid Accounts T1078 Actors obtained and abused credentials of existing
accounts as a means of gaining Initial Access, Persistence, Privilege
Escalation, or Defense Evasion. In this case, they exploited an organization’s
multifunctional device domain account used to access the organization’s
Microsoft Exchange server via OWA. Defense Evasion Technique Title ID Use
Masquerading: Match Legitimate Name or Location T1036.005 Actors masqueraded
the archive utility WinRAR.exe by renaming it VMware.exe to evade defenses and
observation. Indicator Removal on Host T1070 Actors deleted or modified
artifacts generated on a host system to remove evidence of their presence or
hinder defenses. Indicator Removal on Host: File Deletion T1070.004 Actors
used the del.exe command with the /f parameter to force the deletion of read-
only files with the *.rar and tempg* wildcards. Valid Accounts T1078 Actors
obtained and abused credentials of existing accounts as a means of gaining
Initial Access, Persistence, Privilege Escalation, or Defense Evasion. In this
case, they exploited an organization’s multifunctional device domain account
used to access the organization’s Microsoft Exchange server via OWA.
Virtualization/Sandbox Evasion: System Checks T1497.001 Actors used Windows
command shell commands to detect and avoid virtualization and analysis
environments. See Appendix: Windows Command Shell Activity for additional
information. Impair Defenses: Disable or Modify Tools T1562.001 Actors used
the taskkill command to probably disable security features. CISA was unable to
determine which application was associated with the Process ID. Hijack
Execution Flow T1574 Actors were observed using hijack execution flow.
Discovery Technique Title ID Use System Network Configuration Discovery T1016
Actors used the systeminfo command to look for details about the network
configurations and settings and determine if the system was a VMware virtual
machine. The threat actor used route print to display the entries in the local
IP routing table. System Network Configuration Discovery: Internet Connection
Discovery T1016.001 Actors checked for internet connectivity on compromised
systems. This may be performed during automated discovery and can be
accomplished in numerous ways. System Owner/User Discovery T1033 Actors
attempted to identify the primary user, currently logged in user, set of users
that commonly use a system, or whether a user is actively using the system.
System Network Connections Discovery T1049 Actors used the netstat command to
display TCP connections, prevent hostname determination of foreign IP
addresses, and specify the protocol for TCP. Process Discovery T1057 Actors
used the tasklist command to get information about running processes on a
system and determine if the system was a VMware virtual machine. The actors
used tasklist.exe and find.exe to display a list of applications and services
with their PIDs for all tasks running on the computer matching the string
“powers.” System Information Discovery T1082 Actors used the ipconfig command
to get detailed information about the operating system and hardware and
determine if the system was a VMware virtual machine. File and Directory
Discovery T1083 Actors enumerated files and directories or may search in
specific locations of a host or network share for certain information within a
file system. Virtualization/Sandbox Evasion: System Checks T1497.001 Actors
used Windows command shell commands to detect and avoid virtualization and
analysis environments. Lateral Movement Technique Title ID Use Remote
Services: SMB/Windows Admin Shares T1021.002 Actors used Valid Accounts to
interact with a remote network share using Server Message Block (SMB) and then
perform actions as the logged-on user. Collection Technique Title ID Use
Archive Collected Data: Archive via Utility T1560.001 Actor used PowerShell
commands and WinRAR to compress and/or encrypt collected data prior to
exfiltration. Data from Network Shared Drive T1039 Actors likely used net
share command to display information about shared resources on the local
computer and decide which directories to exploit, the powershell dir command
to map shared drives to a specified path and retrieve items from another, and
the ntfsinfo command to search network shares on computers they have
compromised to find files of interest. The actors used dir.exe to display a
list of a directory’s files and subdirectories matching a certain text string.
Data Staged: Remote Data Staging T1074.002 The actors split collected files
into approximately 3 MB chunks located on the Exchange server within the
CU2\he\debug directory. Command and Control Technique Title ID Use Non-
Application Layer Protocol T1095 Actors used a non-application layer protocol
for communication between host and Command and Control (C2) server or among
infected hosts within a network. Ingress Tool Transfer T1105 Actors used the
certutil command with three switches to test if they could download files from
the internet. The actors employed CovalentStealer to exfiltrate the files.
Proxy T1090 Actors are known to use VPN and VPS providers, namely M247 and
SurfShark, as part of their techniques to access a network remotely.
Exfiltration Technique Title ID Use Schedule Transfer T1029 Actors scheduled
data exfiltration to be performed only at certain times of day or at certain
intervals and blend traffic patterns with normal activity. Exfiltration Over
Web Service: Exfiltration to Cloud Storage T1567.002 The actor’s
CovalentStealer tool stores collected files on a Microsoft OneDrive cloud
folder. DETECTION Given the actors’ demonstrated capability to maintain
persistent, long-term access in compromised enterprise environments, CISA,
FBI, and NSA encourage organizations to: Monitor logs for connections from
unusual VPSs and VPNs. Examine connection logs for access from unexpected
ranges, particularly from machines hosted by SurfShark and M247. Monitor for
suspicious account use (e.g., inappropriate or unauthorized use of
administrator accounts, service accounts, or third-party accounts). To detect
use of compromised credentials in combination with a VPS, follow the steps
below: Review logs for “impossible logins,” such as logins with changing
username, user agent strings, and IP address combinations or logins where IP
addresses do not align to the expected user’s geographic location. Search for
“impossible travel,” which occurs when a user logs in from multiple IP
addresses that are a significant geographic distance apart (i.e., a person
could not realistically travel between the geographic locations of the two IP
addresses in the time between logins). Note: This detection opportunity can
result in false positives if legitimate users apply VPN solutions before
connecting to networks. Search for one IP used across multiple accounts ,
excluding expected logins. Take note of any M247-associated IP addresses used
along with VPN providers (e.g., SurfShark). Look for successful remote logins
(e.g., VPN, OWA) for IPs coming from M247- or using SurfShark-registered IP
addresses. Identify suspicious privileged account use after resetting
passwords or applying user account mitigations. Search for unusual activity in
typically dormant accounts. Search for unusual user agent strings, such as
strings not typically associated with normal user activity, which may indicate
bot activity. Review the YARA rules provided in MAR-10365227-1 to assist in
determining whether malicious activity has been observed. Monitor for the
installation of unauthorized software, including Remote Server Administration
Tools (e.g., psexec, RdClient, VNC, and ScreenConnect). Monitor for anomalous
and known malicious command-line use. See Appendix: Windows Command Shell
Activity for commands used by the actors to interact with the victim’s
environment. Monitor for unauthorized changes to user accounts (e.g.,
creation, permission changes, and enabling a previously disabled account).
CONTAINMENT AND REMEDIATION Organizations affected by active or recently
active threat actors in their environment can take the following initial steps
to aid in eviction efforts and prevent re-entry: Report the incident. Report
the incident to U.S. Government authorities and follow your organization’s
incident response plan. Report incidents to CISA via CISA’s 24/7 Operations
Center (report@cisa.gov or 888-282-0870). Report incidents to your local FBI
field office at fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices or to FBI’s 24/7 Cyber Watch
(CyWatch) via (855) 292-3937 or CyWatch@fbi.gov . For DIB incident reporting,
contact the Defense Cyber Crime Center (DC3) via DIBNET at
dibnet.dod.mil/portal/intranet or (410) 981 0104. Reset all login accounts.
Reset all accounts used for authentication since it is possible that the
threat actors have additional stolen credentials. Password resets should also
include accounts outside of Microsoft Active Directory, such as network
infrastructure devices and other non-domain joined devices (e.g., IoT
devices). Monitor SIEM logs and build detections. Create signatures based on
the threat actor TTPs and use these signatures to monitor security logs for
any signs of threat actor re-entry. Enforce MFA on all user accounts. Enforce
phishing-resistant MFA on all accounts without exception to the greatest
extent possible. Follow Microsoft’s security guidance for Active Directory
—Best Practices for Securing Active Directory . Audit accounts and
permissions. Audit all accounts to ensure all unused accounts are disabled or
removed and active accounts do not have excessive privileges. Monitor SIEM
logs for any changes to accounts, such as permission changes or enabling a
previously disabled account, as this might indicate a threat actor using these
accounts. Harden and monitor PowerShell by reviewing guidance in the joint
Cybersecurity Information Sheet—Keeping PowerShell: Security Measures to Use
and Embrace . Mitigations Mitigation recommendations are usually longer-term
efforts that take place before a compromise as part of risk management
efforts, or after the threat actors have been evicted from the environment and
the immediate response actions are complete. While some may be tailored to the
TTPs used by the threat actor, recovery recommendations are largely general
best practices and industry standards aimed at bolstering overall
cybersecurity posture. Segment Networks Based on Function Implement network
segmentation to separate network segments based on role and functionality .
Proper network segmentation significantly reduces the ability for ransomware
and other threat actor lateral movement by controlling traffic flows
between—and access to—various subnetworks. (See CISA’s Infographic on Layering
Network Security Through Segmentation and NSA’s Segment Networks and Deploy
Application-Aware Defenses .) Isolate similar systems and implement micro-
segmentation with granular access and policy restrictions to modernize
cybersecurity and adopt Zero Trust (ZT) principles for both network perimeter
and internal devices. Logical and physical segmentation are critical to
limiting and preventing lateral movement, privilege escalation, and
exfiltration. Manage Vulnerabilities and Configurations Update software ,
including operating systems , applications , and firmware , on network assets
. Prioritize patching known exploited vulnerabilities and critical and high
vulnerabilities that allow for remote code execution or denial-of-service on
internet-facing equipment. Implement a configuration change control process
that securely creates device configuration backups to detect unauthorized
modifications. When a configuration change is needed, document the change, and
include the authorization, purpose, and mission justification. Periodically
verify that modifications have not been applied by comparing current device
configurations with the most recent backups. If suspicious changes are
observed, verify the change was authorized. Search for Anomalous Behavior Use
cybersecurity visibility and analytics tools to improve detection of anomalous
behavior and enable dynamic changes to policy and other response actions.
Visibility tools include network monitoring tools and host-based logs and
monitoring tools, such as an endpoint detection and response (EDR) tool. EDR
tools are particularly useful for detecting lateral connections as they have
insight into common and uncommon network connections for each host. Monitor
the use of scripting languages (e.g., Python, Powershell) by authorized and
unauthorized users. Anomalous use by either group may be indicative of
malicious activity, intentional or otherwise. Restrict and Secure Use of
Remote Admin Tools Limit the number of remote access tools as well as who and
what can be accessed using them . Reducing the number of remote admin tools
and their allowed access will increase visibility of unauthorized use of these
tools. Use encrypted services to protect network communications and disable
all clear text administration services (e.g., Telnet, HTTP, FTP, SNMP 1/2c).
This ensures that sensitive information cannot be easily obtained by a threat
actor capturing network traffic. Implement a Mandatory Access Control Model
Implement stringent access controls to sensitive data and resources . Access
should be restricted to those users who require access and to the minimal
level of access needed. Audit Account Usage Monitor VPN logins to look for
suspicious access (e.g., logins from unusual geo locations, remote logins from
accounts not normally used for remote access, concurrent logins for the same
account from different locations, unusual times of the day). Closely monitor
the use of administrative accounts . Admin accounts should be used sparingly
and only when necessary, such as installing new software or patches. Any use
of admin accounts should be reviewed to determine if the activity is
legitimate. Ensure standard user accounts do not have elevated privileges Any
attempt to increase permissions on standard user accounts should be
investigated as a potential compromise. VALIDATE SECURITY CONTROLS In addition
to applying mitigations, CISA, FBI, and NSA recommend exercising, testing, and
validating your organization’s security program against threat behaviors
mapped to the MITRE ATT&CK; for Enterprise framework in this advisory. CISA,
FBI, and NSA recommend testing your existing security controls inventory to
assess how they perform against the ATT&CK; techniques described in this
advisory. To get started: Select an ATT&CK; technique described in this
advisory (see Table 1). Align your security technologies against the
technique. Test your technologies against the technique. Analyze the
performance of your detection and prevention technologies. Repeat the process
for all security technologies to obtain a set of comprehensive performance
data. Tune your security program, including people, processes, and
technologies, based on the data generated by this process. CISA, FBI, and NSA
recommend continually testing your security program, at scale, in a production
environment to ensure optimal performance against the MITRE ATT&CK; techniques
identified in this advisory. RESOURCES CISA offers several no-cost scanning
and testing services to help organizations reduce their exposure to threats by
taking a proactive approach to mitigating attack vectors. See cisa.gov/cyber-
hygiene-services . U.S. DIB sector organizations may consider signing up for
the NSA Cybersecurity Collaboration Center’s DIB Cybersecurity Service
Offerings, including Protective Domain Name System (PDNS) services,
vulnerability scanning, and threat intelligence collaboration for eligible
organizations. For more information on how to enroll in these services, email
dib_defense@cyber.nsa.gov . ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS CISA, FBI, and NSA acknowledge
Mandiant for its contributions to this CSA. APPENDIX: WINDOWS COMMAND SHELL
ACTIVITY Over a three-day period in February 2021, APT cyber actors used
Windows Command Shell to interact with the victim’s environment. When
interacting with the victim’s system and executing commands, the threat actors
used /q and /c parameters to turn the echo off, carry out the command
specified by a string, and stop its execution once completed. On the first
day, the threat actors consecutively executed many commands within the Windows
Command Shell to learn about the organization’s environment and to collect
sensitive data for eventual exfiltration (see Table 2). Table 2: Windows
Command Shell Activity (Day 1) Command Description / Use net share Used to
create, configure, and delete network shares from the command-line.[ 1 ] The
threat actor likely used this command to dis play information about shared
resources on the local computer and decide which directories to exploit .
powershell dir An alias (shorthand) for the PowerShell Get-ChildItem cmdlet.
This command maps shared drives by specifying a path to one location and
retrieving the items from another. [2 ] The threat actor added additional
switches (aka options, parameters, or flags) to form a “one liner,” an
expression to describe commonly used commands used in exploitation: powershell
dir -recurse -path e:\|select fullname,length|export-csv
c:\windows\temp\temp.txt . This particular command lists subdirectories of the
target environme nt when. systeminfo Displays detailed configuration
information [3 ], tasklist – lists currently running processes [4 ], and
ipconfig – displays all current Transmission Control Protocol (TCP)/IP network
configuration values and refreshes Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)
and Domain Name System (DNS) settings, respectively [ 5 ]. The threat actor
used these commands with specific switches to determine if the system was a
VMware virtual machine: systeminfo > vmware & date /T , tasklist /v > vmware &
date /T , and ipconfig /all >> vmware & date / . route print Used to d isplay
and modify the entries in the local IP routing table. [ 6 ] The threat actor
used this command to display the entries in the local IP routing table.
netstat Used to display active TCP connections, ports on which the computer is
listening, Ethernet statistics, the IP routing table, IPv4 statistics, and
IPv6 statistics.[ 7 ] The threat actor used this command with three switches
to display TCP connections, prevent hostname determination of foreign IP
addresses, and specify the protocol for TCP: netstat -anp tcp . certutil Used
to dump and display certification authority (CA) configuration information,
configure Certificate Services, backup and restore CA components, and verify
certificates, key pairs, and certificate chains.[ 8 ] The threat actor used
thi s command with three switches to test if they could download files from
the internet: certutil -urlcache -split -f https://microsoft.com temp.html .
ping Sends Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) echoes to verify
connectivity to another TCP/IP computer.[ 9 ] The threat actor used ping -n 2
apple.com to either test their internet connection or to detect and avoid
virtualization and analysis environments or network restrictions. taskkill
Used to end tasks or processes.[ 10 ] The threat actor used taskkill /F /PID
8952 to probably disable security features. CISA was unable to determine what
this process was as the process identifier (PID) numbers are dynamic.
PowerShell Compress-Archive cmdlet Used to create a compressed archive or to
zip files from specified files and directories.[ 11 ] The threat actor used
parameters indicating shared drives as file and folder sources and the
destination archive as zipped files. Specifically, they collected sensitive
contract-related information from the shared drives. On the second day, the
APT cyber actors executed the commands in Table 3 to perform discovery as well
as collect and archive data. Table 3: Windows Command Shell Activity (Day 2)
Command Description / Use ntfsinfo.exe Used to obtain volume information from
the New Technology File System (NTFS) and to print it along with a directory
dump of NTFS meta-data files.[12 ] WinRAR.exe Used to compress files and
subsequently masqueraded WinRAR.exe by renaming it VMware.exe .[13 ] On the
third day, the APT cyber actors returned to the organization’s network and
executed the commands in Table 4. Table 4: Windows Command Shell Activity (Day
3) Command Description / Use powershell -ep bypass import-module
.\vmware.ps1;export-mft -volume e Threat actors ran a PowerShell command with
parameters to change the execution mode and bypass the Execution Policy to run
the script from PowerShell and add a module to the current section: powershell
-ep bypass import-module .\vmware.ps1;export-mft -volume e . This module
appears to acquire and export the Master File Table (MFT) for volume E for
further analysis by the cyber actor.[ 14 ] set.exe Used to display the current
environment variable settings.[ 15 ] (An environment variable is a dynamic
value pointing to system or user environments (folders) of the system. System
environment variables are defined by the system and used globally by all
users, while user environment variables are only used by the user who declared
that variable and they override the system environment variables (even if the
variables are named the same). dir.exe Used to display a list of a directory’s
files and subdirectories matching the eagx* text string, likely to confirm the
existence of such file. tasklist.exe and find.exe Used to display a list of
applications and services with their PIDs for all tasks running on the
computer matching the string “powers”.[ 16 ][ 17 ][ 18 ] ping.exe Used to send
two ICMP echos to amazon.com . This could have been to detect or avoid
virtualization and analysis environments, circumvent network restrictions, or
test their internet connection.[ 19 ] del.exe with the /f parameter Used to
force the deletion of read-only files with the *.rar and tempg* wildcards.[ 20
] References [1] Microsoft Net Share [2] Microsoft Get-ChildItem [3] Microsoft
systeminfo [4] Microsoft tasklist [5] Microsoft ipconfig [6] Microsoft Route
[7] Microsoft netstat [8] Microsoft certutil [9] Microsoft ping [10] Microsoft
taskkill [11] Microsoft Compress-Archive [12] NTFSInfo v1.2 [13] rarlab [14]
Microsoft Import-Module [15] Microsoft set (environment variable) [16]
Microsoft tasklist [17] Mitre ATT&CK; \- Sofware: TaskList [18] Microsoft find
[19] Microsoft ping [20] Microsoft del Revisions October 4, 2022: Initial
version This product is provided subject to this Notification and this Privacy
& Use policy. October 04 2022 12:58:00
AA22-277A: Impacket and Exfiltration Tool Used to Steal Sensitive Information from Defense Industrial Base Organization

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