Security Experts:

Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

SecurityWeekSecurityWeek

Cybercrime

Hackers Use NSA PRISM as Lure to Infect Users With Java RAT

Researchers at Symantec spotted a Java remote access tool being used as part of a campaign targeting government agencies by sending phishing emails with malicious attachments.

The phishing emails are using recent news coverage about the NSA PRISM surveillance program as a lure. So far, the majority of the targets are located in the United States.

Researchers at Symantec spotted a Java remote access tool being used as part of a campaign targeting government agencies by sending phishing emails with malicious attachments.

The phishing emails are using recent news coverage about the NSA PRISM surveillance program as a lure. So far, the majority of the targets are located in the United States.

The emails contain two legitimate non-malicious PDF documents and one Java file that mimics the name of a legitimate document, explained Andrea Lelli, a researcher with Symantec.

“If a user is tricked into clicking this fake document, the Java applet will be run (providing that Java is installed on the user’s computer),” the researcher blogged. “This applet is a RAT named jRat, it is available for free and Symantec detects it as Backdoor.Jeetrat. This threat can give full control of the compromised computer to a remote attacker. More importantly, because it is a Java applet the threat is able to run on multiple operating systems, not just Windows. In fact, the threat has a builder tool that allows you to build your own customized versions of the RAT, and we can see that when it comes to the targeted operating systems, the choice is very broad.”

The RAT can target Windows, Linux, Mac OSX, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and Solaris machines.

“We searched our archives for other threats using the same command-and-control (C&C) server used in this specific attack and found an RTF document,” Lelli blogged. “This malicious RTF document exploits the Microsoft Windows Common Controls ActiveX Control Remote Code Execution Vulnerability (CVE-2012-0158), detected by Symantec as Bloodhound.Exploit.457. This shows that the same attackers were previously using the usual attack method of sending malicious documents that exploit some vulnerability in order to drop an executable payload but recently shifted to sending malicious Java payloads directly.”

“The attack has been simplified as it does not involve the use of an exploit, nor an executable shellcode/payload, but simply relies on a Java applet,” Lelli continued. “Nonetheless, it is no less dangerous than the older attacks and it can spread more easily since exploits are usually limited to work on specific versions of the vulnerable software and operating system, while this RAT can spread on any system where Java runtime is installed.”

Written By

Click to comment

Daily Briefing Newsletter

Subscribe to the SecurityWeek Email Briefing to stay informed on the latest threats, trends, and technology, along with insightful columns from industry experts.

Expert Insights

Related Content

Cybercrime

Zendesk is informing customers about a data breach that started with an SMS phishing campaign targeting the company’s employees.

Cybercrime

The release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT in late 2022 has demonstrated the potential of AI for both good and bad.

Cybercrime

The FBI dismantled the network of the prolific Hive ransomware gang and seized infrastructure in Los Angeles that was used for the operation.

Cybercrime

A new study by McAfee and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) named a staggering figure as the true annual cost of...

Cybercrime

A recently disclosed vBulletin vulnerability, which had a zero-day status for roughly two days last week, was exploited in a hacker attack targeting the...

Application Security

PayPal is alerting roughly 35,000 individuals that their accounts have been targeted in a credential stuffing campaign.

Cybercrime

The degree of danger that may be introduced when adversaries start to use AI as an effective weapon of attack rather than a tool...

Cybercrime

CISA, NSA, and MS-ISAC issued an alert on the malicious use of RMM software to steal money from bank accounts.