#Vault7: CIA Pandemic implant turns file servers into malware infectors

Pierluigi Paganini June 01, 2017

Wikileaks released a new lot of documents belonging to the Vault7 dump that details the CIA project codenamed ‘Pandemic implant’

Wikileaks released a new batch of documents belonging to the Vault7 archive related to the CIA project codenamed ‘Pandemic.’

The Pandemic CIA project refers a Windows persistent implant that share files (programs) with remote users in a local network. Pandemic is used by the cyber spies to infect remote users by replacing application code on-the-fly with a trojaned version if the application that is retrieved from the infected machine.

“Today, June 1st 2017, WikiLeaks publishes documents from the “Pandemic” project of the CIA, a persistent implant for Microsoft Windows machines that share files (programs) with remote users in a local network.” reads the description published by Wikileaks.”‘Pandemic’ targets remote users by replacing application code on-the-fly with a trojaned version if the program is retrieved from the infected machine.”

The implant transforms file servers into machines that infect PCs which access them remotely.

A computer on a local network with shared drives that is infected with the Pandemic implant is the medical equivalent of a Patient Zero in Medical science that spreads a disease. It will compromise remote computers if the user executes applications stored on the pandemic file server.

pandemic implant

The Pandemic tool doesn’t change the file on the infected system when victims request a file from it, they will receive a trojanized replacement of the legitimate application.

The Pandemic implant can replace up to 20 programs, with a maximum size of 800MB.

“Pandemic is a tool which is run as kernel shellcode to install a file system filter driver. The filter will ‘replace’ a target file with the given payload file when a remote user accesses the file via SMB (read-only, not write).” reads the Pandemic Implant tool summary. “Pandemic will not ‘replace’ the target file when the target file is opened on the machine Pandemic is running on. The goal of Pandemic is to be installed on a machine where remote users use SMB to download/execute PE files. (S//NF) Pandemic does NOT//NOT make any physical changes to the targeted file on disk. The targeted file on the system Pandemic is installed on remains unchanged. Users that are targeted by Pandemic, and use SMB to download the targeted file, will receive the ‘replacement’ file.”

The Pandemic Data leak contains five files, the installation of the implant is very rapid. it just takes between 10 to 15 seconds.

The documentation does not provide information about the infection process, it is not specified if infected machines become new pandemic servers.

Let’s wait for the next Vault

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – Pandemic Implant, CIA)

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