The trojan can exploit other known vulnerabilities to spread on internal networks after the initial infection, Check Point said in a detailed blog post about its find. Servers, including those hosted on Amazon's AWS cloud service, were being targeted around the globe.
The initial entry point was through a recently reported vulnerability in ThinkPHP and executes a Perl backdoor after using command injection techniques to upload a PHP shell. A backdoor is then loaded and launched.
Communication then takes place with a command and control server where the details of the infected server are sent and stored. After this, execution of arbitrary code can take place on the infected server, or mining for cryptocurrency can be triggered.
Included in the backdoor is a python script that scans and infects more Linux servers using any one of the following vulnerabilities:
- CVE-2012-0874: JBoss Enterprise Application Platform Multiple Security Bypass Vulnerabilities
- CVE-2010-1871: JBoss Seam Framework remote code execution
- JBoss AS 3/4/5/6: Remote Command Execution (exploit)
- CVE-2017-10271: Oracle WebLogic wls-wsat Component Deserialisation RCE
- CVE-2018-2894: Vulnerability in the Oracle WebLogic Server component of Oracle Fusion Middleware.
- Hadoop YARN ResourceManager – Command Execution (exploit)
- CVE-2016-3088: Apache ActiveMQ Fileserver File Upload Remote Code Execution Vulnerability.
Based on the fact that the unique user-agents used by SpeakUp in its HTTP communication included a string that was the same as the md5 hash of the word liteHTTP - a C# based bot that targets Windows clients - Check Point speculated that the creator of liteHTTP may be behind SpeakUp.
"SpeakUp`s obfuscated payloads and propagation technique is beyond any doubt the work of a bigger threat in the making," Check Point said.
"It is hard to imagine anyone would build such a compound array of payloads just to deploy few miners. The threat actor behind this campaign can at any given time deploy additional payloads, potentially more intrusive and offensive.
"It has the ability to scan the surrounding network of an infected server and distribute the malware. This campaign, while still relatively new, can evolve into something bigger and potentially more harmful."