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Is Linux/Moose endangered or extinct?

Presentation of ESET researcher Olivier Bilodeau from Virus Bulletin Conference 2015.

Embedded Linux platforms have been increasingly targeted by malware authors over the past few years. The targeted devices, labelled under the umbrella term 'Internet of Things', are generally consumer routers, gateways or modems. They are compromised remotely via brute-forcing of their credentials or being victim of an unpatched vulnerability, such as the infamous Shellshock. Most of these compromises result in the targeted system being assimilated into a botnet.

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Is Linux/Moose endangered or extinct?

  1. 1. .
  2. 2. Linux/Moose endangered or extinct? An update on this atypical embedded Linux botnet by Olivier Bilodeau
  3. 3. $ apropos Statically linked stripped ELF challenges Moose DNA (description) Moose Herding (the Operation) A Strange Animal Latest Developments
  4. 4. $ whoami Malware Researcher at ESET Infosec lecturer at ETS University in Montreal Previously infosec developer, network admin, linux system admin Co-founder Montrehack (hands-on security workshops) Founder NorthSec Hacker Jeopardy
  5. 5. Static/stripped ELF primer No imports (library calls) present All the code bundled together down to kernel syscall Disassembler (if available for arch) doesn’t help much
  6. 6. Linux/Moose binary in IDA
  7. 7. printf family
  8. 8. Ecosystem makes it worst [for reversers] GCC and GNU libc is always changing so compiled binaries always change Little IDA FLIRT signatures available (if any) µClibc, eglibc, glibc, musl, …
  9. 9. A Failed Attempt Map syscalls with IDA script But libc is too big it is still too much
  10. 10. Better Solution Reproduce environment (arch, libc/compiler versions) Build libraries w/ symbols under same conditions Use bindiff to map library functions Focus on malware code
  11. 11. Moose DNA aka Malware description Hang tight, this is a recap
  12. 12. Linux/Moose… Named after the string "elan" present in the malware executable
  13. 13. Elan is French for
  14. 14. The Lotus Elan
  15. 15. Elán The Slovak rock band (from 1969 and still active)
  16. 16. Network capabilities Pivot through firewalls Home-made NAT traversal Custom-made Proxy service only available to a set of whitelisted IP addresses Remotely configured generic network sniffer DNS Hijacking
  17. 17. Worm-like behavior Tries to replicate via aggressive scanning Will dedicate more resources to scan near current external IP Will also scan on LAN interfaces Will not reinfect an infected device Can replicate across architectures C&C is made aware of new compromises
  18. 18. Compromise Protocol
  19. 19. Anti-Analysis Statically linked binary stripped of its debugging symbols Hard to reproduce environment required for malware to operate Misleading strings (
  20. 20. Moose Herding The Malware Operation
  21. 21. Via C&C Configuration Network sniffer was used to steal HTTP Cookies Twitter: twll, twid Facebook: c_user Instagram: ds_user_id Google: SAPISID, APISID Google Play / Android: LAY_ACTIVE_ACCOUNT Youtube: LOGIN_INFO
  22. 22. Via Proxy Usage Analysis Nature of traffic Protocol Targeted social networks
  23. 23. 75%+ HTTPS but…
  24. 24. An Example
  25. 25. An Example (cont.)
  26. 26. An Example (cont.)
  27. 27. An Example (cont.)
  28. 28. Anti-Tracking Whitelist means we can’t use the proxy service to evaluate malware population Blind because of HTTPS enforced on social networks DNS Hijacking’s Rogue DNS servers never revealed
  29. 29. A Strange Animal
  30. 30. Different focus not in the DDoS or bitcoin mining business no x86 variant found controlled by a single group of actors
  31. 31. Missing "features" No persistence mechanism No shell access for operators
  32. 32. Thought big, realized little? In social network fraud, network sniffer irrelevant DNS Hijacking possible but only for few devices No ad fraud, spam, DDoS, etc.
  33. 33. Latest Developments
  34. 34. Whitepaper Impact Few weeks after the publication the C&C servers went dark After a reboot, all affected devices should be cleaned But victims compromised via weak credentials, so they can always reinfect
  35. 35. Alive or dead?
  36. 36. Alive or dead? (cont.) On the lookout for Moose v2 Looked at over 150 new samples targeting embedded Linux platforms Linux/Aidra, Linux/Dofloo (AES.DDoS), Linux/DNSAmp (Mr.Black), Linux.Gafgyt and Linux/Tsunami Still no Moose update…
  37. 37. Yay! except…
  38. 38. Moose level-up
  39. 39. Update New sample this Saturday New proxy service port (20012) New C&C selection algorithm Lots of differences Still under scrutiny
  40. 40. Conclusion Embedded malware Not yet complex Tools and processes need to catch up a low hanging fruit Prevention simple
  41. 41. Questions? Thank you! @obilodeau and special thanks to Thomas Dupuy (@nyx__o)