Do you know what Backdoor.Athena is?
On the 19th of May, 2017 WikiLeaks published secret technical documents of Backdoor.Athena. After reading them all, it became clear for our team of experienced researchers that it is sophisticated malware that needs to be thoroughly analyzed. Unfortunately, they could not find a single working sample of this backdoor Trojan, and today we know why it is so. It has turned out that Backdoor.Athena is a malicious application developed by the CIA while cooperating with the cybersecurity company Siege Technologies. Siege Technologies presents itself at http://www.siegetechnologies.com/, which is its official website, as the company that “delivers offense-driven defensive cyber security solutions in the private and government sectors.” According to leaked documents, this malicious application can work on any computer despite the version of the operating system running on it. Specifically speaking, it might infiltrate and then perform malicious activities on all systems with the newest versions of the Windows OS (starting from Windows XP) and even Linux OS, but it should not be used to cause problems to ordinary computer users, specialists say. They believe that Backdoor.Athena is mainly used by the United States government to fight against cybercrime.
As mentioned, Backdoor.Athena is quite sophisticated malware. It not only consists of several different components that are responsible for different things, but it has also been written in three programming languages Python, C++, and Bash. In addition, this backdoor Trojan contains two unique tools Athena-Alpha and Athena-Bravo. They slightly differ from each other. For example, while Athena-Alpha uses the service called RemoteAccesss, Athena-Bravo uses the Dnscache service. In the case of Athena-Alpha, the “service enumerates the registry to find an IP support dll called iprtrmgr.dll”, whereas the service used by Athena-Bravo “enumerates the registry to find a support dll called dnsext.dll.” As for the 7 components this backdoor Trojan has, they are the following: Builder, Tasker, Parser, Listening Post, Installer, RamOnly, and OffLine. Their functions can be found listed below:
- Builder – provides the ability to build packages, e.g. installers, offline scripts, and ram-only modules.
- Tasker – provides the ability to task a specific implant.
- Parser – decodes the target’s response.
- Listening Post – interacts with the remote target.
- Installer – installs the DLL file onto the targeted system.
- RamOnly – installs the diskless version of the installer.
- OffLine – gains full access to the affected system if physical access is possible.
It seems that Backdoor.Athena might be used for several different activities because it is a customizable malicious application. Backdoor Trojans are mainly used to gain unauthorized access to computers, and it is very likely that Backdoor.Athena is one of them. Of course, it might be used to perform other activities too. For example, it might be used to install software on affected computers or collect information from them. Do not worry; Backdoor.Athena will not steal any personal information from your computer because it is not one of those threats targeting users. As mentioned, Backdoor.Athena should be only involved in a fight against cybercrime.
The removal of Backdoor.Athena is extremely complicated. If you are reading this article from the beginning, you should already know that it has a bunch of different components that all need to be erased to disable this backdoor. Since Backdoor.Athena was developed by the United States government together with the cybersecurity company to fight against cybercrime, we are not going to provide the step-by-step removal instructions that would help to get rid of it. You will not need the removal guide, we can assure you – this malicious application will not infiltrate your computer without your knowledge.
In non-techie terms:
Backdoor.Athena is a backdoor Trojan that the CIA and Siege Technologies developed back in 2015. It is not one of those malicious applications developed by cyber criminals to infiltrate users’ computers and then perform malicious activities, e.g. steal personal information on them. Backdoor.Athena is directly involved in a fight against cybercrime. As a consequence, we are sure there will be no ordinary users who will find it installed on their computers.