New Malware Targets Linux Systems

Wednesday, December 10, 2014 @ 01:12 PM gHale

There is a new malware designed to target Linux operating systems.

This advanced persistent threat (APT) malware falls in line with the group called “Turla” (also known as Snake and Uroburos).

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The Turla cyber espionage toolkit has been in development for almost ten years, used against organizations around the globe. One of the more recent campaigns, Epic Turla, targeted government organizations, intelligence agencies, educational institutions, embassies, military groups, and research and pharmaceutical companies in over 45 countries.

Until now, researchers only saw Turla components targeting Windows operating systems. Now, however, Kaspersky Lab reported uncovering two samples that target Linux.

Researchers believe one of the samples, detected as HEUR:Backdoor.Linux.Turla.gen, may have been active for years on a target’s website.

“The Linux Turla module is a C/C++ executable statically linked against multiple libraries, greatly increasing its file size. It was stripped of symbol information, more likely intended to increase analysis effort than to decrease file size. Its functionality includes hidden network communications, arbitrary remote command execution, and remote management. Much of its code is based on public sources,” Kaspersky’s Kurt Baumgartner and Costin Raiu said in a blog post.

The Linux Turla component uses “cd00r” malware, a proof-of-concept backdoor designed to provide remote access to a system without showing an open port all the time.

“This Turla cd00r-based malware maintains stealth without requiring elevated privileges while running arbitrary remote commands. It can’t be discovered via netstat, a commonly used administrative tool. It uses techniques that don’t require root access, which allows it to be more freely run on more victim hosts. Even if a regular user with limited privileges launches it, it can continue to intercept incoming packets and run incoming commands on the system,” researchers said.

The command and control (C&C) mechanism leverages TCP/UDP packets, and one of the hardcoded C&C domains used by the malware links to previous Turla operations. Kaspersky sinkholed the C&C domain.

Another Linux Turla sample appears to be part of a different generation, the researchers said. The threat ended up detected by Kaspersky’s products due to similarities with the other Linux Turla module.

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