9 Tips to Prevent WordPress Hacks in this Dangerous Digital World
7.2.2018 securityaffairs Hacking
WordPress hacks are increasingly common. Whether it’s for malicious reasons, to harm a site or to just insert backlinks, WordPress can be very vulnerable if not cared for and updated regularly. How to Prevent hacks?
So, how do you prevent these security blips – this post aims to show how.
Regular data backup can save you lots of frustration and headache, and especially after a hack. Taking the necessary measures to ensure information on your WordPress site or blog is backed up before making any significant changes, and doing the same after updates are recommended.
Although most people prefer to backup their data manually, using a plugin can make your work much more manageable. Plugins provide a convenient way to handle data backups at set times or intervals. Backup buddy (a plugin) is pretty good at this.
Although a paid option, this plugin exports everything on your WP from settings, files, images, and content on the database. You could also opt for free plugins as well.
Update the WordPress Version as Quickly as the New Comes
Updating your blog/site to the latest WP version can also save you lots of trouble. The regular updates are not only meant to make your experience much better but also patches security loopholes that could otherwise be manipulated by hackers.
You can simply follow WordPress feeds to find out about new updates, or just log in to the blog as admin. Be sure to follow WordPress Development blogs to get the latest updates on when the next patch or fixed will be released.
Check Themes and Plugins for Continued Support
Only used plugins and themes with continuous support and updates. It is through the continued support that developers of the same can release patches to make their plugins hacker-proof.
Any outdated or plugins/themes that no longer receive updates should be avoided, or uninstalled altogether. Most developers only provide support for about a year or two, then discontinue support for the same.
Be sure to look for themes or plugins with active support, receives frequent updates, well-rated, and customer support. You will be surprised to know most of the top-selling themes are outdated or longer receive updates. Look at the comment section for red flags and other indicators of flaws in the same before making an order.
Most of the premium WordPress themes will come bundled with third-party plugins. Some of the plugins bundled with the theme may or may not receive frequent updates.
Revolution Slider is an excellent example of plugins that come bundled with lots of themes on ThemeForest. This plugin had a major vulnerability back in 2014.
The thousands of sites that used this plugin were hacked with most of the hacks redirecting traffic to malicious sites. Although the developers of the same were pushing out updates for their themes, one loophole cost many websites a fortune.
As a precaution, consider investing in plugins that aren’t bundled with extra ‘freebies’. If need be, buy each plugin individually to reduce vulnerabilities to your site. You also need to turn on updates on these plugins to keep your site safe as well.
Keep the WP Admin Directory Protected
The admin directory in WP should always be password protected at all times. It holds the key to every function and security of the site. Password protecting the WP-admin directory helps keep hackers and other malicious people at bay.
This also means the admin will be required to enter two passwords to access the admin directory. The first password gives access to the login page with the WP-Admin directory still protected. The fun part about password-protecting this directory is that you get to control all aspects of the site, including unlocking various parts for access to authorized users only.
One way to protect the WP-admin directory is by installing the AskApache Password Protect plugin. The plugin configures enhanced security file permissions and encrypts the directory with a .htpasswd file.
Encrypt Data with Secure Socket Layer (SSL) Certificate
Using the SSL certificate to secure the Admin panel is not only wise but a smart move. This certification ensures data transfer between the server and user browsers is encrypted and almost impossible to breach.
This enhances data security on the site. Getting an SSL certificate is easy too. You can have your hosting firm for one, or just buy the certificate from a dedicated company.
The Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate is available for free and is an open source product as well. This means it does a pretty good job of keeping your site and data secure. Using an SSL certificate on your WP site can also help boost the site’s rankings on Google
Rename the Login URL
Changing the default WP login address to a different one gives your site an extra layer of security. You can do this by accessing the site’s admin URL.
Renaming the URL makes it hard for hackers to brute force their way into the site. Test the new login details with GWDb to see if anyone can guess your login details.
Although a simple maneuver, this trick helps restrict unauthorized entry to your login page. Only individuals with the login URL and details can access the dashboard. You could also use the iThemes Security plugin to rename your login address.
Never use Public Wi-Fi to Log In
Although public Wi-Fi may seem convenient, it poses multiple threats to your devices, sites, and online activity. Any malicious person on the same network or running packet sniffing software can sniff out any personal data you send via the same. If you have to log in to your WP site admin panel, then ensure you have an SSL certificate installed, or better still, use a virtual private network (VPN).
Have a VPN service installed on your computer or any other device just in case you need to log in to your site. It would also be a good habit to have the VPN running even with the SSL certificate installed. Never underestimate the skills of a black hat hacker targeting your site.
Disable File Editing
Users with admin access to your WP site or dashboard can edit or even change files on the site. This includes themes and plugins already installed in the same.
Disabling file editing on the site means only you can make changes to the site, and also helps make it almost impossible for hackers to change anything on the site. Any hacker that gains access to the WP dashboard will find it hard to change or modify files already on the site. Consider disallowing other users adding content and scripts to the site as well.
To do this, add these commands to the wp-config.php file located at the very end.
Define (‘DISALLOW_FILE_EDIT’, true);
Use the Right Server Configurations and Connections
According to matthewwoodward.co.uk you should only connect the server through SSH or SFTP when setting up the site for the first time. SFTP has more security features enabled as compared to the traditional FTP protocol. These security features are also not attributed to FTP, thus enhanced security.
Connecting the server via SFTP and SSH guarantees secure file transfer. Most web hosting providers can provide this service on request, with some offering it as a part of their packages. You can also enable these features manually too. Some expert knowledge may be needed to connect such safety and without much struggle.
BSides NYC, a volunteer organized event put on by and for the community
7.2.2018 Kaspersky Congress
Another edition of BSides NYC has passed, and as first time attendee and presenter, I was genuinely impressed with the impeccable organization, the content shared, and the interesting conversations that took place among enthusiasts and professionals from all over the world. I’ve been a long time follower and supporter of BSides events in Latin America, mainly due to the fact that they offer a relaxed venue for sharing and learning about the newest topics in information security, all while bringing together people from different backgrounds in a community-driven event.
This year’s edition of BSides NYC took place at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, with faculty member and the deputy CISO of the City of New York opening the event along some additional memorable keynotes given by Runa Sandvik from the New York Times, and Amber Baldet from JP Morgan. Once the initial kick-off was done, each attendee was able to choose from two technical tracks, an entrepreneur track, or any of the available villages and workshops. It was certainly tough for everyone how to decide where to spend their time, taking a coffee break here and there to meet and greet colleagues, friends, and keep enjoying all the activities happening around.
After lunch, I began my presentation on “Threat hunting .NET malware with YARA”, giving some examples of how to use YARA and the newly added .NET module, particularly useful for tracking the growing number of malware relying on Microsoft’s flagship framework. For learning purposes I chose a very popular malware targeting Latin American ATMs named Ploutus, which has landed in US territory just recently. It was quite an experience to fit an entire day of YARA content in less than an hour, but fortunately everyone at the presentation was extremely supportive, whether they have been using the tool since the beginning or never heard about it before.
Then it was the turn for Dmitry Bestuzhev, Director of Kaspersky Lab’s Global Research and Analysis Team in Latin America, who gave an astonishing presentation titled “Moving like a Spook through Walls Or how to be only a shadow for APT detectors”. It’s always interesting to observe how the community sees the Latin American threat landscape, which sometimes would seem as it’s not getting the attention it deserves. There wasn’t enough room in the auditorium to fit all the people interested in the talk, however since coffee and pastries were waiting for us after the presentation, the conversation could be continued with all of those that were eager to keep the debate open.
The biggest surprise for me was the addition of an entrepreneur track, something that undoubtedly every attendee was thankful for. Sometimes we are guilty of getting lost in the technical side of things, forgetting about the business and how to actually make our idea reach the audience we want it to. There were presentations from different startups, and remarkable information on how to grow your business, monetize it, and ultimately how not to lose sight of your original concept or idea even when dealing with venture capitals and external pressures.
It’s one of those events that you can’t miss, whether it’s playing the custom capture the flag game with your team, building weird antennas in the hacking village, or participating in any of the tracks, you’ll find something in BSides NYC for you. Oh, and don’t forget, there’s always conference swag!
Proofpoint to Acquire Security Awareness Training Firm Wombat Security for $225 Million
7.2.2018 securityweek IT
Cybersecurity firm Proofpoint on Tuesday announced that it has agreed to acquire Wombat Security Technologies for $255 million in cash.
Wombat, which helps companies educate employees on the dangers of phishing attacks and how to avoid them, grew out of a research project at Carnegie Mellon University in 2008.
The purchase of Wombat is the second acquisition north of $100 million by Proofpoint in recent months. Proofpoint also acquired messaging security firm Cloudmark in November 2017 for $110 million in cash.
Proofpoint LogoBest known for its email security offerings, Proofpoint says the acquisition will help its customers use data from active phishing campaigns for simulations.
The company explains that by integrating Wombat’s technology with Proofpoint’s threat detection and intelligence, enterprises will have insights into their employees’ vulnerability to the real phishing attacks that strike every day.
“Because threat actors target employees as the weakest link, companies need to continuously train employees and arm them with real-time threat data,” said Gary Steele, Proofpoint CEO. “The acquisition of Wombat gives us greater ability to help protect our customers from today’s people-centric cyberattacks, as cybercriminals look for new ways to exploit the human factor. We are thrilled to welcome Wombat’s employees to the Proofpoint team.”
The integrated solution will become part of Proofpoint's advanced email solution suite, and is scheduled to be available in the first half of 2018.
The agreement is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2018, Proofpoint said.
Following the acquisition, Proofpoint expects Wombat will increase its 2018 revenue range by $30 – $32 million, and increase the free cash flow range by $2 million for the year.
Business Wire Hit by Ongoing DDoS Attack
7.2.2018 securityweek Attack
Newswire service Business Wire said Tuesday that it has been under a sustained Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack for almost a week.
The company said that since last Wednesday, January 31, the attack has been attempting to render the newswire service portal unavailable.
As a frequent user of Business Wire services, SecurityWeek can confirm that the web-based service has been often unresponsive or seen performance being extremely degraded in recent days.
In a customer advisory, Richard DeLeo, Chief Operating Officer at Business Wire, said there is no evidence that any systems or client information have been compromised.
DeLeo said the company is working closely with unnamed partners to mitigate and resolve the attacks and stabilize the environment, but did not share any details, other than calling it a “directed and persistent” attack.
A traceroute shows that the company utilizes Akamai as a content delivery network to handle web requests to www.businesswire.com.
In August 2015, Berkshire Hathaway-owned Business Wire was victim of a cyberattack that allowed malicious actors to gain unauthorized access to non-public, market-moving information stored on its news distribution platform. Soon after, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that a cybercriminal group allegedly hacked into multiple newswire services to steal non-public information about corporate earnings announcements that were used to make financial trades that generated more than $100 million in illegal profits.
According to Arbor Networks’ 13th Annual Worldwide Infrastructure Security Report (WISR), 57% of enterprise, government and education (EGE) respondents and 45% of data center operators had their network resources depleted due to DDoS attacks in 2017. Arbor observed 7.5 million DDoS attacks in 2017.
Arbor also found that attack durations surged in 2017, with 29% of service providers saying they experienced attacks of over 12 hours. 45% of respondents said they experienced more than 21 attacks per month, while 17% were hit more than 500 times per month.
Adobe rolled out an emergency patch that fixed CVE-2018-4878 flaw exploited by North Korea
7.2.2018 securityaffairs Vulnerebility
Adobe rolled out an emergency patch that fixed two critical remote execution vulnerabilities, including the CVE-2018-4878 flaw exploited by North Korea.
Adobe has rolled out an emergency patch to address two Flash player vulnerabilities after North Korea’s APT group was spotted exploiting one of them in targeted attacks.
Last week, South Korea’s Internet & Security Agency (KISA) warned of a Flash zero-day vulnerability (CVE-2018-4878) that has reportedly been exploited in attacks by North Korea’s hackers.
According to the alert published by the KISA, the vulnerability affects the latest Flash Player version 22.214.171.124 and earlier.
The zero-day vulnerability could be exploited by an attack by tricking victims into opening a document, web page or email containing a specially crafted Flash file.
“A zero-day vulnerability has been found in Adobe Flash Player. An attacker may be able to convince a user to open a Microsoft Office document, web page, or spam mail containing a Flash file,” reads the advisory published by the Korean CERT.
According to the researcher Simon Choi the Flash Player zero-day has been exploited by North Korea since mid-November 2017. The attackers exploited the zero-day vulnerability in attacks aimed at South Korean individuals involved in research activity on North Korea.
Hackers exploited the vulnerability to deliver a malware, in the image shared by Choi on Twitter shows that the exploit has been delivered via malicious Microsoft Excel files.
Flash 0day vulnerability that made by North Korea used from mid-November 2017. They attacked South Koreans who mainly do research on North Korea. (no patch yet)
11:11 AM - Feb 1, 2018
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Cisco and FireEye have both been investigating, and warn that a North Korean group that they have been following for a while are likely behind this latest attack. Called TEMP.Reaper by FireEye and Group 123 by Cisco, the group with ties to North Korea was very active in 2017.
Adobe addressed the bug with an emergency patch that also fixed another remote code execution vulnerability, tracked as CVE-2018-4877, that was discovered by researchers at Qihoo 360 Vulcan Team.
“Adobe has released security updates for Adobe Flash Player for Windows, Macintosh, Linux and Chrome OS. These updates address critical vulnerabilities that could lead to remote code execution in Adobe Flash Player 126.96.36.199 and earlier versions. Successful exploitation could potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system.” reads the security advisory published by Adobe.
“Adobe is aware of a report that an exploit for CVE-2018-4878 exists in the wild, and is being used in limited, targeted attacks against Windows users. These attacks leverage Office documents with embedded malicious Flash content distributed via email.”
The two vulnerabilities are rated critical for all supported operating systems, the unique exception is the Linux build of Adobe Flash Player Desktop Runtime.
There have been over 1,000 Adobe Flash vulnerabilities since it was released. Designed to make website development easier and providing additional features not supported by standard web browsers, it also adds complexity and a much broader attack surface. Web browsers no longer support Flash by default, but users often re-enable it for convenience. And just having it installed on your system may be enough for vulnerabilities like these ones to be exploited.
Researchers ported the NSA EternalSynergy, EternalRomance, and EternalChampion to Metasploit
7.2.2018 securityaffairs BigBrothers
Security researcher Sean Dillon ported three NSA-linked exploits, EternalSynergy, EternalRomance, and EternalChampion, to the Metasploit platform.
The security researcher at RiskSense Sean Dillon (@zerosum0x0) ported the Rapid7 Metasploit three hacking tools supposedly stolen from the NSA-linked Equation Group.
The researcher modified the exploits to use them also against latest windows versions and merged them into the Metasploit Framework, they should work on all unpatched versions of Windows based on x86 and x64 architectures.
The three exploits are EternalSynergy, EternalRomance, and EternalChampion that were leaked by the hacker crew Shadow Brokers in April 2017.
The tools were later used in several attacks in the wild, for example, the EternalRomance exploit was used in the massive Bad Rabbit ransomware attack.
The versions ported to Metasploit could be used to target all Windows versions since Windows 2000.
MS17-010 #EternalSynergy #EternalRomance #EternalChampion exploit and auxiliary modules for @Metasploit. Support for Windows 2000 through 2016. I basically bolted MSF psexec onto @sleepya_ zzz_exploit. https://github.com/rapid7/metasploit-framework/pull/9473 …
5:54 AM - Jan 29, 2018
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The EternalChampion and EternalSynergy exploits trigger a race condition with Transaction requests tracked as CVE-2017-0146, while the EternalRomance and EternalSynergy exploits trigger the CVE-2017-0143, a type confusion between WriteAndX and Transaction requests.
The expert explained that the tool can be used to run any command as System or to stage Meterpreter.
“You can run any command as SYSTEM, or stage Meterpreter. Note: unlike EternalBlue, kernel shellcode is not used to stage Meterpreter, so you might have to evade your payloads.” Dillon explained.
“This module is highly reliable and preferred over EternalBlue where a Named Pipe is accessible for anonymous logins (generally, everything pre-Vista, and relatively common for domain computers in the wild).”
The Metasploit module does not implement shellcode execution, instead, it overwrites the SMB connection session structures instead to obtain Admin/SYSTEM session.
“The exploit chain is an almost 1:1 skid port of @worawit awesome zzz_exploit adaptation, which brings a few improvements over the original Eternal exploits. Instead of going for shellcode execution, it overwrites the SMB connection session structures to gain Admin/SYSTEM session.” wrote the expert.
“The MSF module is leaner (stripped down packet count/padding), checks extra named pipes, sprinkles randomness where possible, and has Metasploit’s psexec DCERPC implementation bolted onto it. For the last reason, Rex is used and not RubySMB,”
Further info and the “MS17-010 EternalSynergy / EternalRomance / EternalChampion aux+exploit modules” are available on GitHub.
TLS-Abusing Covert Data Channel Bypasses Network Defenses
6.2.2018 securityweek Krypto
Researchers from Fidelis Cybersecurity have discovered a new method of abusing the X.509 public key certificates standard for covert channel data exchange following initial system compromise.
The standard is used in both Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) cryptographic Internet protocol implementations, but the manner in which the certificates are exchanged can be abused to hijack them for command and control (C&C) communication, the researchers say.
The X.509 extensions can be used for covert channel data transfer to bypass network protection methods that do not inspect certificate values, the researchers say. To date, no confirmed cases of this technique being abused have been observed, but the widespread use of certificates could put many organizations at risk, Fidelis researchers argue.
To demonstrate their theory, Fidelis Cybersecurity revealed a custom-built framework that serves as proof of concept. However, the researchers point out that detection is possible and that the community can implement protections to identify possible abuse of the covert channel data transfer mechanism.
The use of covert channels for data transfer across the network is not new, and the possible abuse of X.509 certificates for covert network communication was demonstrated before. In fact, the use of the TLS protocol to establish hidden communication channels was detailed a decade ago.
The new research (PDF) by Fidelis’ Jason Reaves into the use of X.509 extensions for covert channel purposes expands on the previous findings to describe a system that could be used to send or receive data from both a client and a server perspective.
Using previous demonstrations that arbitrary data can be placed into X.509 certificates and that these certs can be used as a covert channel, the researcher argues that a sufficiently motivated attacker could “utilize technologies outside of their intended purposes to not only accomplish their goals but also end up bypassing common security measures in the process.”
Reaves analyzed X.509 certificate extensions, which “provide methods for associating additional attributes with users or public keys and for managing relationships between CAs,” but which can be abused for malicious purposes due to ambiguity in the language, which led to relaxed implementations.
Because TLS X.509 certificates have a large number of fields where strings can be stored, actors can take advantage of this to hide data transfer inside one of these fields. The certificates are exchanged before the TLS session is established, meaning that the data transfer doesn’t show up, although it was performed within the certificate exchange itself.
“Testing shows that using this methodology for communication and control in malware will not result in anything beyond an SSL negotiation which could bypass common security mechanisms that are not looking for abnormal data being passed in X.509 certificates,” Reaves says.
Fidelis also came up with a proof of concept to show that file transfer using the X.509 covert channel would be possible. For their demonstration, they chose to simulate a threat actor transferring the password stealing tool Mimikatz to a compromised system.
Cisco Reissues Patches for Critical Firewall Flaw
6.2.2018 securityweek Vulnerebility
Cisco has reissued patches for a critical vulnerability affecting some of the company’s security appliances after identifying new attack vectors and additional affected features, and determining that the original fix had been incomplete.
The networking giant informed customers in late January that its Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) software is affected by a serious flaw that can be exploited by a remote and unauthenticated attacker to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial-of-service (DoS) condition.
The vulnerability, tracked as CVE-2018-0101, affects several products running ASA software, including Firepower firewalls, 3000 series industrial security appliances, ASA 5000 and 5500 series appliances, 1000V cloud firewalls, ASA service modules for routers and switches, and Firepower Threat Defense (FTD) software.
The details of the security hole were disclosed on February 2 at a conference by Cedric Halbronn, an NCC Group researcher who reported the bug to Cisco.
“When exploited, this vulnerability known as CVE-2018-0101 allows the attacker to see all of the data passing through the system and provides them with administrative privileges, enabling them to remotely gain access to the network behind it,” NCC Group said in a blog post. “Targeting the vulnerability without a specially-crafted exploit would cause the firewall to crash and would potentially disrupt the connectivity to the network.”
Cisco initially told customers that the vulnerability is related to the webvpn feature, but further analysis revealed additional attack vectors and impacted features.
In an updated advisory published on Monday, the company said the flaw affects more than a dozen features, including Adaptive Security Device Manager (ASDM), AnyConnect IKEv2 Remote Access and SSL VPN, Cisco Security Manager, Clientless SSL VPN, Cut-Through Proxy, Local Certificate Authority, Mobile Device Manager Proxy, Mobile User Security, Proxy Bypass, the REST API, and Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) Single Sign-on (SSO).
A specific configuration for each of these features introduces the vulnerability, but some of the configurations are reportedly common for the affected firewalls.
Cisco has now released a new set of patches after discovering that the initial fixes were vulnerable to additional DoS attacks.
“While Cisco PSIRT is not aware of any malicious use of this vulnerability, Cisco highly recommends all customers upgrade to a fixed software version,” said Omar Santos, principal engineer in the Cisco Product Security Incident Response Team (PSIRT). “This proactive patching is especially important for those customers whose devices and configurations include potential exposure through the expanded attack surface.”
Cato Networks reported that there are roughly 120,000 ASA devices with the webvpn feature enabled accessible from the Internet. Furthermore, some system administrators have complained about the availability of patches and the time it takes to apply them.
System admin Colin Edwards posted a blog post suggesting that Cisco may have started patching the vulnerability 80 days before publishing a security advisory to warn customers.
“I can understand some of the challenges that Cisco and their peers are up against. But even with that, I’m not sure that customers should be willing to accept that an advisory like this can be withheld for eighty days after some fixes are already available,” Edwards said. “Eighty days is a long time, and it’s a particularly long time for a vulnerability with a CVSS Score of 10 that affects devices that are usually directly connected to the internet.”
Santos said the company published the advisory shortly after learning that there had been public knowledge of the vulnerability.
NSA-Linked Hacking Tools Ported to Metasploit
6.2.2018 securityweek BigBrothers
Three hacking tools supposedly stolen from the National Security Agency-linked Equation Group and made public last year were recently ported to Rapid7’s Metasploit Framework.
The three exploits – EternalSynergy, EternalRomance, and EternalChampion – were released publicly in April 2017 alongside the more popular EternalBlue, one month after Microsoft patched them.
The tools could previously be used only on several, older Windows releases, although EternalSynergy was modified to target recent Windows versions as well. Last year, EternalRomance was used in the global Bad Rabbit ransomware attack.
All three exploits can now be used to target all Windows versions since Windows 2000, Sean Dillon, a security researcher with RiskSense who goes by the online handle of @zerosum0x0, reveals. The researcher modified the exploits and merged them into the open-source Metasploit Framework.
The three tools target two vulnerabilities in Microsoft’s platform, namely CVE-2017-0146, a race condition with Transaction requests exploited by EternalChampion and EternalSynergy, and CVE-2017-0143, a type confusion between WriteAndX and Transaction requests exploited by EternalRomance and EternalSynergy.
The researcher explains that the module does not use kernel shellcode to stage Meterpreter, meaning that those interested in leveraging it would need to use evasion for their payloads. However, the tool can be used to run any command as System or to stage Meterpreter.
“This module is highly reliable and preferred over EternalBlue where a Named Pipe is accessible for anonymous logins (generally, everything pre-Vista, and relatively common for domain computers in the wild),” the researcher says.
The module does not attempt shellcode execution, but overwrites the SMB connection session structures instead, thus achieving Admin/SYSTEM session.
“The MSF module is leaner (stripped down packet count/padding), checks extra named pipes, sprinkles randomness where possible, and has Metasploit's psexec DCERPC implementation bolted onto it. For the last reason, Rex is used and not RubySMB,” the researcher explains.
The exploits can be used on both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures and target all platform iterations from Windows 2000 to Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016.
The module is available on GitHub. As Dillon points out, it has been created for academic research and the development of defenses, not to be used in attacks, except where explicitly authorized.
Duo Charged Over ATM "Jackpotting" Attacks
6.2.2018 securityweek Attack
Two men were charged in the United States with bank fraud from their involvement an alleged ATM "jackpotting" operation.
Alex Alberto Fajin-Diaz, 31, a citizen of Spain, and Argenys Rodriguez, 21, of Springfield, Massachusetts, were both arrested on related state charges on January 27 and are currently detained.
ATM jackpotting is an attack technique targeting automated teller machines (ATMs), where criminals connect to these devices and install malware or use specialized hardware to control the operations of the machine and cause them to dispense cash.
While the attack method hasn’t been seen in the United States until recently, ATM makers and the U.S. Secret Service issued alerts last month on the technique being used in attacks in the U.S. as well. The alerts warned that ATMs located in pharmacies, big box retailers, and drive thru ATMs were being targeted by jackpotting attacks.
A Department of Justice announcement on Monday revealed that ATM jackpotting incidents recently occurred in Hamden, Guilford, and Providence, Rhode Island, and that federal, state and local law enforcement agencies have been investigating the attacks.
According to the criminal complaint, on January 27, 2018, Fajin-Diaz and Rodriguez were found near an ATM compromised with jackpotting malware and which “was in the process of dispensing $20 bills,” the DoJ announcement reads. On the same date, Citizens Bank investigators had contacted police after an apparent attack on an ATM in Cromwell.
“A search of Fajin-Diaz and Rodriguez’s vehicle, which had a license plate that was assigned to another vehicle, revealed tools and electronic devices consistent with items needed to compromise an ATM machine to dispense its cash contents. Faji-Diaz and Rodriguez also possessed more than $9,000 in $20 bills,” the DoJ says.
If found guilty of bank fraud, the two face a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.
Although widely reported on only last week, ATM jackpotting attacks in the U.S. appear to have started several months ago, with the first suspects arrested in November 2017, as Oil City News reported at the time.
Cisco, Apple Launch Cyber Risk Offering With Insurance Giant Allianz
6.2.2018 securityweek Cyber
Cisco, Apple, Aon, Allianz Partner to Help Businesses Protect Against Common Malware Threats
Munich, Germany-based Allianz -- named by Forbes as the world's second largest insurance firm -- is offering cyber insurance at competitive premiums with reduced deductibles; but only if the insured is risk-assessed by Aon and uses certain Cisco and Apple products.
Over the last few years, information security has increasingly been seen as a risk management issue. One of the traditional options for risk management is risk transfer; that is, insurance. But while the cyber insurance option has increased in visibility, its adoption remains relatively low. In 2016, US cyber insurance premiums were reported to be $1.35 billion. This is just 3.3% of the total premiums for U.S. commercial line insurers. Clearly, there is an opportunity for insurance companies to increase their own share of a potentially large market.
At the same time, product vendors are always looking for new opportunities to sell their products. The potential for linking specific product to reduced insurance premiums could help both industries to increase market share.
This has been slow to materialize because insurance works on detailed statistics between risk and premiums. It has decades of statistics for motor vehicles, and perhaps hundreds of years for shipping -- but only a few years' experience of a continuously changing and worsening infosecurity world. The natural effect of this is that premiums have to be set at the higher end of the possible scale simply because nobody really understands the full risk.
Apple and Cisco have been working to change this. In June 2017, Cisco's David Ulevitch (VP, security business group) announced, "We’re collaborating with insurance industry heavyweights to lead the way in developing the architecture that enables cyber insurance providers to offer more robust policies to our customers."
This collaboration surfaced yesterday in the announcement of a deal with Allianz: "a new cyber risk management solution for businesses, comprised of cyber resilience evaluation services from Aon, the most secure technology from Cisco and Apple, and options for enhanced cyber insurance coverage from Allianz," said Apple. However, it should be noted that this is not a general cyber insurance offering, but one specifically related to "cyber risk associated with ransomware and other malware-related threats, which are the most common threats faced by organizations today."
There are three elements that could lead to the insurance deal. The first is that the candidate company is risk assessed by Aon, who will examine the company's existing cyber security posture and make recommendations on how to improve existing defenses.
The second is that the candidate company should use Cisco Ransomware Defense and/or qualified Apple products iPhone, iPad and Mac. The third is that insured companies will then have access to Cisco and Aon incident response teams in the event of a malware attack.
With any contract, and an insurance policy is just a contract, the devil is always in the detail. It isn't clear from the current announcement whether the insurance will go beyond just a malware attack -- into, for example, data manipulation or theft because of the malware attack. That may vary from contract to contract depending on the result of the Aon assessment.
For the moment, there is just the bald statement that if a company uses certain Cisco and Apple product, and presumably 'passes' a risk assessment by Aon, that company might possibly qualify for lower deductibles in a malware-related cyber insurance policy underwritten by Allianz.