My dear dear lord,
The purest treasure mortal times afford
Is spotless reputation—that away,
Men are but gilded loam, or painted clay.
A jewel in a ten-times barr’d-up chest
Is a bold spirit in a loyal breast.
Mowbray, Richard II Act 1 Scene 1
As fate would have it, today I saw a tweet that said Symantec had a paper coming out on “Stuxnet II” I surfed on over and read the document and what I was left with was this;
“We rushed to judgement here and wanted to get this out to get attention before anyone else did.. Here’s STUXNET REDUX!”
Now, sure, the code base appears to be Stuxnet’s and yes, there are similarities because of this, however, calling this Stuxnet Redux or “Son of Stuxnet” is just a way of patently seeking attention through tabloid style assumptions put on the Internet. Let me pick this apart a bit and you decide…
Code Bases and Re-Tasking
So ok, the coders seemed to have access to the FULL source of Stuxnet. It has been out there a while and surely some people in the world of “APT” have had access to this. It’s not like it was some modified version of Ebola kept at Sverdlosk at Biopreparate. Had you even considered that it was released on purpose as chaff to get others to tinker with it and thus middy the waters?
I’m guessing not from the report that I read, hurried as it was and full of conclusions being jumped to. In fact, Symantec even said that they had not fully audited the code! C’mon…
Alrighty then, we have a newly released and re-tasked version of Stuxnet that turns out to be just a recon tool to steal data. I find it interesting that they make so much of this and intone that the coders of the original are up to shenanigans again but fail to even beg the question that it could be anyone with the requisite skills to cut into the original code (after it had been laid out for everyone to look at) and re-task it with a new time frame. Please note that there are not the original 0day attacks and multiplicity factors of infection vectors as well as exfiltration schemes.
So, not really so complicated as I see it.. You?
The original code/malware was very targeted and this, well this is really just like any other APT attack that I have seen out there.. In fact, in some ways its less clever than the APT attacks out there from the past.
So, really Symantec, take a step back and mull this all over again before you release.. Say.. Just who else had the code and you were worried about that would steal your thunder here?
RATS, RECON, & Targets
Speaking of the infiltration/ex-filtration picture, I see from the report that they are linking the RAT to the original worm but have not real proof that it came from DUQU! It was found in situ on the box that they analyzed and make the assumed statement that it was “likely” downloaded by the malware via its comms to the C&C.
Once again I say “Evidence Much?”
You have no basis other than assumption but you make no real clarification on this. Though there is mention of a DQ.tmp file which I assume means that it came from the RAT.. But.. Proof again please? It’s the little things that count here and I see a great failure in your haste Symantec.
Another thing that is bugging me now is that the news cycle is making connections to DUQU with attacks on power grids.
Symantec, DO YOU HAVE EVIDENCE of what companies were “Targeted” by this malware re-hash? If so, you should come out of the closet here a bit because this is BS unless you have proof. I of course understand that you cannot name the companies, but CONFIRM OR DENY that they were all Power companies before making claims and allusions that the media will just shriek at the top of their lungs placing more FUD on the headlines.
Or… Wait.. Now that might be an advantage to you guys huh?
What it all boils down to for me is this:
Someone re-tasked the malware and stuck a common RAT in it. Until you (Symantec) come up with more solid evidence of more interesting and technical attacks, then I call bullshit on you.
What? No Mention Of APT Here?
Meanwhile, I see that people are assiduously avoiding the APT word… Hmmmm What does this attack really remind one of… APT!
There, I said it.
- Seek data
- Exfiltrate data
- Keep access
And therein lies the rub. DUQU has a 36 day shelf life. Now, this is good from a foot-printing level AND could be excellent for setting up the next attack vector that could include the component of sustained access. So, the reality here for me is that this was a foot print attempt on whatever companies it was set upon. It was a recon mission and that was all.
NOT STUXNET..NOT SON OF STUXNET!
Had you called it a Stuxnet like attack re-purposing code then I would have had less problems with your document Symantec. Instead we got FUD in a hurry.
Baseless Claims: Pictures Or It Never Happened!
Finally, I would like to see Symantec spend some more time here as well as see others pull this all apart. I want to see more proof before you all go off half cocked and get the straights all upset over an attack that may have nothing to do with the original.
Frankly, I find your faith in rationality disturbing… Symantec…