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

 

Researchers have provided a detailed look at a system called DoubleFeature, which is dedicated to logging the various stages of post-exploitation resulting from the Equation Group's deployment of DanderSpritz, a full-featured malware architecture. 

DanderSpritz was discovered on April 14, 2017, when a hacker group known as the Shadow Brokers published a report titled "Lost in Translation" that included the exploit tool and others. EternalBlue, a cyberattack exploit created by the US National Security Agency (NSA) that allowed threat actors to carry out the NotPetya ransomware attack on unpatched Windows PCs, was also included in the leaks. 

The tool is a modular, covert, and fully functioning framework for post-exploitation activities on Windows and Linux that depends on dozens of plugins. One of them is DoubleFeature, which serves as a "diagnostic tool for victim machines carrying DanderSpritz," according to Check Point researchers in a new paper released Monday. 

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

DoubleFeature is a Python-based dashboard that doubles as a reporting utility to exfiltrate logging information from an infected system to an attacker-controlled server. It's designed to keep track of the types of tools that could be deployed on a target machine. A specific executable named "DoubleFeatureReader.exe" is used to interpret the output. 

Data Breach Prevention 

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. 

The researchers stated, "Sometimes, the world of high-tier APT tools and the world of ordinary malware can seem like two parallel universes." 

"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."