Gaza Cybergang – updated activity in 2017:

1. Summary information
The Gaza cybergang is an Arabic-language, politically-motivated cybercriminal group, operating since 2012 and actively targeting the MENA (Middle East North Africa) region. The Gaza cybergang’s attacks have never slowed down and its typical targets include government entities/embassies, oil and gas, media/press, activists, politicians, and diplomats.
One of the interesting new facts, uncovered in mid-2017, is its discovery inside an oil and gas organization in the MENA region, infiltrating systems and pilfering data, apparently for more than a year.
Another interesting finding is the use of the recently discovered CVE 2017-0199 vulnerability, and Microsoft Access files into which the download scripts were embedded to reduce the likelihood of their detection. Traces of mobile malware that started to appear from late April 2017, are also being investigated.
Recent targets for the group seem to be varied in nature; the attackers do not appear to be choosing targets selectively, but rather seeking different kinds of MENA intelligence.
Some of the interesting new updates about the Gaza cybergang:style=”margin-bottom:0!important”>
Gaza cybergang attackers have continued their interest in government entities in MENA
New targets identified include oil and gas in MENA
New tools and techniques include
Abuse of the CVE 2017-0199 vulnerability
Usage of macros inside Microsoft Access files, enabling lower detection rates
Possible Android mobile malware being used by attackers

Previous published research:https://securelist.com/gaza-cybergang-wheres-your-ir-team/72283/
Kaspersky Lab products and services successfully detect and block Gaza cybergang attacks, detection names below:style=”margin-bottom:0!important”>
HEUR:Exploit.MSOffice.Generic
HEUR:Trojan.Win32.Cometer.gen
HEUR:Trojan.Win32.Generic
Trojan-Downloader.Win32.Downeks
Trojan-Spy.MSIL.Downeks
Win32.Bublik
Win32.Agentb
More information about Gaza cybergang is available to customers of the Kaspersky Intelligence Reporting Service. Contact: intelreports@kaspersky.com
2. Technical details
Previously, Gaza cybergang attacks were surprisingly successful in using simple and common tools to achieve their goals. They relied on a variety of Remote Access Trojans (RATs) to perform their activities, including Downeks, Qasar, Cobaltstrike…
As recently as June 2017, however, the attackers started using the CVE 2017-0199 vulnerability which enables direct code execution from a Microsoft office document on non-patched victim systems (Cobaltstrike payload in this case). Another finding is a possible Android Trojan that the attackers positioned on one of their command servers in April 2017.
In most cases, malware is sent by email as a compressed attachment or download links. Starting from March 2017, we have observed downloaders or Microsoft office documents with embedded macros being sent to victims. When opened, the downloader would contact a URL or IP address to retrieve the actual payload. Once successfully executed, the malware grants full access to the attackers, providing them with the ability to collect files, keystrokes and screenshots from victims’ devices. If the initial downloaded malware was detected by the victim, the downloader would attempt to retrieve other malware files to the victim’s device, in the hope that one of those files would work.
The full list of indicators of compromise (IOCs) can be found in Appendix I. The list of the most interesting lure content, malware files and related droppers, and command servers can be found in Appendix II.
3. Summary of recent campaigns
Below can be found the list of recent findings related to Gaza cybergang operations:
Command and control server
Hash
First seen
File name/Social engineering lure
upgrade.newshelpyou[.]com
552796e71f7ff304f91b39f5da46499b
25-07-2017
nvStView.exe

6fba58b9f9496cc52e78379de9f7f24e
23-03-2017
صور خاصة.exe
(Translation: Special photos)

eb521caebcf03df561443194c37911a5
03-04-2017
صور خاصة.exe
(Translation: Special photos)
moreoffer[.]life
66f144be4d4ef9c83bea528a4cd3baf3

27-05-2017
تصريح لأمير قطر واتهام الإمارات في اختراق وكالة الأنباء.exe
(Translation: A statement by the Emir of Qatar accusing the UAE of breaking the news agency)

3ff60c100b67697163291690e0c2c2b7
11-05-2017
MOM.InstallProxy.exe

b7390bc8c8a9a71a69ce4cc0c928153b
05-04-2017
تعرف على المنقبة التي أساءت للسعودية
(Translation: Learn about the woman wearing niqab which offended Saudi)

f43188accfb6923d62fe265d6d9c0940
21-03-2017
Gcc-Ksa-uae.exe

056d83c1c1b5f905d18b3c5d58ff5342
16-03-2017
مراسلة بخصوص اجتماع رؤساء البعثات.exe
(Translation: Correspondence regarding the meeting of Heads of Missions)
138.68.242[.]68
87a67371770fda4c2650564cbb00934d
20-06-2017
hamas.doc
نقاط اتفاق حماس وتيار فتح الاصلاحي.doc (Translation: the points of agreement between Hamas and the reformist Fateh movement)
محضر اجتماع مركزية فتح الليلة.doc (Translation: minutes of the tonight meeting)
سلفة أم راتب للموظفين يوم الثلاثاء المقبل؟.doc (Translation: An advance on salary or full salary for employees next Tuesday?)
lol.mynetav[.]org
4f3b1a2088e473c7d2373849deb4536f
20-06-2017
Notepad.exe
attachment.scr
https://drive.google.com/uc?export=download&id=0B1NUTMCAOKBTdVQzTXlUNHBmZUU
signup.updatesforme[.]club
7d3426d8eb70e4486e803afb3eeac14f
04-05-2017
Palestinian Retirement Authority Ramallah.exe

0ee4757ab9040a95e035a667457e4bc6
27-04-2017
27-4-2017 Fateh Gaza plo.exe
ping.topsite[.]life
b68fcf8feb35a00362758fc0f92f7c2e
19-03-2017
Downloaded by Macro in MDB files:
http://download.data-server.cloudns[.]club/indexer.exe

7bef124131ffc2ef3db349b980e52847
13-03-2017
الأخ اسماعيل هنية -نائب رئيس المكتب السياسي .exe
(Translation: Brother Ismail Haniyeh – Deputy Head of the Political Bureau)

d87c872869023911494305ef4acbd966
19-03-2017
Downloaded by Macro in MDB files: http://download.data-server.cloudns[.]club/wordindexer.exe

a3de096598e3c9c8f3ab194edc4caa76
12-04-2017
viewimages.exe

c078743eac33df15af2d9a4f24159500
28-03-2017
viewimages.exe

70d03e34cadb0f1e1bc6f4bf8486e4e8

30-03-2017
download-file.duckdns[.]org/send/Egyptian_agreement_with_President_Mahmoud_Abbas.exe

67f48fd24bae3e63b29edccc524f4096

17-04-2017
http://alasra-paper.duckdns[.]org/send/رسالة_وفد_الرئيس ابومازن_لحماس_في قطاع_غزة.rar
(Message from President Abu Mazen to Hamas in Gaza Strip)

7b536c348a21c309605fa2cd2860a41d
17-04-2017
http://alasra-paper.duckdns[.]org/send/ورقة_الاسرى_المقدمة_لفك_الاضراب .rar
(Translation: captives paper submitted to stop the strike)
alasra-paper.duckdns[.]org
Mobile malware N/A
23-04-2017
Possible Android malware. http://alasra-paper.duckdns[.]org/send/%D9%88%ket-Edition-1.04_ApkHouse.com/Dont-Starve-Pocket-Edition-1.04_ApkHouse.com.apk
hamas-wathaq.duckdns[.]org

cf9d89061917e9f48481db80e674f0e9
16-04-2017
وثائق تنشر لأول مره عن حكم حماس لقطاع غزه .exe
(Translation: Documents published for the first time on Hamas ruling of Gaza Strip)
manual.newphoneapp[.]com
86a89693a273d6962825cf1846c3b6ce
02-02-2017
SQLiteDatabaseBrowserPortable.exe

3f67231f30fa742138e713085e1279a6
02-02-2017
SQLiteDatabaseBrowserPortable.exe
The above listed files are further described in Appendix 1.
4. New findings
Gaza Cybergang attackers have been continuously evolving their skills on different levels, using new methods and techniques to deliver malware, in addition to adapting social engineering decoys to regional political and humanitarian incidents.
In mid-2017, the attackers were discovered inside an oil and gas organization in the MENA region, infiltrating systems and pilfering data, apparently for more than a year. The malware files that were found had been reported previously: https://securelist.com/gaza-cybergang-wheres-your-ir-team/72283/
While traces of Android mobile malware have been spotted, attackers have continuously used the Downeks downloader and the Quasar or Cobaltstrike RATs to target Windows devices, enabling them to obtain remote access spying and data exfiltration abilities. This is now achieved more efficiently using the CVE 2017-0199 vulnerability which enables direct code execution abilities from a Microsoft office document on non-patched victim Windows systems. The use of Microsoft Access database files has also enabled the attackers to maintain low levels of detection, as it’s not an uncommon method to deliver malware.
These developments have helped the attackers continue their operations, targeting a variety of victims and organizations, sometimes even bypassing defences and persisting for prolonged periods.
4.1. The extended use of humanitarian and political causes in social engineering attacks
Attackers have continuously targeted victims and organizations in government entities/embassies, oil and gas, media/press, activists, politicians, and diplomats.
The Gaza cybergang relies increasingly on advanced and up-to-date social engineering techniques with political and humanitarian aspects that directly reflect regional incidents. Here is a short list of incidents that were each used multiple times:style=”margin-bottom:0!important”>
Palestinian Government not paying salaries to Gaza employees
Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike in Israeli jails
The political crisis in Qatar
Recent targets for the group seem to be varied in nature, the attackers do not appear to be choosing targets selectively, but rather seeking any type of intelligence.
4.1.1. Example lure
MD5: 66f144be4d4ef9c83bea528a4cd3baf3
تصريح لأمير قطر واتهام الإمارات في اختراق وكالة الأنباء.exe
(Translation: A statement by the Emir of Qatar accusing the UAE of breaking the news agency)
Attackers have recently used political events related to the Qatar political crisis in the Middle East in targeting their victims.
Original filename: Qatar-27-5-2017.rar
Extracts to 66f144be4d4ef9c83bea528a4cd3baf3
تصريح لأمير قطر واتهام الإمارات في اختراق وكالة الأنباء.exe
Sha256 7fcac2f18a8844e4af9f923891cfb6f637a99195a457b6cdb916926d709c6a04
C2: moreoffer[.]life
First seen: 27 May 2017

Translation: new details on the hack of the Qatar News Agency
4.2. The use of Microsoft Access files with macros
Microsoft Access files with macro is another new development by the attacker group. MS Access database-embedded macros are proving to have very low detection rates.
MD5: 6d6f34f7cfcb64e44d67638a2f33d619
Filename: GAZA2017.mdb
C1: http://download.data-server.cloudns[.]club/GAZA2017.mdb
Downloads and executes:style=”margin-bottom:0!important”>
data-server.cloudns[.]club/wordindexer.exe
data-server.cloudns[.]club/indexer.exe

Translation: database of employees not receiving salaries, click “enable content” to see data

Decrypted code
4.3. Exploitation of the CVE 2017-0199 vulnerability
MD5: 87a67371770fda4c2650564cbb00934d
First seen: 20-06-2017
Filenames:style=”margin-bottom:0!important”>
doc
نقاط اتفاق حماس وتيار فتح الاصلاحي.doc (Translation: the points of agreement between Hamas and the reforment Fateh movement)
محضر اجتماع مركزية فتح الليلة.doc (Translation: minutes of the tonight Fateh meeting)
سلفة أم راتب للموظفين يوم الثلاثاء المقبل؟.doc (Translation: An advance on salary or full salary for employees next Tuesday?)
The attacks are a typical exploitation of CVE-2017-0199, starting with an email that distributes a malicious RTF document. The vulnerability is in the code that handles Ole2Link embedded objects, which allows Microsoft Office Word to run remote files, downloaded in this case from 138.68.242[.]68. The downloaded payload is Cobaltstrike, which then connects to lol.mynetav[.]org to receive commands from the attackers. Additional details on the Gaza cybergang’s use of CVE 2017-0199 with Cobaltstrike, can be found here: http://bobao.360.cn/learning/detail/4193.html
4.4. Possible Android mobile malware
Traces of APK files have been seen on one of the attackers’ command centers, starting from 23-04-2017.
URL: http://alasra-paper.duckdns[.]org/send/%D9%88%ket-Edition-1.04_ApkHouse[.]com/Dont-Starve-Pocket-Edition-1.04_ApkHouse[.]com.apk

The file name (Dont-Starve-Pocket-Edition-1.04_ApkHouse[.]com.apk), is an Android application file hiding as a popular game. We believe the android Trojan could be related to a previously investigated Android Trojan around the Gaza strip: https://securelist.com/breaking-the-weakest-link-of-the-strongest-chain/77562/
5. Conclusion
The Gaza Cybergang has demonstrated a large number of attacks and advanced social engineering, in addition to active development of attacks, infrastructure and the utilization of new methods and techniques. Attackers are actively improving their toolkit in an effort to minimize their exposure to security products and services. Kaspersky Lab expects these types of attacks to intensify in the near term, both in terms of quality and quantity.
In order to protect your company from malware, Kaspersky Lab researchers recommend implementing the following measures:style=”margin-bottom:0!important”>
Educate staff to be able to distinguish spear-phishing emails or a phishing link from legitimate emails and links
Use proven corporate grade security solution in combination with anti-targeted attacks solutions capable of catching attacks by analyzing network anomalies
Provide security staff with access to the latest threat intelligence data, which will arm them with helpful tools for targeted attacks prevention and discovery, such as indicators of compromise and YARA rules
Make sure enterprise grade patch management processes are well established and executed.
More information about Gaza cybergang is available to customers of Kaspersky Intelligence Reporting Service. Contact: intelreports@kaspersky.com
6. Appendix 1: malware files description and decoys
In the following, we list the description of malware files found from March 2017, including decoys used, first dates files seen, parent files…
6.1. b7390bc8c8a9a71a69ce4cc0c928153b
Parent file: 970e6188561d6c5811a8f99075888d5f 5-4-2017.zip
C2: moreoffer[.]life
First seen: 5 April 2017

Translation: Get to know the women wearing niqab and talking bad about the kingdom
6.2. f43188accfb6923d62fe265d6d9c0940
Filename: Gcc-Ksa-uae.exe
C2: moreoffer[.]life (185.11.146[.]68)
First Seen: 21 March 2017

Translation: the permanent delegation of the cooperation council for the Arab states of the Gulf (GCC) to the United Nation and other international organizations, Geneva
6.3. 056d83c1c1b5f905d18b3c5d58ff5342
مراسلة بخصوص اجتماع رؤساء البعثات.Filename: exe
Translation: Correspondence regarding the meeting of Heads of Missions (Saudi related)
Parent file: fb549e0c2fffd390ee7c4538ff30ac3e
C2: moreoffer[.]life
First Seen: 16 March 2017

Translation: The fourth foreign meeting of the Kingdom’s head of missions under the title “message of the embassador”.
6.4. 0ee4757ab9040a95e035a667457e4bc6

Filename: 27-4-2017 Fateh Gaza plo.exe
C2: signup.updatesforme[.]club
First seen 27 April 2017

Translation: Clarification report
6.5. 7bef124131ffc2ef3db349b980e52847
الأخ اسماعيل هنية -نائب رئيس المكتب السياسي .exe
(Translation: Brother Ismail Haniyah – Deputy Head of the Political Bureau)
C2: ping.topsite[.]life
First seen: 14 March 2017

Translation: Brother Ismail Haniyah – Deputy Head of the Political Bureau
6.6. 70d03e34cadb0f1e1bc6f4bf8486e4e8
download-file.duckdns[.]org/send/Egyptian_agreement_with_President_Mahmoud_Abbas.exe
C1: download-file.duckdns[.]org
C2: ping.topsite[.]life
First seen: 30 March 2017

Translation: methods to apply the palestinian national agreement pact.
6.7. 67f48fd24bae3e63b29edccc524f4096
C1: http://alasra-paper.duckdns[.]org/send/رسالة_وفد_الرئيس ابومازن_لحماس_في قطاع_غزة.rar
C2: ping.topsite[.]life
RAR extracts to: 5d74487ea96301a933209de3d145105d
رسالة_وفد_الرئيس ابومازن_لحماس_في قطاع_غزة.exe
First seen: 17 April 2017

Translation: a severely threatening message from Abbas’s delegation to Hamas
6.8. 7b536c348a21c309605fa2cd2860a41d
C1: http://alasra-paper.duckdns[.]org/send/ورقة_الاسرى_المقدمة_لفك_الاضراب .rar
Extracts to: d973135041fd26afea926e51ce141198, named (RTLO technique):
ورقة الاسرى المقدمة لفك الاضراب .exe
Translation: captives paper submitted to stop the strike
C2:ping.topsite[.]life
First seen: 17 April 2017

Translation: The primary demands of the captives in the strike of freedom and dignity
6.9. cf9d89061917e9f48481db80e674f0e9
وثائق تنشر لأول مره عن حكم حماس لقطاع غزه .exe c11516cd8c797f0182d63cdf343d08ed
Translation: Documents published for the first time on Hamas ruling of Gaza Strip
C1: http://hamas-wathaq.duckdns[.]org/send/وثائق_تنشر_لأول_مره_عن_حكم_حماس_لقطاع_غزه.rar
C2:ping.topsite[.]life
First seen: 16 April 2017

Translation: Scandals and facts published for the first time on Hamas’s ruling of Gaza Strip
7. Appendix 2: List of IOCs
7.1. Malicious domain names
moreoffer[.]life
signup.updatesforme[.]club
ping.topsite[.]life
alasra-paper.duckdns[.]org
hamas-wathaq.duckdns[.]org
download.data-server.cloudns[.]club
upgrade.newshelpyou[.]com
manual.newphoneapp[.]com
hnoor.newphoneapp[.]com
lol.mynetav[.]org
7.2. IP addresses
138.68.242[.]68
185.86.149[.]168
185.11.146[.]68
45.32.84[.]66
45.32.71[.]95
107.161.27[.]158
46.246.87[.]74
7.3. Hashes
MD5
87a67371770fda4c2650564cbb00934d
4f3b1a2088e473c7d2373849deb4536f
c078743eac33df15af2d9a4f24159500
3ff60c100b67697163291690e0c2c2b7
a3de096598e3c9c8f3ab194edc4caa76
7d3426d8eb70e4486e803afb3eeac14f
3f67231f30fa742138e713085e1279a6
552796e71f7ff304f91b39f5da46499b
6fba58b9f9496cc52e78379de9f7f24e
eb521caebcf03df561443194c37911a5
b68fcf8feb35a00362758fc0f92f7c2e
d87c872869023911494305ef4acbd966
66f144be4d4ef9c83bea528a4cd3baf3
B7390bc8c8a9a71a69ce4cc0c928153b
F43188accfb6923d62fe265d6d9c0940
056d83c1c1b5f905d18b3c5d58ff5342
0ee4757ab9040a95e035a667457e4bc6
7bef124131ffc2ef3db349b980e52847
70d03e34cadb0f1e1bc6f4bf8486e4e8
67f48fd24bae3e63b29edccc524f4096
7b536c348a21c309605fa2cd2860a41d
cf9d89061917e9f48481db80e674f0e9
6d6f34f7cfcb64e44d67638a2f33d619
86a89693a273d6962825cf1846c3b6ce
5472d0554a0188c0ecebd065eddb9485
SHA256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