WannaCry Ransomware + MS17-010 = Cyber Attack

WannaCry – Yes you really do want to cry!

WannaCry WannaCrypt WanaCrypt0r 2.0

WannaCry is Ransomware, its also known as WannaCrypt or WanaCrypt0r 2.0 . OK so this is not a good situation if you see this, I think we will all agree. The last thing any IT Admin wants to encounter is this screen. This is where having solid backups and sound business continuity plans come into their own. The recent outbreak of WannaCry within the NHS and other private sectors companies was bad news. It put hospitals into chaos, forcing staff to resort to pen and paper.

Lets break the attack down and try to understand what has taken place. Also importantly what we can do to help protect ourselves from this.

The attack vector for this attack will have most likely been delivered via email. A phishing email attack with an attached weaponised pdf document. This then sprayed across a multitude of email accounts. The pdf attachment will have a weaponised payload that once opened will encrypt files on system. Sending the encryption/decryption key back to its Command and Control (C2 Servers). Then holding the system owner to ransom for the amount of $300, payable by bitcoin. There is no guarantee you will receive the decryption key if you do pay either. This exploit is slightly different it has been designed to propagate through networks spreading from system to system. It does this using a recent vulnerability released via the ShadowBrokers I blogged about this here. This was an NSA built tool set used by the ‘Equation Group’ threat actor,  the NSA’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) according to Wikipedia. It would appear the ransomware WannaCry is spreading via the recent SMB vulnerability patched with MS17-010.  This was patched in April’s updates however left XP, Vista and Server 2003 vulnerable. The SMB vulnerability is giving access to the ransomware and its ability to spread very quickly from operating system to operating system. This is how the ransomware has been able to spread so quickly in such as short time frame.

In the wake of the cyber attack which occurred all over the world on Friday 12th May, Microsoft has now released patches for out of support Operating Systems. The patches are available here.  This can be imported into your WSUS or SCCM configuration ready for deployment. This means that XP and Windows Server 2003 will now be patched for the SMB vulnerability.

However there are still steps that we can follow to help prevent this from happening.

Software Updates – Patch Patch and Patch some more, can’t emphasis this enough. Ensure your patching policy is up to scratch and stick to it.

Secure configuration of SMB – Stop using SMB version 1 as describing and advised by Microsoft in this blog post.

Network Segmentation – your Client machines do not need to be in the same subnet as your Servers. Likewise your Wi-Fi clients should be separated from your internal and servers and so on. Choke points should be setup within the network to stop traffic hopping from subnet to subnet. With this Cyber attack, infected clients have been able to port scan for SMB port 445 on other devices and thus spread through the network.

Host based Firewalls – blocking access to SMB port 445 on your client machines. If SMB port 445 is needed use source port filtering to stop unwanted traffic from rogue or infected machines. Thus stopping the spreading of the malware.

Network Firewalls – Ensure your Firewalls are switched on and appropriate firewall configuration is in place. ie don’t just switch it on and allow everything through in any case.

Unsupported Software – Migrate your out of support systems XP and 2003 to new supported versions of MS Operating Systems.

User Awareness Training – Greater awarenesses training for staff. Showing and training people to be more aware when accessing Emails and the Internet.

This isn’t an exhaustive list as there are still things like Operating system hardening, network device hardening, Event Logs etc amongst just a few to work through.

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The Shadow Brokers dump – Eternalblue, DoublePulsar – Hello SYSTEM!

Well The Shadow Brokers dump certainly tied up a proportion of time of the Easter weekend for myself and I suspect many infosec bods. It turns out the exploit framework known as fuzzbunch which was released as part of the dump is tied to the ‘Equation Group’ threat actor,  the NSA’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) according to Wikipedia. From my testing, this is the real deal and pretty effective at allow one to gain SYSTEM level access over an an unpatched supported operating system. It should be noted that many of the exploits have been patched by Microsoft in this months patch Tuesday, most notable MS17-010.  Interestingly there is no attribution from Microsoft in terms of who tipped MS off about the vulnerabilities, one would question whether this was the reason why MS skipped the previous months patch Tuesday.

Utilising the exploit module Eternalblue and doublepulsar from fuzzbunch coupled with Empire or Metasploit is a quick win for gaining SYSTEM level access on any unpatched systems.  If this is not patched in my view this is the next MS08-067 it terms of exploit-ability. The MS08-067 vulnerability was a classic RCE (remote code execution) and easy exploit for 9 times out 10 gaining SYSTEM level access in minutes on a pentest. In my view from my testing that I have completed in the lab with Windows 7 Professional 64bit this new vulnerability in SMB v1.0 is no different, requiring only a few extra steps. Ultimately allowing system level access in a reverse shell… yes those words should make your shudder at the thought. Ensure your systems are patched.

fuzzbunch exploit framework

What is also interesting is that these tools are from 2011-2013, as they require early python versions. One can’t help but think there are a whole raft of new tools being used in the wild potentially by the other nation state threat actor groups. This point simply emphasises the need for secure configuration in addition to mandatory patching. If indeed tools like this are out in the wild we need to ensure secure configuration in the enterprise, ie segmentation, tightening host based firewalls (yes removing access to 445 on your clients), effective monitoring, to name just a few.

How can we detect Double Pulsar?

There are a couple of ways we can detect if double pulsar has been used. Using a vulnerability scanner such as Nessus we can firstly detect whether the Critical patch MS17-010 is missing:

Nessus MS17-010

Nessus will also detect whether double pulsar has been used on a machine by sending an SMBv1 Trans2 request  .

Nessus Doublepulsar detection

In addition to this we can also use nmap’s scripting engine and invoke the smb-double-pulsar-backdoor to check if the target machine is running the Double Pulsar SMB backdoor:

smb-double-pulsar-backdoor

There are also some other specific detection scripts available on github by Luke Jennings available here and a auxiliary scanning module in Metasploit for detecting MS17-010 auxiliary/scanner/smb/smb_ms17_010.

How can we mitigate this threat?

  • Patch Patch and Patch some more, can’t emphasis this enough.
  • Stop using SMB1 as describing and advised by Microsoft in this blog post.
  • If you have SMB port 445 exposed on any systems review why and ensure only systems that need to access this port have access. Do your windows 7 clients really need this port?
  • Ensure your Firewalls are switched on and appropriate firewall configuration is in place. ie don’t just switch it on and allow everything through in any case.
  • Migrate your out of support systems XP and 2003 to new supported versions of MS Operating Systems.

Additional info from Microsoft on the Shadow Brokers was released here.

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