by Swati Khandelwal
November 09, 2017
Almost two months after releasing details of 23 different secret CIA hacking tool projects under Vault 7 series, Wikileaks today announced a new Vault 8 series that will reveal source codes and information about the backend infrastructure developed by the CIA hackers.
Not just announcement, but the whistleblower organization has also published its first batch of Vault 8 leak, releasing source code and development logs of Project Hive—a significant backend component the agency used to remotely control its malware covertly.
In April this year, WikiLeaks disclosed a brief information about Project Hive, revealing that the project is an advanced command-and-control server (malware control system) that communicates with malware to send commands to execute specific tasks on the targets and receive exfiltrated information from the target machines.
Hive is a multi-user all-in-one system that can be used by multiple CIA operators to remotely control multiple malware implants used in different operations.
Hive’s infrastructure has been specially designed to prevent attribution, which includes a public facing fake website following multi-stage communication over a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
“Using Hive even if an implant is discovered on a target computer, attributing it to the CIA is difficult by just looking at the communication of the malware with other servers on the internet,” WikiLeaks says.
As shown in the diagram, the malware implants directly communicate with a fake website, running over commercial VPS (Virtual Private Server), which looks innocent when opened directly into the web browser.