BlackOasis APT leverages new Flash zero-day exploit to deploy FinSpy

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Security researchers from Kaspersky Labs spotted the BlackOasis APT group exploiting a new zero-day RCE vulnerability in Adobe Flash.

Security researchers from Kaspersky Labs have discovered a new zero-day remote code execution vulnerability in Adobe Flash, tracked as CVE-2017-11292, which was being actively exploited by hackers in the wild to deliver the surveillance software FinSpy.

BlackOasis APT

Hackers belonging to the APT group known as BlackOasis are leveraging the Adobe Flash zero-day exploit in attacks against high-profile targets.

The critical type confusion vulnerability affects Flash Player for Windows, Macintosh, Linux and Chrome OS.

“On October 10, 2017, Kaspersky Lab’s advanced exploit prevention systems identified a new Adobe Flashzero day exploit used in the wild against our customers. The exploit was delivered through a Microsoft Office document and the final payload was the latest version of FinSpy malware. We have reported the bug to Adobe who assigned it CVE-2017-11292 and released a patch earlier today:” reads the analysis published by Kaspersky.

The experts speculate the BlackOasis APT group is the same crew that exploited another RCE zero-day vulnerability, tracked CVE-2017-8759, discovered by FireEye researchers in September 2017.

According to FireEye, the CVE-2017-8759 was actively been exploited by an APT group to deliver the surveillance malware FinFisher Spyware (FinSpy) to a Russian-speaking “entity” via malicious Microsoft Office RTF files in July.

In both attacks, the BlackOasis APT exploited a zero-day exploit to deliver the FinSpy spyware, the hackers shared the same command and control (C&C).

The experts who monitored the activity of the BlackOasis group across the year confirmed it has utilized at least five zero days since June 2015:

  • CVE-2015-5119 – June 2015
  • CVE-2016-0984 – June 2015
  • CVE-2016-4117 – May 2016
  • CVE-2017-8759 – Sept 2017
  • CVE-2017-11292 – Oct 2017

BlackOasis hackers targeted individuals in numerous countries, including Russia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Libya, Jordan, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, the Netherlands, Bahrain, United Kingdom and Angola.

“BlackOasis’ interests span a wide gamut of figures involved in Middle Eastern politics and verticals disproportionately relevant to the region. This includes prominent figures in the United Nations, opposition bloggers and activists, and regional news correspondents.” continues the analysis. “During 2016, we observed a heavy interest in Angola, exemplified by lure documents indicating targets with suspected ties to oil, money laundering, and other illicit activities. There is also an interest in international activists and think tanks.”

Researchers reported the zero-day exploit is delivered through Microsoft Office documents, particularly Word, attached to a spam email. The documents include an ActiveX object which contains the Flash exploit used to deliver the FinSpy spyware.

“The Flash object contains an ActionScript which is responsible for extracting the exploit using a custom packer seen in other FinSpy exploits,” the Kaspersky Labs researchers say.

FinSpy leveraged various attack vectors, including spear phishing, manual installation with physical access to the affected device, zero-day exploits, and watering hole attacks.

According to the experts, the number of attacks relying on FinFisher software, supported by zero-day exploits  will continue to grow.

“The attack using the recently discovered zero-day exploit is the third time this year we have seen FinSpy distribution through exploits to zero-day vulnerabilities,” conclude Kaspersky Lab lead malware analyst Anton Ivanov

“Previously, actors deploying this malware abused critical issues in Microsoft Word and Adobe products. We believe the number of attacks relying on FinSpy software, supported by zero day exploits such as the one described here, will continue to grow.”