Monday, March 03, 2008

Embedding Malicious IFRAMEs Through Stolen FTP Accounts

Keywords for gaining attention from a marketing perspective for last week - embedded malware, IFRAMEs, stolen FTP accounts, Fortune 500 companies, Russia. Nothing's wrong with that unless of course you're interested in the whole story and the big picture, which wouldn't be excluding the possibility for having a Fortune 500 company's servers acting as C&Cs for a large botnet. Why are Fortune 500 servers excluded as impossible to get hacked at the first place, making it look like that the amount of money spent on security is proportional with the level of security reached? The more you spend does not mean the more secure it gets if you're not allocating the money where they have to be allocated at, in a particular moment of time, given the dynamic threatscape these days.


What's most important to point out about the recent incident of Fortune 500 companies stolen FTP accounts, is that it's "stolen accounting data for sale" as usual, as usual in the sense of the hundreds of other such propositions currently active online. And if we're to use an analogy on its importance as a event, it's like your smell receptors, namely the more you use a particular fragnance, the less you're capable of sensing it since you're getting used to the smell. In this line of thoughts, what's "stolen accounting data for sale as usual" for some, is exclusive event for others. Even worse, it's "slicing the threat on pieces" compared to discussing the "pie" itself. Moreover, the shift from products to services in the underground marketplace is something that's been happening for the past three years, and therefore making it sound like it's been happening as of yesterday, brings the discussion to the lowest possible level - right from the very beginning. Try the following malicious services on demand for instance, demostranting key business concepts such as consolidation, vertical integration, benchmarking -Q&A, and standartization :

"The concept of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is nothing new, but this is the first time anyone has organized the purchase of FTP login credentials, with additional tools available to help a buyer confirm he's making a smart purchase."

on the other side of the universe on Neosploit's "purpose in life" :

"The information was available for blackmarket trade, along with the NeoSploit version 2 crimeware toolkit, a malicious application specifically designed to abuse and trade stolen FTP account credentials from numerous legitimate companies."

Robert Lemos is however, reasonably pointing out that :

"The tool, which is at least a year old, was described by antivirus firm Panda Software in June 2007."

Key summary points :
- the tool's been around since February, 2007, making it exactly one year old
- it has built-in accounting data validation, pagerank measurement of the sites whose FTP accounting data has been stolen as you can see in the third screenshot attached
- IP Geolocation for the now pagerank-ed sites is also included
- the tool's functions are relatively primitive compared to three other alternative ones that I'm aware of taking advantage of anything by stolen FTP accounts, a logical fad by itself
- the script is officially sold for $25, but as we've seen it in the past with MPack and IcePack, buyers unaware of other outlets for the tool would pay the high-profit margins offered by the seller
- FTP accounting data can be imported, and once verified, a statistical output for the automated process of logging in and embedding the IFRAME is provided
- IFRAMEs are automatically embedded within .php; .html; .asp; .htm extensions
- embedding iframes through stolen FTP accounts is a fad, purchasing and selling shells/web backdoors and huge domain portfolios controlled via Cpanels is a trend, as automatic injection of malicious IFRAMEs through remote file inclusion and remotely exploitable SQL injection vulnerabilities is

Your situational awareness about the emerging threatspace is as always up to the information sources that you use, or still haven't started using. My point is that exposing Pinch in the summer of 2007 despite that the tool's been around since 2004/2005, and exposing this malicious FTP account checker and IFRAMEs embedder in February, 2008, when it hasn't been updated since February, 2007, greatly contributes to the development of a twisted situational awareness. Realizing it or not, with the time, security researchers or intelligence analysts establish a very good sense of intuition about what's happening at a particular moment in time, or what will be happening anytime now. And using stolen FTP accounts for embedding IFRAMEs never picked up as a tactic, compared to using the stolen FTP accounts for hosting blackhat SEO content. Scenario building intelligence, or playing the devil's advocate, it's a mindset only a small crowd possess.