The Uptycs Threat Intelligence team is responsible for providing a high quality, curated, and current Threat Intelligence feed to the Uptycs product. In order to deliver the threat feed, the team evaluates every single alert that is seen by our customers, and investigates the alert as feedback into the threat feed curation process. Recently we observed a malicious domain alert from a customer. The out-of-the-box alert description indicated that it belonged to the OSX/Shlayer malware family. We were quickly able to query Uptycs threat intelligence to find that the domain first appeared on February, 2019 and was reported by multiple threat intel sources. Once the threat was validated, we dove into deeper investigation to understand the threat surface and risk. This post walks through the steps and techniques we performed to analyze data that had been collected via osquery, and aggregated in Uptycs.
Threats to cyber security have been around for decades, but the sophistication and motivations of attackers have evolved. In the early days, they carried out relatively simple, insignificant attacks in an attempt to show off their programming abilities; now, sophisticated cybercriminals (sometimes sponsored by governments and companies) launch serious attacks to steal products and ideas, or other data, from digital infrastructure.
Detecting security threats is difficult work, now more so than ever. Our threat intelligence tools are playing catch-up with increasingly sophisticated attack vectors, including polymorphic malware, quick-turn domains and other turn-on-a-dime attack tactics.
This previous blog post explored ways to use osquery for macOS malware analysis. Using the same methodology introduced there, we analyzed five additional macOS malware variants and recorded their behavior to understand the techniques they used. Below, you’ll find the techniques used by Calisto, Dummy, HiddenLotus, LamePyre and WireLurker. Read on to explore how to translate the techniques used by these malware into queries you can run to hunt for the active presence or historical artifacts using osquery.
Osquery, at its most basic level, is an operating system instrumentation framework that exposes the OS as a SQL database. SQL queries can be run to view information about the systems similar to any SQL database, providing a unified cross platform framework (i.e. endpoints running on multiple operating systems can be queried using the industry standard database language: SQL. This structured approach for collecting and accessing data introduces great flexibility, making it useful for multiple purposes. For example, queries can be constructed to audit infrastructure for compliance, vulnerabilities, malware analysis and intrusion detection, etc. Data collected by osquery can be useful to anybody from IT support teams to CSIRTs. However, in this blog post we’ll narrow our focus and explore how to use osquery specifically for macOS malware analysis (though the methodologies discussed are the same for Windows and Linux operating systems).