A Different Kind of Equation

Published: 2015-02-17
Last Updated: 2015-02-17 10:37:04 UTC
by Rob VandenBrink (Version: 1)
3 comment(s)

Both the mainstream media and our security media is abuzz with Kasperksy's disclosure of their research on the "Equation" group and the associated malware.  You can find the original blog post here: http://www.kaspersky.com/about/news/virus/2015/equation-group-the-crown-creator-of-cyber-espionage

But if you want some real detail, check out the Q&A document that goes with this post; http://securelist.com/files/2015/02/Equation_group_questions_and_answers.pdf

Way more detail, and much more sobering to see that this group of malware goes all the way back to 2001, and includes code to map disconnected networks (using USB key C&C like Stuxnet did), as well as the disk firmware facet that's everyone's headline today.

Some Indicators of Compromise, something we can use to identify if our organizations or clients are affected - are included in the PDF.  The DNS IoC's included are especially easy to use, either as checks against logs or as black-hole entries.

Rob VandenBrink

Keywords: Equation Kasperksy
3 comment(s)


According to the report, regarding the infecting of hard drive firmware, "...custom payload from the EQUATION group, and providing an API into a set of hidden sectors (or data storage) of the hard drive..."

I have to wonder if they are using HPA or DCO??? I can achieve both features Kaspersky mentions with either, namely,
"...Extreme persistence that survives disk formatting and OS reinstall; An invisible, persistent storage hidden inside the hard drive..."

To date, I've only encountered either in the wild twice, and a few motherboards use this hard drive feature to store backup (?) copies of their bios.
The referenced .pdf directly from Kaspersky will be opened by security researchers, government officials and journalists all around the planet.

I wonder if it may contain any unexpected gifts.... an interesting ISC challenge.
You can FUD up nearly any security conversation but virustotal detects nothing and Kaspersky is not the NSA.

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