A freshly-discovered wiper malware dubbed “ZeroCleare” has been deployed to target the energy and industrial sectors in the Middle East. According to IBM’s X-Force Incident Response and Intelligence Services (IRIS), ZeroCleare (so-named because of the program database pathname of its binary file) was involved in a recently spotted APT attack in which it compromised a Windows machine via a vulnerable driver. ZeroCleare then pivoted to spread to other devices on the network – setting up the groundwork for a potentially catastrophic attack. IRIS analysis showed that ZeroCleare shares certain characteristics with the infamous Shamoon malware in that it overwrites the master boot record (MBR) and disk partitions on Windows-based machines, using a legitimate utility. This renders infected machines inoperable. “As Shamoon did before it, the tool of choice in the attacks is EldoS RawDisk, a legitimate toolkit for interacting with files, disks and partitions,” according to an analysis, posted on Wednesday. “Nation-state groups and cybercriminals frequently use legitimate tools in ways that a vendor did not intend to accomplish malicious or destructive activity.” The vulnerable driver was used to bypass the Windows operating system safeguards that prevent unsigned drivers from running on 64-bit machines – a control that is designed to only allow drivers which have been signed by Microsoft to run on the device. “Since ZeroCleare relies on the EldoS RawDisk driver, which is not a…
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