Security Experts:

Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

SecurityWeekSecurityWeek

Malware & Threats

New Backdoor Targets Linux Servers

A new backdoor is targeting Linux servers in East Asia and Latin America, including Amazon Web Services (AWS) hosted machines, Check Point security researchers say.

A new backdoor is targeting Linux servers in East Asia and Latin America, including Amazon Web Services (AWS) hosted machines, Check Point security researchers say.

Dubbed ‘SpeakUp’, the new Trojan targets known vulnerabilities in six different Linux distributions and attempts to propagate internally and beyond via remote code execution vulnerabilities. The malware also has the ability to infect Mac devices.

Check Point was able to link SpeakUp’s author with the malware developer operating under the name of Zettabithf. The new backdoor is implemented differently, but has a lot in common with the developer’s craftsmanship, Check Point says.

For initial infection, the attacks target a recently disclosed vulnerability in ThinkPHP (CVE-2018-20062), a Chinese-made PHP framework highly popular among developers in the country. 

The analyzed backdoor sample was observed targeting a machine in China on January 14, 2019. Although it was first submitted to VirusTotal on January 9, 2019, it had no detection in the online scanner at the time of analysis, Check Point’s security researchers reveal.

After infection, the SpeakUp Trojan establishes communication with the command and control (C&C) server to register the victim machine. The malware establishes persistence by using cron and an internal mutex to ensure only one instance remains alive at all times.

The C&C server can send three commands to the backdoor: newtask – to execute arbitrary code, download and execute a file, kill or uninstall a program, and send updated fingerprint data; notask – sleep for 3 seconds and ask for additional command; newerconfig – to update the downloaded miner configuration file.

The backdoor also includes a python script employed for scanning and infecting more Linux servers within internal and external subnets. The script attempts to brute-force admin panels, and can also scan the network environment for specific ports and servers.

Furthermore, the script attempts to exploit various remote code execution flaws: CVE-2012-0874 (JBoss Enterprise Application Platform), CVE-2010-1871 (JBoss Seam Framework), CVE-2017-10271 (Oracle WebLogic wls-wsat), CVE-2018-2894 (Oracle Fusion Middleware), and CVE-2016-3088 (Apache ActiveMQ Fileserver). 

It also includes exploits for a JBoss AS 3/4/5/6 remote command execution and a Hadoop YARN ResourceManager command execution bug. 

While hunting for the actor behind the backdoor, the security researchers found the liteHTTP GitHub project, which has modules somewhat similar to the SpeakUp Trojan (download and execute, persistence, collection of system information, self-update, and uninstall). 

The project was created by a user called Zettabithf. A Hack Forums profile with the same name reveals the actor might be Russian speaking and could also be a botnet developer, the security researchers say. 

“SpeakUp`s obfuscated payloads and propagation technique is beyond any doubt the work of a bigger threat in the making. 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,” Check Point says.  

Related: Hackers Actively Scanning for ThinkPHP Vulnerability, Akamai Says

Related: Oracle WebLogic Server Flaw Exploited to Deliver Crypto-Miners

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

Click to comment

Expert Insights

Related Content

Malware & Threats

Microsoft plans to improve the protection of Office users by blocking XLL add-ins from the internet.

Cloud Security

VMware vRealize Log Insight vulnerability allows an unauthenticated attacker to take full control of a target system.

Mobile & Wireless

Apple rolled out iOS 16.3 and macOS Ventura 13.2 to cover serious security vulnerabilities.

Mobile & Wireless

Technical details published for an Arm Mali GPU flaw leading to arbitrary kernel code execution and root on Pixel 6.

IoT Security

Lexmark warns of a remote code execution (RCE) vulnerability impacting over 120 printer models, for which PoC code has been published.

Mobile & Wireless

Apple’s iOS 12.5.7 update patches CVE-2022-42856, an actively exploited vulnerability, in old iPhones and iPads.

Vulnerabilities

Security researchers have observed an uptick in attacks targeting CVE-2021-35394, an RCE vulnerability in Realtek Jungle SDK.

Email Security

Microsoft is urging customers to install the latest Exchange Server updates and harden their environments to prevent malicious attacks.