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Industroyer2 and INCONTROLLER: New Findings and How Forescout Protects Against the Most Recent ICS-Specific Malware

Vedere Labs | July 14, 2022

In our new threat briefing report, Forescout’s Vedere Labs presents the most detailed public technical analysis of Industroyer2 and INCONTROLLER (also known as PIPEDREAM), the newest examples of ICS-specific malware that were disclosed to the public almost simultaneously, on April 12 and 13. Thankfully, both Industroyer2 and INCONTROLLER were caught before causing physical disruption.

Although there have been previous reports about both malware families analyzed in this research, we present the following new contributions:

  • Description of a functionality in Industroyer2 to discover the target’s Common Address of ASDU. Despite not being used in the analyzed sample, given its hardcoded configuration, this might have been used in previous reconnaissance stages to gather information about the target.
  • An analysis of the similarity of the IEC-104 implementation in Industroyer that reveals it is probably a modified version of a publicly available implementation.
  • The most detailed public description so far of Lazycargo, a part of INCONTROLLER that became publicly available recently and is used to execute other parts of the malware.

In this post, we detail how Forescout helps to protect against the new malware. The full report also contains a list of indicators of compromise (IOCs) and recommended mitigations.

Overview of the new ICS-specific malware

Industroyer2 leverages OS-specific wipers and a dedicated module to communicate over the IEC-104 industrial protocol. INCONTROLLER is a full toolkit containing modules to send instructions to or retrieve data from ICS devices using industrial network protocols such as OPC UA, Modbus, CODESYS, Machine Expert Discovery and Omron FINS. Additionally, Industroyer2 has a highly targeted configuration, while INCONTROLLER is much more reusable across different targets.

ICS-specific malware is still very rare compared to commodity malware such as ransomware or banking trojans. Industroyer2 and INCONTROLLER follow previous known examples such as Stuxnet, Havex, BlackEnergy2, Industroyer and TRITON, shown in the timeline below.

 

Industroyer2 is believed to be developed and deployed by the Sandworm APT, linked to the Russian GRU, which was behind the original attacks on the Ukrainian power grid in 2015 and 2016. The Industroyer2 incident follows recent activity against the APT in 2022, such as the disruption of the Cyclops Blink botnet. There is still no conclusive evidence about the actors behind INCONTROLLER, their motives or objectives.

Both new malwares show that abusing often insecure-by-design native capabilities of OT equipment continues to be the preferred modus operandi of real-world attackers. Vedere Labs recently disclosed a set of 56 insecure-by-design vulnerabilities in OT equipment called OT:ICEFALL, which included Omron controllers that were targeted by INCONTROLLER. The emergence of new vulnerabilities and new malware exploiting the insecure-by-design nature of OT supports the need for robust OT-aware network monitoring and deep packet inspection capabilities.

For more information and technical analysis, read the full report.

Mitigation recommendations for ICS malware

Forescout eyeInspect customers can follow the recommendations below to help ensure they are protected against Industroyer2 and INCONTROLLER.

  • Stay current with the release of additional content such as scripts and IOCs on the OT Portal or through your Forescout representatives.
  • Monitor network exposure for control systems and HMIs.
  • Monitor connections to devices outside of documented norms for the device and environment, with special attention to HTTP and Telnet connections to these devices.
  • Monitor unauthorized Telnet connection attempts, including the use of default credentials.
  • Detect ICMP usage and especially possible ping sweeps through the ICMP indicators in the Industrial Threat Library devoted to detect possible port scans and discoveries.
  • Apply additional configurations on eyeInspect to perform intrusion detection on known nodes. Available approaches include protocol blacklisting and communication whitelisting with traffic rules.
  • Leverage the Threat Detection Add-Ons script, which contains additional checks for lateral movement and user account manipulation that may reveal attempts to gain administrative rights.
  • Closely monitor the protocols abused by both new malwares for signs of anomalies: IEC-104 (2404/TCP), OPC UA (4840/TCP, 4843/TCP), Modbus (502/TCP), Machine Expert Discovery (27126/UDP, 27127/UDP), CODESYS (1740-1743/UDP, 11740-11743/TCP, 1105/TCP) and Omron FINS (9600/TCP, 9600/UDP) . Below, are specific recommendations for each protocol in eyeInspect.

IEC-104

  • eyeInspect has extensive coverage of IEC-104 anomalies with malformed packet detection (possible indicator of exploit), anomaly baselining detection and a vast Industrial Threat Library covering anomalous behaviors, dangerous operations and much more.

OPC UA

  • Monitor the alerts and events related to the OPC UA protocol. eyeInspect offers dozens of events related to anomalies like credential bruteforcing, bad certificate usage, anomalous connection attempts, configuration changes and changes to OPC UA tags.
  • Monitor OPC UA connections, especially newly established or anomalous OPC UA connections through dedicated filters, analytics, maps and the change logs.

MODBUS/Schneider Electric

  • Monitor the alerts and events related to the MODBUS protocol. eyeInspect offers dozens of events related to anomalies like error codes associated with abnormal device crashes/reboots, files uploaded or downloaded, file deletion, unauthorized changes in device configuration and execution of commands.
  • Add an anomaly detection-specific blacklisting rule on ports 27126 and 27127 that target IP broadcast 255.255.255.255, to identify the Machine Expert Discovery protocol used in the initial phase. (A premade profile is available on request through Forescout representatives or Customer Support.)
  • Install the new Device and Visibility Addons Script 3.2 (or newer) to detect and vet devices using this discovery protocol.

OMRON FINS

  • Implement the OMRON FINS Monitor script to receive more alerts and details about unauthorized changes in device configuration and execution of commands, files uploaded or downloaded and tons of other anomalies (available on request through Forescout representatives).