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Monday, 11 November 2019 10:22

Kaspersky finds Platinum APT using new Windows backdoor

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Kaspersky finds Platinum APT using new Windows backdoor Pixabay

A well-known advanced persistent threat known as Platinum has been found to be using a new Windows backdoor, named Platinum by researchers at security outfit Kaspersky, and taking aim at targets mainly in South and South-East Asia. No current campaigns by this backdoor were detected.

A research note from the Kaspersky team said Platinum was one of the more technologically advanced nation-state actors; its backdoors were utilised after a complex process of dropping, downloading and installing.

At every stage, the threat actor took care to hide its presence by behaving like common software such as sound drivers, video creation tools and protection-related software.

Kaspersky said the Titanium backdoor was similar to others that had been used by Platinum.

The research team said: "In every case the default distribution is:

  • "an exploit capable of executing code as a SYSTEM user;
  • "a shellcode to download the next downloader;
  • "a downloader to download an SFX archive that contains a Windows task installation script;
  • "a password-protected SFX archive with a Trojan-backdoor installer;
  • "an installer script (ps1);
  • "a COM object DLL (a loader); and
  • "the Trojan-backdoor itself."

Once the backdoor was ready to go after a complex series of steps which were detailed by Kaspersky, it was able to accept many different commands.

It was able to:

  • Read any file from a file system and send it to the command and control centre;
  • Drop or delete a file in the filesystem;
  • Drop a file and run it;
  • Run a command line and send execution results to the command and control centre;
  • Update configuration parameters (except the AES encryption key); and
  • Operate in interactive mode – allowing the attacker to receive input from console programs and send their output at the command and control centre.

"The Titanium APT has a very complicated infiltration scheme," the Kaspersky team said.

"It involves numerous steps and requires good co-ordination between all of them. In addition, none of the files in the filesystem can be detected as malicious due to the use of encryption and fileless technologies.

"One other feature that makes detection harder is the mimicking of well-known software."

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Sam Varghese

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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.

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