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Friday, 02 June 2017 08:52

Vault 7: Implant can remotely infect Windows boxes Featured


WikiLeaks has resumed its release of material from the Vault 7 dump after missing a week, with the overnight release of documents from the CIA's Pandemic project, a persistent implant for Microsoft Windows machines that share files with remote users in a local network.

The whistle-blower group has been releasing documents from what it claims is the largest such dump of CIA material, beginning on 7 March.

Last week, following the dropping of a rape investigation in Sweden against its publisher, Julian Assange, there was no release.

Pandemic is used on a Windows file server to target remote users by replacing application code on-the-fly with a trojaned version; the original version comes from a machine on the local network.

But former NSA employee Jake Williams questioned whether the entire set of documents needed to take advantage of Pandemic had been released.

In a series of tweets, he asked: "When you examine the #pandemic @wikileaks dump, ask yourself: Where are the rest of the docs? Compared this dump to any of the others you'll see that there is far less data than we got with GRASSHOPPER, etc. Do they not have the other files? Seems unlikely."

According to the documents which have been released, Pandemic does not change the files on the local machine. It allows for the replacement of up to 20 programs with a maximum file size of 800 MB which can be targeted at a select list of remote targets.

Documents in the dump say: "Pandemic is a tool which is run as kernel shellcode to install a file system filter driver. The filter will 'replace' a target file with the given payload file when a remote user accesses the file via SMB (read-only, not write).

"Pandemic will not 'replace' the target file when the target file is opened on the machine Pandemic is running on. The goal of Pandemic is to be installed on a machine where remote users use SMB to download/execute PE files."

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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