APT Malware Activity Detected Exploiting a Patched ColdFusion Vulnerability (CVE-2018-15961)

Ryan Seguin

<p>Researchers at Volexity have identified multiple groups exploiting CVE-2018-15961 in unpatched, web-facing Adobe ColdFusion servers. Users are urged to upgrade to the latest version of ColdFusion.</p>
<h2>Background</h2>
<p>On November 8, <a href="https://www.volexity.com/blog/2018/11/08/active-exploitation-of-newly-pa... reported Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) and hacktivist groups have been targeting web-facing instances of Adobe ColdFusion that haven’t patched for <a href="https://nvd.nist.gov/vuln/detail/CVE-2018-15961">CVE-2018-15961</a>. Adobe released <a href="https://helpx.adobe.com/security/products/coldfusion/apsb18-33.html">APS... to address the vulnerability on September 11, 2018.</p>
<h2>Impact assessment</h2>
<p>The researchers at Volexity identified two separate and unrelated attacks on a number of web-facing ColdFusion servers: a hacktivist group seeking to deface websites; and an APT attempting to hijack ColdFusion servers.</p>
<p>Pro-ISIS hacktivist AnoaGhost of “Typical Idiot Security” has been seen leaving defacing HTML index files on numerous sites that Volexity has identified as “educational institutions, state government, health research, humanitarian aid organizations, and more.”</p>
<p>In addition, a separate APT campaign was identified using the JavaServer Pages (JSP) version of China Chopper, a malicious web shell, to exploit <a href="https://nvd.nist.gov/vuln/detail/CVE-2018-15961">CVE-2018-15961</a>. Exploitation of this vulnerability can lead to remote code execution on the ColdFusion server. An attacker can take full control of a target once China Chopper has been uploaded as shown in the example below:</p>
<p></p>
<img src="/sites/drupal.dmz.tenablesecurity.com/files/images/blog/CChopper.png" width="856" height="350" alt="An attacker can take full control of a target once China Chopper has been uploaded as shown in this example." />
<p><i>Source: <a href="https://www.fireeye.com/blog/threat-research/2013/08/breaking-down-the-c...
<h2>Incident details</h2>
<p>The exact impact the APT group has had on any servers that they’ve potentially attacked is unknown, but the possibility of organizational attack is likely.</p>
<p>As far as the hacktivists are concerned, Volexity reports “Several of the affected websites contained an HTML index file that purported to be from the hacktivist group TYPICAL IDIOT SECURITY.”</p>
<p>The file in question appears as follows:</span><b style="font-weight: normal;" id="docs-internal-guid-1835780c-7fff-13cd-3e97-5e4847edf603"><br /></b></p>
<div dir="ltr" style="margin-left: 0pt;">
<table style="border: none; border-collapse: collapse; width: 468pt;"><colgroup><col width="*" /></colgroup>
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<p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: Arial; color: #333333; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Hacked by AnoaGhost – Typical Idiot Security</span></p>
<p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: Arial; color: #333333; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">#together laugh in ur security since 2k17#</span></p>
<p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: Arial; color: #333333; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">We are:~•Khunerable – SPEEDY-03 – PYS404 – Mirav – Grac3 – AnoaGhost – Jje Incovers – Panataran – magelangGetar – Kersen.id•</span></p>
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<p></p>
<h2>Urgently required actions</h2>
<p>To protect against these attacks, we highly recommend upgrading to the latest version of ColdFusion, which can be done from the administrator panel under Server Update &gt; Updates &gt; Settings.</p>
<img src="/sites/drupal.dmz.tenablesecurity.com/files/images/blog/cf-updates-1024x438.png" width="1024" height="438" alt="we highly recommend upgrading to the latest version of ColdFusion." />
<p><i>Source: <a href="https://www.volexity.com/blog/2018/11/08/active-exploitation-of-newly-pa...
<h2>Identifying affected systems </h2>
<p>A list of Nessus plugins to identify this vulnerability can be found <a href="https://www.tenable.com/plugins/search?q=%22APSB18-33%22&sort=&page=1">h...
<h2>Get more information</h2>
<ul><li><a href="https://www.volexity.com/blog/2018/11/08/active-exploitation-of-newly-pa... Blog</a
</li>
<li><a href="https://helpx.adobe.com/security/products/coldfusion/apsb18-33.html">Adobe Security Advisory</a>
</li>
</ul>
<p><b>Learn more about <a href="https://www.tenable.com/products">Tenable</a>, the first Cyber Exposure platform for holistic management of your modern attack surface. Get a <a href="https://www.tenable.com/products/tenable-io/vulnerability-management/eva... 60-day trial</a> of Tenable.io Vulnerability Management.</a></p>

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Published on Nov 8, 2018

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