Exploit kits may be down, but they’re not out. While they’re still using the same techniques that involve malvertisements or embedding links in spam and malicious or compromised websites, their latest activities are making them significant factors in the threat landscape again. This is the case with Rig and GrandSoft, as well as the private exploit kit Magnitude — exploit kits we found roping in relatively recent vulnerabilities to deliver cryptocurrency-mining malware, ransomware, botnet loaders, and banking trojans.Read More
An exploit kit such as Rig usually starts off with a threat actor compromising a website to inject a malicious script/code that eventually redirects would-be victims to the exploit kit’s landing page. Sometime around February to March last year, however, we saw Rig’s Seamless campaign adding another layer or gate before the actual landing page.
Along with updates in code, we also observed Rig integrating a cryptocurrency-mining malware as its final payload. Based on the latest activities we’ve observed from Rig, they’re now also exploiting CVE-2018-8174, a remote code execution vulnerability patched in May and reported to be actively exploited. The exploit also appears to be from a recently disclosed proof of concept. The security flaw affects systems running Windows 7 and later operating systems, and the exploit works through Internet Explorer (IE) and Microsoft Office documents that use the vulnerable script engine.Read More
The exploit kit landscape has been rocky since 2016, and we’ve observed several of the major players—Angler, Nuclear, Neutrino, Sundown—take a dip in operations or go private. New kits have popped up sporadically since then, sometimes revamped from old sources, but none have really gained traction. Despite that fact, cybercriminals continue to develop more of them.
The decline of exploit kit activity—particularly from well-known exploit kits like Magnitude, Nuclear, Neutrino, and Rig during the latter half of 2016—doesn’t mean exploit kits are throwing in the towel just yet. This is the case with Astrum (also known as Stagano), an old and seemingly reticent exploit kit we observed to have been updated multiple times as of late.
Astrum’s recent activities feature several upgrades and shows how it’s starting to move away from the more established malware mentioned above. It appears these changes were done to lay the groundwork for future campaigns, and possibly to broaden its use. With a modus operandi that deters analysis and forensics by abusing the Diffie-Hellman key exchange, it appears Astrum is throwing down the gauntlet.Read More
The latter half of 2016 saw a major shift in the exploit kit landscape, with many established kits suddenly dropping operations or switching business models. As we discussed in our 2016 Security Roundup, Angler, which has dominated the market since 2015, suddenly went silent. We tracked 3.4 million separate Angler attacks on our clients in…Read More