Criminals are exploiting interest in the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meetings (ADMM-Plus) to deliver malware to unsuspecting users.
The malware was delivered with a document labelled “ADMM-Plus Defence Officials Directory” that created a backdoor on unpatched machines.
The document itself was benign but contained potentially sensitive phone numbers and email addresses of defence officials from Australia, New Zealand and other members of the Association of South East Asian Nations.
Symantec researcher Takashi Katsuki discovered the document but did not reveal the names contained within it. SC has requested to view the file.
Attackers delivered the document and the payload through a file (.rtf) that exploited a Windows ActiveX remote code execution vulnerability (CVE-2012-0158). Once the file was opened, it dropped the document and the backdoor on machines.
The backdoor loaded after Windows users logged in and contacted a server based in China.
The vulnerability was already patched by Microsoft but had been exploited in a string of malware campaigns since its discovery in April this year.
It has been bound into document files for phishing attacks against Tibetan activists, Japanese steel companies and other industry sectors.