7.01.2017

Wikileaks Reveals CIA Malware that Hacks & Spy On Linux Computers

WikiLeaks has just published a new batch of the ongoing Vault 7 leak, this time detailing an alleged CIA project that allowed the agency to hack and remotely spy on computers running the Linux operating systems.

Dubbed OutlawCountry, the project allows the CIA hackers to redirect all outbound network traffic on the targeted computer to CIA controlled computer systems for exfiltrate and infiltrate data.

The OutlawCountry Linux hacking tool consists of a kernel module, which the CIA hackers load via shell access to the targeted system and create a hidden Netfilter table with an obscure name on a target Linux user.

“The new table allows certain rules to be created using the “iptables” command. These rules take precedence over existing rules, and are only visible to an administrator if the table name is known. When the Operator removes the kernel module, the new table is also removed,” CIA’s leaked user manual reads.

Although the installation and persistence method of the OutlawCountry tool is not described in detail in the document, it seems like the CIA hackers rely on the available CIA exploits and backdoors to inject the kernel module into a targeted Linux operating system.

However, there are some limitations to using the tool, such as the kernel modules only work with compatible Linux kernels.

“OutlawCountry v1.0 contains one kernel module for 64-bit CentOS/RHEL 6.x; this module will only work with default kernels. Also, OutlawCountry v1.0 only supports adding covert DNAT rules to the PREROUTING chain,” WikiLeaks says.

Previous Vault 7 CIA Leaks

Last week, WikiLeaks dumped a classified CIA malware that tracks geo-location of targeted PCs and laptops running the Microsoft Windows operating system.

Dubbed ELSA, the malware captures the IDs of nearby public hotspots and then matches them with the global database of public Wi-Fi hotspots’ locations.

Since March, the whistleblowing group has published 14 batches of “Vault 7” series, which includes the latest and last week leaks, along with the following batches:

  • Brutal Kangaroo – a CIA tool suite for Microsoft Windows that targets closed networks or air-gapped computers within an enterprise or organization without requiring any direct access.
  • Cherry Blossom – a CIA’s framework, generally a remotely controllable firmware-based implant, used for monitoring the Internet activity of the target systems by exploiting flaws in WiFi devices.
  • Pandemic – a CIA’s project that allowed the spying agency to turn Windows file servers into covert attack machines that can silently infect other computers of interest inside a targeted network.
  • Athena – an agency’s spyware framework that has been designed to take full control over the infected Windows machines remotely, and works with every version of Microsoft’s Windows operating systems, from Windows XP to Windows 10.
  • AfterMidnight and Assassin – Two apparent CIA’s malware frameworks for the Microsoft Windows platform that is meant to monitor and report back actions on the infected remote host computer and execute malicious code.
  • Archimedes – A man-in-the-middle attack tool allegedly built by the spying agency to target computers inside a Local Area Network (LAN).
  • Scribbles – A piece of software reportedly designed to embed ‘web beacons’ into confidential documents, allowing the CIA hackers to track insiders and whistleblowers.
  • Grasshopper – A framework that allowed the CIA to easily create custom malware for breaking into Microsoft’s Windows and bypassing antivirus protection.
  • Marble – The source code of a secret anti-forensic framework, primarily an obfuscator or a packer used by the spying agency to hide the actual source of its malware.
  • Dark Matter – Hacking exploits the agency designed and used to target iPhones and Mac machines.
  • Weeping Angel – Spying tool used by the CIA to infiltrate smart TV’s, transforming them into covert microphones in target’s pocket.
  • Year Zero – CIA hacking exploits for popular hardware and software.

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