Magnet-Goblin Hackers Attack Public Services Using 1-Day Exploits

A new threat actor, Magnet Goblin, emerged by rapidly exploiting recently disclosed vulnerabilities (CVE-2023-46805 & CVE-2023-21887) in Ivanti Connect Secure VPN, which allowed them to deploy custom Linux backdoors on vulnerable systems.

Magnet Goblin has a history of targeting platforms like Magento, Qlik Sense, and potentially Apache ActiveMQ, using similar tactics to gain financial advantage.

Their strategy involves quickly adopting newly discovered vulnerabilities to establish backdoors on compromised systems. These backdoors enable them to steal data or gain unauthorized access by exploiting one-day vulnerabilities for potential financial gain.

A financially driven cybercriminal group exploits weaknesses in edge devices and public servers.

  • Magento – CVE-2022-24086
  • Qlik Sense – CVE-2023-41265, CVE-2023-41266, and CVE-2023-48365
  • Ivanti Connect Secure – CVE-2023-46805 and CVE-2024-21887, CVE-2024-21888 and CVE-2024-21893.

Their custom-made Nerbian malware family includes tools like NerbianRAT (cross-platform) for complete remote control and MiniNerbian (Linux-specific) for maintaining backdoor access.

Magnet-Goblin Hackers Attack Public Services Using 1-Day Exploits

Past Magnet Goblin campaigns.

Rapid Exploitation of Public Servers with Custom Malware

An investigation of recent Ivanti exploits revealed downloads linked to a Linux variant of NerbianRAT malware, which fetched various malicious payloads from an attacker-controlled server, including a WARPWIRE JS stealer and Ligolo tunneling tool.

After finding vulnerabilities, the attackers’ malicious servers allowed them to retrieve a fresh version of the NerbianRAT malware. 

  • http://94.156.71[.]115/lxrt
  • http://91.92.240[.]113/aparche2
  • http://45.9.149[.]215/aparche2

It uses a custom WARPWIRE variant alongside NerbianRAT, which steals VPN credentials and sends them to a compromised Magento server. This highlights the threat actor’s multi-tool approach.

                                                 WARPWIRE variant used by Magnet Goblin.

Analysis of the Infrastructure:

Beyond the Linux tools mentioned above, Magnet Goblin’s arsenal also extends to Windows. They leverage legitimate tools like ScreenConnect (downloaded from their server) and AnyDesk for remote access. 

Interestingly, the IP used for ScreenConnect downloads aligns with the one observed on compromised Qlik Sense servers, suggesting a wider exploitation attempt.

Evidence suggests possible connections to both Cactus ransomware (based on observed tactics) and Apache ActiveMQ vulnerabilities (based on downloaded files). 

Compromised Magento servers were used to deploy BAT scripts that downloaded and executed AnyDesk, further showcasing the diverse tools used by this threat actor.

Batch script deploying AnyDesk, utilizing a hacked Magento server.

NerbianRAT is a Linux backdoor first observed in May 2022. It is poorly obfuscated and lacks anti-analysis techniques. Upon execution, it collects basic information about the infected machine and generates a unique bot ID. 

Then, it decrypts its working directory and searches for a configuration file containing various settings, including the C2 server address, working hours, and a public key for encryption.

It communicates with its C2 server using raw TCP sockets and a custom protocol, and data is encrypted using AES or RSA, depending on the type of data transmitted. 

The backdoor operates in two primary states: during working hours (as defined in the configuration), it sends data to the C2 server and awaits instructions, while outside of working hours, it can still send “ping” messages to the server.

MiniNerbian simplifies NerbianRAT for command execution and sends HTTP POST requests to its C2 server to execute system commands, change its internal time flag, and update configuration.

Code similarity between NerbianRAT and MiniNerbian.

In cybersecurity, distinguishing specific activities amid widespread opportunistic exploitation attacks is challenging due to the technical and attribution complexities.

Defenders often prioritize response and mitigation, sometimes missing the activities of unique actors who exploit these situations.

A recent example is the Ivanti Secure Connect VPN exploitation by various threat actors, including Magnet Goblin, who exploited the vulnerability before appliances were patched.

Motivated by financial gains, Magnet Goblin quickly utilized one-day vulnerabilities to deploy custom Linux malware, such as NerbianRAT and MiniNerbian, primarily targeting unprotected edge devices.

IOCs :

Type Value Description
IP 91.92.240[.]113 Magnet Goblin Infra
IP 45.9.149[.]215 Magnet Goblin Infra
IP 94.156.71[.]115 Magnet Goblin Infra
URL http://91.92.240[.]113/auth.js Magnet Goblin Infra
URL http://91.92.240[.]113/login.cgi Magnet Goblin Infra
URL http://91.92.240[.]113/aparche2 Magnet Goblin Infra
URL http://91.92.240[.]113/agent Magnet Goblin Infra
URL http://45.9.149[.]215/aparche2 Magnet Goblin Infra
URL http://45.9.149[.]215/agent Magnet Goblin Infra
URL http://94.156.71[.]115/lxrt Magnet Goblin Infra
URL http://94.156.71[.]115/agent Magnet Goblin Infra
URL http://94.156.71[.]115/instali.ps1 Magnet Goblin Infra
URL http://94.156.71[.]115/ligocert.dat Magnet Goblin Infra
URL http://94.156.71[.]115/angel.dat Magnet Goblin Infra
URL http://94.156.71[.]115/windows.xml Magnet Goblin Infra
URL http://94.156.71[.]115/instal1.ps1 Magnet Goblin Infra
URL http://94.156.71[.]115/Maintenance.ps1 Magnet Goblin Infra
URL http://94.156.71[.]115/baba.dat Magnet Goblin Infra
URL **http://**oncloud-analytics[.]com/files/mg/elf/RT1.50.png Magnet Goblin Infra
URL http://cloudflareaddons[.]com/assets/img/Image_Slider15.1.png Magnet Goblin Infra
Domain mailchimp-addons[.]com MiniNerbian C2
Domain allsecurehosting[.]com MiniNerbian C2
Domain dev-clientservice[.]com MiniNerbian C2
Domain oncloud-analytics[.]com MiniNerbian C2
Domain cloudflareaddons[.]com MiniNerbian C2
Domain textsmsonline[.]com MiniNerbian C2
Domain proreceive[.]com MiniNerbian C2
IP 172.86.66[.]165 NerbianRAT C2
IP 45.153.240[.]73 NerbianRAT C2
SHA256 027d03679f7279a2c505f0677568972d30bc27daf43033a463fafeee0d7234f6 NerbianRAT
SHA256 9cb6dc863e56316364c7c1e51f74ca991d734dacef9029337ddec5ca684c1106 NerbianRAT
SHA256 9d11c3cf10b20ff5b3e541147f9a965a4e66ed863803c54d93ba8a07c4aa7e50 NerbianRAT
SHA256 d3fbae7eb3d38159913c7e9f4c627149df1882b57998c8acaac5904710be2236 MiniNerbian
SHA256 df91410df516e2bddfd3f6815b3b4039bf67a76f20aecabccffb152e5d6975ef MiniNerbian
SHA256 99fd61ba93497214ac56d8a0e65203647a2bc383a2ca2716015b3014a7e0f84d MiniNerbian
SHA256 9ff0dcce930bb690c897260a0c5aaa928955f4ffba080c580c13a32a48037cf7 MiniNerbian
SHA256 3367a4c8bd2bcd0973f3cb22aa2cb3f90ce2125107f9df2935831419444d5276 MiniNerbian
SHA256 f23307f1c286143b974843da20c257901cf4be372ea21d1bb5dea523a7e2785d MiniNerbian
SHA256 f1e7c1fc06bf0ea40986aa20e774d6b85c526c59046c452d98e48fe1e331ee4c MiniNerbian
SHA256 926aeb3fda8142a6de8bc6c26bc00e32abc603c21acd0f9b572ec0484115bb89 MiniNerbian
SHA256 894ab5d563172787b052f3fea17bf7d51ca8e015b0f873a893af17f47b358efe MiniNerbian
SHA256 1079e1b6e016b070ebf3e1357fa23313dcb805d3a6805088dbc3ab6d39330548 WARPWIRE
SHA256 e134e053a80303d1fde769e50c2557ade0852fa827bed9199e52f67bac0d9efc WARPWIRE
URL www.fernandestechnical[.]com/pub/health_check.php Compromised Server
URL biondocenere[.]com/pub/health_check.php Compromised Server
URL ****www.miltonhouse[.]nl/pub/opt/processor.php Compromised Server
URL https://theroots[.]in/pub/media/avatar/223sam.jpg Compromised Server
SHA256 7967def86776f36ab6a663850120c5c70f397dd3834f11ba7a077205d37b117f Other: Tools and scripts
SHA256 9895286973617a79e2b19f2919190a6ec9afc07a9e87af3557f3d76b252292df Other: Tools and scripts
SHA256 bd9edc3bf3d45e3cdf5236e8f8cd57a95ca3b41f61e4cd5c6c0404a83519058e Other: Tools and scripts
SHA256 b35f11d4f54b8941d4f1c5b49101b67b563511a55351e10ad4ede17403529c16 Other: Tools and scripts
SHA256 7b1d1e639d1994c6235d16a7ac583e583687660d7054a2a245dd18f24d10b675 Other: Tools and scripts
SHA256 8fe1ed1e34e8758a92c8d024d73c434665a03e94e5eb972c68dd661c5e252469 Other: Tools and scripts
SHA256 fa317b071da64e3ee18d82d3a6a216596f2b4bca5f4d3277a091a137d6a21c45 Other: Tools and scripts

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Author: Balaji