New Orangeworm attack group targets the healthcare sector in the U.S., Europe, and Asia

April 24, 2018

Symantec has identified a previously unknown group called Orangeworm that has been observed installing a custom backdoor called Trojan.Kwampirs within large international corporations that operate within the healthcare sector in the United States, Europe, and Asia.

First identified in January 2015, Orangeworm has also conducted targeted attacks against organizations in related industries as part of a larger supply-chain attack in order to reach their intended victims. Known victims include healthcare providers, pharmaceuticals, IT solution providers for healthcare and equipment manufacturers that serve the healthcare industry, likely for the purpose of corporate espionage.

Based on the list of known victims, Orangeworm does not select its targets randomly or conduct opportunistic hacking. Rather, the group appears to choose its targets carefully and deliberately, conducting a good amount of planning before launching an attack.

According to Symantec telemetry, almost 40% of Orangeworm’s confirmed victim organizations operate within the healthcare industry. The Kwampirs malware was found on machines which had software installed for the use and control of high-tech imaging devices such as X-Ray and MRI machines. Additionally, Orangeworm was observed to have an interest in machines used to assist patients in completing consent forms for required procedures. The exact motives of the group are unclear.

The biggest number of Orangeworm’s victims are located in the U.S., accounting for 17% of the infection rate by region. While Orangeworm has impacted only a small set of victims in 2016 and 2017 according to Symantec telemetry, we have seen infections in multiple countries due to the nature of the victims operating large international corporations.

It is believed that these industries have also been targeted as part of a larger supply-chain attack in order for Orangeworm to get access to their intended victims related to healthcare. Orangeworm’s secondary targets include Manufacturing, Information Technology, Agriculture, and Logistics. While these industries may appear to be unrelated, we found them to have multiple links to healthcare, such as large manufacturers that produce medical imaging devices sold directly into healthcare firms, IT organizations that provide support services to medical clinics, and logistical organizations that deliver healthcare products.

Once Orangeworm has infiltrated a victim’s network, they deploy Trojan.Kwampirs, a backdoor Trojan that provides the attackers with remote access to the compromised computer.

When executed, Kwampirs decrypts and extracts a copy of its main DLL payload from its resource section. Before writing the payload to disk, it inserts a randomly generated string into the middle of the decrypted payload in an attempt to evade hash-based detections.

To ensure persistence, Kwampirs creates a service with the following configuration to ensure that the main payload is loaded into memory upon system reboot:

The backdoor also collects some rudimentary information about the compromised computer including some basic network adapter information, system version information, and language settings.

Orangeworm likely uses this information to determine whether the system is used by a researcher or if the victim is a high-value target. Once Orangeworm determines that a potential victim is of interest, it proceeds to aggressively copy the backdoor across open network shares to infect other computers.

Symantec has the full report

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