Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Snake Campaign: A few words about the Uroburos Rootkit

Over the past few days, analyzing the new Uroburos (aka Turla) rootkit has been exciting. That's because the sample dropper (MD5: a86ac0ad1f8928e8d4e1b728448f54f9) includes a lot of clever features. We don’t want to rehash research already publicly available, but we will expand on some features that have not been covered in previous publications (like the driver loading strategy and the main dropper architecture).

The dropper is compressed with a simple packer that uses integer math, such a bit shifting, unsigned multiplication, and so on, to perform data decryption. At the end of the decryption routine, we end up with a jmp ebx opcode. The jump leads to a copy stub routine that replaces the original bytes of the executable:

Uroburus - 1.jpg
Figure 1. The simple Uroburos packer and data copy routine

The unpacked code first disables all possible error reporting windows from popping up by using the SetErrorMode Windows API function. The binary then checks the version of the operating system, even if the process is running in WOW64 mode. Arguments passed to the binary at execution time are checked as well: if any of the arguments is the string up, an auto-destruction routine is executed and all Uroburos files found on disk from possible previous runs are deleted. The dropper even checks for another instance of Uroburos running in memory on the target system by trying to open  the following 3 mutexes:

  • "{E9B1E207-B513-4cfc-86BE-6D6004E5CB9C}" - Local setup mutex
  • “{B93DFED5-9A3B-459b-A617-59FD9FAD693E}” - Global Uroburos setup mutex
  • "shell.{F21EDC09-85D3-4eb9-915F-1AFA2FF28153}" - Global still unknown mutex

If any of these mutexes is found, the executable terminates the setup process.
Otherwise, it prepares all data structures needed for all its inter-module communication.

BypassDSEAndLoadVirusDrv is the name of the key routine of the Uroburos dropper. Its final goal is to load the Uroburos rootkit driver, and this is accomplished in different ways depending on the target's operating system. We will provide an in-depth analysis of how this is done later on. After the rootkit driver is loaded, a function in an user-mode module of the dropper called format_ntfs_Win32, and identified within the binary as resource 4000 is used to format its virtual volume, which is accessible via the device \\.\Par1. As mentioned, the entire code responsible for formatting the virtual volume is written in user-mode. The malware authors interestingly decided not to use built-in low-level Windows formatting functions. The virtual volume is backed by a file called fixdata.dat found in the main directory of Uroburos. This directory is called $NtUninstallQXXXXXX$ (where the letters “XXXXXX” are 6 random numbers), is located under Windows root path, and is hidden by the kernel mode driver. The encrypted configuration file, found in the dropper as resource 103 is extracted in a file called system in the virtual volume. Finally the dropper is copied to a file called fdisk_mon.exe located in the main path for Uroburs, and its corresponding system service named ultra3 is installed. This ensures the piece of malware survives a system reboot.

Main Path: %systemroot%\$NtUninstallQxxxxxx$
fdisk.sys - Main Rootkit driver
fdisk_mon.exe - Packed dropper executed as service
fixdata.dat - Virtual File systems file

Between this and upcoming blog posts, we will go over 3 major features found in Uroburos, which are the:
- Kernel mode driver setup strategies
- Patchguard disarming code
- Virtual File System

Uroburus - 3.gif
Figure 2. A snapshot of the Virtual Volume content. Noteworthy: the “klog” file, which contains the
data captured by the keylogger, and the “system” file, which is the Uroburos configuration file

Uroburos Dropper Architecture - Modules communication

We believe that to facilitate an in-depth understanding of the specific features of Uroburos, we should go over the dropper's architecture. All Uroburos modules are DLLs embedded in the resource directory of the main dropper. As needed, the dropper gets a pointer to the target module located in resource directory (using the Windows API functions FindResource and LockResource), and starts processing it: the VirusLoadDll routine takes the module resource buffer pointer as input, allocates a chunk of memory big as target PE virtual size, and then proceeds with the needed IAT resolution, relocations and fix-ups. At the end, the Uroburos main dropper has correctly loaded the DLL module in its address space. We can pinpoint that each of its resource modules is composed as follows:
  • DllEntryPoint implements the unpacking routine and a simple function that saves the DLL base address to a global variable
  • ee, an exported function that performs the actual module job
     Uroburus - 2.gif
Figure 3. A snap of the simple Dll Entry point of a Uroburos module

The routine ee is called with 3 parameters: a synchronization routine pointer, that resides in the main dropper; 2 custom parameters that usually point to the Uroburos driver buffer and its size. These last 2 parameters are needed for the exploit execution.
As the name implies, the “synchronization” routine initializes all synch data structures and an array of global functions pointer that could be called from the external module. In this way, the external library can always call the main dropper's internal routines. As we proceeded with the analysis, we saw that some modules were only a wrapper to some of the main dropper’s internal functions.

In summary, we have identified the following Snake (another name of Uroburos rootkit)  modules:
  1. A 32-bit and 64-bit driver (resource number 101 and 161)
  2. A configuration file extracted and saved in the virtual volume system (resource number  103)
  3. ms09_025_Win32 (resource number 1000), which exploits vulnerability CVE-2009-1123 in order to execute kernel-mode code (and automatically escalate privileges)
  4. ms10_015_Win32 (resource number 2000), which exploit vulnerability CVE-2010-0232 in order to escalate privileges and gain access to the SYSTEM account
  5. vboxdrv_Win32  which is perhaps the most interesting one: it disables Windows 7 x64 Driver Signing Enforcement (DSE) by exploiting a bug in the VirtualBox signed driver. This module requires an in-depth  analysis that we will cover afterwards
  6. format_ntfs_Win32, which implements virtual volume initialization and NTFS formatting code.

Loading the driver

All the work needed to properly load the unsigned driver is managed by the BypassDSEAndLoadVirusDrv function. This function tries to extract and run the ms09_025_Win32 module with the aim of triggering exploiting CVE-2009-1123 and divert the kernel code execution to a custom routine that automatically escalates privileges and directly loads the already mapped driver. If the target OS isn't vulnerable to CVE-2009-1123, or if the exploit has failed, it tries to extract and run the module ms10_015_Win32, but this time with the goal of only obtaining SYSTEM privileges. By checking the following registry key (requesting KEY_SET_VALUE access right) it can determine if the attempt to escalate privileges was successful:

HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows Nt\CurrentVersion\Windows

This key can only be written to by a user or process with 'administrator' privileges. If the main dropper is still unable to open this key, the procedure exits and the entire setup process is aborted.
The function CreateTurlaPathAndExtractDrv is called to create the directory $NtUninstallQXXXXXX$ in root directory of the operating system, and extract the kernel driver into a file called fdisk.sys. If the OS is 32-bit, the dropper creates and populates the registry key HKCR\Ultra3 and executes the unsigned driver sengoku_x64 (the main “Uroburos” driver) by calling the ZwLoadDriver native API function. This method bypasses the standard Windows Service control manager.
Alternatively, if the OS is 64-bit, which means that it implements DSE and Patchguard, the vboxdrv_Win32 module is extracted and executed. This DLL might be the most interesting from an analysis point of view.

The VBoxdrv module

The DLL starts by calling 2 functions located in the main dropper, with the goal of extracting and starting the signed VirtualBox driver named “sbhub.sys. Once the VirtualBox driver has been successfully started, pxinsi64.ex” (the executable that implements the user-mode part of the “VirtualBox exploit") is extracted from the module and executed using the CreateProcess API function. The VBoxDrv module now waits for the spawned process to complete execution.
This spawned 64-bit process first tries to open the VirtualBox device \\.\VBoxDrv and, if successful, calls the function GetDseSymbolPtr to get the address of the kernel DSE variable g_ciEnabled. If pxinsi64.exe can't open the VirtualBox device, it immediately terminates. In fact, if the VirtualBox driver has not started correctly, Uroburos is not able to load an unsigned driver in x64 environments.

The function GetDseSymbolPtr warrants a closer look. I provide here the pseudo code:

NTSTATUS GetDseSymbolPtr (LPVOID * pCiEnableVa) {
DWORD dwJmpCiIatRva = 0;        // “JMP cs:_imp_CiInitialize” RVA

// … Get needed buffer size …
CALL ZwQuerySystemInformation(SystemModuleInformation, lpSysModInfo, 0, &buffSize);
for (i = 0; i < lpSysModInfo.NumModules; i++) {
OPEN kernel sys file directly from Disk and map      // OpenReadAndRelocModule virus routine
Analyse on-disk module Import Table, find “CiInitialize” imported name
if (IAT_Symbol not found)
continue;        // goto next module

            for (offset = 0; offset < curModule.size; offset++) {
    curByte = curModuleBuff[offset];

// resolve “CiInitializeStub” routine address searching for “JMP _imp_CiInitialize” opcode
if ((curByte == JMP FAR opcode) &&
(JMP FAR offset == “CiInitialize” IAT entry))
Save this RVA in dwJmpCiIatRva 

if (((curByte == CALL FAR opcode) &&
(CALL FAR offset == dwJmpCiIatRva))
// Go backward and search “MOV CS:g_ciEnabled, 1”
while (offset > 0) {
curByte = curModuleBuff[offset];
if (curByte == “MOV CS:REL32, imm8” opcode &&
    sourceOperand == 1)  
    Resolve destination REL32 operand and return it.
This is the “g_ciEnabled” address

Strictly speaking, the algorithm resolves the CiInitializeStub stub function address, then tries to reach the CALL CiInitializeStub instruction located in the SepinitializeCodeIntegrity Nt kernel internal routine. This routine is the one responsible for initializing the Driver Signing Enforcement when the system boots up. When the Uroburos code locates this CALL, it proceeds to search backward for the mov cs:REL32, 1 opcode, and, if it finds it, resolves REL32 destination operand address. This symbol is the g_ciEnabled DSE Kernel variable.
Uroburus - 4.gif
Figure 4. A snap of searched Driver Signing Enforcement code

At this point, pxinsi64.exe can exploit the VirtualBox driver, by calling the Windows API function DeviceIoControl with the SUP_IOCTL_FAST_DO_NOP control code, as explained here.
However, before triggering the exploit, pxinsi64.exe prepares the VirtualBox device, sending the following input/output controls, also known as IOCTLs: SUP_IOCTL_COOKIE, SUP_IOCTL_LDR_OPEN, SUP_IOCTL_LDR_LOAD. This is important, because the supdrvIOCtlFast internal VirtualBox driver function, should return 0, and not an error code. The Write What Where conditions should indeed update the value of the g_ciEnabled variable with the value 0.
If all goes well, the Windows Driver Signature Enforcement protection is disabled and pxinsi64.exe exits with the error code 0. Otherwise, it terminates with a different error code.
The VboxDrv module wakes up and deletes the 2 extracted files (now no longer needed): the exploit executable pxinsi64.exe, and the bugged VirtualBox driver usbhub.sys. It finally exits. The main Uroburos dropper can now  load and start its infection driver in the same manner as it does for 32-bit systems.


In this brief analysis, we provided an overview of the architecture of the Uroburos rootkit. Uroburos made use of a lot of clever tricks. We also provided an in-depth description of how Uroburos bypasses Driver Signature Enforcement (DSE).

In upcoming blog posts, we'll cover Uroburos':
  • code to bypass Patchguard
  • Virtual file system

Uroburos seems to have been put together with a lot of care. Interestingly, the packer used with the dropper doesn't seem to be as sophisticated as the rest of the techniques that are employed...

One last question remains: does the DSE bypass technique work on Windows 8 and/or Windows 8.1? The answer is no. As a matter of fact, if the host OS is a 64-bit version of Windows 8 or Windows 8.1, the VBoxDrv module fails to run and the entire setup process is aborted. DSE and Pathguard are implemented in a different way in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1. In upcoming blog posts we will look into the how in DSE and Patchguard are implemented differently between Windows 7 and Windows 8, and whether exploit mitigation techniques available on Windows 7 can be bypassed in Windows 8.

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Monday, April 21, 2014

VRT Job Postings added

We're hiring, and looking for exceptional candidates to join our expanding team here at the Vulnerability Research Team (VRT) at Sourcefire, now a part of Cisco.

I've posted the current job offerings here:


Be sure to head on over and apply.  Let them know you spotted the job on the blog!
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Friday, April 18, 2014

Heartbleed for OpenVPN

Core to the VRT's mission is challenging the general intrusion detection industry's view of "adequate" vulnerability coverage. One way we do this is to seek out new attack vectors for critical vulnerabilities the industry may have overlooked and take the initiative to write the proof of concept code and detection for aspects of a vulnerability that others might have missed. You no doubt have heard by now about the Heartbleed vulnerability and its implications for HTTPS servers that run the vulnerable versions of OpenSSL. Something not discussed enough is its implications for services running on protocols other than HTTP that also rely on OpenSSL. One such case is OpenVPN.

The OpenVPN protocol encapsulates the SSL/TLS session used for authentication, key exchange, and data tunneling in order to provide the reliable transport layer the SSL/TLS session needs, (since OpenVPN is often run over UDP). One improvement, and challenge to exploitation, that OpenVPN provides over vanilla TLS is that it supports optional HMAC signing of OpenVPN messages using a passphrase or key. This is a challenge to the attacker because not only do you need to properly encapsulate your malicious heartbeat message, you also (in cases where the server requires message signing) have to sign it with a valid HMAC. It is important to note that HMAC signing does not prevent the OpenVPN server from being vulnerable, as it is still possible to leak memory using HMAC signing if you have the passphrase or key. Unfortunately many OpenVPN servers have this feature disabled and are vulnerable to memory disclosure without authentication. If you are running an OpenVPN server, it is strongly recommended that you upgrade to the latest version of OpenSSL and enable HMAC signing of OpenVPN messages.

The VRT has developed working Heartbleed exploits for OpenVPN running over TCP and UDP. Detection for this vulnerability includes coverage for servers running over TCP and UDP with HMAC signing and without HMAC signing in SIDs 30711 through 30742.
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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Performing the Heartbleed Attack After the TLS Handshake

Over the past several days, many IPS rules for detecting the Heartbleed attack have been suggested that attempt to compare the TLS message size to the heartbeat message size.  This method works with most of the Proof-of-Concept attacks out there, which perform the Heartbleed attack before the TLS handshake has occurred.  Performing the attack before the TLS handshake results in both the attack and response data being sent in plaintext.  However, if a TLS handshake is performed first, all heartbeat data is encrypted, meaning that this type of detection comparing ciphertext (encrypted data) with the unencrypted TLS message size will not work.  This will almost always result in a false positive as chances are high that the encrypted data will appear to be a larger value than the TLS message size.  Adding to the challenge is the fact that there is nothing explicit within the heartbeat request nor the heartbeat response that indicates the heartbeat data is encrypted.

Our detection from the beginning has always ignored the heartbeat message data itself to avoid false positives arising from using ciphertext as if it was readable on the wire.  Instead, we only use the unencrypted values within the TLS header.

Monday night, before Heartbleed really hit the news and public exploit code became available, the VRT created a proof-of-concept to demonstrate the Heartbleed bug by analyzing the openssl-1.0.1f code and modifying it to send malicious heartbeats and dump out the response to view the exposed data.  By using this approach, the heartbeat request is sent after the TLS handshake, resulting in encrypted payloads.  It turns out that by using our own exploit as the basis for detection, we were able to avoid the mistakes made by some others that will result in false positives against legitimate traffic since we never made the assumption that we could read the heartbeat message size.

t1_lib.c.diff is a patch to the openssl-1.0.1f source tree that implements the Heartbleed attack, after the TLS handshake has occurred.  Steps to create the PoC are as follows --

$ wget https://labs.snort.org/files/t1_lib.c.diff
$ wget http://www.openssl.org/source/openssl-1.0.1f.tar.gz
$ tar -zxf openssl-1.0.1f.tar.gz
$ cd openssl-1.0.1f
$ patch -p0 < ../t1_lib.c.diff
$ ./config no-shared no-idea no-mdc2 no-rc5 zlib enable-tlsext no-ssl2 && make depend && make
$ apps/openssl s_client -tlsextdebug -connect <victim_server>:443

Once you connect, type 'B' to trigger a heartbeat then 'Q' to quit.  You can send a few heartbeats per session if you want.  At this point, many servers out there have disabled heartbeat support so don't be alarmed if you receive "peer does not accept heartbearts."  This is a good thing!

We detect Heartbleed attacks whether they are encrypted or not by using detection_filter ("threshold") rules to discover too many heartbeat requests in a short amount of time as an attacker tries to gather memory dumps and by inspecting the TLS size in heartbeat responses for a value that is greater than the normal heartbeat response size.

More information about how the exploit works and our detection for it can be read at our original blog post on this subject, http://vrt-blog.snort.org/2014/04/heartbleed-memory-disclosure-upgrade.html
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Heartbleed Continued - OpenSSL Client Memory Exposed

The Heartbleed vulnerability is bad. Not only does it pose a risk to servers running the vulnerable version of OpenSSL (1.0.1 through 1.0.1f) with heartbeats enabled, it also poses a serious risk to clients running the vulnerable versions.

OpenSSL clients process heartbeats using the same vulnerable functions: tls1_process_heartbeat() and dtls1_process_heartbeat(). The same memcpy() overread detailed in our previous blog post allows malicious servers to read blocks of client memory. In internal testing we were able to extract memory from several client programs such as curl and wget, that link against the vulnerable OpenSSL versions.  It is important to note the versions of these programs does not necessarily matter, if they are linking against the vulnerable OpenSSL versions.

Research into other clients that link against the vulnerable versions of OpenSSL continues. Again, it is strongly recommended that you upgrade to OpenSSL version 1.0.1g or install a version of OpenSSL with heartbeats disabled.

We have released detection for the client side attack in SIDs 30520 through 30523, we have expanded detection port ranges to cover more vulnerable clients and servers, and last but not least, all Heartbleed rules have been added to the community ruleset - because we care.
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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Heartbleed Memory Disclosure - Upgrade OpenSSL Now!

Heartbleed is a serious vulnerability in OpenSSL 1.0.1 through 1.0.1f.   If you have not upgraded to OpenSSL 1.0.1g or installed a version of OpenSSL with -DOPENSSL_NO_HEARTBEATS it is strongly recommended that you do so immediately.

This vulnerability allows the attacker to read up to 64KB of heap memory from the victim without any privileged information or credentials. How is this possible? In short, OpenSSL's heartbeat processing functions use an attacker controlled length for copying data into heartbeat responses. Both DTLS and TLS heartbeat implementations are vulnerable.

The vulnerable functions are tls1_process_heartbeat() in ssl/t1_lib.c (for TLS) and dtls1_process_heartbeat() in ssl/d1_both.c (for DTLS). Looking at these functions you can see that OpenSSL first reads the heartbeat type and length:

hbtype = *p++;
n2s(p, payload);
pl = p;

n2s is a macro that takes two bytes from "p" and copies them to "payload". This is the length indicated by the SSL client for the heartbeat payload.  Note: The actual length of the SSL record is not checked. The variable "pl" is a pointer to the heartbeat data sent by the client.

OpenSSL allocates as much memory as the client asked for (two byte length up to 65535 bytes) plus 1 byte for heartbeat type, 2 bytes for payload length, and 16 bytes for padding:

buffer = OPENSSL_malloc(1 + 2 + payload + padding);
bp = buffer;

Then it builds the heartbeat response by copying the payload size sent in the request to the response using the macro s2n (opposite of n2s).  Finally (and here's the critical part), using the size supplied by the attacker rather than its actual length, it copies the request payload bytes to the response buffer.

s2n(payload, bp);
memcpy(bp, pl, payload);

If the specified heartbeat request length is larger than its actual length, this memcpy() will read memory past the request buffer and store it in the response buffer which is sent to the attacker. In internal testing we were able to successfully retrieve usernames, passwords, and SSL certificates.

To detect this vulnerability we use detection_filter ("threshold") rules to detect too many inbound heartbeat requests, which would be indicative of someone trying to read arbitrary blocks of data. Since OpenSSL uses hardcoded values that normally result in a 61 byte heartbeat message size, we also use rules to detect outbound heartbeat responses that are significantly above this size. Note: you can't simply compare the TLS record size with the heartbeat payload size since the heartbeat message (including the indicated payload size) is encrypted.

We have released detection in SIDs 30510 through 30517 to detect attacks targeting this vulnerability.

To keep people updated, Heartbleed rules have been added to the community ruleset.
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