Cat Scratch Fever: CrowdStrike Tracks Newly Reported Iranian Actor as FLYING KITTEN

Iran Flag Itok=ZH1lQJtD

Today, our friends at FireEye released a report on an Iran-based adversary they are calling Saffron Rose. CrowdStrike Intelligence has also been tracking and reporting internally on this threat group since mid-January 2014 under the name FLYING KITTEN, and since that time has seen targeting of multiple U.S.-based defense contractors as well as political dissidents.

Flying Kitten Targeted Intrusion

FireEye’s report notes that this adversary’s targeted intrusion activity consists of credential theft and malware delivery individually. The FLYING KITTEN campaigns investigated by CrowdStrike Intelligence showed that the actor actually combines the two. For example, the adversary will register a domain that spoofs the name of the targeted organization and then host a spoofed login page on that site.

FK1

The page is used to steal legitimate credentials, but once users enter the credentials, they are often redirected to a new page that prompts them to download a “Browser Patch” or other similar type of file. The downloaded file is actually the Stealer malware that exfiltrates stolen data to an FTP server.

In addition to the aerospace/defense and dissident targeting, it also appears that FLYING KITTEN is also engaged in broader targeting via the website parmanpower[.]com. This website is registered via the same registrant email (info[@]usa.gov.us) and other Whois information as some of the other domains related to the activity discussed above. It purports to be the website of a business engaged in recruiting, training, and development in Erbil, Iraq.

FK2

No malicious activity has been linked to this domain, however, the fact that it was registered under the same registrant email at the same time as other FLYING KITTEN domains linked to malicious activity, it is likely that the adversary is using this site for malicious purposes as well. The website does not appear to deliver any malware, so its most likely purpose is to act as a credential-collection mechanism much like the spoofed Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Aerospace Conference website (aeroconf2014[.]org) the adversary used earlier this year. This spoofed recruiting company website could be used to target entities across a wide range of sectors.

Attribution

Attribution in this case is interesting, as the adversary appears to have made a mistake when registering its malicious domains. The registrant email that currently appears in the Whois records of some of the FLYING KITTEN domains is info[@]usa.gov.us, however historical records show that the domains were originally registered under the email address keyvan.ajaxtm[@]gmail.com.

Fk3

As FireEye’s report notes, the keyvan.ajaxtm@gmail.com email address ties back to an Iran-based entity called Ajax Security Team. Earlier this year, Ajax Security had an easily identifiable presence on the Internet with its own website and related Facebook pages.

FK4

This Internet presence has decreased significantly since early 2014, likely due to a desire to keep a lower profile now that the group is engaged in targeted intrusion activity.

The following Yara rules will provide detection for the adversary remote access toolkit and exfiltration tool:

rule CrowdStrike_FlyingKitten : rat
{
meta: 

            copyright = "CrowdStrike, Inc" 

             description = "Flying Kitten RAT" 

             version = "1.0" 

             actor = "FLYING KITTEN" 

             in_the_wild = true 

       strings: 

             $classpath = "Stealer.Properties.Resources.resources" 

             $pdbstr = "\Stealer\obj\x86\Release\Stealer.pdb" 

       condition: 

             all of them and 

             uint16(0) == 0x5A4D and uint32(uint32(0x3c)) == 0x4550 and 

             uint16(uint32(0x3C) + 0x16) & 0x2000 == 0 and 

             ((uint16(uint32(0x3c)+24) == 0x010b and 

            uint32(uint32(0x3c)+232) > 0) or 

             (uint16(uint32(0x3c)+24) == 0x020b and 

            uint32(uint32(0x3c)+248) > 0)) 

 

rule CrowdStrike_CSIT_14003_03 : installer 

       meta: 

             copyright = "CrowdStrike, Inc" 

             description = "Flying Kitten Installer" 

             version = "1.0" 

             actor = "FLYING KITTEN" 

             in_the_wild = true 

       strings: 

             $exename = "IntelRapidStart.exe" 

             $confname = "IntelRapidStart.exe.config" 

             $cabhdr = { 4d 53 43 46 00 00 00 00 } 

       condition: 

             all of them 

}

You can use this rule with CrowdStrike’s free CrowdResponse tool to easily scan your systems for presence of FLYING KITTEN.

If you have any questions about these signatures or want to hear more about Flying Kitten and their tradecraft, please contact: intelligence@crowdstrike.com and inquire about Falcon Intelligence, our Cyber Threat Intelligence subscription.

 

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