Entries Tagged "exploit of the day"

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SCHOOLMONTANA: NSA Exploit of the Day

Today’s implant from the NSA’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) group implant catalog:

SCHOOLMONTANA

(TS//SI//REL) SCHOOLMONTANA provides persistence for DNT implants. The DNT implant will survive an upgrade or replacement of the operating system — including physically replacing the router’s compact flash card.

(TS//SI//REL) Currently, the intended DNT Implant to persist is VALIDATOR, which must be run as a user process on the target operating system. The vector of attack is the modification of the target’s BIOS. The modification will add the necessary software to the BIOS and modify its software to execute the SCHOOLMONTANA implant at the end of its native System Management Mode (SMM) handler.

(TS//SI//REL) SCHOOLMONTANA must support all modern versions of JUNOS, which is a version of FreeBSD customized by Juniper. Upon system boot, the JUNOS operating system is modified in memory to run the implant, and provide persistent kernel modifications to support implant execution.

(TS//SI//REL) SCHOOLMONTANA is the cover term for the persistence technique to deploy a DNT implant to Juniper J-Series routers.

Status: (U//FOUO) SCHOOLMONTANA completed and released by ANT May 30, 2008. It is ready for deployment.

Page, with graphics, is here. General information about TAO and the catalog is here.

In the comments, feel free to discuss how the exploit works, how we might detect it, how it has probably been improved since the catalog entry in 2008, and so on.

Posted on January 15, 2014 at 2:56 PMView Comments

HEADWATER: NSA Exploit of the Day

Today’s implant from the NSA’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) group implant catalog:

HEADWATER

(TS//SI//REL) HEADWATER is a Persistent Backdoor (PDB) software implant for selected Huawei routers. The implant will enable covert functions to be remotely executed within the router via an Internet connection.

(TS//SI//REL) HEADWATER PBD implant will be transferred remotely over the Internet to the selected target router by Remote Operations Center (ROC) personnel. After the transfer process is complete, the PBD will be installed in the router’s boot ROM via an upgrade command. The PBD will then be activated after a system reboot. Once activated, the ROC operators will be able to use DNT’s HAMMERMILL Insertion Tool (HIT) to control the PBD as it captures and examines all IP packets passing through the host router.

(TS//SI//REL) HEADWATER is the cover term for the PBD for Huawei Technologies routers. PBD has been adopted for use in the joint NSA/CIA effort to exploit Huawei network equipment. (The cover name for this joint project is TURBOPANDA.)

STATUS: (U//FOUO) On the shelf ready for deployment.

Page, with graphics, is here. General information about TAO and the catalog is here.

This one is interesting. It basically turns the router into an eavesdropping platform.

In the comments, feel free to discuss how the exploit works, how we might detect it, how it has probably been improved since the catalog entry in 2008, and so on.

Posted on January 14, 2014 at 2:10 PMView Comments

SOUFFLETROUGH: NSA Exploit of the Day

One of the top secret NSA documents published by Der Spiegel is a 50-page catalog of “implants” from the NSA’s Tailored Access Group. Because the individual implants are so varied and we saw so many at once, most of them were never discussed in the security community. (Also, the pages were images, which makes them harder to index and search.) To rectify this, I am publishing an exploit a day on my blog.

Today’s implant:

SOUFFLETROUGH

(TS//SI//REL) SOUFFLETROUGH is a BIOS persistence implant for Juniper SSG 500 and SSG 300 firewalls. It persists DNT’s BANANAGLEE software implant. SOUFFLETROUGH also has an advanced persistent back-door capability.

(TS//SI//REL) SOUFFLETROUGH is a BIOS persistence implant for Juniper SSG 500 and SSG 300 series firewalls (320M, 350M, 520, 550, 520M, 550M). It persists DNT’s BANANAGLEE software implant and modifies the Juniper firewall’s operating system (ScreenOS) at boot time. If BANANAGLEE support is not available for the booting operating system, it can install a Persistent Backdoor (PBD) designed to work with BANANAGLEE’s communications structure, so that full access can be reacquired at a later time. It takes advantage of Intel’s System Management Mode for enhanced reliability and covertness. The PDB is also able to beacon home, and is fully configurable.

(TS//SI//REL) A typical SOUFFLETROUGH deployment on a target firewall with an exfiltration path to the Remote Operations Center (ROC) is shown above. SOUFFLETROUGH is remotely upgradeable and is also remotely installable provided BANANAGLEE is already on the firewall of interest.

Status: (C//REL) Released. Has been deployed. There are no availability restrictions preventing ongoing deployments.

Unit Cost: $0

Page, with graphics, is here. General information about TAO and the catalog is here.

In the comments, feel free to discuss how the exploit works, how we might detect it, how it has probably been improved since the catalog entry in 2008, and so on.

Posted on January 13, 2014 at 2:45 PMView Comments

JETPLOW: NSA Exploit of the Day

Today’s implant from the NSA’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) group implant catalog:

JETPLOW

(TS//SI//REL) JETPLOW is a firmware persistence implant for Cisco PIX Series and ASA (Adaptive Security Appliance) firewalls. It persists DNT’s BANANAGLEE software implant. JETPLOW also has a persistent back-door capability.

(TS//SI//REL) JETPLOW is a firmware persistence implant for Cisco PIX Series and ASA (Adaptive Security Appliance) firewalls. It persists DNT’s BANANAGLEE software implant and modifies the Cisco firewall’s operating system (OS) at boot time. If BANANAGLEE support is not available for the booting operating system, it can install a Persistent Backdoor (PDB) designed to work with BANANAGLEE’S communications structure, so that full access can be reacquired at a later time. JETPLOW works on Cisco’s 500-series PIX firewalls, as well as most ASA firewalls (5505, 5510, 5520, 5540, 5550).

(TS//SI//REL) A typical JETPLOW deployment on a target firewall with an exfiltration path to the Remote Operations Center (ROC) is shown above. JETPLOW is remotely upgradable and is also remotely installable provided BANANAGLEE is already on the firewall of interest.

Status: (C//REL) Released. Has been widely deployed. Current availability restricted based on OS version (inquire for details).

Unit Cost: $0

Page, with graphics, is here. General information about TAO and the catalog is here.

In the comments, feel free to discuss how the exploit works, how we might detect it, how it has probably been improved since the catalog entry in 2008, and so on.

Posted on January 9, 2014 at 1:02 PMView Comments

HALLUXWATER: NSA Exploit of the Day

Today’s implant from the NSA’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) group implant catalog:

HALLUXWATER

(TS//SI//REL) The HALLUXWATER Persistence Back Door implant is installed on a target Huawei Eudemon firewall as a boot ROM upgrade. When the target reboots, the PBD installer software will find the needed patch points and install the back door in the inbound packet processing routine.

Once installed, HALLUXWATER communicates with an NSA operator via the TURBOPANDA Insertion Tool (PIT), giving the operator covert access to read and write memory, execute an address, or execute a packet.

HALLUXWATER provides a persistence capability on the Eudemon 200, 500, and 1000 series firewalls. The HALLUXWATER back door survives OS upgrades and automatic bootROM upgrades.

Status: (U//FOUO) On the shelf, and has been deployed.

Page, with graphics, is here. General information about TAO and the catalog is here.

In the comments, feel free to discuss how the exploit works, how we might detect it, how it has probably been improved since the catalog entry in 2008, and so on.

This one is a big deal politically. For years we have been telling the Chinese not to install hardware back doors into Hauwei switches. Meanwhile, we have been doing exactly that. I wouldn’t want to have been the State Department employee to receive that phone call.

Posted on January 8, 2014 at 1:48 PMView Comments

GOURMETTROUGH: NSA Exploit of the Day

Continuing our walk through the NSA’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) group implant catalog:

GOURMETTROUGH

(TS//SI//REL) GOURMETTROUGH is a user configurable implant for certain Juniper firewalls. It persists DNT’s BANANAGLEE implant across reboots and OS upgrades. For some platforms, it supports a minimal implant with beaconing for OS’s unsupported by BANANAGLEE.

(TS//SI//REL) For supported platforms, DNT may configure without ANT involvement. Except for limited platforms, they may also configure PBD for minimal implant in the case where an OS unsupported by BANANAGLEE is booted.

Status: GOURMETTROUGH is on the shelf and has been deployed on many target platforms. It supports nsg5t, ns50, ns25, isg1000(limited). Soon- ssg140, ssg5, ssg20

Unit Cost: $0

Page, with graphics, is here. General information about TAO and the catalog is here.

In the comments, feel free to discuss how the exploit works, how we might detect it, how it has probably been improved since the catalog entry in 2008, and so on. It’s interesting how many of these implants are designed to allow other implants to survive attempts to remove them.

I think it’s important to discuss these implants individually. Because the whole catalog was released at once, it’s easy to focus on the catalog as a whole instead of the individual implants. Blogging them once per day brings back focus.

Posted on January 7, 2014 at 1:16 PMView Comments

FEEDTROUGH: NSA Exploit of the Day

Today’s item from the NSA’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) group implant catalog:

FEEDTROUGH

(TS//SI//REL) FEEDTROUGH is a persistence technique for two software implants, DNT’s BANANAGLEE and CES’s ZESTYLEAK used against Juniper Netscreen firewalls.

(TS//SI//REL) FEEDTROUGH can be used to persist two implants, ZESTYLEAK and/or BANANAGLEE across reboots and software upgrades on known and covered OS’s for the following Netscreen firewalls, ns5xt, ns25, ns50, ns200, ns500 and ISG 1000. There is no direct communication to or from FEEDTROUGH, but if present, the BANANAGLEE implant can receive and transmit covert channel comms, and for certain platforms, BANANAGLEE can also update FEEDTROUGH. FEEDTROUGH however can only persist OS’s included in its databases. Therefore this is best employed with known OS’s and if a new OS comes out, then the customer would need to add this OS to the FEEDTROUGH database for that particular firewall.

(TS//SI//REL) FEEDTROUGH operates every time the particular Juniper firewall boots. The first hook takes it to the code which checks to see if the OS is in the database, if it is, then a chain of events ensures the installation of either one or both implants. Otherwise the firewall boots normally. If the OS is one modified by DNT, it is not recognized, which gives the customer freedom to field new software.

Status: (S//SI//REL) FEEDTROUGH has on the shelf solutions for all of the listed platforms. It has been deployed on many target platforms.

Page, with graphics, is here. General information about TAO and the catalog is here.

In the comments, feel free to discuss how the exploit works, how we might detect it, how it has probably been improved since the catalog entry in 2008, and so on.

The plan is to post one of these a day for the next couple of months.

Posted on January 6, 2014 at 1:28 PMView Comments

IRONCHEF: NSA Exploit of the Day

Today’s item from the NSA’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) group implant catalog is IRONCHEF:

IRONCHEF

(TS//SI//REL) IRONCHEF provides access persistence to target systems by exploiting the motherboard BIOS and utilizing System Management Mode (SMM) to communicate with a hardware implant that provides two-way RF communication.

(TS//SI//REL) This technique supports the HP Proliant 380DL G5 server, onto which a hardware implant has been installed that communicates over the I2C Interface (WAGONBED).

(TS//SI//REL) Through interdiction, IRONCHEF, a software CNE implant and the hardware implant are installed onto the system. If the software CNE implant is removed from the target machine, IRONCHEF is used to access the machine, determine the reason for removal of the software, and then reinstall the software from a listening post to the target system.

Status: Ready for Immediate Delivery

Unit Cost: $0

Page, with graphics, is here. General information about TAO and the catalog is here.

“CNE” stands for Computer Network Exfiltration. “Through interdiction” presumably means that the NSA has to physically intercept the computer while in transit to insert the hardware/software implant.

In the comments, feel free to discuss how the exploit works, how we might detect it, how it has probably been improved since the catalog entry in 2008, and so on.

The plan is to post one of these a day for the next couple of months.

Posted on January 3, 2014 at 12:20 PMView Comments

DEITYBOUNCE: NSA Exploit of the Day

Today’s item from the NSA’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) group implant catalog is DEITYBOUNCE:

DEITYBOUNCE

(TS//SI//REL) DEITYBOUNCE provides software application persistence on Dell PowerEdge servers by exploiting the motherboard BIOS and utilizing System Management Mode (SMM) to gain periodic execution while the Operating System loads.

(TS//SI//REL) This technique supports multi-processor systems with RAID hardware and Microsoft Windows 2000, 2003, and XP. It currently targets Dell PowerEdge 1850/2850/1950/2950 RAID servers, using BIOS versions A02, A05, A06, 1.1.0, 1.2.0, or 1.3.7.

(TS//SI//REL) Through remote access or interdiction, ARKSTREAM is used to reflash the BIOS on a target machine to implant DEITYBOUNCE and its payload (the implant installer). Implantation via interdiction may be accomplished by nontechnical operator through use of a USB thumb drive. Once implanted, DEITYBOUNCE’s frequency of execution (dropping the payload) is configurable and will occur when the target machine powers on.

Status: Released / Deployed. Ready for Immediate Delivery

Unit Cost: $0

Page, with graphics, is here. General information about TAO and the catalog is here.

In the comments, feel free to discuss how the exploit works, how we might detect it, how it has probably been improved since the catalog entry in 2008, and so on.

The plan is to post one of these a day for the next couple of months.

EDITED TO ADD (1/20): Dell’s official response.

Posted on January 2, 2014 at 3:25 PMView Comments

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Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.