Tag Archives: malware

The Italian morons are back! What are they up to this time?

Nothing ūüôā

HackingTeam was deeply hacked in July 2015 and most of their data was spilled into public hands, including source code for all their sofware and also some 0day exploits. This was an epic hack that shown us their crap internal security but more important than that, their was of doing things and internal and external discussions, since using PGP was too much of an annoyance for these guys (Human biases are a royal pain in the ass, I know!). You can consult the email archives on this Wikileaks online and searchable archive. I had some love on those emails although they never sent that promised Playboy subscription (not interested anymore guys, they gave up on nudes!). For an epic presentation about their OS X RCS malware give a look at these slides.

Last Friday a new OS X RCS sample was sent to me (big thanks to @claud_xiao from Palo Alto Networks for the original discovery, and as usual to @noarfromspace for forwarding it to me). My expectations weren’t big since all the public samples were rather old and know we had their source code so if it were an old sample it was totally uninteresting to analyse. But contrary to my expectations there are some interesting details on this sample. So let’s start once more our reverse engineering journey…
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Writing Bad @$$ Lamware for OS X

The following is a guest post by noar (@noarfromspace), a long time friend.
It shows some simple attacks against BlockBlock, a software developed by Patrick Wardle that monitors OS X common persistence locations for potential malware. The other day noar was telling me about a few bypasses he had found so I invited him to write a guest post.
The title is obviously playing with one of Patrick’s presentations. I met Patrick at Shakacon last year and this is not an attempt to shame him (that is reserved mostly for Apple ;-)). It just illustrates the problems of building defensive tools and how much trust you put on them. By personal experience I can tell you that building a security product is a much harder task than what you might think initially.

Disclaimer: we both work for an endpoint software company. Together with another colleague I wrote an OS X version from scratch. I know very well the insane amount of problems that need to be solved, and they never end. When you build something you are always at mercy of potential security problems, we are no exception. Humans make mistakes. Offense is way easier ;-).

Anyway, enjoy it and hopefully learn something new!
Thank you noar!

I remember those days when there were only 3 or 4 security software editors for OS X. As the threat counts increased, the market grew up too. Many products are now selling you a feeling of being secure: most of them are post-mortem detection tools, and none is re-inventing the security paradigm.

This dinosaur fight left some room for an altruistic new hype: free – but not open source – security tools. Should we trust them blindly?

I am dedicating this post to HGDB, a former colleague and friend. Your sudden departure is leaving us in an infinite sadness. May you rest in peace.


New utilities are emerging to free the user from major companies subscription fees, like the recently acquired Adware Medic or Objective-See tools KnockKnock and BlockBlock. So I had interest in reversing Patrick Wardle’s BlockBlock, a self-proclaimed continual runtime protection.
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How to fix rootpipe in Mavericks and call Apple’s bullshit bluff about rootpipe fixes

The rootpipe vulnerability was finally fully disclosed last week after a couple of months of expectation since the first announcement. It was disclosed as a hidden backdoor but it’s really more something related to access control and crap design than a backdoor. Although keep in mind that good backdoors should be hard to distinguish from simple errors. In this case there are a lot of services using this feature so it’s hardly a hidden backdoor that just sits there waiting for some evil purpose. Apple doesn’t have a stellar security record so the simple explanation has a good chance to prevail over the backdoor story.

Anyway that’s not what really matter for this post. The most important issue is that a fix was made available only for Yosemite 10.10.3. Every other OS X version is left vulnerable. While this is a local privilege escalation vulnerability there are many scenarios where it can be used (you don’t audit every single installer and software that runs on your Mac, do you?). It is extremely reliable and can be used in different ways other than just creating a suid binary.
The vulnerability author wrote the following regarding this issue:
“Apple indicated that this issue required a substantial amount of changes on their side, and that they will not back port the fix to 10.9.x and older.”

So essentially Apple refuses to patch this in all versions except the latest one because it’s apparently too much work. There is no official statement from Apple regarding the EOL (End of Life) status about all previous OS X versions so this course of action is quite strange. Even stranger when Apple backports some security patches to those older versions so they are implicitly not yet dead versions.

In this situation what can we do?
We can try to verify what is the real impact of Apple’s fix and call their bluff if we can prove that we are able to produce a fix without significant changes to the operating system. Challenge accepted!
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Can I SUID: a TrustedBSD policy module to control suid binaries execution

Let me present you another TrustedBSD policy module, this time to control execution of suid enabled binaries.
The idea to create this started with nemo’s exploitation of bash’s shellshock bug and VMWare¬† Fusion. It was an easy local privilege escalation because there are many Fusion suid enabled binaries. This got me thinking that I want to know when this kind of binaries are executed and if possible control access to them. For the first part you don’t really need this module because the audit features available in OS X can give you this information. I’m more interested in having decision power over what is executed. Or it’s just another nice example of how TrustedBSD is so interesting and powerful and why it’s annoying that Apple is closing KPI access to it (latest SDK warnings say it was never meant to be a KPI).

There are two parts to this. The first is the kernel driver that detects execution, controls access, and notifies userland. The second is a small userland application that receives the kernel notifications, asks the user for a decision, and sends back the answer to the kernel.
The execution is blocked until a decision is made or a timeout is reached (default is 5 seconds, you probably want to increase this value).

To avoid any deadlocks all binaries before userland application is connected are authorized. When the userland finally connects it receives a list (displayed as user notifications) of all the suid binaries that executed during the boot process (from my tests this is zero in Mavericks).

Because of the changing nature of TrustedBSD started in Mavericks, this code only works with Mavericks as it is. If you want to make it work in Mountain Lion or Yosemite, you need to change the hook prototype and compile it with the correspondent SDK.

The userland application needs some work due to my crap Cocoa skills :-). The kernel extension has a few points that need a decision (what to do in error cases mostly), authentication of the userland process (it’s not hard to do), and probably more process information.

A friendly tip: The kernel control interface is used for userland/kernel communication. Because the volume of data exchanged is very low it’s ok for this. If you are thinking about using this¬† interface for high volumes forget about it. It has some weird bug where it starts losing data and not able to keep throughtput (error 55 is what you start to experience).

Source available at Github, https://github.com/gdbinit/can_I_suid.

Have fun,

Shakacon #6 presentation: Fuck you Hacking Team, From Portugal with Love.


Shakacon number 6 is over, it was a blast and I must confess it beat my expectations. Congratulations to everyone involved in making it possible. Definitely recommended if you want to speak or attend, and totally worth the massive jet lag ;-).

My presentation was about reverse engineering HackingTeam’s OS X malware latest known sample. The slide count is 206 and I was obviously not able to present everything. The goal is that you have a nice reference available for this malware and also MPRESS unpacking (technically dumping).

This sample in particular was thought to be a newer version of this malware but I try to show you that I don’t think it’s the case and instead, it’s the oldest version of HackingTeam’s OS X malware. If this theory is true, it means we have a two years knowledge gap about the OS X version. Interesting challenge ahead!

The tool I promised to release will have to wait a couple more days since I need to fix its code to implement the fixes I suggest regarding the file and memory sizes differences. Keep watching this space, github or Twitter.

Update: MPRESS dumper source code now available at Github.


Links to slides (34.3Mb):

ShakaCon6-FuckYouHackingTeam.pdf (Dropbox mirror)


Analysis of CoinThief/A “dropper”

There is no such thing as malware in OS X but last week another sample was spotted and made the “news”. I am talking about CoinThief, a malware designed to hijack Bitcoin accounts and steal everything (I must confess I laughed a bit; I think Bitcoin is just a bullshit pyramid scheme but I digress…).

There are a few samples out there, in different stages of evolution, so this is probably not a very recent operation. Nicholas Ptacek from SecureMac broke the story and did an initial analysis. Check his link here and also ThreatPost for some details about the different infected applications and how it started.
This post will target the initial stage of the malware packed with StealthBit application and a bit into the installed malware browser extensions.

First step is to load the main binary into IDA or Hopper (I still use IDA mostly out of lazyness and habit). We are presented with this nice picture (not all methods shown) of very weird class and method names.

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