WikiLeaks has published another round of documents describing tools allegedly used by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The latest dump in the “Vault 7” series details two Windows frameworks named “AfterMidnight” and “Assassin.”
AfterMidnight is described as a DLL that self-persists as a Windows service and provides secure execution for “Gremlins,” hidden payloads that allow attackers to subvert the functionality of targeted software, exfiltrate data, and provide internal services for other Gremlins.
The tool’s developers also provide a payload called “AlphaGremlin,” which can be used to schedule the execution of custom tasks on a compromised machine.
Assassin is a similar implant that allows attackers to execute various tasks on a hacked machine, such as downloading and running an executable, collecting task results, and deleting the executable. Both tools receive instructions from command and control (C&C) servers.
WikiLeaks has regularly published Vault 7 files since March 7, including documents describing tools that can be used for man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks on the LAN, Samsung smart TV hacking tools, a framework used to make attribution and analysis of malware more difficult, and a platform designed for creating custom malware installers.
However, the organization has not published any actual exploits in an effort to prevent abuse. The recent WannaCry ransomware attacks, which rely on exploits allegedly developed by the NSA and leaked by the Shadow Brokers, have demonstrated that leaking exploits developed by intelligence agencies could have serious consequences.
WikiLeaks has offered to share exploit code with affected tech companies, but it appears they are not too keen to work with the whistleblower organization. On the other hand, based on the available information, many have determined that the vulnerabilities described in the Vault 7 files have already been patched in the latest versions of their products.
Cisco did find a critical vulnerability affecting hundreds of its switches in the Vault 7 leak. The company informed customers of the flaw back in March, but it only recently started releasing patches.
The tools leaked by Shadow Brokers have been linked to the Equation Group, which is believed to be run by the NSA. In the case of the Vault 7 files, researchers have tied them to a cyber espionage group tracked as “Longhorn” and “The Lamberts.”
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