Today Kaspersky Lab’s team of experts published a new research report that analyzed a series of security incidents involving the use of the recently discovered PDF exploit in Adobe Reader (CVE-2013-6040) and a new, highly customized malicious program known as MiniDuke. The MiniDuke backdoor was used to attack multiple government entities and institutions worldwide during the past week. Kaspersky Lab’s experts, in partnership with CrySys Lab, analyzed the attacks in detail and published their findings.
According to Kaspersky Lab’s analysis, a number of high profile targets have already been compromised by the MiniDuke attacks, including government entities in Ukraine, Belgium, Portugal, Romania, the Czech Republic and Ireland. In addition, a research institute, two think tanks, and healthcare provider in the United States were also compromised, as was a prominent research foundation in Hungary.
“This is a very unusual cyberattack,” said Eugene Kaspersky, Founder and CEO of Kaspersky Lab. “I remember this style of malicious programming from the end of the 1990s and the beginning of the 2000s. I wonder if these types of malware writers, who have been in hibernation for more than a decade, have suddenly awoken and joined the sophisticated group of threat actors active in the cyberworld. These elite, “old school” malware writers were extremely effective in the past at creating highly complex viruses, and are now combining these skills with the newly advanced sandbox-evading exploits to target government entities or research institutions in several countries.”
“MiniDuke’s highly customized backdoor was written in Assembler and is very small in size, being only 20kb,” added Kaspersky. “The combination of experienced old school malware writers using newly discovered exploits and clever social engineering to compromise high profile targets is extremely dangerous.”