Google discovers & blocks a new Malware family-Lipizzan

Malware researchers at Google have spotted a new strain of Android spyware dubbed Lipizzan that could exfiltrate any kind of data from mobile devices and use them as surveillance tools.

The Lipizzan spyware is a project developed by Israeli startup Equus Technologies.

How does Lipizzan work?

According to the analysis published by Google:

Getting on a target device

Lipizzan was a sophisticated two stage spyware tool. The first stage found by Google Play Protect was distributed through several channels, including Google Play, and typically impersonated an innocuous-sounding app such as a “Backup” or “Cleaner” app. Upon installation, Lipizzan would download and load a second “license verification” stage, which would survey the infected device and validate certain abort criteria. If given the all-clear, the second stage would then root the device with known exploits and begin to exfiltrate device data to a Command & Control server.

Once implanted on a target device

The Lipizzan second stage was capable of performing and exfiltrating the results of the following tasks:

  • Call recording
  • VOIP recording
  • Recording from the device microphone
  • Location monitoring
  • Taking screenshots
  • Taking photos with the device camera(s)
  • Fetching device information and files
  • Fetching user information (contacts, call logs, SMS, application-specific data)

The spyware is also able to collect data from specific apps, including WhatsApp, Snapchat, Viber, Telegram, Facebook Messenger, LinkedIn, Gmail, Skype, Hangouts, and KakaoTalk.

Google researchers have found at least 20 apps in Play Store which infected fewer than 100 Android smartphones in total, the company classified the infections as targeted attacks.

“We have found 20 Lipizzan apps distributed in a targeted fashion to fewer than 100 devices in total and have blocked the developers and apps from the Android ecosystem. Google Play Protect has notified all affected devices and removed the Lipizzan apps.” states Google.

What can you do to protect yourself?

  • Ensure you are opted into Google Play Protect.
  • Exclusively use the Google Play store. The chance you will install a PHA is much lower on Google Play than using other install mechanisms.
  • Keep “unknown sources” disabled while not using it.
  • Keep your phone patched to the latest Android security update.

New Windows Backdoor CowerSnail Discovered

A new Windows Backdoor dubbed CowerSnail linked to the recently discovered SHELLBIND SambaCry Linux malware is discovered by the security researchers at Kaspersky lab.

SHELLBIND has infected most network-attached storage (NAS) appliances, it exploits the Samba vulnerability (also known as SambaCry and EternalRed) to upload a shared library to a writable share, and then cause the server to load that library.

This trick allows a remote attacker to execute arbitrary code on the targeted system.

SHELLBIND and the Backdoor.Win32.CowerSnail shares the command and control (C&C) server (

Kaspersky states that “We recently reported about SambaCry, a new family of Linux Trojans exploiting a vulnerability in the Samba protocol. A week later, Kaspersky Lab analysts managed to detect a malicious program for Windows that was apparently created by the same group responsible for SambaCry. It was the common C&C server that both programs used – – that suggested a relationship between them.”

CowerSnail first escalates the process priority and the current thread’s priority, then it starts communicating with its Command & Control server through the IRC protocol.

Unlike SambaCry, CowerSnail does not download cryptocurrency mining software by default, but instead provides a standard set of backdoor functions:

  • Receive update (LocalUpdate)
  • Execute any command (BatchCommand)
  • Install CowerSnail as a service, using the Service Control Manager command line interface (Install)
  • Uninstall CowerSnail from service list (Uninstall)
  • Collect system information:
    • Timestamp
    • Installed OS type (e.g. Windows)
    • OS name
    • Host name
    • Information about network interfaces
    • ABI
    • Core processor architecture
    • Information about physical memory



SambaCry was designed for *nix-based systems. CowerSnail, meanwhile, was written using Qt, which most probably means the author didn’t want to go into the details of WinAPI, and preferred to transfer the *nix code “as is”. This fact, along with the same C&C being used by both programs, strongly suggests that CowerSnail was created by the same group that created SambaCry. After creating two separate Trojans, each designed for a specific platform and each with its own peculiarities, it is highly probable that this group will produce more malware in the future.

Multiple Vulnerabilities discovered in Nitro Pro PDF

The Beyond Security’s SecuriTeam has disclosed  multiple vulnerabilities in Nitro Pro PDF reported to them by two security researchers.

Nitro Pro is the PDF reader and editor that does everything you will ever need to do with PDF files. The powerful but snappy editor lets you change PDF documents with ease, and comes with a built-in OCR engine that can transform scanned documents into editable files. Fill up forms, annotate and sign them as part of your workflow, and easily merge multiple documents or delete selected pages as necessary.

The vulnerabilities found in Nitro PDF are:

  • Doc.saveAs Directory Traversal Arbitrary File Write that lead to Command Execution
  • App.launchURL Command Execution
  • JPEG2000 npdf.dll Use-After-Free
  • Forms Parsing NPForms.npp Use-After-Free
  • File Parsing Count Field npdf.dll Memory Corruption
  • NewWindow Launch Action NPActions.npp Command
  • URI Action NPActions.npp Command Execution

Doc.saveAs Directory Traversal Arbitrary File Write that lead to Command Execution
The Doc.saveAs function does not validate either the file extension, the content of the PDF or if the path contains traversals before saving it to disk.

An attacker can leverage this to write a malicious file to the operating system in any path. This alone can be used to achieve remote code execution by writing into the users startup folder.

App.launchURL Command Execution
The App.launchURL function allows an attacker to execute commands with the privileges of the currently running user. However, a security alert or warning is typically triggered when doing so.

This can be bypassed if a $ sign is used within the path. Note that if an attacker does this, they will execute the file from the current directory, which may not be ideal for exploitation.

JPEG2000 npdf.dll Use-After-Free
When parsing a malformed embedded JPEG2000 image into a PDF the process will destroy an object in memory, forcing a pointer to be reused after it has been free. The reuse functions are located in the npdf.dll.

A detailed explanation can also be found here for another vulnerabilty.

The vendor has released patches to address this vulnerability. The new version 11.0.5 has patched all the security vulnerabilities.

BAD TASTE GNOME Vulnerability leads to Code Injection in Linux

A new vulnerability(CVE-2017-11421) has been discovered by German security researcher Nils Dagsson Moskopp dubbed as BAD TASTE , which is a code injection vulnerability in the thumbnail handler component of GNOME Files file manager that could allow hackers to execute malicious code on targeted Linux machines.

The POC has also been disclosed here.

“Thumbnail generation for MSI files in GNOME Files executes arbitrary VBScript.” states Moskopp.

The code injection vulnerability resides in “gnome-exe-thumbnailer” — a tool to generate thumbnails from Windows executable files (.exe/.msi/.dll/.lnk) for GNOME, which requires users to have Wine application(a free and open-source software that allows Windows applications to run on the Linux operating system) installed on their systems to open it.

while navigating to a directory containing the .msi file, GNOME Files takes the filename as an executable input and run it in order to create an image thumbnail.

For successful exploitation of the vulnerability, an attacker can send a crafted Windows installer (MSI) file with malicious VBScript code in its filename, which if downloaded on a vulnerable system would compromise the machine without further user interaction.

Create MSI Files

Create a file named poc.xml with the following content:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<Wix xmlns="">
<Product Version="1.0"/>

Execute the following Bourne Shell code:

wixl -o poc.msi poc.xml
cp poc.msi "poc.msi\",0):Set fso=CreateObject(\"Scripting.FileSystemObject\"):Set poc=fso.CreateTextFile(\"badtaste.txt\")'.msi"

Trigger Execution

Start GNOME Files and navigate to the folder with the MSI files. An empty file with the name badtaste.txt should appear.

“Whenever an icon for a Microsoft Windows executable (EXE), installer (MSI), library (DLL), or shortcut (LNK) should be shown, Gnome Files calls /usr/bin/gnome-exethumbnailer to either extract an embedded icon from the file in question or deliver a fallback image for the appropriate filetype.” explained the expert.

The expert highlighted that the problem is triggered due to the presence of just one line of code in /usr/bin/gnome-exe-thumbnailer:

DISPLAY=NONE wine cscript.exe //E:vbs //NoLogo Z:\\tmp\\${TEMPFILE1##*/}.vbs 2>/dev/null \

“Instead of parsing an MSI file to get its version number, this code creates a script containing the filename for which a thumbnail should be shown and executes that using Wine. The script is constructed using a template, which makes it possible to embed VBScript in a filename and trigger its execution.” Dagsson Moskopp added. 

Remedy (for users)

Delete all files in /usr/share/thumbnailers. Do not use GNOME FilesCinnamon Nemo or Mate caja. Uninstall any other software that facilitates automatically executing parts of filenames as code.

Remedy (for developers)

Do not parse files with bug-ridden ad-hoc parsers. Fully recognize inputs before processing them. Do not use templates, use unparsers instead. Read about LANGSEC.

SHELLBIND Malware exploits SambaCry to backdoor NAS devices

A new malware dubbed as SHELLBIND exploits the recently patched CVE-2017-7494 Samba vulnerability attacking Internet of Things devices.

CVE-2017-7494 is a seven-year-old remote code execution vulnerability that affects all versions of the Samba software since 3.5.0. The flaw has been patched by the development team of the project.

The vulnerability dubbed as SambaCry, because of its similarities to the Windows SMB vulnerability exploited by the WannaCry ransomware .

Despite being patched in late May, the vulnerability is currently being leveraged by a new piece of malware to target the Internet of Things (IoT) devices, particularly Network Attached Storage (NAS) appliances, researchers at Trend Micro warned.

Samba is open-source software (re-implementation of SMB/CIFS networking protocol), which offers Linux/Unix servers with Windows-based file and print services and runs on the majority of operating systems, including Linux, UNIX, IBM System 390, and OpenVMS.

Shortly after the public revelation of its existence, the SambaCry vulnerability (CVE-2017-7494) was exploited mostly to install cryptocurrency mining software—”CPUminer” that mines “Monero” digital currency—on Linux systems.

SHELLBIND has infected most network-attached storage (NAS) appliances, it exploits the Samba vulnerability (also known as SambaCry and EternalRed) to upload a shared library to a writable share, and then cause the server to load that library.

This trick allows a remote attacker to execute arbitrary code on the targeted system.

Experts at Trend Micro discovered that the ELF_SHELLBIND.A is delivered as a SO file to Samba public folders, then the attacker load and execute it by exploiting the SambaCry vulnerability.

The analysis published by Trend Micro states that :“This more recent malware is detected as ELF_SHELLBIND.A and was found on July 3. Similar to the previous reports of SambaCry being used in the wild, it also opens a command shell on the target system. But ELF_SHELLBIND.A has marked differences that separate it from the earlier malware leveraging SambaCry. For one, it targets internet of things (IoT) devices—particularly the Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices favored by small to medium businesses.” 

After uploading the .SO file to the Samba public shared folder, the attacker needs to guess the absolute local filename and send an IPC request to trick the server into loading and running the locally-stored program file.


Once the malware is loaded via said Export function, it starts by calling the function change_to_root_user, which is required by the Samba daemon (specific to SMBv2) to run as root or as the EUID of the current user. The malware then detaches itself from whatever parent process it is running under (a Samba server process) and daemonizes its process (via the function detach_from_parent). Once deployed on the targeted machine, the malware establishes communication with the attackers’ command and control (C&C) server located in East Africa, and modifies firewall rules to ensure that it can communicate with its server.“169[.]239[.]128[.]123” over TCP, port 80.

After successfully establishing a connection, the malware grants the attackers access to the infected device and provides them with an open command shell in the device, so that they can issue any number and type of system commands and eventually take control of the device.

“Once the connection is successfully established and authentication is confirmed, then the attacker will have an open command shell in the infected systems where he can issue any number of system commands and essentially take control of the device,” continues Trend Micro.

nt pipe support = no

to the Samba configuration file and restarting the network’s SMB daemon.

The change will limit clients from accessing some network computers.

The maintainers of Samba already patched the issue in Samba versions 4.6.4/4.5.10/4.4.14, so you are advised to patch your systems against the vulnerability as soon as possible.

Just make sure that your system is running updated Samba version.

Also, attackers need to have writable access to a shared location on the target system to deliver the payload, which is another mitigating factor that might lower the rate of infection.