Security Market Segment LS
Monday, 22 October 2018 08:31

Windows servers still infected by DarkPulsar NSA exploit

Windows servers still infected by DarkPulsar NSA exploit Pixabay

Researchers from security outfit Kaspersky Lab say they have found about 50 systems infected by the DarkPulsar malware, part of the NSA exploits which were dumped online by a group calling itself the Shadow Brokers in 2017.

A research brief written by Andrey Dolgushev, Dmitry Tarakanov and Vasily Berdnikov said DarkPulsar was in the implants category of the dump which included two frameworks called DanderSpritz and FuzzBunch. DarkPulsar was not a backdoor in itself, but just the administrative part of a backdoor.

They said the FuzzBunch framework had various plugins designed to analyse victims, exploit vulnerabilities and schedule tasks while DanderSpritz was designed to examine machines that had been taken over and gather intelligence.

Together, they formed a powerful platform for cyber-espionage.

The trio said they had found about 50 victims, but theorised that the number must have been much higher when DanderSpritz and FuzzBunch were in active use.

They based this on the fact that the DanderSpritz interface allows an attacker to manage a number of victims simultaneously. Additionally, there was a tendency for attackers to delete malware from systems which they were no longer using, so the 50 victims may have been those who were forgotten.

Dolgushev, Tarakanov and Berdnikov said the victims they had found were all running Windows 2003 Server or Windows 2008 Server, and located in Russia, Iran and Egypt. The victims were all connected to the nuclear energy, telecommunications, IT, aerospace and research and development sectors.

They said DarkPulsar showed evidence of being developed by competent people who had plenty of money to spend on creating advanced malware that would persist on a system.

The researchers said DarkPulsar also included functionality to disable NTLM protocol security meaning that the need to enter a username and password during authentication was bypassed, indicating that an attack using this malware was meant to be a long-term one.

There was one bright note, however. " exploit this backdoor on infected victims, the attackers need to know the private RSA key which pairs to the public key embedded in the backdoor," the Kaspersky trio said. "It means that no one except [the] real DarkPulsar’s managers can exploit compromised systems."

They recommended the following measures to avoid infections:

  • Keep your security products up to date;
  • Do not turn security product components off;
  • Keep your OS updated;
  • Install all security patches asap;
  • Use special traffic analysis tools and pay attention to all encrypted traffic;
  • Do not use weak passwords or the same password for several endpoints;
  • Use complex passwords;
  • Do not allow remote connections to endpoints with administration rights; and
  • Do not allow domain administrators to be local administrators with the same credentials.

Subscribe to ITWIRE UPDATE Newsletter here


It's all about Webinars.

Marketing budgets are now focused on Webinars combined with Lead Generation.

If you wish to promote a Webinar we recommend at least a 3 to 4 week campaign prior to your event.

The iTWire campaign will include extensive adverts on our News Site and prominent Newsletter promotion and Promotional News & Editorial. Plus a video interview of the key speaker on iTWire TV which will be used in Promotional Posts on the iTWire Home Page.

Now we are coming out of Lockdown iTWire will be focussed to assisting with your webinatrs and campaigns and assassistance via part payments and extended terms, a Webinar Business Booster Pack and other supportive programs. We can also create your adverts and written content plus coordinate your video interview.

We look forward to discussing your campaign goals with you. Please click the button below.



iTWire TV offers a unique value to the Tech Sector by providing a range of video interviews, news, views and reviews, and also provides the opportunity for vendors to promote your company and your marketing messages.

We work with you to develop the message and conduct the interview or product review in a safe and collaborative way. Unlike other Tech YouTube channels, we create a story around your message and post that on the homepage of ITWire, linking to your message.

In addition, your interview post message can be displayed in up to 7 different post displays on our the site to drive traffic and readers to your video content and downloads. This can be a significant Lead Generation opportunity for your business.

We also provide 3 videos in one recording/sitting if you require so that you have a series of videos to promote to your customers. Your sales team can add your emails to sales collateral and to the footer of their sales and marketing emails.

See the latest in Tech News, Views, Interviews, Reviews, Product Promos and Events. Plus funny videos from our readers and customers.


Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

Share News tips for the iTWire Journalists? Your tip will be anonymous




Guest Opinion

Guest Reviews

Guest Research

Guest Research & Case Studies

Channel News