Threat Signal Report

New MuddyWater Sample Uncovered


FortiGuard Labs SE team is aware of new sample attributed to the MuddyWater APT group, discovered today by researchers at ANY.RUN. MuddyWater aka (SeedWorm/Temp.Zagros) is an APT group that is attributed to Iran. At the time of publication due to time constraints we have been unable to substantiate this claim.

What is MuddyWater?

Attributed to Iran, this APT group was first discovered in 2017 by CTA member Palo Alto Networks. MuddyWater was named as such due to the difficulty in attributing said attacks to a threat actor due to initial confusion with another APT group. Later variants discovered had false flags; for example, a PowerShell backdoor that contained numerous strings originally attributed to a Chinese APT group. The modus operandi of this group is to deliver the first stage via a malicious Word document with macros enabled via a spearphishing campaign. This group usually targets telecom and governmental verticals in certain countries in the Middle East.

What is the impact of this issue?

As this sample appears to be targeted, the impact of this issue is LOW.

What products and platform/versions are affected?

Windows based operating systems with Microsoft Office.

What is the status of protections?

Fortinet customers running the latest AV definitions at the time of discovery were protected by the following signature:

SHA256: ef385ed64f795e106d17c0a53dfb398f774a555a9e287714d327bf3987364c1b


IPS coverage is not feasible at this time.

All network IOC's have been blacklisted by the WebFiltering client.

Are there any other suggested mitigations?

The FortiGuard SE team recommends that all AV and IPS definitions are kept up to date on a continual basis. Since it is likely that this threat has been delivered via social engineering distribution mechanisms, it is crucial that end users within an organization are made aware of various types of attacks delivered via social engineering. This can be accomplished through regularly occurring training sessions and impromptu tests using predetermined templates by internal security departments within an organization. Simple user awareness training on how to spot emails with malicious attachments or links could help prevent initial access into the network. If user awareness training fails and the user succumbs to opening the attachment or link, FortiClient running the latest up to date antivirus definitions will detect and block files and URI's associated with this latest campaign.



Exploitation for Client Execution

ID: T1203

Tactic: Execution

Platform: Linux, Windows, macOS

System Requirements: Remote exploitation for execution requires a remotely accessible service reachable over the network or other vector of access such as spearphishing or drive-by compromise.

Data Sources: Anti-virus, System calls, Process monitoring

Supports Remote: Yes

User Execution

D: T1204

Tactic: Execution

Platform: Linux, Windows, macOS

Permissions Required: User

Data Sources: Anti-virus, Process command-line parameters, Process monitoring

References (External Links):

Tweet by ANY.RUN


Traffic Light Protocol

Color When Should it Be used? How may it be shared?


Not for disclosure, restricted to participants only.
Sources may use TLP:RED when information cannot be effectively acted upon by additional parties, and could lead to impacts on a party's privacy, reputation, or operations if misused. Recipients may not share TLP:RED information with any parties outside of the specific exchange, meeting, or conversation in which it was originally disclosed. In the context of a meeting, for example, TLP:RED information is limited to those present at the meeting. In most circumstances, TLP:RED should be exchanged verbally or in person.


Limited disclosure, restricted to participants’ organizations.
Sources may use TLP:AMBER when information requires support to be effectively acted upon, yet carries risks to privacy, reputation, or operations if shared outside of the organizations involved. Recipients may only share TLP:AMBER information with members of their own organization, and with clients or customers who need to know the information to protect themselves or prevent further harm. Sources are at liberty to specify additional intended limits of the sharing: these must be adhered to.


Limited disclosure, restricted to the community.
Sources may use TLP:GREEN when information is useful for the awareness of all participating organizations as well as with peers within the broader community or sector. Recipients may share TLP:GREEN information with peers and partner organizations within their sector or community, but not via publicly accessible channels. Information in this category can be circulated widely within a particular community. TLP:GREEN information may not be released outside of the community.


Disclosure is not limited.
Sources may use TLP:WHITE when information carries minimal or no foreseeable risk of misuse, in accordance with applicable rules and procedures for public release. Subject to standard copyright rules, TLP:WHITE information may be distributed without restriction.