Cybercriminals recreate Cobalt Strike in Linux

A re-implementation of Cobalt Strike has been “written from scratch” to assault Linux techniques.

Dubbed Vermilion Strike, Intezer mentioned on Tuesday that the brand new variation leans on Cobalt Strike performance, together with its command-and-control (C2) protocol, its distant entry performance, and its skill to run shell directions. 

Cobalt Strike is a reliable penetration testing instrument for Home windows techniques. Launched in 2012, the instrument has been continually abused by menace actors together with superior persistent menace (APT) teams akin to Cozy Bear and campaigns designed to unfold Trickbot and the Qbot/Qakbot banking Trojan. 

Cobalt Strike’s supply code for model was allegedly leaked on-line, nonetheless, most menace actors tracked by cybersecurity groups seem to depend on pirate and cracked copies of the software program.

Till now, not less than.

In August, Intezer uncovered the brand new ELF implementation of Cobalt Strike’s beacon, which seems to have originated from Malaysia. 

When the researchers reported Vermilion Strike, it went undetected on VirusTotal as malicious software program. (Nevertheless, as of the time of writing, 24 antivirus distributors have now registered the menace.)

Constructed on a Pink Hat Linux distribution, the malware is able to launching beacons, itemizing recordsdata, altering and pulling working directories, appending and writing to recordsdata, importing information to its C2, executing instructions through the popen operate, and analyzing disk partitions. 

Whereas able to attacking Linux builds, Home windows samples have additionally been discovered that use the identical C2 server and include the identical performance.

The researchers labored with McAfee Enterprise ATR to look at the software program and have come to the conclusion that Vermilion Strike is being utilized in focused assaults towards telecoms, authorities, IT, advisory, and monetary organizations worldwide.

“The sophistication of this menace, its intent to conduct espionage, and the truth that the code hasn’t been seen earlier than in different assaults, along with the truth that it targets particular entities within the wild, leads us to consider that this menace was developed by a talented menace actor,” Intezer says. 

This isn’t the one unofficial port of Cobalt Strike, nonetheless. There’s additionally geacon, an open supply venture primarily based on the Golang programming language.

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