Experts Detail Logging Tool of DanderSpritz Framework Used by Equation Group Hackers


Cybersecurity researchers have offered a detailed glimpse into a system called DoubleFeature that’s dedicated to logging the different stages of post-exploitation stemming from the deployment of DanderSpritz, a full-featured malware framework used by the Equation Group.

DanderSpritz came to light on April 14, 2017, when a hacking group known as the Shadow Brokers leaked the exploit tool, among others, under a dispatch titled “Lost in Translation.” Also included in the leaks was EternalBlue, a cyberattack exploit developed by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) that enabled threat actors to carry out the NotPetya ransomware attack on unpatched Windows computers.

Automatic GitHub Backups

The tool is a modular, stealthy, and fully functional framework that relies on dozens of plugins for post-exploitation activities on Windows and Linux hosts. DoubleFeature is one among them, which functions as a “diagnostic tool for victim machines carrying DanderSpritz,” researchers from Check Point said in a new report published Monday.

“DoubleFeature could be used as a sort of Rosetta Stone for better understanding DanderSpritz modules, and systems compromised by them,” the Israeli cybersecurity firm added. “It’s an incident response team’s pipe dream.”

Designed to maintain a log of the types of tools that could be deployed on a target machine, DoubleFeature is a Python-based dashboard that also doubles up as a reporting utility to exfiltrate the logging information from the infected machine to an attacker-controlled server. The output is interpreted using a specialized executable named “DoubleFeatureReader.exe.”

Prevent Data Breaches

Some of the plugins monitored by DoubleFeature include remote access tools called UnitedRake (aka EquationDrug) and PeddleCheap, a stealthy data exfiltration backdoor dubbed StraitBizarre, an espionage platform called KillSuit (aka GrayFish), a persistence toolset named DiveBar, a covert network access driver called FlewAvenue, and a validator implant named MistyVeal that verifies if the compromised system is indeed an authentic victim machine and not a research environment.

“Sometimes, the world of high-tier APT tools and the world of ordinary malware can seem like two parallel universes,” the researchers said. “Nation-state actors tend to [maintain] clandestine, gigantic codebases, sporting a huge gamut of features that have been cultivated over decades due to practical need. It turns out we too are still slowly chewing on the 4-year-old leak that revealed DanderSpritz to us, and gaining new insights.”

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