iTunes Zero-Day flaw exploited by the gang behind BitPaymer ransomware

by chebbi abir

The gang behind BitPaymer and ransomware attacks has been found exploiting Windows zero-day for Apple iTunes and iCloud.

The cybercriminals behind BitPaymer and iEncrypt ransomware attacks have been found exploiting a Windows zero-day vulnerability for Apple iTunes and iCloud in attacks in the wild.

The zero-day vulnerability resides in the Bonjour updater that comes packaged with Apple’s iTunes and iCloud software for Windows to evade antivirus detection.

The evasion technique was discovered by researchers at Morphisec while observing an attack against an enterprise in the automotive industry.

“This time we have identified the abuse of an Apple zero-day vulnerability in the Bonjour updater that comes packaged with iTunes for Windows. The Windows exploit is important to note given Apple is sunsetting iTunes for Macs with the release of macOS Catalina this week, while Windows users will still need to rely on iTunes for the foreseeable future.” reads the security advisory published by Morphisec.
“The adversaries abused an unquoted path to maintain persistence and evade detection.”

The Bonjour updater runs in the background and automates multiple tasks, including automatically download the updates for Apple software. Experts pointed out that the Bonjour updater has its own installation entry in the installed software section and a scheduled task to execute the process. This means that even uninstalling iTunes and iCloud doesn’t remove Bonjour updater.

The experts discovered that the Bonjour updater was vulnerable to the unquoted service path vulnerability.

Unquoted search paths are a relatively older vulnerability that occurs when the path to an executable service or program (commonly uninstallers) are unquoted and contain spaces. The spaces can allow someone to place their own executable in the path and get it to be executed instead.

Bonjour was trying to run from the Program Files folder, but due to the unquoted path issue, it instead ran the BitPaymer ransomware that was named Program.

“Additionally, the malicious “Program” file doesn’t come with an extension such as “.exe“. This means it is likely that AV products will not scan the file since these products tend to scan only specific file extensions to limit the performance impact on the machine.” continues the analysis. “In this scenario, Bonjour was trying to run from the “Program Files” folder, but because of the unquoted path, it instead ran the BitPaymer ransomware since it was named “Program”. This is how the zero-day was able to evade detection and bypass AV.”

bitpaymer campaign

Experts explained that attackers using a legitimate process signed by a trusted vendor, like Bonjour, will be able to execute a new malicious child process evading detection. In this specific attack, security programs have not scanned the malicious payloads because they did not use an extension,

The unquoted service path vulnerability could also be exploited by attackers to escalate privileges.

Morphisec Labs reported their discovery to Apple that released iCloud for Windows 10.7, iCloud for Windows 7.14, and iTunes 12.10.1 for Windows to address the vulnerability.

Users that have installed an Apple software on their Windows computer and then uninstalled it, should manually uninstall the Bonjour updater if present.


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