'Reporters without Borders' website misused in wateringhole attack
As mentioned by me on Twitter, it seems that the entity or entities behind the watering hole attacks don't care to be caught or detected, and it also seems that they don't care if the Internet Explorer and Java vulnerabilities are patched. They act as opportunists and try to take advantage from the time frame between the patch release and the patch application of some users, companies and non-governmental organizations.
Last week me and Eric Romang reported on watering hole attacks against multiple high value web sites, including as example major Hong Kong political parties. These websites used the latest Internet Explorer (CVE-2012-4792) vulnerability, patched in MS13-008, but also the latest Java (CVE-2013-0422) vulnerability, patched in Oracle Java 7 Update 11.
It seems that one week later, Reporters Without Borders (Wikipedia link), a French-based international non-governmental organization that advocates freedom of the press and freedom of information, is the new web site used for the watering hole campaign. Such an organization is an ideal target for a watering hole campaign, as it seems right now the miscreants concentrate only on human rights/political sites - many Tibetan, some Uygur, and some political parties in Hong Kong and Taiwan which are the latest hits in this operation. In our opinion the finger could be safely pointed to China (again).
The "m.js" file creates a cookie “Somethingbbbbb” with one day expiration date. The cookie name could be linked to the Hong Kong political party "m.js" cookie name which was "Somethingeeee". This kind of cookie was already used two years ago in similar attacks with different exploits.
If Internet Explorer 8 is used, an iframe is loaded from "hxxp://newsite.acmetoy.com/m/d/pdf.html” file. Otherwise two iframes will load “hxxp://22.214.171.124/CFIDE/debug/includes/java.html" and "hxxp://newsite.acmetoy.com/m/d/javapdf.html".
"newsite.acmetoy.com" web site is hosting the following CVE-2012-4792 related files:
"logo1229.swf" (da0287b9ebe79bee42685510ac94dc4f) : Traditional "DOITYOUR" variant of "today.swf".
"DOITYOUR02.html" (cf394f4619db14d335dde12ca9657656) : Traditional "DOITYOUR" variant of "news.html".
"DOITYOUR01.txt” (a1f6e988cfaa4d7a910183570cde0dc0) : Traditional "DOITYOUR" variant of "robots.txt".
"newsite.acmetoy.com" web site is also hosting the following Java vulnerabilities related files:
"126.96.36.199" web site is hosting the following Java vulnerabilities related files, as you can see, they're completely same as the above and most probably serve only as a backup server in case of takedown.
686D0E4FAEE4B0EF93A8B9550BD544BF334A6D9B495EC7BE9E28A0F681F5495C, which is a remote access tool (RAT) programmed to contact luckmevnc.myvnc.com (188.8.131.52, Singapore) or luckmegame.servegame.com (currently parked).
A14CCC5922EFC6C7CEC1BB58C607381C99967ED4B7602B7427B081209AAF1656 is an interesting injector which downloads something which pretends to be an error webpage, decodes its content, which is in fact position-independent code which is later injected to another process. This is also RAT, contacting d.wt.ikwb.com (184.108.40.206, Hong Kong).
We've contacted the RSF webmaster and the code should be already removed. Avast users are protected on multiple levels against this threat, also updating to latest versions of the vulnerable software packages is a must. Or getting rid of them, as most users can safely replace MSIE with another browser, and completely uninstalling Java, reducing the attack surface.