Data-wiping attacks are becoming more frequent on Israeli computers as researchers discovered variants of the BiBi malware family that destroys data on both Linux and Windows systems.
Over the weekend, Israel’s CERT published an alert with rules that could help organizations identify or prevent the threat actors’ activity.
The attacks are part of a larger cyber offensive that targets Israeli organizations, including in the education and technology sectors.
The agency recommends organizations to use the provided identifiers for all corporate security systems (e.g. security information and event management – SIEM, Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR), and antivirus).
The government also asks companies to inform the national cyber system if they find one or more identifiers on the corporate hosts.
An analysis of the attacks from researchers at Palo Alto Networks Unit42 attributes the data wiping attacks to a threat actor that has “strong connections to an Iranian-backed APT group” tracked as Agonizing Serpens (a.k.a. Agrius, BlackShadow, Pink Sandstorm, and DEV-0022).
Wiper malware disables recovery options
Versions of the BiBi wiper was seen in late October by researchers at cybersecurity companies ESET and SecurityJoes, who noted that it was launched by pro-Hamas hacktivists.
‘BiBi-Linux’ was discovered by the Security Joes’ Incident Response team, who reported on October 30 that it was likely deployed by pro-Hamas hacktivists to cause irreversible data corruption and operational disruption.
ESET researchers announced the next day that they discovered the Windows variant of the malware being deployed by a Hamas-backed hacktivist group they track as BiBiGun.
The malware achieves its goal by simply overwriting files and there is no data exfiltration, encryption, or a ransom demand involved.
On Friday, BlackBerry’s threat intelligence team published a technical analysis of the Windows variant for the BiBi-Linux malware. The researchers found the variant a day after SecurityJoes posted their findings on the new Linux wiper.
The malware is packed in a small 203KB 64-bit executable. When launched, it profiles the host’s processor to determine the number of threads it can leverage for fast data-wiping attacks, supporting up to 12 threads on eight cores. A similar multi-thread and queuing logic was seen in the Linux variant.
According to the researchers, the threat actor used the simple right-to-left technique to bypass pattern detection rules that are common in legacy antivirus products.
BiBi for Windows targets all file types except for .EXE, .DLL, and .SYS files, likely because destroying them would render the computer unusable, and the hacktivists wouldn’t be able to relay their message.
The targeted files have their content overwritten with random bytes to make them unrecoverable, and are renamed using a ten-character long sequence of random letters followed by an alphanumerical extension containing the “BiBi” string.
For example, a file originally named “document.txt” might be renamed to “asdzxcqwer.BiBi3” after the malware attack.
This process is unpredictable, obscuring the original filenames and further complicating data recovery efforts.
To prevent easy system restoration, the malware also deletes the shadow copies that hold system snapshots from an earlier state and are often used to recover data and settings.
Additionally, BiBi turns off the ‘Error Recovery’ mode on system boot and deactivates the ‘Windows Recovery’ feature.
BlackBerry says that the initial infection vector remains unknown at the time.
The report presents some overlaps of Karma with previously known Iranian hacktivist groups such as ‘Moses Staff,’ previously known for launching ransom-less data encrypting attacks.
SecurityJoes and BlackBerry provide YARA rules [1, 2] for detecting the two currently known variants of the BiBi wiper along with hashes for the two executables. Another set of identifiers [TXT, CVS] for the BiBi threat activity is available from Israel’s CERT authority.
A considerable amount of time and effort goes into maintaining this website, creating backend automation and creating new features and content for you to make actionable intelligence decisions. Everyone that supports the site helps enable new functionality.
If you like the site, please support us on “Patreon” or “Buy Me A Coffee” using the buttons below
To keep up to date follow us on the below channels.