The TeamSpy Crew Attacks - Abusing TeamViewer for Cyberespionage

Earlier today, the Laboratory of Cryptography and System Security (CrySyS Lab), together with the Hungarian National Security Authority (NFB), published details on a high profile targeted attack against Hungary. The details about the exact targets are not known and the incident remains classified.

Considering the implications of such an attack, Kaspersky Labs Global Research & Analysis Team performed a technical analysis of the campaign and related malware samples.

You can read our short FAQ below and you can download our technical analysis paper linked at the end of the blogpost.

What is it?

'TeamSpy' is a cyber-surveillance operation targeting high level political and human rights activists throughout CIS and Eastern European nations. Victims also include government agencies as well as private companies. The attacks have been ongoing for almost a decade and were previously mentioned by Belarussian activists in 2012.

Why call it TeamSpy?

The attackers control the victims computers remotely by using the legal remote administration tool TeamViewer. This application is signed with legitimate digital certificates and is used by more than 100 million users around the world. To avoid alerting the user that somebody is spying on him, the attackers dynamically patch TeamViewer in memory to remove all signs of its presence.

What does the malware do?

This is a surveillance/reconnaissance and data-theft operation. Sensitive stolen data includes:

- Secret content, secret/private crypto keys, passwords.
- Apple iOS device history data from iTunes.
- Detailed OS and BIOS information.
- Keylogging and screenshot captures.

What exactly is being stolen?

The attackers are interested in office documents and files (e.g., *.doc, *.rtf, *.xls, *.mdb), pdf files (*.pdf), disk images (e.g., *.tc, *.vmdk), as well as files that potentially contain sensitive information such as encryption keys (e.g.,*. pgp, *.p12) and passwords (e.g., *pass*, *secret*, *saidumlo*, *секрет*.* and *парол*.*).

What is saidumlo?

Secret, in Georgian. секрет means secret in Russian, while парол means password.

How can organizations protect themselves against this particular attack?

1. Scan for the presence of the teamviewer.exe application.
2. Block access to the known command-and-control domains and IP addresses. (see our full technical paper)
3. Implement a rigid patch-management plan throughout the organization. This operation includes the use of popular exploit kits that targets known desktop software security vulnerabilities.

For more details, read our analysis of the TeamSpy attacks.

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