Wednesday, August 5, 2015

BHUSA15: Gameover Zeus: Badguys and Backends

Speakers: Elliott Peterson is a Special Agent with the FBI in the Pittsburgh Field Office. Michael Sandee is a key member in the Fox-IT financial malware intelligence unit. Tillmann Werner is the Director of Technical Analysis at CrowdStrike Intelligence.

Gameover Zeus went after backend banking systems, very successfully, a botnet run by an organized crime game. It was designed to make it impossible to be subverted by the good guys.

We estimate that the losses ranged from $10,000 to $6,900,000 / attack. The criminals had knowledge of International banking laws, leveraged international wires, and used DDoS attacks against the banks to distract and prevent the victims from identifying the fraud.

Dirtjumber Command/Control was being used.

They see the $6.9 million loss, informed the bank - but the bank could not find the loss. It took a long time to find, due to the DDoS. The FBI was finally able to track down who was receiving the funds in Switzerland and put a stop to this. Now the feds can prevent the transactions and even get the money back in he end.

The first Zeus came out in 2005 as a crimeware kit. The primary developer "abandoned" the project, and turned it into a private project in 2011.

JabberZeus crew was using the kit malware then moved into Zeus 2.1.0.x, which included support for domain generation algorithm, regular expression support and a file infector.  Then, in September it was upgraded to Mapp 13, which includes peer-to-peer + traditional comms via gameover2.php.  The focus was on corporate banking, and would often drop in additional malware (like CryptoLocker).

The attack group seemed to have 5 years experience, some as many as 10. Mainly from Russia and Ukrain, with two leaders.  Included support staff and 20 affiliates.

They had "bulletproof" hosting - exclusive servers together, virtual IP addresses, new address in 2 business days - very expensive!  Additionally, proxies all over the place - like in front of the peer-to-peer network.

The network was proteted using a private RSA key.

The FBI, and their private assistants, had to watch for traffic patterns and cookie theft/removal. For example, they could remove your existing cookie to force you to login again so that they could get your password.  Once they got what they wanted, they would block (locally) access to the bank's website.

This wasn't just financial, but also political. There was espionage, targeting intelligence agencies, looking for things around the Crimea and Syrian conflicts.  Specifically looking for top secret documents, or agent names.


Why take control? If not, if the feds presence was detected, the command engine could shut down and destroy the rest of the botnet.

The botnet uses a basic p2p layer. Every infected machine stores  a list of the neighbor nodes, updated often and peers talk directly to each other - getting weekly binary updates!

They had proxy nodes, which were announced by special messages to route C2 communication (stolen data, commands). Many nodes in the cluster are not publicly accessible, so there are proxy nodes that encapsulate traffic in HTTP so they can continue to communicate with infected machines behind a firewall.

The criminals was also configured to NOT accept unsolicited responses - must match a request, so the feds (and friends) could not use a poisoning attack.

Goal: isolate bots, prevent normal operation, by turning the p2p network into a centralized network with the good guys at the controls (a sinkhole).

The good guys had to attack the proxy layer with a poisoning attack. Peers maintian a sorted list of up to 20 proxies, regular checks if still active. Had to poison that list, and the make sure none of the other proxies reply any more.  Needed to work with ISPs to get access to some active proxies.

Needed to take over the command and control node first - that's where the commands came from.  Once they were in, they killed the old centralized servers (one was in Canada and the other in the Ukraine). Took advantage to completely change the digraph and essentially took down the botnet.

Needed to watch emails exchanged with "Business Club". Helpfully, "Business Club" kept ledgers!

The FBI need to look at the seams , to find who these people were. For example, Bogachev used the same VPN servers to log into his personal/identifiable accounts as he used to control the bot net.

They are still looking for him. The FBI is offering $3 million for information leading to the capture of  Bogachev (showed us pictures of the guy - he likes his fancy boats).

Let me know if you get a piece of that bounty!