Equifax Hires Former Home Depot Security Chief Jamil Farshchi as CISO
13.2.2018 securityweek Incindent
Credit reporting agency Equifax announced on Monday that it has named Jamil Farshchi as its Chief Information Security Officer (CISO).
Farshchi replaces Equifax Chief Security Officer Susan Mauldin, who abruptly retired from the company after a massive data breach was disclosed in late 2017.
Farshchi previously served as CISO at The Home Depot, where he was hired in March 2015 after Home Depot suffered a massive data breach. Before Farshchi took the reigns as CISO at the home improvemt company, cybercriminals managed to steal email addresses and payment card data belonging to more than 56 million Home Depot customers in 2014.
According to Equifax, Farshchi will be based in Atlanta and assume “company-wide leadership of work already underway to transform the company's information security program, and collaborate with the industry to share best practices on information security.”
He will report to the Chief Executive Officer, the company said.
"Jamil has a reputation for helping enterprises rebuild and fortify information security programs,” Paulino do Rego Barros, Jr., interim Chief Executive Officer at Equifax, said in a statement. “His expertise in risk intelligence and cybersecurity combined with his intimate knowledge of industry best practices will allow us to design and deploy a best-in-class, global security strategy to re-establish ourselves as a trusted leader."
Prior to his role at The Home Depot, Farshchi was the first Global CISO at Time Warner. Before that, he was the Vice President of Global Information Security at Visa. Farshchi has also held senior roles at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sitel Corporation, Nextwave Broadband, and NASA.
He holds a master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School and a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the University of Oklahoma.
"Equifax is a company with tremendous potential, and I am confident that we will transform our security program into one of the most advanced and recognized globally," said Farshchi. "I am grateful for this new challenge and am looking forward to enabling the business with new insights, a fresh perspective, and a multi-dimensional way of thinking about global data stewardship and information security."
In September 2017, Equifax revealed that hackers had accessed its systems between mid-May and late July 2017. The company eventually said the breach affected roughly 145 million customers – mostly in the U.S., but also in Canada and the United Kingdom – including their social security numbers, dates of birth, addresses, and in some cases driver’s license numbers, payment cards, and dispute documents.
Documents provided recently by Equifax to senators revealed that the breach suffered by the company last year may have involved types of data not mentioned in the initial disclosure of the incident.
Pyeongchang – Olympic Destroyer Unleashed to Embarrass Pyeongchang 2018 Games
13.2.2018 securityaffairs Cyber
Shortly before the Pyeongchang opening ceremonies on Friday, televisions at the main press centre, wifi at the Olympic Stadium and the official website were taken down.
It is well known that big events attract the attention of hackers. The biggest event right now is the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea and it looks like the hackers have arrived. Shortly before the opening ceremonies on Friday, televisions at the main press centre, wifi at the Olympic Stadium and the official website were taken down. All systems were restored by 8AM on the following Saturday, and although individuals were unable to print event tickets during the outage, the organizing committee described the event as affecting only “noncritical systems.” Given the high profile of the games, the rumor mill immediately began spreading whispers that the outage was the result of a cyberattack.
After restoring services and investigating the cause, Sunday evening Pyeongchang 2018 spokesperson Sung Baik-you issued an official statement confirming that the outage resulted from a cyber attack.
“There was a cyber-attack and the server was updated yesterday during the day and we have the cause of the problem”, Sung Baik-you said.
Leading up to the Olympic Games there was a lot of speculation whether North Korea would attempt to disrupt the games. Along with China and Russia, North Korean cyberwarfare teams are often suspected in large-scale attack such as these. In this case, the International Olympics Committee (IOC) is refusing to participate in any speculation as to the source of the attacks.
“We wouldn’t start giving you the details of an investigation before it has come to an end, particularly because it involves security which at these games is incredibly important. I am sure you appreciate we need to maintain the security of our systems,” said Mark Adams, head of communications for the IOC.
While the IOC and Pyeongchang spokespeople are being cautious about releasing details to focus on ensuring security and safety of the games, Cisco Talos has been forthcoming with technical details of the attack. While they haven’t pointed fingers at specific attackers, but in a Talos blog post on February 12, they have stated, “[samples identified] are not from adversaries looking for information from the games but instead they are aimed to disrupt the games.”
According to their research, there are many similarities between the Pyeongchang attack, which they are dubbing “Olympic Destroyer”, and earlier attacks such as BadRabbit and NotPetya. All of these attacks are focused on destruction and disruption of equipment not exfiltration of data or other, more subtle attacks. Using legitimate tools such as PsExec and WMI the attackers are specifically targeting the pyeongchang2018.com domain attempting to steal browser and system credentials to move laterally in the network and then wiping the victim computer to make it unusable.
While the source of the attacks is uncertain, the Cisco Talos blog post is clear in identifying motivation, “Disruption is the clear objective in this type of attack and it leaves us confident in thinking that the actors behind this were after embarrassment of the Olympic committee during the opening ceremony.”
Victims of some versions of the Cryakl ransomware can decrypt their files for free
13.2.2018 securityaffairs Ransomware
Free decryption keys for the Cryakl ransomware were added to the free Rakhni Decryptor that could be downloaded on the NoMoreRansom website.
The Belgian Federal Police has located the command and control server used by a criminal organization behind the Cryakl ransomware. The server was located in an unspecified neighboring country, law enforcement seized it and shared the decryption keys found on the machine with the No More Ransom project.
“The Belgian Federal Police is releasing free decryption keys for the Cryakl ransomware today, after working in close cooperation with Kaspersky Lab. The keys were obtained during an ongoing investigation; by sharing the keys with No More Ransom the Belgian Federal Police becomes a new associated partner of the project – the second law enforcement agency after the Dutch National Police.” reads the statement published by the Europol.
“Led by the federal prosecutor’s office, the Belgian authorities seized this and other servers while forensic analysis worked to retrieve the decryption keys. Kaspersky Lab provided technical expertise to the Belgian federal prosecutor and has now added these keys to the No More Ransom portal on behalf of the Belgian federal police. This will allow victims to regain access to their encrypted files without having to pay to the criminals.”
The “exponential” rise in Ransomware threat represents a serious problem for users online and it is a profitable business for cyber criminals. The operation NO More Ransom is the response of the Europol of the growing threat.
Victims of Cryakl ransomware can recover encrypted files using the Rakhni Decryptor available for free from Kaspersky Lab or NoMoreRansom at the following URL.
The tool works with most versions of the Cryakl ransomware, but researchers at MalwareHunterTeam confirmed that it doesn’t work with CL 1.4.0 and newer (so 1.4.0 is included in what can’t be decrypted).
It has been estimated that the tool has helped more than 35,000 victims of ransomware to decrypt their files for free, an overall loss for crooks of over €10m.
“There are now 52 free decryption tools on www.nomoreransom.org, which can be used to decrypt 84 ransomware families. CryptXXX, CrySIS and Dharma are the most detected infections.” continues the statement.
The Belgian authorities are still investigating the case.
Lenovo Patches Critical Wi-Fi Vulnerabilities
12.2.2018 securityweek Vulnerebility
Lenovo has released patches for two critical vulnerabilities that were found last year in certain Broadcom Wi-Fi controllers.
Identified as CVE-2017-11120 and CVE-2017-11121, the two issues were discovered by Google Project Zero and were publicly disclosed in September 2017.
Both vulnerabilities affect Broadcom Wi-Fi chips found in many mobile devices, thus having an industry-wide impact. Both were addressed in the Android and iOS operating systems in September last year.
When disclosing the bugs, Gal Beniamini of Google Project Zero explained that an attacker within Wi-Fi range could exploit CVE-2017-11120, an out-of-bounds write issue, to achieve arbitrary code execution on an impacted device.
“Upon successful execution of the exploit, a backdoor is inserted into the firmware, allowing remote read/write commands to be issued to the firmware via crafted action frames (thus allowing easy remote control over the Wi-Fi chip),” the researcher said.
CVE-2017-11121 can be abused by means of malicious over-the-air Fast Transition frames designed to trigger internal Wi-Fi firmware heap and/or stack overflows. This could lead to remote code execution as well.
“Broadcom has issued an advisory for certain Broadcom WiFi controllers used by many computer and device makers, which contain buffer overflow vulnerabilities on the adapter (not the system CPU),” Lenovo noted in an advisory last week.
The computer maker also notes that, while it “initially did not plan to remediate these issues,” Broadcom released patches after the WPA2 KRACK vulnerability became public, to address both bugs.
“Lenovo received the first of these near the end of 2017, and continues releasing fixes as integration and testing is completed,” the company says.
Lenovo explains that only its ThinkPad products pack the affected Broadcom WiFi controllers. The computer maker also published a list of all impacted ThinkPad devices and recommends users to update to the WiFi driver version (or newer) indicated for their models.
IBM Releases Spectre, Meltdown Patches for Power Systems
12.2.2018 securityweek Vulnerebility
IBM has released firmware and operating system updates to address the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities in the company’s Power Systems servers.
IBM started releasing firmware patches for its POWER processors within a week after the Spectre and Meltdown attack methods were disclosed. Firmware updates were first released for the POWER7+ and POWER8 processors, but customers would have to wait another month for operating system patches.
The company announced late last week the availability of patches for remaining POWER processors, along with updates for its AIX and IBM i operating systems.
Firmware patches are now available for POWER7, POWER7+, POWER8 and POWER9 processors. Earlier versions will not receive updates as they have reached end of service and IBM recommends migrating to a supported generation.
The vulnerabilities that allow Meltdown and Spectre attacks (CVE-2017-5753, CVE-2017-5715 and CVE-2017-5754) have also been patched in IBM i with the release of program temporary fixes (PTFs) for versions 7.1, 7.2 and 7.3. Fixes have also been released for AIX 5.3, 6.1, 7.1 and 7.2, and VIOS 2.2.x.
Both firmware and operating system updates must be installed for efficient protection against Meltdown and Spectre attacks. However, it’s recommended that the firmware patches are applied prior to operating system updates.
The Meltdown and Spectre attacks allow malicious applications to bypass memory isolation mechanisms and access potentially sensitive data. Billions of devices using Intel, AMD, ARM, Qualcomm and IBM processors are affected.
Impacted vendors started releasing software and firmware patches shortly after the methods were disclosed, but both types of fixes caused problems.
A few weeks after it started releasing microcode patches, Intel decided to halt updates due to frequent reboots and unpredictable system behavior. The company now says it has identified the root cause of the problem and started releasing a new round of patches.
Intel and AMD told customers that their future products will include built-in protections for exploits such as Specter and Meltdown.
Crypto Mining Malware Infects Thousands of Websites
12.2.2018 securityweek CoinMine
Hacked Script Infects Several Government Sites with Cryptominer
The websites of numerous government, health and education organizations worldwide were infected with a crypto-currency miner over the weekend, after a script running on all of them was maliciously modified.
The culprit was Browsealoud, a script developed by Texthelp to add “speech, reading, and translation to websites.” The software was designed to provide access and participation to people with Dyslexia, Low Literacy, English as a Second Language, and to those with mild visual impairments, the company says.
As a result of this attack, numerous government websites in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia were infected with the crypto-mining software.
As Scott Helme, the researcher who noticed the malicious script quickly discovered, a total of 4275 websites were impacted in this attack, including prominent sites such as UK's Information Commissioner's Office, the NHS, the General Medical Council, U.S. Courts, academic websites, and many others.
“The ba.js had been altered to include a document.write call that added a CoinHive crypto miner to any page it was loaded in to. The sheer number of sites affected by this is huge and some of them are really prominent government websites,” Helme points out.
The reason so many websites were impacted isn’t only the ease of use Browsealoud promises, as admins only need to copy and paste one script to take advantage of it, but also regulatory requirements around accessibility that many sites need to comply with, especially government sites.
Soon after realizing the cause of the infection, Helme notified Texthelp, which decided to take Browsealoud offline, thus removing it from all of their customer sites immediately. The company claims that taking the product down allowed them to address the issue without requiring customers to take action.
“Texthelp can report that no customer data has been accessed or lost. The company has examined the affected file thoroughly and can confirm that it did not redirect any data, it simply used the computers CPUs to attempt to generate cryptocurrency. The exploit was active for a period of four hours on Sunday,” Martin McKay, CTO and Data Security Officer, Texthelp, says.
McKay also noted that, although the issue has been addressed, Browsealoud will remain offline until Tuesday, so that customers could be informed on the issue. He also pointed out that no other Texthelp products have been affected.
“A security review will be conducted by an independent security consultancy. The investigation is ongoing, and customers will receive a further update when the security investigated has been completed,” McKay concluded.
UK’s National Cyber Security Centre also said they were examining the incident.
“The affected service has been taken offline, largely mitigating the issue. Government websites continue to operate securely. At this stage there is nothing to suggest that members of the public are at risk,” the NCSC said.
However, it appears that the issue might have not been completely resolved, as Helme points out on Twitter. The researcher claims that even today the malicious script attempts to load when accessing the UK's Information Commissioner's Office website, likely from cache. This means that returning visitors might still be impacted.
NoMoreRansom: Free Decryption for Latest Cryakl Ransomware
12.2.2018 securityweek Ransomware
Decryption keys for a current version of Cryakl ransomware have been obtained and uploaded to the NoMoreRansom website. Victims of Cryakl can potentially recover encrypted files with the Rakhni Decryptor available for free from Kaspersky Lab or NoMoreRansom.
NoMoreRansom is a collaborative public/private project launched by Europol, the Dutch National Police, Kaspersky Lab and McAfee in July 2016. Its purpose is to help ransomware victims recover encrypted files through the use of decryptors. Since its launch, other national law enforcement agencies and additional private companies have joined the project. There are now 52 decryption tools available on the site, able to recover files from 84 ransomware families.
The project now comprises more than 120 partners, including more than 75 private organizations. The Cypriot and Estonian police are the most recent law enforcement agencies to join, while KPN, Telenor and The College of Professionals in Information and Computing (CPIC) have joined as new private sector partners. Europol claims that the site has enabled more than 35,000 ransomware victims to recover their files without paying a ransom – preventing criminals from profiting from more than €10 million.
The Rakhni Decryptor, developed by Kaspersky Lab, could already decrypt older versions of Cryakl – which first appeared in 2015. It could not, however, decrypt the latest version – which it now does.
The Belgian Federal Computer Crime Unit (FCCU) learned that Belgian citizens had been victims of this new version of Cryakl. It was able to locate a C2 server in an unspecified neighboring country. The Netherlands is one neighbor state that is often used by criminals to host their malicious servers.
“Led by the federal prosecutor's office,” announced Europol Thursday, “the Belgian authorities seized this and other servers while forensic analysis worked to retrieve the decryption keys.” Kaspersky Lab provided technical expertise, and has now included the recovered keys in its Rakhni Decryptor, uploaded on behalf of the Belgian authorities.
The Rakhni Decryptor, says Kaspersky Lab, “Decrypts files affected by Rakhni, Agent.iih, Aura, Autoit, Pletor, Rotor, Lamer, Cryptokluchen, Lortok, Democry, Bitman (TeslaCrypt) version 3 and 4, Chimera, Crysis (versions 2 and 3), Jaff, Dharma and new versions of Cryakl ransomware.”
The Belgian authorities are continuing their investigation into the operators of the seized C2 servers, but decided not to wait before making the recovered keys available to victims. It is, says Europol, “another successful example of how cooperation between law enforcement and internet security companies can lead to great results.”
CSE CybSec ZLAB Malware Analysis Report: Dark Caracal and the Pallas malware family
12.2.2018 securityaffairs Android
Dark Caracal APT – The Pallas Family
Researchers from CSE ZLAB malware Analysis Laboratory analyzed a set of samples of the Pallas malware family used by the Dark Caracal APT in its hacking operations.
The malware researchers from ZLab analyzed a collection of samples related to a new APT tracked as Dark Caracal, which was discovered by Electronic Frontier Foundation in collaboration with Lookout Mobile Security.
Dark Caracal has been active at least since 2012, but only recently it was identified as a powerful threat actor in the cyber arena.
The first analysis of the APT linked it to Lebanese General Directorate of General Security.
Dark Caracal is behind a number of stealth hacking campaigns that in the last six years, aimed to steal text messages, call logs, and files from journalists, military staff, corporations, and other targets in 21 countries worldwide.
One of their most powerful campaigns started in the first months of last year, using a series of trojanized Android applications to steal sensitive data from the victim’s mobile device. The trojan injected in these applications is known in the threat landscape with the name Pallas.
Threat actors use the “repackaging” technique to generate its samples, they start from a legitimate application and inject the malicious code before rebuilding the apk.
The target applications belongs to specific categories, such as social chat app (Whatsapp, Telegram, Primo), secure chat app (Signal, Threema), or software related to secure navigation (Orbot, Psiphon).
The attackers used social engineering techniques to trick victims into installing the malware. Attackers use SMS, a Facebook message or a Facebook post, which invites the victim to download a new version of the popular app through from a specific URL
All the trojanized app are hosted at the same URL.
Figure 1 – Dark Caracal Repository – Malicious site
This malware is able to collect a large amount of data and to send it to a C&C through an encrypted URL that is decrypted at runtime. The capabilities of the trojan are:
Read calls log
Retrieve account and contacts information
Gather all stored media and send them to C2C
Download and install other malicious software
Display a phishing window in order to try to steal credentials
Retrieve the list of all devices connected to the same network
Further details are included in the complete report published by CSE.
Thousands More Personal Records Exposed via Misconfigurations
12.2.2018 securityweek Incindent
Two more misconfigured databases exposing the personal details of thousands of people were disclosed late last week.
The Maryland Joint Insurance Association (MDJIA, with offices in Ellicott City, MD) left internet access to a data repository of customer files containing information such as customer names, addresses, phone numbers, birth dates, and full Social Security numbers; together with financial data such as check images, full bank account numbers, and insurance policy numbers. Also exposed were MDJIA access credentials for ISO ClaimSearch, a third-party insurance database containing ‘tens of millions of reports on individual insurance claims’ for industry professionals. The problem was a NAS server with an open port 9000.
Paris-based Octoly, a brand marketing firm, left open internet access to an AWS S3 bucket. This contained details of its IT operations, including sensitive personal details of more than 12,000 social media influencers used in its marketing campaigns. The details include the real names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses – including those specified for use with PayPal – and birth dates, together with thousands of hashed passwords.
Both misconfigurations were discovered by Chris Vickery, the director of cyber risk research at UpGuard. Researcher Vickery has discovered numerous misconfigurations providing open access to sensitive, often personal, information over the last few years. Examples include details of 191 million U.S. voters, nearly 1.4 billion user records exposed by known spammers, and sensitive military data belonging to the U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) left exposed by contractor Booz Allen Hamilton.
None of these misconfigurations require any hacking effort or skill to exploit, merely a computer with internet access. If a white hat researcher such as Vickery can find them, potentially any malicious actor could also find them with disastrous results. The question then is, why do misconfigurations, rated #6 in the OWASP top ten threats list, happen so frequently – and what should organizations do to prevent them?
Bryce Carlen; CIO at Washington State Department of Commerce, notes that MDJIA is a small organization with minimal – if any – dedicated IT staff. He warns that there may be many more small organizations in a similar position. “If this is as small an organization as it appears to be, then all of this is no real surprise. If you only have the budget for one or two IT staff or contractors, it's likely you're not going to have dedicated security staff or deep security expertise in the generalists you have working for you.” The problem, he added, is that small organizations don't understand the risks until after a cybersecurity event, because protecting data is not part of the core business based around using that data.
The Octoly incident is similar to many other examples of exposed AWS S3 buckets. “Every time I look at the AWS control panel, it seems like there are new services available, each of which comes with new settings and configuration switches. It's especially tough when you layer that on top of the constantly evolving job of securing your on-prem environment against shifting threats,” Carlen said.
He fears that the cloud is simply increasing 'security fatigue', leading to simple errors. “It's one of the things that frightens me about the cloud. There are a bunch of what appear to be otherwise competent organizations making a big mess with cloud configuration settings.”
Randy Potts, information security leader at Real Time Resolutions, Inc, believes the problem is still a missing 'culture of security' in many organizations. “Both of these incidents [last week] happened because the person that deployed them did not think about the bad actors. They only think about giving access to the people that need it, not preventing access from those that should not have it.”
He believes that it is the continuing point of tension between IT and information security. “IT is measured by uptime and functionality, but information security is measured by controlling access to data. From the IT perspective, information security risks breaking access and harming functionality.” He believes that IT personnel need to understand security better: “They need to respect that while not taking that extra step may save time now, it can have a serious impact to the organization later.”
But the problem goes beyond just IT and security into the entire corporate culture; that is, “the moral obligation that everyone handling sensitive information has to the people that correspond to that PII.” That includes the business owners as well as the IT staff and the security team.
This is a theme agreed by Graham Mann, managing director at CyberSpace Defence Ltd. “Management must shoulder their portion of the blame because they simply do not attach sufficient importance to security,” he says. He believes it is an area that can be addressed by legislation – indeed, it has already been addressed by the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
“GDPR specifically addresses the issues outlined in these so-called misconfiguration problems,” he told SecurityWeek; “and had Octoly happened five months later, they would now be facing a significant fine. Moreover, given the closeness of GDPR, it’s somewhat amazing that Octoly hasn't yet put measures in place to avoid such catastrophes.
“Misconfigurations are entirely feasible and easy to make when you are rushing to implement a device or making seemingly innocuous modifications to existing devices,” he continued. “Most IT administrators probably never consider the implications or consequences of making such errors. That’s why you need to consider the potential repercussions in advance (as specified in GDPR); you need to undertake a risk analysis on everything you do -- what could go wrong and what can we do to ensure any errors are mitigated. This is where management are critical: the involvement of security must be supported from above.”
Security researcher and consultant, Stewart Twynham, goes one step further. He believes the gaps between IT and security can be closed by treating both as aspects of corporate governance. “Professional IT people are under constant pressure to get things done, which is why security should be treated as a governance issue as well as an IT one,” he suggests. “Without those checks and balances (have we carried out the due diligence? do we fully understand the technology? do we understand the risks? do we have a process in place to continuously review what weíve set up?) mistakes like this will continue to happen.”
In short, misconfigurations will continue to occur while the pressure on IT to react instantly to business requirements goes unabated. Any alteration to the IT infrastructure should involve the security team before implementation. But this will require senior management to own the problem under an overarching corporate governance regime – and when that happens, misconfigurations will be less common.