QSnatch malware infected over 62,000 QNAP NAS Devices

Pierluigi Paganini July 28, 2020

US and UK cybersecurity agencies issued a joint advisory about the spread of QSnatch Data-Stealing Malware that already infected over 62,000 QNAP NAS devices.

The United States Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the United Kingdom’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) issued a joint advisory about a massive ongoing campaign spreading the QSnatch data-stealing malware.

The malicious code specifically targets QNAP NAS devices manufactured by Taiwanese company QNAP, it already infected over 62,000 QNAP NAS devices.

The QSnatch malware implements multiple functionalities, such as:  

  • CGI password logger  
    • This installs a fake version of the device admin login page, logging successful authentications and passing them to the legitimate login page.
  • Credential scraper
  • SSH backdoor  
    • This allows the cyber actor to execute arbitrary code on a device.
  • Exfiltration
    • When run, QSnatch steals a predetermined list of files, which includes system configurations and log files. These are encrypted with the actor’s public key and sent to their infrastructure over HTTPS.
  • Webshell functionality for remote access
QSnatch QNAP

In November 2019, security experts first spotted the QSnatch malware that at the time infected thousands of QNAP NAS devices worldwide. At the time, the German Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-Bund) reported that over 7,000 devices have been infected in Germany alone.

QSnatch (aks Derek) is a data-stealing malware that was first details by the experts at the National Cyber Security Centre of Finland (NCSC-FI) in October 2019. The experts were alerted about the malware in October and immediately launched an investigation.

“CISA and NCSC have identified two campaigns of activity for QSnatch malware. The first campaign likely began in early 2014 and continued until mid-2017, while the second started in late 2018 and was still active in late 2019. The two campaigns are distinguished by the initial payload used as well as some differences in capabilities. This alert focuses on the second campaign as it is the most recent threat.” reads the alert. “Analysis shows a significant number of infected devices. In mid-June 2020, there were approximately 62,000 infected devices worldwide; of these, approximately 7,600 were in the United States and 3,900 were in the United Kingdom.”

Experts pointed out that any QNAP NAS device that was not updated is potentially vulnerable to QSnatch malware. The experts observed that once a device has been infected, the malicious code can prevent the installation of firmware updates.

According to the alert, the malware is relatively sophisticated and attackers demonstrate an awareness of operational security.

The infection vector is yet to be identified, anyway, the threat actors in both campaigns are not currently active. In the second campaign observed by the agencies, attackers were injecting the malware during the infection stage and subsequently using a domain generation algorithm (DGA) to set up a C2 channel.

The two agencies urge organizations to ensure their devices have not been previously infected, they recommend a full factory reset of the device before performing the firmware upgrade.

To prevent QSnatch malware infections, agencies recommend that organizations take the recommended measures in QNAP’s November 2019 advisory.

CISA and NCSC also recommend organizations consider the following mitigations:  

  • Verify that you purchased QNAP devices from reputable sources.  
    • If sources are in question, run a full factory reset on the device prior to completing the firmware upgrade. For additional supply chain recommendations, see CISA’s tip on Securing Network Infrastructure Devices.
  • Block external connections when the device is intended to be used strictly for internal storage.
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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, QSnatch)

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