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Friday, 13 May 2022 08:11

New Linux backdoor BPFDoor found on systems, method of access unknown Featured

New Linux backdoor BPFDoor found on systems, method of access unknown Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

British security researcher Kevin Beaumont has listed details about a backdoor that is claimed to infect Linux systems, with the consulting firm PwC having documented it as well. Both claim the threat emanates from China.

Called BPFDoor, there is no indication from either PwC or Beaumont as to how the backdoor gains a foothold on any system.

Beaumont said it used a BPF packet filter and hence could do its job without opening any new network ports or firewall rules.

PwC Threat Intelligence mentioned BPFDoor in its threat report for 2021, calling the individual(s) behind it Red Menshen, and claiming it had been targeting telcos in the Middle East and Asia.

It "also identified that the threat actor sends commands to BPFDoor victims via virtual private servers hosted at a well-known provider, and that these VPSs, in turn, are administered via compromised routers based in Taiwan, which the threat actor uses as VPN tunnels".

Beaumont said he had found BPFDoor installed in a number of organisations in 2021, in the US, South Korea, Hong Kong, Turkey, India, Vietnam and Myanmar. These included systems in government, postal, logistics and education institutions.

"Operators have access to a tool which allows communication to the implants, using a password, which allows features such as remotely executing commands. This works over internal and Internet networks," he wrote.

"Because BPFDoor doesn’t open any inbound network ports, doesn’t use an outbound C2, and it renames its own process in Linux (so ps aux, for example, will show a friendly name) it is highly evasive."

PwC mentioned that its research showed Red Menshen was mostly active "between Monday to Friday (with none observed on the weekends), with most communication taking place between 01:00 and 10:00 UTC. This pattern suggests a consistent 8 to 9-hour activity window for the threat actor, with realistic probability of it aligning to local working hours".

Beaumont pointed out that each implant had its own hash, making detection by searching for hashes a waste of time.

He said another researcher, Florian Roth, had discovered source code for the BPFDoor controller on VirusTotal, a database of malware signatures owned by Google.

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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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