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Batchwiper: How I Learned to Worry Less and Love Least Privilege Security

Posted December 19, 2012    BeyondTrust Research Team

With news coming from Iran’s CERT of a nasty (but not really nasty) new piece of malware designed to wipe drives and desktop contents on a specific date, we took the straightforward approach of examining what common, easily implemented security best practices could have stopped Batchwiper in its tracks…

As far as malware goes, Batchwiper is very rudimentary in its execution and capabilities, yet it still has the capacity to cause damage – so how might someone defend themselves from Batchwiper? Simple: run with least privileges. Running as non-administrator effectively neutralizes the dropper component of Batchwiper, specifically GrooveMonitor.exe (MD5 – f3dd76477e16e26571f8c64a7fd4a97b). The dropper is a self-extracting archive, which attempts to put files in the \WINDOWS\system32\ folder. If you’re running as non-admin, the dropper has no permissions to write to that location and the malware will simply fail to execute its intended payloads.

Batchwiper stymied by least privilege.

Least privilege defeats Batchwiper dropper.

If you are unfortunate enough to have a corporate IT environment that does not properly manage Administrative privileges, then the dropper will continue to execute by spawning a series of processes. This eventually leads to Batchwiper formatting drives D through I, performing a Disk Check on each drive (possibly to mask the cause of the data loss), and then deleting the current user profile’s desktop contents.

Batchwiper process list.

Batchwiper processes spawned by dropper.

This malware serves as another example in a long line of threats that are, in most cases, completely (if not severely) mitigated by good security configuration best practices such as practicing Least Privilege.

BeyondTrust has been at the forefront of championing the cause of Least Privilege for quite some time through our BeyondTrust PowerBroker solutions for both Windows and Unix/Linux. Customers leveraging BeyondTrust’s PowerBroker for Windows will mitigate a large majority of malware that affects companies on a day-to-day basis, including this recent Batchwiper malware. You can find out more about our Least Privilege solutions here: http://www.beyondtrust.com/Products/PowerBrokerForWindows/

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Additional articles

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PowerBroker for Mac: A Least-Privileged Apple a Day…

Posted July 27, 2015    Jason Silva

BeyondTrust PowerBroker for Mac reduces the risk of privilege misuse by enabling standard users on Mac OS X to perform administrative tasks successfully without entering elevated credentials.

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On Demand Webinar – Now is the time for Privileged Account Management

Posted July 24, 2015    BeyondTrust Software

In this webinar, SANS Instructor and Founder of Voodoo Security, Dave Shackleford, will revisit several hacking and breach scenarios that involved privileged accounts, and use these as examples while discussing tools and tactics to get this problem under control once and for all.

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Privileged Account Management: The Time is Now

Posted July 22, 2015    Dave Shackleford

There’s plenty of problems we don’t have great options for in InfoSec today. Malware is a pain point that keeps evolving rapidly. 0-day exploits are tough to prepare for. Privileged account management? We got this. We know the root causes, we know how it manifests, we know how to get it under control effectively, and there are great technology solutions that are enterprise-class.

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