Published On: Tue, Sep 19th, 2017

Cybercriminals Use an Undocumented Word Feature to Collect System Profile Data

A newly detected and undocumented Microsoft Word underline enables enemy to accumulate information on their aim systems by tricking victims to open a specifically crafted Word document. But nope, there’s no impasse of a barbarous macros, any confidence vulnerabilities or embedded Flash objects. This new conflict matrix uses an Office underline called INCLUDEPICTURE as partial of a multi-stage conflict with a initial step focused on entertainment information on target’s complement pattern and focus data.

“What did a bad guys wish with that information? Well, to safeguard a targeted conflict is successful, comprehension initial needs to be gathered, i.e. a bad guys need to find ways to strech impending victims and collect information about them,” Kaspersky Lab wrote in a news published today. “In particular, they need to know a handling complement chronicle and a chronicle of some applications on a plant computer, so they can send it a suitable exploit.”

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The formerly undocumented underline is seen in Microsoft Word for Windows and Microsoft Office for iOS and Android. Researchers initial speckled this new conflict when they celebrated several stalk phishing campaigns that contained attachments that didn’t seem antagonistic during first, due to a ostracism of any malware techniques that have been formerly compared with Word. The emails contained trustworthy Word papers in OLE2 (Object Linking and Embedding) format that contained links to PHP scripts on third-party web resources.

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Using this document, enemy were means to emanate a margin in a ask that pointed to a striking record instead of embedding it directly in a document. On serve research, a group found the field “INCLUDEPICTURE” that was regulating Unicode as partial of a instructions and not ASCII format as was expected. Using a former, a ask was means to manipulate a formula to trigger GET ask to antagonistic URLs contained within a underlying formula of a same Word document, with a links indicating to a aforementioned PHP scripts.

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“This formula effectively sent information about a program commissioned on a plant appurtenance to a attackers, including info about that chronicle of Microsoft Office was installed,” a confidence researchers wrote. The team, however, had problem to know what INCLUDEPICTURE was doing during initial given they couldn’t find any central outline or information on how it should be interpreted.

Researchers combined that this new conflict resource uses a formidable and worldly routine regulating dark Word facilities to sojourn undetected to form intensity victims. “In other words, they [attackers] perform critical in-depth investigations in sequence to stay undetected while they lift out targeted attacks.”

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