WatchBog Malware Adds BlueKeep Scanner (CVE-2019-0708), New Exploits (CVE-2019-10149, CVE-2019-11581)

Satnam Narang

Scanner for “BlueKeep” vulnerability and newly minted exploits for Exim and Jira incorporated into cryptocurrency mining malware.

Background

On July 24, researchers at Intezer published a blog about a new variant of the WatchBog malware. WatchBog is a “cryptocurrency mining botnet” that deploys a Monero (XMR) miner on infected systems. WatchBog was previously identified by AlibabaCloud in May 2019, but there are some indications that it has been around since at least November 2018 based on a blog post from Sudhakar Bellamkonda.

Analysis

Most notable in the new variant of WatchBog is a scanning module for BlueKeep (CVE-2019-0708), a critical remote code execution vulnerability in Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Service that was patched in May 2019, which included fixes for out-of-support versions of Windows. The scanner module appears to be a port of a proof-of-concept scanner published to GitHub nearly two months ago. However, the module variant described in the Intezer blog doesn’t contain any exploit code.

Nearly 80 days after the announcement of BlueKeep, threats of exploitation remain. Learn more here.

According to the researchers, WatchBog will scan a predefined list of IP addresses fetched from a command-and-control (C2) server to identify vulnerable Windows systems. The researchers surmise that the inclusion of such a module is to prepare for future attacks once exploit code does become public, or to sell the data on vulnerable systems to a third party.

In its latest iteration, WatchBog has incorporated new exploits in what is referred to as its “pwn” modules. These exploits are for two recently disclosed vulnerabilities and they include:

These two vulnerabilities join three other exploits in WatchBog’s “pwn” modules, as well as two bruteforcing modules targeting databases.

The following is the list of exploits, scanners and bruteforcing modules incorporated into WatchBog:

CVE Affected Product Patched Type Privileges CVE-2018-1000861 Jenkins Dec 2018 Exploit Unauthenticated CVE-2019-7238 Nexus Repository Manager 3 Feb 2019 Exploit Unauthenticated CVE-2019-0192 Apache Solr Mar 2019 Exploit Unauthenticated CVE-2019-10149 Exim Jun 2019 Exploit Unauthenticated CVE-2019-11581 Atlassian Jira Server and Data Center Jul 2019 Exploit Both CVE-2019-0708 Microsoft Remote Desktop Services May 2019 Scanner Unauthenticated N/A CouchDB N/A Bruteforce N/A N/A Redis N/A Bruteforce N/A

Proof of concept

There are proofs-of-concept (PoCs) available for all of the vulnerabilities used by WatchBog.

CVE Affected Product Proof of Concept Source CVE-2018-1000861 Jenkins Blog CVE-2019-7238 Nexus Repository Manager 3 GitHub CVE-2019-0192 Apache Solr GitHub CVE-2019-10149 Exim GitHub CVE-2019-11581 Atlassian Jira Server and Data Center GitHub CVE-2019-0708 Microsoft Remote Desktop Services GitHub

Solution

For Windows users, applying the patch to address BlueKeep is paramount. The inclusion of the BlueKeep scanner is worrisome enough, but the lingering possibility that exploit code may soon become public underscores the sheer importance of patching against it. This is highlighted by a recent report that there are over 800,000 systems vulnerable to BlueKeep that are still internet accessible.

All of the vulnerabilities leveraged by WatchBog have been patched over the last eight months. Users running Jenkins, Nexus Repository Manager 3, Apache Solr, Exim, Atlassian Jira Server and Data Center should apply the available patches as soon as possible.

If you have CouchDB or Redis servers in your environment, it is important to ensure that they’re not exposed publicly, but if they are, use strong and unique passwords and review the CouchDB and Redis security guides.

Identifying affected systems

A list of Tenable plugins to identify these vulnerabilities can be found here:

Additionally, customers can utilize custom YARA rules as well as the file scanning feature on Tenable.io and Nessus to scan for hashes associated with WatchBog on Linux hosts.

Using Tenable.io and Nessus to scan for hashes associated with WatchBog on Linux hosts

Customers can utilize custom YARA rules as well as the file scanning feature on Tenable.io and Nessus to scan for hashes associated with WatchBog on Linux hosts

The following Linux malicious file detection and YARA plugins are available to customers:

Intezer provided three SHA-256 sample hashes that can be used in a list of known bad hashes:

In the user interface, customers can provide a list of known bad hashes:

list of known bad hashes associated with WatchBog malware

There are some advanced options that customers can use to scan $PATH locations, /home as well as custom directories.

advanced options customers can use to scan $PATH locations, /home as well as custom directories to scan for bad hashes associated with WatchBog malware

advanced options customers can use to scan $PATH locations, /home as well as custom directories to scan for bad hashes associated with WatchBog malware

The following is an example scan result for known bad hashes for WatchBog:

example scan result for known bad hashes for WatchBog

Additionally, Intezer provided a custom YARA rule that can be used to identify unknown or newly discovered Watchbog samples. The following is an example scan output for the YARA file scanning plugin.

example scan output for the YARA file scanning plugin

Get more information

Join Tenable's Security Response Team on the Tenable Community.

Learn more about Tenable, the first Cyber Exposure platform for holistic management of your modern attack surface.

Get a free 60-day trial of Tenable.io Vulnerability Management.

Read more >

Published on Jul 25, 2019

People also viewed

Business Cost Analyst - Cloud Infrastructure

San Jose California United States E Santa Clara St., San Jose, California, United States, 95113 Engineering Engineering
Your Role:Tenable is seeking a Business Cost Analyst of Cloud Infrastructure with strong MS Excel experience to assess, analyze and compile current costs and potentially determine initiatives to reduce and improve our cloud infrastructure cost for...

Professional Services Engagement Manager

Singapore Singapore Singapore North Bridge Road, Parkview Square, Singapore, 188788 Professional Services Professional Services
Your Role:The Professional Services Engagement Manager assists in the professional services business development and oversees the delivery of projects. The Professional Services Engagement Manager’s roles include tactical project management oversi...

UX Designer

Columbia Maryland United States Columbia Gateway Drive, Columbia, Maryland, United States, 21046 Engineering Engineering
Your Role:Tenable is looking for an extraordinary Senior UX Designer to join our team. Our group is chartered with creating the next generation of security products while at the same time pioneering unprecedented user experience in the digital sec...

Commercial Territory Manager - West

Columbia Maryland United States Columbia Gateway Drive, Columbia, Maryland, United States, 21046 Sales Sales
Your Role:The Commercial Territory Manager will meet and exceed quarterly sales quota by developing new opportunities within specific geographical territory.  Researching and identifying potential accounts; outbound cold calling to soliciting new ...

Senior Software Engineer (Java & Kotlin)

San Jose California United States E Santa Clara St., San Jose, California, United States, 95113 Engineering Engineering
Your Role:Tenable is looking for a Senior Software Engineer to join the Lumin product development team. As a Sr. Software Engineer you will drive projects end-to-end, collaborate on product requirements with Product Managers, architect and impleme...

Public Sector Channel Manager - Distribution

Reston Virginia United States Reston, Virginia, United States Channel Sales Sales
Your Role:The Public Sector Channel Manager-Distribution is responsible for establishing and managing relationships with the Distribution Partner(s).  The CM-Disty will act as a sales liaison between distributor and Tenable Channel Manager personn...

We have big plans for continued global growth, and we’re looking for people who are creative, flexible and dedicated to helping us build something great – something that matters.