Malware trackers at Google keep on pointing out a complex APT group that burned through at least 11 zero-days exploits in less than a year to conduct mass spying across a range of platforms and gadgets. The group has effectively utilized “watering hole” assaults to divert explicit targets to a couple of exploit servers conveying malware on Windows, iOS, and Android gadgets.
The cross-platform capacities and the readiness to utilize almost a dozen zero-days in under a year signals a well-resourced threat actor with the ability to access hacking tools and exploits from related groups. In another blog post, Google Project Zero researcher Maddie Stone released additional details on the exploit chains found in the wild last October and cautioned that the most recent disclosure is attached to a February 2020 campaign that incorporated the utilization of multiple zero-days. As per Stone, the threat actor from the February 2020 campaign went dark for a couple of months but returned in October with dozens of websites redirecting to an exploit server.
“Once our analysis began, we discovered links to a second exploit server on the same website. After initial fingerprinting (appearing to be based on the origin of the IP address and the user-agent), an iframe was injected into the website pointing to one of the two exploit servers. In our testing, both of the exploit servers existed on all of the discovered domains,” Stone explained.
The first exploit server at first reacted distinctly to Apple iOS and Microsoft Windows user-agents and was active for at least a week after Google’s researchers began recovering the hacking devices. This server included exploits for a distant code execution bug in the Google Chrome rendering engine and a v8 zero-day after the underlying bug was fixed. Stone said the first server momentarily reacted to Android user-agents, proposing exploits existed for every one of the significant platforms.
Stone noticed that the assailants utilized a special obfuscation and anti-analysis check on iOS gadgets where those exploits were encrypted with ephemeral keys, “meaning that the exploits couldn’t be recovered from the packet dump alone, instead of requiring an active MITM on our side to rewrite the exploit on-the-fly.”
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